Inverted Interrobang

Inverted Interrobang
December 14
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MARCH 5, 2013 5:13PM

Update:Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías Dies

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Vice President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro has just announced in a live televised conference the death of President Hugo Chávez at 4:25 PM this evening. Things calm here at the moment, we'll see. May post images if I can find any of what happens next...

 Saludos from Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela ~ W. Gentieu


Update: 7:00PM ~ Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui, Venezuela


 At his moment all are glued to their radios or televisions. I was just about to go shopping when the announcement was made, so am staying put for the moment, but may still check out what’s happening later.  Yesterday there were wide spread demonstrations and student manifestations demanding some sort of concrete information concerning the state of health of President Hugo Chávez, but in more detail, and if he would be capable of assuming the next term of his presidency (swearing in) which had been deferred because of the delicate state of his health. Certain groups of the opposition, in particular the students, long ago had adopted (after the violence of the attempted coup, April 11th, 2002) the image of white hands raised as their symbol of peaceful protest. For the past week a group of students had chained themselves (after first attempting to do the same, outside the embassy of Cuba in Caracas, and being removed forcefully by police and national guard) in the area adjacent to the Supreme Court in Caracas demanding information and action. Which led to former minister of the interior, Tareck El Aissami, now a governor of Aragua, to refer to them not as the “Manos Blancas” but insultingly as the “Nalgas Blancas” (white butts!). Accordingly, yesterday saw a line of female students in front of the Supreme Court (house) completely painted in white (wearing jeans) faces painted with the Venezuelan flag, each holding a giant Sunflower, and each with a letter in black painted on their stomach spelling out “¿Y CHAVEZ?) [AND CHAVEZ?]. The students, not just a small group, but nationwide, were promising to radilize their protest if no information was forthcoming when the 90 day mark was reached, of Chávez's total absence and hermetic silence was not breached. Yesterday... well, yesterday was yesterday. Along with all this, even with the last penultimate update (before this ultimate pronouncement) given by minister of communication Ernesto Villegas, there have been the constant and permanent accusations of conspiracy and foul play by forces outside of Venezuela. It is interesting to note therefore, the very, very interesting press conference that happened earlier in the day today. In which Vice President Nicholas Maduro meticulously introducing the entire train of ministers and high government officials, military and civil, always with the summarizing description of  we of “ The Bolivarian Revolution”, omitting, notably (for me anyway) any reference to “The Government of Venezuela” ...  In this same national press conference, which in retrospect certainly does seem to be a prelude to what later occured (Chávez's passing), he made strong accusations (with hints implying that he had proof that at some point would later be presented) that Chavez had been poisoned in some manner as had, for example, Yasser Arafat. An accusation not unusual, actually, if you know the history and customary rhetoric of this government, but certainly under the circumstances not foreboding anything positive. But, if following suit with the standard rhetoric and polemic over all these years, probably will serve as something to falsely accuse (or not, and there is the rub) the opposition with, in the event of future elections. Anyway. Lots of tears, reminiscences etc. happening now, phones completely jammed... lots of people heading for the local Plaza Bolívar wherever they live to render homage.   

 Will Gentieu ~ PLC, Venezuela


Update ~ 7:48PM PLC, Venezuela


Well, just a minute ago appeared Luisa Estella Morales, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, making an announcement concerning the continued adherence to the constitution and procedures concerning such an unusual event. She didn't say anything specific, but did seem to assure everyone that all would proceed according to the laws and procedures of the land, as layed out in the constitution.




Found this comment of mine, on a post of mine (La Lucha por La Locha) April 8 2012. on Open Salon.


This will give you a good idea of what's happened, and what may be to come... A sort of homage, if you've got the time to read it.



Well here I am, after a larga jornada or long day, trying to think of what to say. I turn on the TV and almost immediately comes the strains of the national anthem. Then a red blue and yellow ribbon with stars swirls in with a flourish and a ghostly horse appears to gallop heroically from right to left across the screen. It is a cadena nacional . Suddenly we are inside Miraflores and there sits the president before an enormous oval table made of warm dark polished wood. To either side of him sit six figures all of whom constitute part of his inner circle and each of whom, over the past decade, have been shuffled endlessly from one ministerial position to another.

How to translate cadena nacional ? As with so much in Venezuela, one is tempted to make a parody at the same time that one is transfixed by the whole production. It is a taking over, without any prior notice, of all forms of the media, private and state run, at once and therefore a chain, linking everyone together for a while. At best it is informative with a minimum of intrusion. At its worst, invasive and all pervasive, chaining you to the propaganda of the moment with little choice but to wait it out or find something else to do.

Before cell phones and the internet became widely available in Venezuela and during the big early battles between the government and the opposition, the "cadena" was particularly provocative. Chávez became very adept at interrupting anything he considered bourgeois, even if the average working man and women might also be disturbed by the interruption. In the 8th inning of a hotly contested baseball game involving teams owned or considered to be opposition (Los Liones de Caracas, for example, owned by Cisneros). During soccer matches with Spanish League teams like Barcelona or Real Madrid. During Hollywood blockbuster type movies on Saturday or Sunday night, all could fall victim to the unforeseen lash of the chain or cadena . The appearance of the cadena nacional as implemented by Chávez really launched the DVD revolution here, and not long after, cable and direct TV. And finally, the internet. People have so assimilated it now, that the channel changes almost automatically. One never knows at the outset if it will last 15 minutes or six hours. Chávez speaking without a teleprompter for six or more hours, seriously. I shall stop now, but will say I myself, at times, have been held captive by these "cadenas", even moved, to hear someone holding the office of the presidency speaking so frankly, so plainly about things. But I have also seen the potential for abuse.

I have seen fisherman with family in tow shouting at the figure of Chávez on the TV screen on the street in front of a hamburger kiosk and indigent woman weeping quietly enthralled as Chávez sings some song or another, perhaps the national anthem. I shall stop now... but tonight he is in fine form. Red t-shirt with blue overshirt, the colors he wears when he wants to project neutrality. He is crisp, clear eyed, focused and centered. He's calm, not manic. He is doing his usual masterful job of mixing all the heightened and smoldering elements of revolutionary political life to the fore. In the early days a popular refrain arose that went "Chávez los tiene locos". A phrase that not only summed up the effect that he had on his opponents, who he seemed to be able to make keep chasing their own tails no matter what they dreamed up to do, or how dim and slow witted they hopelessly projected him to be, in their own minds. Chávez los tiene locos the weight and measure of that phrase is as true an expression as I could imagine, with its sparse and direct simplicity, of how the experience of experiencing this country, Venezuela, actually is. Here, one laughs even as one weeps; one shakes ones head in affirmation even as the fist shakes in agitation. Here the dead speak from the trees in the faces of white owls and brown buhos, and they are buried but not completely. OK..............

Chávez has been conducting a very orderly meeting. No conflict here on camera, not before the sacred lens. Between crisp expositions of projects, plans and accomplishments, running down the numbers and salubrious ministerial smiles, come brief but pithy excoriations of anyone and everyone in the opposition. Seasoned listeners can almost repeat the couplets verbatim. The words ¡oligarcas and vendepatrias!¡lacayos del imperio! are spit dryly and repeatedly from his lips. That said, the session seems very sober, not much joking or impromptu operatic singing as he is wont to do.

Throughout he has stated flatly, what has become a common refrain, that never again would the opposition come to occupy the palace of Miraflores, the residence of the president. This sets the stage for a short discourse on the April 2002 coup which will be having its 10th aniversary next week. The government will be playing and replaying it to the max of course, in this make or break election year. Chávez---who has had a difficult relationship with the establishment Catholic hierarchy in Venezuela, and used that to a certain advantage in the early days, when he was busy amplifying the indigenous and later, black, or if you prefer, afro caribbean aspects of his political image---has recently redoubled his faith in his Saviour Jesus Cristo . Cancer has him worried and I don't blame him at all, nor fault him. And so, with the painted gaze of Simón Bolívar himself looming over his shoulder, he sits facing the camera with a small but quite solid looking silver crucifix clutched in the palm of his left hand, and he recounts the story of a long night's vigil and uncertain early dawn, captive on the remote military island of La Orchila (just to the south and east of the archipelago of Los Roques). Of how he waited in solitary, clutching that same crucifix among fellow soldiers, now his captors, men (and women) he thought had all turned against him.

As dawn came he heard a sudden commotion, and the shiff and cock of someone preparing a rifle round. And then he heard a lone but firm voice speak out and make the declaration that if anyone took the life of this man, Hugo Chávez, they would have to shoot everyone else in Venezuela as well. Chávez is in his scene fully and completely. Knowing well he has everyone, cabinet ministers and television viewers alike enthralled. He is mixing and wielding the triple edged sword of Damocles: malignant cancer, benign impassioned faith and the ghostly specter of the perversely baptized black arts and treachery that always lie just beneath the surface of political life.

He concludes with the popular saying that was a direct result of the coup itself, "cada once tiene su trece" or "every eleven has its thirteen". Meaning that, even though Chávez was plucked from his presidency and spirited to a remote island, never to return, on the eleventh, still, just like the Phoenix, there he was again, brought back to power and life by the general populace on the thirteenth.

Perfectly Venezuelan. The head shakes in every direction, and one just has to sit down in perplexed wonder. Christ! He ends the show by reading a poem and politely blowing the world a kiss! Gotta love this guy, even if you hate him and he drives you crazy, and even if he doesn't and you totally agree with him.

I will continue to answer each of you, poco a poco .

"Por ahora..." (!)

Saludos a todos y todas ~
Inverted Interrobang (W.Gentieu) April 8, 2012 [Open Salon]
Tried to embed a vid. but no go. I'll continue updating in comments, and maybe stick them in the post later. Much easier
~ W. Gentieu


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Updated, and will continue to update periodically.
Thanks for this Interrobang. With our controlled media in U$A I'm trying to follow what's going on with RT, Press TV and Telesur (my Spanish is not real good).
Evo Morales is speaking on Telesur now.
Yes Evo Morales just a little while ago gave Quite an homage to Chávez, and with not a few jabs at "el imperio del norte" [USA].
Thinking of you as all of this unfolds. So many feelings, I imagine, coming all at once. No one is ever really prepared for such moments. Grateful for your sharing what you see and feel.
what anna said. will check back.
Love Evo,
Evo, Rafael and Daniel Ortega will carry on the fight! Hopefully Maduro will defeat the rascal Capriles Radonski in a month's time!
Capriles Radonsky, ex candidate for the presidency in the last electiones against Hugo Chavez, making very important annnouncement of solidarity and peace in this difficult moment (all TV Channels) calling for peace, saying he and Chavez were never enemies. Calling for very important reconciliation between what has been a divided country. Calling for the government to comply with their obligations, all Venezuelans have the right to live in peace... words of condolence... hour of union... time to express remorse etc. etc.


Now is speaking Diosdado Cabello (militar, and briefly president once before, during the attempted coup) now according to the train of command the actual acting President of Venezuela.
Now there is a man who is worth mourning, and I believe he was holy enough an to actually get a wiff of what Dubya really smells like. Keep us informed Intro some of us like Sean and I are really intrested.Your the best man for this job on Open Salon.
The true mystery is what will happen going forward, not between the probable opposition candidate (Capriles) but what will happen between Maduro and Diosdado... In case anyone wants to know. That's where the real story will be. There have been obvious signs already.

Worth remembering that Chavez specifically chose Maduro as his possible successor, but in conformity with the constitution, Diosdado assumes the presidency now after his death because he is the closest "elected" oficial in the train of command. Elected to the National Assembly.
*chain of command* *President of the National Assembly* [was]

now is acting president until elections can be organized.

Son las diferencias que nos hacen bellos.

Hoping for calm.

Me encanta verte aqui. Gracias por tu voz, Capi ~
[r] ii, praying for you and people of Venezuela. thank you for the insights shared above. i was so grateful to his big "NO" to grotesque US hypocrisy-imperialism! collective shock happening. take care of your precious self. best, libby
Jack: That was one of my all time favorite moments ever. Was interesting because I *got* it, was moved by his defiant comments ("yesterday the devil [bush] visited here [crossing himself] and in this very spot it still smells of sulphur!") much more profoundly than many of my neighbor (Venezuelans), who just took it in stride, as something that would not be out of character (and in their's too) for him to say!

It's worth noting that he often refered to *Dubya* as "Mr. Danger"... a moniker that actually comes from Venezuelan folklore.
Rafael Correa just spoke making reference, as many have, to the following Ali Primera song [which I can't embed here... go figure]
the refrain of which goes "Los que mueren por la vida, no pueden llamarse muertos..." [those who die in the struggle for life, cannot be called dead]

Los Que Mueren Por La Vida

Los que mueren por la vida
no pueden llamarse muertos
y a partir de este momento
es prohibido llorarlos
que se callen los redobles
en todos los campanarios
vamos "cumpa" carajo,
que para amanecer no hace falta gallinas
sino cantar de gallos.
Ellos no serán banderas para abrazarnos ellas,
y el que no pueda alzar
que abandone la pelea
no es tiempo de recutar, ni de vivir de leyendas.

Canta, canta, compañero que tu voz sea dispara
que con las manos del pueblo no habrá canto desarmado
canta, canta, compañero que no calle tu canción
que tiene latir de bombo
color de vino ancestral
viene tu cueca de lucha
cabalgando un viento austral
canta, canta, compañero, que no calle tu canción.
Canta, canta, copañero, que tu voz sea disparo....

translation later... maybe
Can't wait to read this in its entirety. I am working on a major (paid) writing project, and cannot break away to blog about this. Thank goodness you are posting your impressions from my beloved adopted homeland. ... Saludos, y cuidate, porfa.
It marked him as a holy-man Intro, and the fact that he got away with it even more so.
Necessary to make a clarification of a comment I made earlier as I'm still looking for further info on this. Also being discussed in certain sectors. Earlier, Elías Jaua, Minister of Foreign Relations, reportedly announced that Nicolás Maduro would assume the temporary office of the presidency, until proximate elections. According to some constitutional lawyers (Venez.) I was listening to debate this, apparently this is also possible because of the nature of the pronouncement made by the Supreme Court when they allowed him to postpone his possible eventual swearing in ceremony until he might be well enough to do so. Typical Venezuela. Nothing makes sense because it does...

Still could hear a pin drop here. Phone lines keep crashing. Lost the net a while. Took a walk. Definitely the effects of this news could be seen profoundly in the eyes of people I came into contact with. Sorry for all the typos up top, as I was typing, and filtering news in Spanish and English simultaneously as it all was happening.
Thank you for this on the ground account. You are news you can't get anywhere else. And that is the highest compliment I can give.
Thanks everyone for the comments. Still with my ear to the ground.

This I can say for sure; when the smoke clears it will be a rocky road ahead. No longer the charisma of the leader to smooth over the political agenda. None of his potential replacements is an orator with any notable ability, and it was precisely this larger than life aspect of his personality, this quasi-messianic charisma, that has kept the peace all along---as well as (it should be noted) delayed the progress, and nearly sunk the ship once---in Venezuela.
thanks for the 'more,' aye aye.

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