12/22/2015

Venezuela is in crisis lets watch Star Wars

I haven't been writing much because I got distracted by the hoopla about the Star Wars release, the Miss Universe screw up, the Spanish elections, and what's going on in Venezuela since the United opposition won the National Assembly elections on December 6 by a huge landslide.

Above is  the obligatory Star Wars picture 
(Han Solo, Chewbaca, Obi One Kanobi, and Luke). 

The English language media doesn't cover Venezuela very well. Some articles leave huge gaps, others give half truths, some lie, etc. so let me summarize: 

The election campaign was dirty, unfair, and riddled with electoral violations orchestrated by the regime, led by Chavez' heir, Nicolas Maduro, and the National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello. 
Maduro and Cabello in better days. 
Note the odd raised RIGHT fist salute. 

Their candidates ran under the United Socialist Party banner (PSUV in Spanish). Their symbol on the ballot was the devilish looking "Chavez' eyes", which they have plastered all over Venezuela. Those eyes are creepy, they hint at big-brother-is-watching and the-devil.

The Socialist symbol, Chavez' eyes

As I mentioned, the campaign was unfair. Government violations ranged from jailing popular opposition leaders, to use of government funds to buy votes, to near absolute control of the media. However, the opposition running as the "Democratic Unity Roundtable"  was helped by the food and medicine scarcity, huge crime rate, 100 + % inflation, increasing poverty, corruption, human rights violations, and the knowledge that Maduro and the PSUV continue to funnel billions to the Castro dictatorship. 

However, in spite of the gross violations, polls taken during the prior weeks showed the opposition had a significant lead, averaging about 60-40 in their favor. The regime seems to have been lulled into going ahead with the elections because they have traditionally stuffed ballots.

This was accomplished by having no-shows "vote" after the official closing. The trick works fine if the election is relatively close. But the no shows can't be set up to vote if the chavistas inside the polling place can't dump the voting logs (where people sign in) to offsite locations where preset  fake voters are being given fake IDs. The opposition stopped this trick by blocking electronic signals at 1600 voting sites, also blocking signals being used to change the thumbprint records for the fake voters.

The government couldn't bitch about opposition moves to use electronic blocking (something they failed to grasp for hours)  because PSUV signals were illegal. Other opposition measures included having witnesses stay on site until the count was certified. 

A critical event occurred when Sandra Oblitas, a national electoral commission member, ordered all voting venues to remain open after official closing time (this allowed the PSUV to mobilize their fake voters, but they only had one hour, which led to insufficient numbers of illegal voters or voters forced to come in to vote to change election results).  What stopped this illegal move,  the PSUV´s final gasp,  was the order by Defense Minister Padrino López to close voting places one hour after the official closing hour (unless voters were standing in line waiting to vote). 

Padrino Lopez´order to his troops to have the voting sites closed one hour after the official closing hour (a legal order under Venezuelan law) is said to have outraged Maduro and Cabello. Cabello even went as far as suggesting they mobilize troops and simply declare themselves the winners, but Cabello was overruled by the army generals (they said they wouldn't use troops against the people). 

So...the Democratic Unity went on to win 112 seats to the socialists' 55. A 2/3 majority which gives them the ability to override a veto. On election night Maduro said he would accept the election results. This led to numerous articles in the English media stating that no cheating had taken place. The truth is that a dirty campaign waged by the socialists, plus some cheating,  had taken place, but had been overcome by a huge mass of people voting against them.  This plus the  opposition taking provisions to stop bulk cheating and ballot stuffing by the PSUV is what led to the massive socialist party defeat. 

What else? In the 15 days since the elections the regime has been making noises and taking actions to defeat the election results. Cabello named a "National Comunal Assembly", gave them access to the National Assembly building. Maduro said he would give all power to this Comunal Assembly (which isn't mentioned in the Venezuelan constitution). Cabello attempted to give ownership of the National Assembly TV to the employees (illegal), and now they are trying to name 16 Supreme Court justices (also illegal). 

Meanwhile, the wheels continue to fall off the regime's cart. Many prominent Chavistas are coming out openly and criticizing Maduro. Two of Maduro's nephews were arrested and are in jail in New York, accused of cocaine traffic. Two millionaires, boligarchs who are closely tied to the state oil company (PDVSA) were arrested for money laundering and other violations. Argentina's president, Macri, called for the release of political prisoners held by the regime.

And president Obama asked for the end of economic sanctions against the Castro dictatorship, which happens to have military and secret police personnel in Venezuela propping up the regime.

Maduro is being propped up and mentored by
 Cuban dictator Raul Castro, who has sent troops 
and secret police by the thousands to Venezuela. 

So what´s next? The new National Assembly is supposed to formally enter the National Assembly building on January 5th, 2016. Several chavista chieftains have called for the National Assembly building to be surrounded by mobs to stop the assembly members from reaching it. Those calling for violance nclude Tarek el Aisami, a Syrian born politician who seems to be the one who encouraged the Chavez alliance with Assad.

What can the new National Assembly do, if 112 opposition members do manage to make it into the building alive, and none of them has been bribed or blackmailed to change his/her vote? They say they will vote for a National Assembly President, and introduce a bill to declare amnesty for political prisoners. After that, their agenda is unclear, and as I mentioned above, it depends on whether they do get 112 opposition members to show up alive and willing to vote against the regime.

If they do manage to make it, and there´s no coup, my humble suggestion is they focus on the 16 Supreme Court justices being named illegally by Cabello in late December. The legally constituted assembly has to make it perfectly clear that irregular and illegal actions by Maduro, Cabello, and their clique have to end. The other critical step is to gain control of the TV station located at the National Assembly, which runs as Cabello wishes, and make sure its signal continues to be carried (something I seriously doubt Maduro will allow, as it would allow the people to get information other than the proregime propaganda all the government media channels blast all day).

Note: Venezuela has two privately owned TV  channels, Globovision, which is owned by Chavista stooges, and Venevision, which has managed to survive by carrying a "pro-regime lite" coverage of the news.  The key government owned channels are VTV, the national TV channel, Telesur, an international TV networks majority owned by Venezuela,  jointly with the Cuban dictatorship, and the Armed Forces TV network. These three have to be made to change their tone and adopt a neutral stance, as set in the Venezuelan constitution. And this is likely to be unaceptable to Maduro.

I would expect violence, and possibly a failed coup atempt by Maduro and Cabello, sometime in the first three months of 2016.

Be careful with the international media coverage. 
Russian TV will serve up Eva Golinger, a  lawyer 
who does pro Maduro propaganda 

The international media will never give you a full view or understanding of what´s going on, which means you will have to learn to access multiple sources to understand what´s going on. Or you can drop me a question here. I´ll try to research it and let you know what I see. 

References:

Opposition wins election on December 6 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35033778

ABC News reports on how Maduro and the Socialists undermine the opposition victory

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuelan-socialists-undermine-opposition-congressional-win-35791041

Joshua Goodman says the opposition win debunks fear of fraud. This is an interesting example of how a single individual writing for the AP can distort what really went on, and what´s going on: 



Fox News is the only media I found with anything about how Maduro claims fraud.  



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