Venezuela: Of Carnavals and Murders


HAVANA TIMES — The day closed with a new announcement by the president of Venezuela.

The president announced that, in the evening, he would offer statements regarding a new coup attempt in the country. In his two years in office, Nicolas Maduro has warned us about more coup attempts than Fidel Castro has skirted in his lifetime.

When it was time to expose the details of the alleged plot, the president offered us a tangled web of stories about a young military officer, or a high-ranking officer, who was paid in “dollars” (the word was emphasized, to remind people it is the currency of the enemy) by a national media corporation (as though the government hadn’t bought most of the major broadcasters) and given a Tucano plane (an aircraft with a bird’s name), that would fly to the presidential palace, where it would kill the president. Oh, and, folks, this plane would have born the insignia of its country of origin.

It’s hard to follow his train of thought when he goes on this way. It’s almost as though he did it on purpose, to make us weave the yarn he doesn’t want to himself.

Of course, as in all previous occasions, he offered no names and no photographs of anything. He merely leveled accusations at the Empire and the Opposition, saying measures would be implemented against them. Then came more announcements, a foretaste of the upcoming episodes of this soap opera, promising us a thorough explanation of this whole affair by another member of the government – as though he were a physics genius who reveals his groundbreaking discovery and, exhausted by the long research he has conducted, delegates a secretary who will offer a clear explanation of the facts.

“Sure, man,” one is almost tempted to say to him, “the cursed Empire is attacking with a little Tucan plane.” The question is: what lies behind this new act of buffoonery? (I ask the gods, constellations and spirits that surround us to forgive the kind of language that comes out of me whenever I hear dear old Nicolas speak).

First, after he’d assured us there would be no devaluation in the country, the recently created Sistema Marginal de Divisas (Marginal Hard Currency System, or SIMADI), a State-run, legalized form of managing the black-market or parallel hard currency economy, began operations with a Bolivar – US dollar exchange rate of 170 to 1.

The price of sugar rose by more than 60 %. We can also expect the price of other basic products to go up, and without much of a fuss, as has become usual.

Today, the Minister of Transportation announced the new, “fair” prices for urban and suburban streets – a 40% rise in prices. At the close of last year, State public transportation rates (the metro and metrobus systems) had gone up from 1.5 to 4 and 6 Bolivars, respectively.

The price of fuel has not yet gone up. What “fair” price for public transportation will be established when it does, I wonder.

In the meantime, the long lines of people everywhere continue to enjoy excellent health.

On Venezuelan Youth Day, following a rally led by the opposition, a group of young people took to the streets in downtown Caracas. A number of SEBIN officials opened fire on them, killing Bassil da Costa.

It’s been one year since his murder and, even though the 7 or 8 culprits have been identified through photos and videos, only one of them is in prison and awaiting trial. The rest all enjoy good health and have even received the occasional medal. I found this out doing an Internet search, as the Venezuelan press doesn’t make a habit of informing citizens about how justice is carried out in the country.

Less than two weeks ago, a government resolution authorized the use of fire arms on protesters – as a last resort.

I may be missing one or two of the many reasons why the president resorted to the same old story about a coup or assassination attempt. One of them could be to have a pretext to put the army on the street permanently, with everything that entails.

Maybe not, maybe I’m only being paranoid and overly suspicious. I’m sick and tired of hearing the government announce it will not do something that it ends up doing, or vice-versa. Perhaps Maduro is right this time and there’s a killer toucan flying around the presidential palace, but, like the boy who cried wolf…

5 thoughts on “Venezuela: Of Carnavals and Murders

  • Cort, you imagine the people undermining the socialist revolution in Venezuela are the established oligarchy in league with foreign capitalists. In fact, the greatest harm to the revolution has come from within the ruling circles around Maduro & Chavez.

    Recent police raids on the offices of the HSBC bank in Switzerland have revealed a large number of bank accounts associated with Venezuelan government officials. The former bodyguard of Hugo Chavez has and account with several billion dollars in it!

    The whole Bolivarian revolution has been a massive swindle which has destroyed the economy of Venezuela. The poor will be left to suffer, once again.

  • In the period between the end of WWII and around the mid-nineties, the U.S. made some 70 interventions into countries for the same reason they are trying to demonize the Venezuelans: Venezuela opposes imperialism and has instituted grass roots democratic organizations that lead to a more democratic society both of which make it a target for the GOUSA and more specifically, the wealthy who own the GOUSA.
    Cuban counter-revolutionaries have long predicted that Cuba would fall due to its own intrinsic faults just as you are predicting Maduro’s failure and likely ouster.
    Well the overwhelming number of Cubans support their government, their revolution against U.S. imperialism and Venezuelans also by a sufficiently democratic majority also support the Bolivarian revolution .
    The bad news for you and the imperialists is that coups against democratically elected governments in Latin America don’t work any more and that leftist/democratic movements are the wave of the future.
    Lastly, the U.S. continues to spend in excess of US1T yearly to maintain its empire, its hegemony , just as it has for 100 years .
    The difference is that between the growing strength and popularity of democratic movements coupled with the rise of militant Islam, the USG faces foes that cannot now be easily beaten down as they used to be.
    That doesn’t mean that they won’t keep trying and failing and failing and failing . .

  • Yes, you anti-socialist people would like the democratically elected Maduro to be overthrown but guess what ?
    The Venezuelan authorities just squashed a coup attempt.
    It’s not much in the U.S. news since 1) it failed and 2) they were likely behind this one as they were in so many right-wing coups in Latin America and the Caribbean since WWII.
    You can check it out on the net which the corporate media and the GOUSA doesn’t control .

  • I am in Venezuela now myself and there has been a on going coup against the Bolivarian revolution by the US and other international actors for over 14 years, the oligarchy and the reformist bureaucracy and many within the government who do not want to the complete the revolution.

    The economy for the most part is still capitalist and the crisis is in part caused by world capitalist crisis, the sabotage and withholding of products by the capitalists and only making half a revolution.

    The bases, grassroots, workers and rank and file militants of the revolution need to take control and the international actors and government need to respect the democratic will of the people.

    Defend and complete the Bolivarian revolution!
    No more impunity!

  • Maduro should take his money and make a run for it. Fidel taught us that running a central control economy ain’t easy. Chavez pulled it off for a time, but even he struggled as oil profits dryed up. Maduro has no chance. He is no Chavez and not qualified to carry Fidel’s socks.

    Pure fantasy that Obama would waste resources taking Maduro down. Why pay for what will happen in time for no cost or risk.

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