Venezuela: The land of “shortstops” & Miss Universe winners

As we’ve posted often in blog, Venezuela is an important neighbor in disarray. In other words, “the cubanization of Venezuela” is a sad thing to watch. It’s really horrible for those of us who know where “cubanization” leads to!

Our friends in Venezuela take a break from their crazy politics and shortages of everything by talking about their incredible line of major league shortstops and young women who win beauty pageants.

They can’t stop talking about Hall of Famer Luis Aparacio, “should be in the Hall of Fame” David Concepcion, the unbelievable Omar Vizquel, and now “the new kid up the middle” Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers. Who did I forget?

The men will talk to you about shortstops and the women treat the Miss Universe pageant like game 7 of the world Series. In other words,don’t ask a young Venezuela woman for a date when The Miss Universe pageant is on.  She’d rather stay home and watch it.

This weekend, a young woman from Venezuela won The Miss Universe content:

“For the seventh time in Miss Universe history, Venezuela took the crown as 25-year-old Gabriela Isler was given the title of most beautiful woman in the universe in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on Saturday night.

As the evening came to a close, the United States’ Olivia Culpo relinquished the Miss Universe crown and placed it upon Miss Venezuela.

Isler, who was born in Maracay, is an accomplished flamenco dancer who also works on Venezuelan television.”

Beautiful and dances flamenco?   “Que maravilla!”

Congratulations to Gabriela!

Frankly, it’s nice to see Venezuelans smile and having a little fun. it’s been “hell” down there for a long time!

Maduro “esta muy podrido” in Venezuela!

President Maduro of Venezuela may want to shoot that little “Hugo bird” who speaks to him from time to time.   Can you blame Maduro if he grabs the little bird by the neck and strangles him?

According to The NY Times, the people of Venezuela are not really into Maduro.  On the contrary, they miss Hugo, or at least “the Hugo of their dreams”:

“Prices are soaring, the country is plagued by electrical blackouts, some neighborhoods go days without water, and protests tangle the already stifling traffic. To top it all off, the cheap beer that helps people let off steam at many a weekend party has suddenly become scarce, too.

Nearly seven months after the death of Hugo Chávez, the country’s longtime leftist president and father figure, there is a growing sense that things are falling apart.”

To be fair, Venezuela’s problems were “Made by Hugo” all the way.  It was Chavez’ policies, from reckless spending to a horrible case of cronyism and corruption, that brought the country to this situation.

In other words, it did not start with Maduro but life is not fair specially when you hitch your wagon to a corrupt man like Hugo Chavez.

The problems in the country are rather severe and I am not talking about a shortage of toilet paper:

“Inflation in the first eight months of this year was more than triple the rate in the same period last year. When measured over the 12 months that ended in August, it exceeded 45 percent.

A government indicator that measures the scarcity of basic goods is close to its highest level in more than five years.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not defending President Maduro, a man who was “questionably” elected earlier this year after Chavez was officially pronounced dead.

All of these difficulties in the nation raise a legitimate question:  Will Maduro survive?

My opinion is that he won’t, no matter how many times he expels US diplomats or tells us that he had visions of Hugo.

Maduro probably wishes that they had kept Hugo connected to that life machine a bit longer.

Frankly, the end of Maduro is coming and it won’t be pretty.  I just hope that someone at the Obama White House is on top of events in Latin America.   Venezuela could come apart soon and Washington needs to be alert.

P.S. You can hear our chat about Colombia, Venezuela and other US-Latin America stories here.

Syria? How about regime change in Venezuela?

 We are all focused on Syria and the Middle East. I just hope that someone in this White House is watching the events in Venezuela.

We just saw two stories from Venezuela that home the reality that the country is falling apart and freedoms are disappearing. The “Cubanization” of Venezuela is off and running. As they used to say in Cuba: “Para atras ni pa’ coger impulso”!

President Maduro has just announced that the government launched a news network to tell the public the truth about the situation in the country:

“Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on Tuesday at a public event that the Government would launch a “Truth News Broadcast” via mandatory radio and television broadcasts to air his Administration performance. The newscast will be broadcasted at noon and in prime time.

Venezuelan opposition denounces that mandatory radio and television broadcasts constitute misuse of power by the Government, in addition to using state-run media for propaganda.

For its part, the Venezuelan Government argues that mandatory radio and television broadcasts are a necessary tool to broadcast its messages, in order to counteract the alleged “censorship” the private media apply against government events and achievements.”

A government news channel to tell the truth? is that like Granma in Cuba or Pravda in the old USSR?

Mandatory listening? Is that like everyone going down to hear “el comandante” at la Plaza de la Revolucion?

The second story is a statement by Mario Vargas-Llosa:

“Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa is “very concerned” over the direction Venezuela has taken over the last years, and remarked that the country “is a total disaster, a real chaos; where demagogy, corruption, and violence abound.”

“(Venezuela) is a country that, instead of moving forward, is going backwards; it features the highest inflation rate in Latin America,” Vargas Llosa remarked in an interview with news agency Efe apropos the publication of his new novel “El héroe discreto (The discreet hero)” in Spain, Latin America, and the United States. As usual, the writer seized the opportunity to give his opinion about current issues.

He asserted that, unlike his country, Peru, and other Latin American countries, whose economic situation have improved; Venezuela is “a negative exception” to that outlook.

“Venezuela’s case is rather tragic,” the writer asserted. He is also worried about Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro maintaining “the messianic ideas” of his predecessor (late President Hugo Chávez) to turn Venezuela “into a headlight, an example” for other countries.

“However, I’m afraid that Venezuela is rather the exception to the rule. Nowadays, there are more countries in Latin America where democracy is developing, featuring modern economic policies which are leading to progress and development,” Vargas Llosa remarked.”

Venezuela is on unsustainable path and there are some very bad days ahead.

Regime change in Syria? How about Venezuela?

The US needs to consider sanctions against Venezuela, specially given the real evidence that the country is eliminating freedoms and its economy is falling apart.

P.S. Listen here to our with Comandante Cazorla in Venezuela, a member of the opposition.