Wednesday, May 1, 2013


In the midst of all of the political happenings in T&T we have not been paying any real attention to what is going on just a few kilometers/miles to the west of us. Our comparitively huge neighbour is in real trouble and only the most sycophantic Chavistas will not admit it. Real standards of living are in free fall and one of the world's potentially richest countries is in for the devil of a time. The immediate future facing Venezuelans is one of blood, sweat and tears.

Let me explain: when the 7th October 2012 presidential elections the total number of electors on the electoral list was 18, 854,935.  On 14th April, 2013 the total number of electors registered to vote was 18,904,364. So? What's the big deal? There is an increase in the list of registered voters by 49,429 new electors. I agree that there should be nothing wrong with this except that the authorities refused to allow any new registrations beyween the two elections. I know this because I know several people in Caracas whose children turned 18 after 7th October, 2012 and who were prevented from registering to vote! Nobody, they were told could register to vote for the new Presidential election. It was to be fought on the old electoral list!

Then, on the night of the 14th April presidential elections, the television stations started broadcasting that Maduro was the winner with 50.66 per cent of the popular vote as against 49.07 per cent for his opponent Enrique Capriles. The only problem with this broadcast was that they posted on television the actual amount of votes that each candidate had received: 7,505,388 votes for Maduro as against 7,720,403 votes for Capriles!! Got that? According to the TV stations Maduro had won with 215,065 votes less than Capriles had received. (And by the way, I personally saw the several broadcasts on this before they took the figures down, so I am reporting absolute facts!!) They later reported that Maduro got 7.27 million votes ... but it took a looonnngggg time to fix! What happened? I have seen no explanations for this.

There are unconfirmed reports of ballots being destroyed and about the army burning ballot papers. I have seen videos of this but cannot say definitively that they are accurate or entirely truthful. However, in light of the fact that Maduro refused a recount and has had himself sworn in and then has allowed a recount which is going to take more than a month I must confess that my suspicions have been aroused as to both the validity of the published results as well as what the result of the recount will be. In fact, I'll take a bet (one dollar to one doughnut ... and we'll decide later who pays the dollar and who pays the doughnut) that the recount results will "show" that Maduro has won.

Incidentally, the opposition in Venezuela says that Capriles actually got 53.5 per cent of the popular vote as against Maduro getting 44.3 per cent. Interesting, eh?

In the meantime, Venezuela, a country full of oil, gold, timber and other minerals is in serious financial trouble. The official exchange rate of the bolivar to the US dollar is about 6bs to US$1. The blackmarket rate is now about 24bs to US$1!!! There are shortages of the most basic commodities: milk, butter, flour, bread, and even women's sanitary napkins! Inflation is approaching 30% for this year which is not even half over. There already has been a 33% devaluation of the currency in February and another one is expected soon. Maduro's answer is that (a) it's not really happening and (b) if it is all the troubles are (you guessed it!) the fault of and caused by the United States! But Venezuela continues to supply Cuba with oil to the value of about US$2 billion per month and not get paid for it! Not bad for a country going broke! But then it's the Yankees fault!

There is talk of newer laws to come which will further encroach on the freedoms of the country's citizenry, which, if true, will simply add more layers onto a population already groaning under a tyrant's yoke. The latest move to say to elected representatives that they cannot speak in the country's Parliament unless they recognise Maduro as the duly elected President is yet another example of the real and galloping dictatorship. Well, Mr. Maduro, for what it's worth, I recognise you as being the duly elected President of Venezuela ... duly elected by a fraudulent process and a fraudulent result, but "duly elected" nonetheless!! Just be careful, Mr. Maduro, because I predict that sooner or later the  same guns that you have turned against your people will turn against you. Violence always breeds violence!
 What a tragedy!!


  1. Mr. Montano, while I may not always agree with everything you have said, I agree with you completely in this regard. May I suggest that (perhaps for reasons of brevity in your presentation) you have only just begun to scratch the surface as to the true nature of things in Venezuela? To you and I, who are pretty familiar with the country, and who have a good grasp of what is going on, you present a closed case.

    However, for the benefit of your readers who cannot begin to comprehend the true nature of a dictatorship and its many guises, and those who do not understand the modern history of Venezuela, perhaps you should take them through a crash course of the emergence of the real Bolivarianism, the collapse of Venezuela's institutions, the emergence of the military political class, the victimisation of citizens, and the emergence of the new rich (I call them the boligarcas).

    I look forward to reading more of your writing. Thanks!

    Austin Agho

  2. Never mind Venezuela! We are in deep ca-ca here!!

  3. I disagree with your analysis of the situation in Venezuela. But I shall not dwell on that specific country but on the global financial situation and see how it can be applied to Venezuela.
    Internationally the financial markets are being propped up by more paper. All it takes is one word in the negative and thing will fall apart. Whether it is Greece, Portugal, Spain, The USA or Venezuela it makes no difference. But the large market countries divert attention by sacrificing smaller market countries and with these sacrifices the markets regroup and the labour takes a beating.
    One only hopes that the country in which one resides is not the next country to be sacrificed.


  4. @ Al.... Venezuela's problems can be likened to that of a home where the father (principal earner in the family) has developed an inflated ego of himself, giving away his salary to his neighbours, while his children lack the basics; worse yet, he takes from some of his children's piggy banks to give other children, by force if necessary, and abuses anyone who dares to question his actions. Obviously, because he gives away more than he earns, he soon has to borrow (albeit from fathers on streets other than his own), and even this borrowing is misused, with no real evidence of it having been received - the floor in the house is developing holes, the roof is leaking badly, broken windows go unfixed, and because his driveway is so treacherous, merchants' goods can't get to the house in time, so supplies are running out; and the electricity bill is also unpaid for months! Naturally, he blames his dissenting children for all of the family's woes, claiming that they are conspiring with "outsiders" to destabilise the home.

    In other words, the mess that Venezuela is in today, is the creation of 14 years of egocentric horse manure served up by a man who essentially failed at everything he ever tried in life - from coup plotting, to actual leadership. That his ultimate act was to saddle Venezuela with the bumpkin who now wears the presidential sash, shows you just how bad the situation is - one fool bequeathing the nation with another.

    Austin Agho

    1. While I understand your point, it is also important to make sure that your neighbour is also well fed and in good nutrition for you to be able to have a better life. If not the diseases have no boundaries and you will also suffer. One must also be conscious of predators that lurk on ones borders so by festering good relationships with ones neighbours one might keep the wolves at bay.