Plan B?

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in a sec but first…Our friends at Caracas Chronicles had this headline, “A Trick To Defeat Chavismo’s Political Ban”. Now that we know that Chavismo is willing to move forward with political bans the Venezuela opposition needs to come up with a plan for the day after the primaries. Here’s a proposal:

 With the Venezuela opposition seemingly regaining momentum as it’s October primaries approach the Maduro regime has reacted using an old tactic from the dictator’s playbook, banning adversaries from running.

 Now it was front runner, Maria Corina Machado’s turn. We can expect to see any (or all) pre-candidates banned as well.

 Since anyone can participate in the primaries as the government is not involved, all that is really needed is a succession plan. The mechanism could be something like:

 1/ If the winner of the primaries is banned from holding political office by the government (the Chavistas), the candidacy for the presidential ballot would automatically fall to the second place pre- candidate if the vote differential between them and the primary winner is less than 5% (and they’re not banned as well).

 2/ If they’re banned you move to the third place candidate with the same 5% rule in effect and so on.

3/ If there is not an option which falls within the 5% who isn’t banned by the government (entirely possible) then the primary winner appoints a replacement candidate.

 The replacement candidate, in his or her first public speech, announces as political VP, the truthful primary winner and publicly guarantees to enforce the people’s will in case he or she is elected president.

 This is an idea that could work with some formal political coordination. The opposition would have to return to the unity it had in 2015 when they won an overwhelming majority in the legislative elections, which led to the regime’s unconstitutional actions and today’s political impasse.

 They would also need the Venezuelan people to buy into the idea as well as support from the international community. It may be a long shot for a plan B but It Is Possible!

 Then we have Defense Express telling us that the Venezuela Air Force has suffered the loss of it’s third Russian-manufactured Su-30MK fighter aircraft in a crash due to the Russians not providing maintenance.

 This shouldn’t surprise anyone as the Chavistas have failed to maintain the oil infrastructure, the power grid, the fresh water delivery system, and almost everything else in Venezuela.

 As of 2020 (updated information is hard to come by from the Maduro regime) only 11 aircraft were operational out of a fleet of 22.

 The action (or inaction) of the Russians sugget they were hoping to sell Venezuela new Su-35 jets as the Venezuelans expressed interest in 2012 and 2015, however, the Russians never finalized the contracts. (Hint: The Venezuelans have no money and both Russia and China, as well as the entire world, have cut off credit to the Maduro regime)

 I know the Venezuela Air Force only having half of it’s fighters able to fly looks bad but for the Chavistas it’s actually pretty good. Only 10% of the busses in Venezuela’s transportation system are operational.

 Now, lets head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 19 continued…

 …The one area thriving financially is narco-trafficking, also controlled by the military and headed by Diosdado Cabello who many think is the most powerful man in Venezuela. It will be a delicate balancing act for the government to try to siphon off revenue from the drug trade as it’s the last financial bastion of the military.

 It should be no surprise to anyone that the more centralized the government the less efficient, less productive, and more cumbersome it becomes. In my former life I handled major accounts for an equipment company. Besides all my private sector responsibilities I handled all government bidding and contracts. What an eye-opener! If you think giving central government more control over anything currently run by the private sector is a good idea check this out. I could do business with a private entity with a one page contract. A village might require a 5-7 page contract, a city (depending on size) 20-25 pages, a state would usually be 50-75 pages, and the federal government about 150 pages or more. The equation is simple, more pages equals more requirements for compliance which equals more cost which equals a higher price for that particular product or service. Conclusion: The private sector can, in most cases, provide goods and services faster and cheaper than the government.

 So how does this apply to Venezuela? Well, in Venezuela everything is run by the Chavistas in Caracas. To do anything requires a byzantine process of approvals by various people, departments, and ministries. What can be accomplished relatively inexpensively in a day or so in the real world will be very expensive in Venezuela and will take weeks or months. It’s the perfect set-up for corrupt bureaucrats and in Venezuela they’re everywhere. Permits, documents, etc. are required for everything so if you want to get what you need you either go through the interminable process or pay a fixer. There was an actual menu posted online with prices for passports, cedulas (Venezuela government ID), drivers licenses, etc.

 So what is 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism today? Functionally it is a bloated, inefficient, corrupt, bureaucratic nightmare, overburdened throughout with people in their positions due to ideological loyalty rather than ability. Bit by bit all the rights of the people have been stripped away until they now live under an authoritarian dictatorship that bears no resemblance to a democratic form of government. Much like the Cuban government, it’s sole purpose, as it has been from the beginning, is self-perpetuation and serves only itself and not the people it claims to serve. It is a kleptocratic, narco-mafia state that is replete in every area with criminals and thugs who all richly deserve to be in jail.

 It is a far cry from how 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism was supposed to be and how it was represented to it’s people and the world. It was the new model of government that really could deliver everything to everyone including total equality and freedom from the oppressors, the oligarchs, the elitists. It was embraced and endorsed by people and governments all over the world. As the people of Venezuela would learn over the two and a half decades of Chavismo, what we saw in the quote from “The International” was exactly how things would unfold. They were told what they wanted to hear. When it became clear that wasn’t going to work out they were told what they were willing to believe. When it became clear that wasn’t going to work out they were told everything else. When it became clear none of this was going to work out they finally learned the truth…and, unfortunately for them, it was too late to do anything about it!

 Venezuela is a manifestation of what happens when we forget things we all used to accept as fundamental truths. You know, all those things you hated to hear growing up then later found to be true. Things like “there is no free lunch” or “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is” or “don’t believe everything you hear” and so on. The reality is that when they say “this time will be different” it wont! When they say “the old rules don’t apply” they do! If you’re thinking “that could never happen here” think again. You would be well served to remember that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results and more importantly…”Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid!”

 That will do it for this edition of Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole. More current news tomorrow…

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