A Brief Enumeration of Venezuelan Opposition Imbecilities

I am not intelligent enough to know what intelligence is, but I am smart enough to know what imbecility is. What is happening in Venezuela with the decadent elite is that now it is trying to regain power no matter what.

I am not intelligent enough to know what intelligence is, but I am smart enough to know what imbecility is.

To be or not to be intelligent is a question of context. What is happening in Venezuela with the decadent elite is that now it is trying to regain power no matter what.  It does not understand anything.  It has demonstrated as never before its pertinacious incompetence in every sphere.  It had already demonstrated its ineptitude during its 40-year hegemony, but only the revolutionary, Bolivarian alternative elite, who were watching and measuring it, perceived it. However, as of 27 February1989, this stupidity on display started to shine so the whole world could see.  It was not capable of giving any response to that national threat except as brutal repression, which is in the only area in which it has expertise.  The elite were incapable of compromise, of taking measures even mildly favorable towards the people as a whole; instead, it continued without a hitch, its rapacious excesses.

Now, as it tries to regain power, it makes all sorts of blunders, showing its cheap and shoddy condition.  Let us look at some of their activities and then consider their intellectual level.

  • This class organized an employer lockout to control Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)[1].  It lost in a matter of hours and then left its elite troops—the top oil managerial executives—on the field, unarmed and in disarray. Is there a greater incompetence?


  • It ruined the Christmas holidays of 2002, which in fact, the Bolivarians turned into their favor in Christmas 2003, when every Christmas motif was Bolivarian, even those of the opposition.  Even the top hierarchy of the Church called for Christmas, the birth of their Savior, not to be celebrated.  Some extreme host suckers even banged pots and pans demonstrating against Baby Jesus during Holy Mass on Christmas Eve as Channel 8 was broadcasting it.[2]
  • It threatened to obtain 5 million signatures. Therefore, any lesser number obtained turned into a defeat.[3]
  • It stated that active army personnel should not sign in a recall referendum to avoid reprisals.  This is a triple blunder:
    • It admits that they will lose, because what reprisal would there be if Hugo Chavez was recalled?
    • It assumes that those who are supposed to be the bravest—the warrior military conspirators—will cowardly abandon the field of battle leaving those they are supposed to protect, i.e., the civilians, including public servants in opposition.
    • It sowed fear of signing among public servants, fear which the government did not promote.  Overall, it carried out the dirty war that the government did not.
  • It declares that if they throw Chavez out they will retain his social policies, whereby one asks, why are they then going to recall him if during 40 years they were incapable of these policies?  No matter.
  • They denigrate the Missions: Robinson, Ribas, Sucre, Plan Bolivar 2000, Barrio Adentro, Vuelvan Caras, etc.[4] These have been the only gestures of real and systematic attention to the marginalized population in five centuries. The elite do not care how the millions of people who benefit from these programs perceive their criticisms of these programs.
  • It carried out a systematic, dense propaganda bombardment against the government during the lockout of 62 consecutive days and nights.  It did not manage to overthrow it; on the contrary, it reinforced the government and weakened itself.
  • They say that Chavez is a dictator and in the very act of proclaiming this they give lie to it, a performative contradiction. As the School of Oxford of John Langshaw Austin would have it: when I say “I promise,” I really promise, or that the word dog does not bite.  The verbs to promise and to order are performative because they do what they say they do.  Similarly, the opposition invented this imbecilic paradox:[5] to state that this is a dictatorship and yet not be harassed by its tyranny demonstrates in this very saying that it is not a dictatorship.
  • Marcel Granier[6] says that in Venezuela there is only 5% democracy, by which he not only presumes to quantify what is qualitative, but also admits that with that tiny bit of democracy the media can, among its thousands of abuses, call the President a son of a bitch (as opposition leader Felipe Mujica did), incite to disorder, make war propaganda, call for tax evasion, make racist and classist remarks, all of which have the effect of alienating them from the great majority of the population.
  • It believes that the people are going to carry out a rebellion like the one in 27 February 1989 (widespread riots mainly in Caracas) against a government that it perceives is its own.

Perhaps I am the stupid one?

Because one examines the facts, and finds out that there is clarity of mind among the marginalized people, which none of the elites of the country has, not even the revolutionary elite.

During the events of April 11 to 13, 2003, that population, excluded from almost all educational resources, showed the greatest discernment of all the protagonists of the moment.  Its actions surprised everyone.  Those people were not only lucid but also brave because when they acted they could not have known what was the situation inside the army barracks or if the rebel army would massacre them.  At one point, they put on salsa music and the people protested that they did not want salsa because that is the music for happy moments and they were not happy.  They asked for the music of the revolutionary singer Ali Primera and Fort Tiuna[7] had to be searched to find a record of Primera.  It could not have been difficult because among the army there prevails a Bolivarian spirit, which prevented them from following the genocidal orders of a bunch of mutinous generals and admirals.

Amid the struggle, the people deliberated whether or not to rush the barracks. An elderly woman managed to take the lead and ordered everyone to sit down.  They all obeyed.  However, the woman started to walk sitting down.  The massive sit-in understood this cleverness.  They advanced without pomp or circumstance, towards the gate, increasing the pressure in that brilliant negotiation. They did not know what was happening inside the barracks, but something told them that their pressure of human shields was decisive for the army to choose between genocide and revolution. Hours afterwards, the Bolivarian General Jorge Luis García Carneiro, confirmed this when he announced that the Bolivarians had got the upper hand.  The soldiers, surrounded by the people, showed visible relief.  None will know, maybe not even they, what would have happened if they had been ordered to fire upon that multitude, whose only weapon was the Constitution and the heinousness of the potential massacre.  For the first time ever the people-in-arms—the army—did  not carry out their historic role of guardian of the interests of the dominant classes.

Similar events occurred during the lockout between December 2002 and January 2003.  One of the tactics of the illustrious stupidity was to create scarcity of goods in order to spur riots like those of 27 February 1989.  In its cruel imbecility, this elite think that the people are more stupid than they are and that it only reacts to physical appetites, like the animals, like they do.  They believe that the poor are incapable of intelligence, since to the elite the poor are not people.  The poor and even those less than poor, stood in queues with Spartan stoicism, without reacting to provocation, like the heroes that they are.  Nobody broke line, nobody created riots that the other side would take advantage of.  To go to work was to resist.  Christmas shopping became revolutionary.  Christian devotion became revolutionary.  The heroic people stood in queues to wait for gas and gasoline, for hours and hours, unruffled, dauntless, serene.  Nobody broke under pressure, nobody became enraged.  Ingenuity was unfurled to attend to what the elite had abandoned: a high-end technological industry: PDVSA.  Even today, the elite do not understand how those browns and blacks, those Indians, that vulgar multitude, could start up such a complex industry.

This explains why, in Maracaibo, when the oil tanker Pilín León, criminally anchored by the coup leaders in front of Maracaibo with a dangerous load of gasoline, was moved, the elite fell into panic and depression, as a result of their defeat. The tanker was the symbol of the lockout.  Its immobile presence was the symbol of managerial terrorism.  While it remained a stationary ship, the mutineers felt shielded by high technology.  In the midst of denial, the television stations tried to broadcast the chronology of a desired catastrophe.  The ship is going to crash against the Lake Maracaibo Bridge because those sailors of inferior race do not know how to pilot highly technical ships. It did not crash. The ship is going to explode. It did not explode. The ship is going to crash against the dock. It did not crash. When they started to unload the gasoline, the idiot elite was demoralized and impotent.  I never thought I would ever use the impudent oxymoron “idiot elite.”

A similar event occurred with the street barricades from February 27 until the March 3, 2004.  Nobody broke the line. Everybody expected the inevitable: the crumbling of a tactic whose main imbecility was a call to demonstrate and simultaneously block the neighborhoods of those who were supposed to go out and demonstrate.  Like the lockout, the only victims were their own supporters: they only successfully attacked the rich neighborhoods.

Shall I continue to count their stupidities?  If you are intelligent, you need no more.

Translated by Maria Paez Victor

[1] PDVSA is the state-owned oil company.

[2] Channel 8 is the government TV channel.

[3] This refers to signatures for a recall referendum against the president.

[4] Translator’s note: The “missions” are all specific, innovative, government social programs in education, health, employment, and housing.

[5] See: “La paradoja del cretino” www.analitica.com/bitbiblioteca/roberto/cretino.asp

[6] Marcel Granier is a key opposition leader and director of RCTV, one of the main opposition TV stations.

[7] Fuerte Tiuna, in Caracas, is the largest army headquarters.  President Chavez was held prisoner there for several hours during the coup.  It was besieged by a huge mass of humble people demanding the release of their President.