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Report: Wilson Ramos kidnapped from home in Venezuela

Nov 9, 2011, 8:37 PM EDT

Wilson Ramos AP

From Rafael Rojas of Viva Colorado, a bilingual news source connected to the Denver Post, comes word that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped from his home in Valencia, Venezuela.

There aren’t many more details available at the moment and it might be hard to come by accurate information as this situation plays out, but we’ll pass along whatever we can find as soon as we find it.

Ramos batted .267/.334/.445 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI in 113 games this past season for the Nats. The talented 24-year-old was playing winter ball back in his native country for Tigres de Aragua BBC.

UPDATE, 8:17 PM: According to Venezuela’s El Nacional, Ramos was captured by four gunmen. The kidnappers have not yet contacted the Ramos family to seek a ransom for his release.

UPDATE, 8:37 PM: Venezula’s El Siglo says the kipnapping took place at 7:30 p.m. local time and that Ramos was with his family when captured. He was the only one taken away.

UPDATE, 10:22 PM: The president of Ramos’ Venezuelan team just spoke with the media from Ramos’ home: “Hopefully everything goes well. Prudence and moderation is important. In God’s name.”

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. hcf95688 - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Memo to critics of our country: You don’t know how good you have it.

    • bigxrob - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      Amen brother

    • paperlions - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      You are right…we should be happy that the rich are raping the economy, killing the middle class, eviscerating public education, using tax dollars like personal piggy banks, exporting jobs to other countries so they can get richer, and that all our politicians have already sold their votes on every issue to the highest bidder….because, hey…at least rich people here aren’t being kidnapped and held for ransom. Yep…there is some fine logic.

      • lostsok - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:37 PM

        No kidding, paperlions. If Obama wanted to cross the street you’d here about “HE’S DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY WITH HIS SOCIALISM AND JAY-WALKING!” but point to a real problem and it’s…’hey, at least we’re not Venezuela…now cut taxes on those poor rich people.”

        Some people need to turn off Rush and pay attention.

      • hcf95688 - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:55 PM

        The fact that you’re able to express that type of anti-government opinion is just one example of what I refered to. Try that type of rant in Venezuela or Columbia and watch how fast you feel the blade of a machete.

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM

        Again…bad logic. You are saying that because things are worse somewhere else…we should be perfectly content with the crimes and inequities perpetrated in our country…which is a dumb thing to suggest.

      • xmatt0926x - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:00 PM

        Yeah, your right Paperlions. Because of all the things you mentioned, true or not, we have it sooooo much tougher here in rough and tumble America than they have it in other, less fortunate parts of the world. I’m also a cynical critic of many things with our government and the have vs have-not aspects of Capitalism, but you need to live in reality and realize that it’s not even close. We have it pretty damn good here, warts and all. Hcf and Bixrob absolutely stole my thunder. Anyone who even remotely reads any world news understands how lucky we all are.

      • xmatt0926x - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:04 PM

        There is a big difference between saying everyone should be “perfectly content” as opposed to simply stating that with all the issues our country may have, we still have it pretty good compared to alot of the world.

      • bigxrob - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:09 PM

        Your’re right Matt, the problem, in my opinion, is there is a growing part of the population who think they are entitled to certain things. They don’t realize that the majority of us work hard for what we have.
        They want hand outs

      • Glenn - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:12 PM

        The 1% do not fear having their heads displayed on pikes along the highway and continue to screw us. At least during the Great Depression the super rich had the good sense to lay low. As the wealth gap widens, look for Venezuelean-type kidnapping here. Oh wait … what’s on reality TV tonight?

      • bigxrob - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM

        I wish the OWS people would stop saying they represent the 99 percent. They represent me.

      • peterlandis - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:19 PM

        Well say I’m working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area” ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And, of course, the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’, ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure fuck it, while I’m at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

      • bigxrob - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:19 PM

        They “don’t” represent me.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:28 PM

        Seriously, you idiots want to fight about this while Wilson Ramos’ life is in danger? Shame on you. My thoughts are with Ramos and his family. I pray they have strength and that they all make it through this safely.

        Fight about politics later

      • phukyouk - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:13 PM

        @ peter – Good Will Hunting?

      • bleedgreen - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:16 PM

        The Common Man is right! Why aren’t we all flying to Venezuela RIGHT NOW to try and save him?! How DARE we discuss ANYTHING while this one single man’s life is in danger!

        Dude, get over yourself. Theres millions of people in danger right now. If we didn’t live our lives with it going on, we’d never live our lives.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:26 PM

        That’s a fair point, BleedGreen. But I’m still pretty appalled that the first instinct of some people is to fight over who’s to blame rather than to feel/express sympathy for Wilson Ramos and his family.

      • Glenn - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:52 PM

        I thought that concern for Wilson Ramos was a given here and we were commenting on the bigger situation. No one wishes harm for an innocent man in a horrible predicament.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 10, 2011 at 7:28 AM

        hcf95688 ever been to Venezuela? Didn’t think so.
        Enough politics already; I come to Hardballtalk -to get away from people who know nothing and have an opinion about everything – besides the comments are generally 100 times wittier and occasionally they’re even subtle.

      • Glenn - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:05 PM

        Common Man – You are right. There is so much pain and suffering in the world that we have no business even caring about sports, much less commenting about it. Now please ask you mommy to help you off your high horse before you get hurt.

    • sometogethernow - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:20 PM

      There is a “big difference,” yeah, but that was not expressed in the original post above.
      “You don’t know how good you have it” as a message to “critics of our country” is not a measured response about Americans living in relative privilege. Argue if you want – it’s just not. It’s saying quite simply that people who would criticize entrenched social and political problems are ungrateful or unaware, which is nonsense.
      The risk or lack of risk of economically motivated kidnapping is not the only benchmark of whether a country or society merits criticism.
      Political dissent is part of informed societies, including prosperous societies.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:13 PM

      The Scene: A man with terminal cancer looks out his hospital window and sees another man get shot in the.

      Man With Cancer to other patients: Hey whiners, you don’t know how good you have it!

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:15 PM

      Hey hcf:

      Yes, I do know have good I have it. Just because something sucks worse somewhere else doesn’t mean there aren’t problems here. I find this absurd logic violently offensive.

      • hcf95688 - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:05 AM

        a. Are you really comparing the plight of middle class America to that of a cancer patient? Nice perspective.

        b. I didn’t say there aren’t promlems here. I will say there is no true poverty though.

        I get the sense that you’re a young person. Thats cool. I thought I knew it all twenty, twenty five years ago too. Maybe you should get out, travel to some different parts of the world if you can. Experience is a wonderful teacher.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:43 AM

        Yeah dude that comment makes you look pretty pathetic

      • kellyb9 - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:18 AM

        Don’t think the original poster meant to suggest that we don’t have problems and issues here. We should always work towards the betterment of our situation, but I think he was just trying to put our problems and issues in perspective. Our problems and issues are 1st world problems.

  2. Francisco (FC) - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    I hate to say this but um… Kidnapping is very very common in Venezuela. Especially in Maracaibo. Crime is simply rampant.

    • sknut - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:26 PM

      I konw I remember reading stories about how Johann Santana had to be careful and had security when he went back home after winning the CY Young. Its hard to fathom.

      Prayers and thoughts with the Ramos family.

  3. halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Different culture=different values. You have money in these 3rd world countries, they will come for you, steal and kill you.

    • paperlions - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:56 PM

      That is what desperate and/or poor people do throughout the world…including throughout the entire history of this country…if things continue as they are, if won’t be too long until the number of poor people that have no options for income in this country fosters the same types of desperation.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:00 PM

        Leave your liberal BS at the door. He has very good money and is captured in a shit hole. Sucks to be him. He should have known better.

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:02 PM

        I’m not a liberal bicepts, far from it. But I do this thing where I form opinions based on actual information instead of forming baseless opinions and defending them to the death.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:33 PM

        Good God, ‘cepts. That’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever read. You should be even more ashamed of yourself than usual. Though I’m sure you won’t be. Get lost, you absolute clown. As with the other times you ran off like a whiny child, it will make this forum better. Jackass.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:37 PM

        Common Man,

        Look at my thumbs up with my comments, liberal guru. Seems a lot of people agree with me. What do you think about that?

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:50 PM

        First, who gives a damn what the thumb uppers or thumb downers think. But if you do, you’ll see they aren’t very keen on your assertion that it “sucks to be him” and “He should have known better.” Perhaps because most people have some damned common decency. Of which you seem to be fresh out, you horrible excuse for a man.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:57 PM

        Common Man,

        You are typical liberal scum. You last night on twitter tried to debate on the “gays in the military stuff”, you didn’t respect my opinion as a military veteran, and tossed my opinion aside. On top of that, which was comical, you “Unfollwed me on twitter.”

        Your opinion at this point is meaningless to me. Do me a favor and leave this conversation. My opinion is much more valuable than yours, being that I have served in the military in 4 different continents and have a clue about how the real world works, not Fantasy Island stuff.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:12 PM

        ‘Cepts, how you feel about me doesn’t concern me in the least. In our conversation last night, which isn’t relevant here, you were wrong and were unwilling or unable to argue your position with anything close to rational thought. I blocked you because you’re a bigot and you’re generally not worth my time.

        My point here has to do with the callousness with which you blame Ramos for his own kidnapping, which is shameful.

      • thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:17 PM

        “Look at my thumbs up with my comments, liberal guru. Seems a lot of people agree with me. What do you think about that?”- Halladaysbiceps

        Hey biceps, a lot of people agreed with Hitler too.

        Did I win? Am I the proud owner of the first wa- over-the-line Hitler comparison?

  4. paul621 - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Wow, quite the comment list so far. Politics and a suggestion that this is just a cultural issue. Those crazy Venezuelan values…

    Here’s hoping for the best for Ramos and his family.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:57 PM

      It is a cultural thing. No one wants to admit it because it’s not politically correct to do so. Piss ant countries breed this nonsense. They are piss ant because they can’t fix themselves. You can thumb me down all you want but you know it’s true. They come here, make a buck or two, go home to their native country, and are held ransom because they have money.

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:00 PM

        No, it is just that there are simpler answers that are also more consistent with the preponderance of data in both modern and historical societies than your ignorant racist non-sense.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        Once again, I’m called a racist, paper. It has nothing to do with race. Don’t you understand? You cannot pull the race card when there are countries involved. Most of them don’t hold the same values as the United States. When will you people get it through your thick skulls that these countries cannot be held to the same standards and have to be called out for what they are: Brutal, mostly lawless.

      • bleedgreen - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        I don’t see race brought into it ANYWHERE. Nationalist != racist. If I hate the French, is that racist? French isn’t a race, its a nationality. If he hates Venezuelans, thats not racist. Saying it is is ignorant.

        And he’s right. The culture bred in third world countries has led people to get money BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. The governments are just as corrupt as the criminals doing things like this. Every revolution just brings a different dictator to power. The people work hard to get the money they make, and others just want to take it from them.

      • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:22 PM

        Kidnapping for profit or other reasons world wide is a fine time honored practice that is alive and well to this day. A simple Wikipedia search can point you at dozens that are within the last 15 years.


        Please note: many of these are American.

        The only relevance to nationality that profiteer kidnapping has is that it happens in poor countries with little or no uncorrupt police presence more frequently than in our societies, but it does happen here as well.

        Whatever, though. It’s all beside the point at this juncture. I hope Wilson Ramos is released alive and unhurt in short order. It must be a terrifying ordeal for him, not to mention his family.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        When’s the last time an American with money has been held hostage in his own country? When? These foreign asswipes is the reason we shouldn’t do business with any of them.

      • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:29 PM

        It’s not a cultural thing. It’s a socioeconomic thing.

      • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:38 PM

        From a cursory reading of the wikipedia page;
        -David Letterman: In 2005, FBI agents and Montana authorities foiled a kidnapping of Letterman’s son from his Choteau, Montana home.

        I presume the potential kidnappers didn’t just want to know what what the top 10 list was going to be and were hoping to leverage the info from Letterman.

        -Frank Sinatra, Jr., son of Frank Sinatra, was kidnapped and released after ransom was paid…I presume the ransom was money or did they just want Pa Sinatra to sing for them? Wikipedia can be so incomplete…

        There of course, others, but the point is that a well funded, non-currupt law enforcement usually foils most of these or renders the gambit moot.

        It isn’t an issue of culture but rather poverty.

      • thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:22 PM

        “When’s the last time an American with money has been held hostage in his own country? When? These foreign asswipes is the reason we shouldn’t do business with any of them.”

        1. People have been held hostage in the US many times
        2. Really? Foreign assipes? That’s what your going with? You’re really that much of xenophobic douchebag? My god, this comments reads like bad Nation cartoon of two rednecks by a fence post talkin’ politics and how much they had dem dere Raqi’s and that Hussein man.

  5. rexryanisablowhard - Nov 9, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Is Ugueth Urbina still in jail?

  6. bigxrob - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Paperlions, all knowing

  7. usdiveteam - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    God, be with him and his family!!!

  8. halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    I hope that Wilson Ramos comes out of this safe. But, what does it say about that shit hole known as Venezuela when they are led by Hugo Chavez where he is an enemy of the United States? Screw them. That’s what I say. Socialist and dictator pig.

    • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:28 PM

      Wow. You do realize that not all Venezuelans support Chavez, right? You’re showing yourself to be quite an ignorant and apparently bigoted individual.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:33 PM

        Ignorant and bigoted individual? Really. First off, Hugo Chavez is an enemy of the United States. My preference would be for MY COUNTRY to end his day on this planet real quick. Bigoted? What, towards the Venezuelan people? I’m not sure how bigot apply. There are many countries that are unfriendly to the United States. Where do I start?

      • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:50 PM

        Yes, you seem irrationally convinced about he superiority of your opinions and seem prejudiced against anyone who thinks otherwise. You lump all Venezuelans together and say “screw them,” without realizing that Venezuela is a diverse country with a broad political spectrum. There is a difference between the government and the people — just as there is in our country.

        … and I’ve been to Philadelphia. You probably shouldn’t be calling anywhere a shit hole.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:04 PM


        Hugo Chavez is an enemy of America. He has stated so through his tirades. I don’t personally care what the Venezuelan people think. They “elected” this dictator.

        The people of Venezuela have accountability of who is in power.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:08 PM

        Whoa, whoa….leave Philadelphia alone. Sure North Philadelphia is something of a shit hole but the city on the whole is actually very pretty. It gets an unfair bum rap. Furthermore, the surrounding suburbs are exceptionally beautiful areas. Anyway, the aesthetics or lack thereof of the City of Brotherly Love are completely irrelevant to the general discussion.

      • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:16 PM

        So then, by that reasoning you completely agree with everything that the Obama administration has done… or at the very least, you should be held accountable for it? No matter how you voted?

        You keep digging yourself in a deeper and deeper whole trying to defend your ridiculous assertions.

        Yes, Chavez is no friend of America’s, but I’m not really sure what that has to do with this situation or this discussion…

      • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:30 PM

        Sorry drmonkeyarmy, you’re right. There certainly are some lovely areas of Philly, and who doesn’t love a cheesesteak?

    • sknut - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      And you told Paper to leave his ‘liberal’ shit behind, yet you had to point out that Chavez is a socialist.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:39 PM

        Socialist = liberal. Look it up.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:54 PM

        socialism and liberalism are not the same thing, ‘cepts. I don’t have to look it up to know that, but I’m sure you actually do. So please come back and talk to us when you’re done sounding out the words on

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:26 PM

      “Socialist = liberal. Look it up.”

      Socialism: an economic system in which the means of production are commonly owned and controlled cooperatively

      Liberalism: a political philosophy based on belief in progress and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties

      But good job just dumbing everything down, cause I’m sure it’s easier to digest that way.

    • clevername1 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:57 PM

      I’m with you Halladay….some of these comments bleed of of “occupy ?”. Get a job and stop worrying why “he has more than I”. I worked my ass off for what I have…I chose not to sit in a park with my hand out. Get a job….you live in AMERICA!

      • jamaicanjasta - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:10 PM

        First, many of those protestors are college students, so I don’t know why you’re bringing up jobs, as they seem to be preparing themselves with education (OH NOES THEY’RE LEARNIN’) to have one. Secondly, if finding a job was so easy in this economy, why is the unemployment (and underemployment) rate still so high?

        Third, why am I even asking these questions? It’s pretty apparent that if you found the ability to come to such terrible jumps in logic in a story about the kidnapping of an MLB player, that you probably wouldn’t understand why what you’ve said is so stupid.

        You and biceps really got this thread to literally jump the shark, congratulations.

      • clevername1 - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:25 PM

        Hey Jam, paperlion “jumped the shark shark” long before I bothered to post. And just like each person on this thread, I do hope Ramos is returned safely. My point is, why not use the scroll up and see when/where this thread was going. Have fun playing frisbee tomorrow.

      • jamaicanjasta - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:34 PM

        Sadly, playing Frisbee isn’t in the cards for me tomorrow or most days, though I love Ultimate Frisbee with friends. I actually work in a biology lab as a technician 5 days a week, which I know breaks your insinuated picture of me as a hippie or whatnot.

        Actually, not that it matters, but I’ll be in graduate school this spring as I continue to work. Funny life fact for you clever, not all people who disagree with you are lazy, but thanks for the assumption.

        And about reading comprehension, biceps posts in this story have been stellar ones like why we shouldn’t deal with foreigners because they’re ‘culturally inferior’. If you think that’s a good direction for this thread (and when you said you totally agreed with what he said, I assumed that you agreed with that point too) then that’s where we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        Dittoheads like you are wonderous creatures of bullshit. I’m sure you’re incredibly wealthy, live in a mansion, bang a hot wife, that is when you’re not banging your hot mistress, and you’ve got gobs of cash because, golly Slick, you say so. On the internet. With an anonymous account that you call Clevername1.


    • Old Gator - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      I’ve been sitting back here with my popcorn watching this “conversation” proceed but I thought I would just interject a bit of factual information. Hugo Chavez has been re-elected periodically by substantial majorities in elections deemed generally fair and open by the OAS and other supervisory agencies (as opposed to, say, the 2000 national election in an economically hamstrung bumbling giant nation somewhere to the north of it). He remains enormously popular in Venezuela, has completely rebuilt the national health system and educational system, overseen an extended period of increasing GNP (as opposed to a certain large, hegemonistic, blowhard, bullying country somewhere to the north of it), and to the best of our knowledge has never invaded, terrorist-bombed, threatened or subverted the United States – unless his shipping of heating oil to slum residents here might be considered a form of subversion of monopoly market capitalism, I mean. It would be much fairer to say that the United States, for its own idiotic and misguided reasons, having attempted to author one Chile-style coup against the elected government of that country which failed miserably, is an enemy of Venezuela.

      • The Common Man - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM

        I love you, Gator.

      • Old Gator - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        Oh, another thing – Chavez systematically and pretty quickly pardoned the leaders of the coup against him. I guess he would have established his democratic creditials for our right wingnuts, neoconmen and tea partoids if he had shipped them all to Guantanamo without due process.

        Yes, crime is terrible in the major Venezuelan cities. I travel there periodically – and to Colombia as well – for academic conferences and personal research work on Latin American authors and know I have to be very careful, especially at night. Chavez’ biggest failing has been his inattention to civil crime. Despite this odd notion some of you have about repression of dissent there, he hears about the crime problem all the time from both within and without the Bolivarian Party.

        Then again, he’s bent over backwards to leave civil crime to local authorities, mindful both of not wanting to create a repressive infrastructure and also of the yowling about “dictatorship” he’d hear from his critics if he tried to launch a crackdown using the military or federal intelligence services. His premise has been that, if he can effect a relocation and redistribution of wealth, after a time the alleviation of poverty would result in a lower crime rate. Clearly, he hasn’t paid enough attention to police and legal system enhancements in the meantime. But calling him a “dictator” or yammering on about repression when Venezuela has a very vocal dissident and opposition faction – much of which represents the moneyed classes and hence doesn’t command a lot of support or respect there – is hysterical and dishonest. Just remember, Joe McCarthy (Dick Cheney in a former incarnation) and his “semi-official” investigative committees aren’t all that far back in our own rear view mirrors, folks – in the very heyday of our platitude-belching about “freedom” to the rest of the planet.

      • cur68 - Nov 10, 2011 at 11:09 AM

        pssst, Gator, easy with the facts man. Hating on Chavez be fashionable, logic & truth be damned. This here thread is being carried on the shoulders of reactionary ‘easy-way-out’ hyperbole. Throw in a random crack about ARod being on the juice to throw them off before it goes all “Children of the Corn” on ya…

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        First, my apologies to HBT, Craig, D.J., Drew and the rest… but when one sees a pile of steaming bullshit you just have to take this person to task for it.

        Oh, another thing – Chavez systematically and pretty quickly pardoned the leaders of the coup against him.

        Gator, on this, I must contradict you. The main generals (General Vazquez Velazco was one of them, the commander of the army) indicted by the prosecutor general were acquitted by the Venezuelan Supreme Court and Chavez immediately went ballistic on TV. He didn’t pardon anybody, he merely retired the guys who didn’t follow his orders and basically ignored everybody else who wasn’t involved directly that the state couldn’t prove had complicity in the events. They ferociously attacked on state TV all sorts of political personalities just for the heck of it in the infamous “national assembly investigative committees” (Similar to those McCarthy committees you mentioned).

        Also Pedro Carmona (the 48 hour president) was promptly arrested and was going to be sent to prison to await trial God knows when when he gave security forces the slip and petitioned political asylum in Colombia. Not that I’m defending his stupidity, but he wasn’t pardoned by Chavez, not by a long shot.

        Ditto with former Admiral Tamayo, he also sought political asylum, not pardoned.

        The two main commissioners of the Metropolitan Police that were indicted in the events surrounding the shootings are still awaiting trial by the government after languishing more than 7 years in jail. Awaiting trial. No pardon for them either.

        For many years Carlos Ortega, a labor (LABOR!) leader, was on the run. He was indicted despite being AGAINST the events that unfolded that put Carmona into power. He was later found, arrested and sent to prison. He got away and as far as I know is still on the run. Not Pardoned. (Not that he’s some great saint, that guy actually has a LOT to answer for, just not for that specific event).

        Then again, he’s bent over backwards to leave civil crime to local authorities, mindful both of not wanting to create a repressive infrastructure

        While at the same time, when opposition governors took the reins at Zulia and Carabobo states in the last governor elections, he immediately proceeded to take over Airport, Port and Customs administrations in these states effectively denying the local governments control and revenue of these important locations for entry and exit of the country and imports/exports, giving it to the Military.

        But calling him a “dictator” or yammering on about repression

        And when Antonio Ledezma took over as Metropolitan Mayor unseating the pro-government administration that came before, Chavez immediately abused his authority to create a fictional capital administration, appointing Jacqueline Farias by fiat (!) and stripped the Metropolitan Mayor of his budget and his powers basically leaving the Mayorship an empty shell with all the authority vested on his locally appointed crony. That’s naked political repression and Ledezma had to go on a hunger strike just to get the attention of the OAS and their involvement in this abuse of political power. Look it up.

        when Venezuela has a very vocal dissident and opposition faction

        Which has been cowed into celf-censorship in the last decade. RCTV’s license was not renewed and was effectively removed from the airwaves (the only opposition minded TV station with national reach). Televen and Venevision have since become pro-government TV and pretty much reduced or eliminated politically sensitive programming. Globovision is the last remaining major TV station that is 100% anti-government (And really, they only help the government; the stuff they show is idiotic and biased to the point of stupidity) but they only broadcast in two major cities and more than 70% of the country can’t tune in to its signal.

        Meanwhile the government quietly went on a crusade to create many many regional TV stations under their supervision and checked and revoked more than 200 RADIO licences. I know Radio doesn’t get the same press as TV. But this happened and nobody ever reported it. Effectively killing the radio waves as a venue to vent opinions and frustration.

        – much of which represents the moneyed classes and hence doesn’t command a lot of support or respect there –

        The opposition is broad spectrum of socio-economic classes and ideology. It’s funny how no one mentions Bandera Roja, a radical left leaning anarchy group (certainly not one with money) is decidely ANTI-Chavez.

        The main issue is that most Venezuelans are tired of both sides. Chavez keeps winning because he has great connection with masses, uses the entire state treasury to promote his election campaigns (he outspent his adversary in 2006 by a margin of 23 to 1) and of course the opposition is filled with a bunch of political hacks and dinosaurs who are mainly out for themselves and can’t offer a decent alternative to Chavez political platform. It’s only recently that new figures have emerged that *may* have a chance to offer some kind of workable alternative.

        I could go on, but clearly you drink from the same political kool-aid the rest of the extremes of both opposition and pro-goverment people do (just different and opposite flavors). So I don’t write this for your benefit but for everyone else’s benefit because I HAVE to call you on that marinated BULLSHIT you just whipped up and called FACTS.

        I love you for your baseball Gator, but remind me to never ever have a political conversation with you and we’ll get along just fine.

      • Old Gator - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:29 PM


        Thanks for clarifying what transpired viz. the commanders of the coup, but given that Chavez was willing to abide by the verdicts of the court with regard to them still militates against classifying him as a dictator. No real despot would have tolerated that, hissyfit or not. That he “retired” the officers who would not abide by the directives of the elected government without prosecuting them further argues against any claims of despotism on his part. I wasn’t aware of the long term imprisonment of the police chiefs – by “the shootings” I assume you refer to the murders during the demonstrations in downtown Caracas, but I promise you I will look into that. It’s news to me.

        Fram what I’ve read, Chavez didn’t exactly make a yeoman effort to keep Carmona from “escaping” – sending opponents, or letting them flee, into exile is a time-honored tradition in Latin America.

        He also abided by the electoral rejection of his first round of constitutional amendments, as I recall, and made some significant changes in the document prior to its approval in the second round of elections. I wasn’t comfortable with the degree of authority it gave him nor with its abrogation of the limits to the number of terms he could serve, but as I recall the election itself was closely observed and the OAS dismissed the number of “irregularites” that occurred as insufficient by a wide margin to account for the margin by which it passed

        I’m also going to promise to look further into those regional power-struggle issues you mentioned. I’d heard different versions of what went on there – things like old line corruption or suspected cooperation with subversive elements being involved. Yes, yes, I know that’s also a time-honored tradition of accusation by those in power to protect their authority, but the extent of corruption in the pre-Chavez, “Puntofijismo” days was also pretty well documented and stamping that out has been one of Chavez’ main objectives since before he was elected himself. Before I pass judgment on his efforts to keep politicians with connections to the old system out of power, I’d like to know exactly what those local leaders did to incur his interference.

        As far as the “cowed” opposition, none of the folks I’ve met in Caracas ever struck me as the least bit shy about voicing their opinions about Chavez, pro or con. But most of them also seemd to feel that the biggest problem with the opposition was much more their own inability to agree on courses of action amongst themselves than on any of the roadblocks that Chavez supporters throw in their way. They have frequently expressed their exasperation with their inability to cohere or cooperate with each other, and their disunity was, if you will recall, a big part of Chavez’ ability to recover from his own reputation as a failed coup leader himself and pull together a winning majority in the first place.

        I will say that there’s nothing “kool aid” about the enormity of his slum-clearing, school, trade academies, small business development and hospital building projects. I’ve seen those first hand and the scope and reach of them is impressive. Especially remarkable is the transformation of the urban landscape on the northwest side of Caracas, where over the course of a few years I saw hundreds and hundreds of acres of squalid, horrifically dangerous jerrybuilt slums replaced by much cleaner and more modern public housing units. One could only guess at the electoral margin Chavistas pull from those neighborhoods.

        And when you say that he keeps winning because he has the support of “the masses,” isn’t that a bit like saying that he keeps getting a majority of the vote? Usually, that’s referred to as “democracy,” isn’t it? Look, I’m not a fan of everything Chavez has done; his alliances with vicious pinwheels like Ahmadinejad, the late unlamented Muammar Khadafy or the thuggish Lukashenko in Belarus especially stick in my craw. But then our own alliances with mass murderers like Augusto Pinochet, the Somoza family, a string of authoritarian South Korean leaders, or brutal authoritarians like the Yemeni government or the Saudi princes don’t exactly thrill me either. To a very sizable extent American hostility to his regime was responsioble for driving Chavez into the arms of those whose enmity for this country was a far more trustworthy basis for doing business than his dealings with the United States have been. But the bottom line is that the authority Chavez has to remake Venezuelan society was authority that was voted into his hands by those you have referred to as “the masses.” And among the main reasons that they gave it to him was that they understand that to deal with the sort of corruption and malfeasance that was such an entrenched aspect of the Venezuelan economy, you can’t be especially gentle or polite. It’s too bad that the US has been part of the problem rather than part of the solution in Venezuela.

        All of this may be moot for the near term since rumors I hear from my friends down there are that Chavez is actually very ill and that his long term prognosis is not very good. Some of that may be wishful thinking on the opposition’s part but, if not, and some of the hardcore ideologues in the Bolivarian party who are quite a bit less humanistic than Chavesz rise to power, a lot of his current opponents may wish they had him back.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 10, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        I have simply called you to task for pronouncing “facts” that are not FACTS at all. He did NOT pardon anybody which you proclaimed as a FACT. It is NOT. I don’t care that he “abided” by the court’s decision (later on his rubber stamp assembly fixed this little problem by stacking the court adding 12 new pro-Chavez justices to the existing 20, is that democratic? I mean it’s a time honored tradition sure, but democratic? I thought only punto-fijistas did that). I don’t care that Carmona “got away too easy” and exile is a tradition… You said he quickly and systematically pardoned everyone, he did not, I called you on your bullshit and you’re trying to circumvent it by giving me the run around changing the subject. Your proclamation of pardons was Bullshit Gator, Deal with it!

        BTW Where did *I* say: Chavez is a dictator? Find it, I dare you. There’s no doubt however that many of his actions have been autocratic and repressive and that slowly he’s turning the screws, I mean he really really WANTS to be one, he’s just too smart to actually try to pull that kind of crap in the 21st Century. That fascination with the Iranian goon, the Libyan dictator, Lukashenko (even Sadam hussein remember) and so on and so forth are not accidents man. I know the US also has weird liaisons but this isn’t about the US. Chavez has gone OUT OF HIS WAY to personally visit and shake hands with these people. What happened to that old saying Gator: “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres?”

        The Ledezma case is clear and shut: Instead of respecting and abiding (as you put it) by the results of the electorate in choosing Antonio as the new Metropolitan Mayor, Chavez had a fit and stripped the Mayor of his budget, his powers and created the fictional capital admin area (Yes I know the AN created the Law, let’s stop pretending the AN was anything but a rubber stamp assembly in 2009) and APPOINTED (not even an elected official!) Jacqueline Farias to preside over the Metropolitan area. That’s not very democratic is it? THIS is a fact and you can check it.

        He has NOT bent over backwards to allow the locals to handle their things, another of your FACTS. It is NOT a fact. Deal with it! I once again called you on your Bullshit and again you gave me the runaround about how he may be worried about old cronies leeching again from the system. Yada, yada, yada. The People ELECTED these people, the same people who elected Chavez. Why are these people so wise to Elect Chavez and at the same time too stupid for electing opposition candidates at the local level that he feels the need to intervene in state and regional affairs?

        What did the local leader do to incur interference? He got ELECTED. Remember the “masses” ELECTED these governors and put their trust in them. For Chavez to take infrastructure and power from them as soon as they were elected is nothing short of a blatant power grab. Remember these governorships were fine under RED leadership, what changed? they were booted out of office because they were incompetent. And Chavez took over the administrations of these places willy-nilly. What happened to abiding by the decisions of those people for their new governors to handle the airports, hospitals and ports? Not very democratic at all it it?

        Common folk can complain and bitch all they want because they don’t have POWER. Are you basing freedom of speech on how the middle and upper class lunatics rave about Chavez? Pfff they’re not worth his time, if anything he gains by letting them rant.These are not the people I’m referring to. When push comes to shove, the TV, radio and the newspapers (except for Plomovision) apply self-censorship because many a time the government has slapped on a fine or a weird tax following a particularly heinous opinion column or news item. The government doesn’t care what people SAY about them, what they want to control is the flow and reach of INFORMATION, which is different.

        This has happened many times already to the newspaper Tal Cual following biting columns by Laureano Marquez and Teodoro Petkoff.

        The firebrand (and lunatic if I may add, she does the opposition no favors) Marta Colombina was FIRED because her political programs were getting Televen into trouble with the government. The regulator CONATEL kept pressuring them with threats to fine them with until they disposed of her.

        Look Chavez is not a traditional tinpot dictator, but to call him a democrat is to drink a special kind of political Kool-aid only the very Ideologically committed can do.

        I know of all of his wonderful initiatives, how often have you gone back to see them after several years of operation? Need I remind you they are all unsustainable in the long run because they depend on an ever increasing price of oil? More often than not it’s one school, or one hospital or one building that are fine, the rest are run down and forgotten. I know this for a fact, I’ve seen many a Barrio Adentro module completely abandoned or taken over by squatters before I left Venezuela and my friends and family have kept me up to date on their status. Not good! My Aunt is pro-Chavez but even she complains about all the BS hospital initiatives and she’s been working as an MD for years and years, I trust her word more than yours because she is there day after day seeing the daily chaos. You go back and visit every so often, sorry man.

        As for the shanty towns, they are alive and kicking, I was there as recently as last year, maybe the northwest in Caracas is looking good to you, but the rest of the city in the north, center, east and southeast STILL host many many run-down slums. To say nothing of the Vargas situation which STILL hasn’t been fixed despite more than a decade of money and effort.

        Corruption has ballooned under Chavez thanks in part to CADIVI and record oil prices. I’m personally tired of hearing of this “puntofijisimo” nonsense. All this worrying about not letting old schemers back into the system has blinded folks to the fact that the current schemers are LOOTING EVEN MORE MONEY than all previous governments. I mean come on Gator, tell me FONDEN isn’t just another black box piggy bank for the Governing Political party to finance its own little operations. And that thing is BILLIONS of BILLIONS of dollars making Lusinchi look like a petty thief.

        I’m not saying the opposition is better, far from it. You don’t need to bring up over and over again and how clueless these people have been for years. They are the primary reason the man has lasted so long in power. I actually agree with most of the points regarding the old schemers and most political dinosaurs, but I’m a big believer in that politicians are like diapers, they must be changed often and for the same reason. This diaper has 12 years of stink in it already, it’s really time to change it. Venezuela would run much better if both sides had balanced power and were able to keep each other honest. But when the power structure favors one side too much…

        For the record I don’t want Chavez to die, I wish him a speedy recovery, otherwise him dying would make him a Martyr and create a Peron situation in Venezuela. I want the people to finally declare they’ve had enough and vote him out of office due to incompetence even if it takes another presidential term to do it.

        You would think rolling blackouts and the way the energy sector has been mismanaged since 1999 would be enough but…

        Sorry Gator, If you really do believe that this man’s initiatives are great for the country in the long run and that he really IS capable of governing the country by penning these wonderful posts full of “realismo magico” then by God you REALLY DO live in Macondo.

        I’m sorry I’ve ranted for far too long. Feel free to write me to my blog if you want, not that I guarantee I will answer back but I will make an effort though I for one do not see the point. I will not infest HBT with anymore of this sordidness.

        I just felt I needed to ALERT people to NOT take what you said as Gospel when a reality check was clearly required.

      • Old Gator - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:40 PM


        Cool down, will you? I did say that I would look further into the situations regarding the aftermath of the coup and the imprisonment of the police chiefs. I also never accused you of calling Chavez a despot or a dictator – I was responding to other comments made by other correspondents here, and to the general tone of the discussion where Chavez was concerned – so I could waste as much time looking for an example of your doing so as you could looking for an example of my claiming you did.

        Obviously there are things about the Chavez program and the man himself we’re not going to agree about (and as in the case of his palsywalsying with slugs like Ahmadinejad and our apparent mutual opinion of the ineffectuality of the opposition, it seems like the things we do agree about infuriate you just as much anyway). Being (I believe you once wrote) from Venezuela you have much more of a personal emotional investment in the situation than I do. But I did revisit some of the clinics and trade schools last year myself and they were doing just fine. I also saw a few brand new ones. I don’t doubt that the budgeting of these projects has been mishandled; if this government has proved anything, it’s that it knows how to add two and two and get seven. Some of this is no doubt due to the corruption you pointed out, which is an awful thing, and some to mere accounting incompetence. I think this has been rather worse in the agricultural sector than just about anyplace else. But I also know that clearing up the slums of Caracas is a long, long term project – millions live in these areas and it’s not getting fixed overnight, especially with the fluctuations in world petroleum prices. I also know that “free market capitalism” in Latin America isn’t going to make a dent in them nearly as quickly as a concerted national program to do so. I’ll stick to my position and say that what’s been accomplished is pretty remarkable – considering how much time Chavez has had to work with and how many, many years (centuries?) it took the problem to develop.

        Moreover, I believe I mentioned the confused and inefficacious state of the opposition once; I would hardly call that bringing it up “over and over.” Nor did I imply that anyone who voted for Chavez or Chavista candidates at some other time was stupid for voting for opposition or independent candidates. What I wrote – very clearly, I think – was that I would look into what happened. Why that merited such histrionics out of you I don’t know.

        I don’t know how to read your comments about the “common people” or “the masses.” They sound contemptuous, which would be unfortunate. And your inference that what they say or think doesn’t matter contradicts your concerns with the government’s pressure on the independent media, such as it is. After all, if you claim that what the “masses” think or say doesn’t matter, and what the “middle class” says works to Chavez’ advantage (one would assume because it simply entrenches his image among the masses – whose opinion you claim doesn’t matter (?) – then to whom is it that the government wants so fervently to control the flow of information?

        I doubt if Chavez is too dim to appreciate that in this media age cell phones and the internet make his attempts to control the formal media of television, newspapers and radio stations just about irrelevant. And since the flow of information seems to be pretty fluid anyway – you certainly aren’t short of information, at any rate, and the people I’ve met in Venezuela have a pretty good grasp of who’s doing what and to whom as well, one can only assume that whomever Chavez ostensibly doesn’t want getting information is getting it anyway – all of which means, I suppose, that what they think and say actually does matter to the government. And we’re back again to this problem of an opposition that has managed to keep itself informed and to inform others yet still can’t muster the cohesion to make a case for themselves effectively. In this part of our discussion, you seem to want to eat your arepas and have them too.

        In your emotionalism about these issues I think you’re maybe missing some of my bigger points. No, I don’t think Chavez is the right guy to take the country forward from this point. I don’t think anyone should serve as long as he has. Ideas get stale, corruption sets in, defensiveness inevitably corrodes idealism. Visionaries – and like it or not, Chavez is a visionary – begin to confuse the dreams with the realities. And I also did say that I was not comfortable with the abrogation of term limits by the new constitution, mainly for these reasons. However tired you are of hearing about puntofijismo, it was the system under which many of the most intractable social and economic problems in Venezuela became ossified to the point that they required a sledgehammer approach like Chavez’ to something more reasoned. It was also the system under which so much of Venezuela’s oil wealth was siphoned off to offshore and European bank accounts so that it wasn’t even available to be applied to…well, slums like northwestern Caracas.

        You can bring facts, perspectives and information you have to my attention and I assure you I’ll look into it without you ranting, name-calling, berating or trying to shove it down my, or anyone else’s, throat. If I got my information wrong, I’ll try to get it right next time. I don’t promise that I’ll look at the same circumstances in the same light as you do. In fact, I probably won’t. I’ve just seen too much on the ground in Venezuela over the years that has been good and positive and has benefited many to whom no benefits and no hope was coming before Chavez took office. But I also won’t get histrionic in response to you. It’s not necessary.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:02 PM


        You are correct that I am emotional. There are reasons for that. My family specifically has been uprooted and hurt because of the situations Chavez himself has engineered (he has freely admitted to engineering such situations BTW). Be that as it may I apologize for all emotionalism, histrionics et al in my postings. However I also believe in your responses you may have been pigeonholing me and making assumptions about me just as I was about you. Without realizing it you were provoking me. Simply put your initial postings sound like something out of the VIO.

        With that in mind you are correct in that we will definitely agree on some things and disagree on others. From my perspective all the good you have seen could have been brought about without all the bad that accompanied it. That’s just my view and nothing is pretty much going to change my mind about it. I’m sorry, I just don’t see what’s so special about it that it couldn’t have been done by someone else or at least done without all that political vitriol.

        I highly recommend a book by Brian Nelson called the Silence and the Scorpion. He heavily researched it by interviewing people over the years to get the best first hand account of events surrounding April 2002. It paints an unflattering picture on both sides. Basically the losers are all the believers.

        For me, if Chavez’s reason to be was to rile up the population and motivate them to be active politically and take charge to enact positive change that time has long past. He’s part of the problem and no longer part of the solution. It’s time to renew and bring fresh ideas and work together from both sides. But I’m convinced that’s not going to happen while he’s still in power. Chavez does not believe in political opponents, alternation of power, he only sees enemies that must be crushed. For me this is plain in his speeches and his actions.

        Most famously the way he shot down a 1st draft of a bipartisan Education Law that was written by representatives from both sides of the political divide: He declared it was not the revolutionary law he had asked for and that if presented to him he would not sign it; he would hit it with the bat Sammy Sosa had presented to him as a gift. This incident is fairly old (2001ish) and you may not find references to it in current literature

        (Leonardo Carvajal wrote a book and refers to these events though he himself is fairly biased, the account is accurate enough since it matched what I remembered at the time, I was still studying and followed the law closely).

        And with that I bid Adieu, feel free to write me at my blog or email. I think Craig sent it to you.

      • Old Gator - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM

        Fair enough. No provocation against you personally was ever intended, and this is a much better tone for discussing a very complex situation – personally, for you, but of course historically, culturally, ideologically ad infinitum.

        You have my promise that I will order the Brian Nelson book and put it on the top of the stack for holiday reading (between now and then my life is unremediated lunacy). We’ll get back to it as soon as I’m done reading it. Obviously, even though I’m not a Venezuelan national or expatriate, my personal experiences with the situation and my friendships down there make it an important matter for me. When I get the info from Craig (haven’t seen it yet, as of this writing – 9:45 PM Thursday) we’ll talk some more in a relevant forum.

  9. taz101 - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Wow. Maybe the Twins realize sending Ramos to DC wasn’t the best of ideas… since Mauer isn’t the Iron Man we all hoped he could be. They play harball up there in Minnesota, I guess.

    Ok. Now that the focus is on my insensitivity & immaturity rather than politics and cultural differences. Good.

    Now to be serious; it’s a shame what has happened/is happening to Ramos. I wish him & his family nothing but the best. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail & the captors will release him in good health.

    The real world can be a cruel, dark place.

    • sknut - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:37 PM

      I guess we now know why Bill Smith was fired.

  10. blueintown - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    If they were in Venezuela, they could’ve at least taken Zambrano.

    *Guilt sets in instantly. Classless troll. Commence with the down-thumbing. I’ll start.*

  11. david7590 - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Next time Sean Penn wants to talk about what a great Country Venezuela is and how safe it is, some one should just punch him.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:27 PM

      Cool, and next time you want to talk about how awesome America is, remember Cameron Todd Willingham and punch yourself in the balls.

      That being said, Sean Penn is a d-bag and there are many reasons to punch him.

      • Old Gator - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:57 AM

        Not the least of which was his overwrought performance in The Tree of Life, an atrocity he also helped produce.

        Incidentally, I recall him praising Chavez’ social and economic programs. I don’t recall him saying that Venezuela was “safe.”

        But I wouldn’t want to go for an evening stroll through Liberty City, a few miles north of where I live, either. An eleven year old kid was shot during a driveby shooting there a week ago – in broad daylight. Motes and beams, comrades.

  12. royalintx - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Everybody here is loonytunes.
    Here’s hoping that Wilson Ramos can get home safely…the socialist/fascist argument just doesn’t really matter here, does it.

    • cur68 - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:40 PM

      I agree. Its an economic argument. Not cultural or political.

  13. hardheadcountryboy - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    ceps is basically right…there should be a clause in all the pro baseball contracts that requires pro players to live in the USA year-round… these third rate banana dictatorships are bad news….

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:36 PM

      Of course I am. It’s the political BS artists that don’t want to see the truth about Latin America. They want the foreign players? They got them. Now, deal with the bullshit.

      • nixonotis - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:17 AM

        The fact that you were in the military, the fact that you were able to represent our county at home and abroad, the fact that people like you still exist, makes me sick. You’re a hateful human being, and it should be clear that most of us have no use for you. I’m not your personal troll, I’m your conscience and I’m telling you to stop thinking in the incredibly closed minded and divisive way you do and leave the rest of us rational human beings alone to discuss meaningful topics without your needless interference.

    • spudchukar - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:42 PM

      My mind is boggled by how many ways this comment is ignorant.

  14. seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    A week or two ago on the Baseball Prospectus podcast Kevin Goldstein had a Venezuelan reporter on the show. They discussed baseball, security issues, and other general facts about the country. For those of you ignorant on the subject, which it appears that there are many, I recommend you listen and attempt to educate yourselves before continuing to spew your mindless drivel.

    I hope this ends well for Wilson, but you can’t blame a guy for going back and trying to live in his own country.

    • hardheadcountryboy - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:42 PM

      You can’t blame him, no but… Players from those countries know the risks….not saying he’s at fault and I do wish him a safe return to his family… but he knew the risks…..

      • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:52 PM

        I can’t disagree with that. The guy obviously should have had a better (or perhaps better paid) security team.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:56 PM

        Which is 180 degrees different from what you were saying above, ‘cepts, when you explicitly blame him for this situation.

    • phillyphreak - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:01 PM

      Yea that was a really interesting and eye opening discussion they had. I think that podcast should be required listening. Good stuff.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:54 PM

      Which Reporter? Generally speaking I like to do a background check because more than half of them are government shills spouting strange “facts”.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:07 PM

        Rafael Rojas – I think he’s a Rockies reporter and also covers baseball in Venezuela. I’m just going off of memory here hopefully someone will add something. He sounded pretty legit. Plus the podcast is top notch and it seemed they have had many interactions with him.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:48 AM

        I know who Rojas is. Thanks! Good! +1

  15. steakknives - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    the 99% want Podcats today! FREE MR. TONY

  16. gallaghedj311 - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    My theory is positive attitude accomplishes more than negative attitude. U can be part of the problem or part of the solution. I have far too much to be thankful for than I do to complain about. And that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

  17. mondzy805 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    That awful. Its happens in every Latin country. Its sad.

    • seattlej - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      It happens in every country — not just the Latin ones.

  18. phillyphreak - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Oh Biceps…..

  19. thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Scene, inside the Ramos’ home, where a tears of joy flow as Wilson is thankfully returned to his family unharmed. After things calm down a bit, Wilson and his wife talk about the reaction to the story.

    Ms. Ramos: Oh honey, everyone was really pulling for you. Look at these comments on this Yahoo story.

    Wilson (wipes tear from the corner of his eye): It’s so great. They’re so wonderful. What about this Hardball Talk site, there are a lot of comments there

    (they begin scrolling through the comments)

    Ms. Ramos: Huh? But….

    Wilson: Did these douchebags seriously turn my kidnapping into a catty argument of blind patriotism and xenophobia?

    Ms. Ramos: Ummm….

    Wilson: Seriously, I get f**king kidnapped and it instantly devolves into a America is awesome you suck/vice-versa arguement? As if every other website ever created doesn’t already cater to that? And did that a**hole really say you can’t critisize America because I was kidnapped?

    Ms. Ramos (closes the laptop): Okay honey, just calm down.

    Wilson: …and why the hell is that guy naming himself after a part of Roy Halladay’s body anyway? I’ve seriously never heard anyone ever reference Halladay’s biceps in any other way. Hell, I’ve never even seen his biceps!

    Ms. Ramos: Just forget it sweetie, it’s been in exhausting week, let’s get some rest.

    Wilson: Well, I’m just glad my tragedy could set off a political discourse that has the intellectual weight of two monkeys flinging their feces at each other.

    Ms. Ramos: I’m just glad your safe. But hey, it gives you something to shoot for. An All-Star appearance may trigger an immigration debate (winks).

  20. thefalcon123 - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Words can’t express how utterly horrifying this must be for him and his family. I hope the kidnappers are money hungry a**holes, get paid, let him go (and then get caught and accidentally beaten brutally by police. The liberal in me is willing to be very distracted by something else when this happens and not notice).

    Here’s to you Wilson, and hoping that you come out of this with the craziest “you’ll never believe what happened to me this offseason” story of anyone and an awesome All-Star game storyline.

    • jamaicanjasta - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:18 PM

      Best comment in this thread Falcon, though it took a lot of sifting to get past all of the silly stuff other people posted.

      Sometimes people get so caught up in trying to pack everything into their narrative of the world **cough** -rhymes with triceps- **cough** and ideology that they forget the human aspect of horrible events. It’s a shame that this happened to Ramos and I hope that everything happens as you said above Falcon.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        **Cough, cough** Rhymes with “shit.”

        You people are such phonies. At least I have the balls to say what I think. My narrative of the world, and where Wilson Ramos is from, is correct. I live in the real world. I stated that I hope the guy is OK. You don’t want to hear that, though. You only want to hear what you construe as hate.

        I served my country, “jamaicanjasta”. Did you, pussy? I have been overseas and have visited many countries. I know the cultural differences.

        Next time you spout your mouth off, you may remember me calling you a pussy for not knowing what you are talking about.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:39 PM

        Ok, that’s enough out of you, ‘cepts. You will get what you want. Because god knows we all remember what you, a borderline-mentally unstable ignoramus, think of us every time we express an opinion. And thus emboldened that we are right, as opposed to being a crazed, spittle-spraying clown, we shall say more. Because nothing reminds us of how important actual intelligent conversation is than the memory how idiotic you sound.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:43 PM

        Common Man,

        “Ok, that’s enough out of you, ‘cepts.”

        No, liberal asshole. You still don’t get it. It will never be enough out of me. I have freedom of speech. Freedom to say what I want, asshole. Neither you or any of your libtards can take that away. Try and get me banned. I have violated none of Craig Calcaterra’s rules. If he amends them, I will comply.

        Until then, suck my balls, liberal scum.

      • jamaicanjasta - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:47 PM

        Phonies? I said what I thought about YOU and your xenophobic posts up front, but I’ll gladly say it here again; what you’ve said in this thread has been a travesty and lazy thinking at its worst.

        If you read higher up, you’ll see why I think that’s the case, and ‘living in the real world’ must be code for ‘making assumptions based on anecdotal evidence at best’ because the real world isn’t as simple as you’re attempting to make it.

        Saying that a region’s culture breeds violence and kidnapping is hatred, there’s no interpretation around that. Serving one’s country, while admirable, does not make you an expert on international policy nor does it afford you the ability to claim entire hemispheres as worthless and nests of violence.

        Seriously, instead of arguing the merits of your positions you descend into name calling and chest thumping about your military service. Good for you. If you want to talk about the story or FACTS, I’m game, but if you’re going to name call because your feelings are hurt that I called out what I felt were fallacious assumptions by you then I don’t know what to tell you.

        TLDR: Germane discussion on this topic would look a lot better than assumptions about entire cultures, then claiming we shouldn’t do business with them because of their perceived inferiority.

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:51 PM

        Stop, you bad caricature of a bad caricature. No one’s trying to limit your freedom of speech. But I was pointing out that your ranting makes everyone else look good by comparison.

        I’m pretty sure I don’t have to try and get you banned. I imagine you’re doing a pretty good job of that all by yourself. If not in this thread, knowing you, it’ll happen soon enough. Or maybe you’ll run off again before that can happen.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:56 PM


        First of all, I am an American. I don’t know where you are from, I guess Jamaica, but I’m not, buddy. This is an American site. It is owned by NBC, National Broadcasting Company.

        Here are the fact, genius. Wilson Ramos, who is rich by 3rd world country standards, was kidnapped in his own country. “Ramos was captured by four gunmen. The kidnappers have not yet contacted the Ramos family to seek a ransom for his release.”

        Well, here are the facts. I have told you all that the country is dirty. You disagree, fine. But, everyone that has an iota of common sense will agree with me.

      • jamaicanjasta - Nov 10, 2011 at 12:06 AM

        Biceps, I just got through talking to you about assumptions >.>. Actually, I was born here, in Chicago. My screen name is just pretty much random, though my parents ARE Jamaican. Not that being an American makes a person any better or worse than another, that’s the type of thinking that gets one in trouble. Judge a person (or persons) on the merit of their actions, not on the soil they were born above.

        I mention this in all seriousness, though I took from the tone of your post that I should have been in awe of your citizenship… if you know, I didn’t have the same citizenship you did. Seeing as how I was born here too and all.

        As cur mentioned above, kidnappings happen in countries all over the world (including the United States) and he even listed the locations/dates of those kidnappings. It’s a crime borne of poverty, and as others posted here, it’s nothing about Venezuela being a good or bad country (as we know their president is a bad guy) it’s about poor people kidnapping rich people for money. There was a kidnapping here in my current state of Georgia recently, does that mean that the entire state is a cesspool? A couple of people a few months ago got busted manufacturing methamphetamine. Does that make Georgia a narco-state?

        Don’t you see how slippery this slope is?

      • The Common Man - Nov 10, 2011 at 12:14 AM

        Obviously, Jamaicanjasta should have had his username be Amuricanjasta so you didn’t make that mistake, ‘cepts. Anyway…

        Regarding your thoughts on “dirty” “3rd world” countries, shall we judge all of Philadelphia, nay all of America, by the “flash mob” phenomenon in Philadelphia, in which large groups of kids beat the hell out of whoever’s in their way? Of course not.

        Having been to poorer countries than the U.S., I’ve found parts of them to be exceedingly beautiful, and parts to be exceedingly run down. I’ve found people who were kind and honest, and people who are trying to cheat me. And I’ve found all of those things in this country too. Maybe you’re the one who isn’t living in the real world if all you see is darkness.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 10, 2011 at 12:16 AM

        “it’s nothing about Venezuela being a good or bad country (as we know their president is a bad guy) it’s about poor people kidnapping rich people ”

        Exactly. They are a poor country. It’s not my problem. As a country, the USA has our own economic issues. I could care less about Venezuela. They are (1) of about (186) or so countries.

        They are a piss ant country because they have not made themselves out of anything as a country. Why should I believe they are equal to the USA or our standards or morals? Because it feels good to think that? No. Bullshit. I call them out for what they are, just like I called out the Dominican Republic the other night as the most violent western hemisphere country in the west (with facts that I added).

        I will put my political opinion out there, just like other people on this blog do. I’m sick of the liberal bullshit that slides here with no rebuttal. God forbid I put an opposite opinion out there, I am crucified by some.

      • jamaicanjasta - Nov 10, 2011 at 12:29 AM

        Biceps, they are equal as fellow human beings. You can rant on why their country hasn’t made anything of themselves, but the value of a human life is the same anywhere on the planet. A child born in the Dominican Republic didn’t make the choice to be born in that position on the global, so why do you deem that child as worthless from conception?

        Many of the countries that you say have ‘low morals’ worship in the same religion that many Americans do today in Christianity, so… where is the disconnect in values?

        Being a conservative doesn’t mean you have to make overarching statements about countries and how they ‘don’t share our values’. I’m pretty sure in almost all of the 186 countries you mentioned, murder, kidnapping and rape are considered no no’s.

      • thefalcon123 - Nov 10, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        “I have freedom of speech. Freedom to say what I want,”- cepts

        Seriously, why do so many people fail to understand how this works. Yes, you have freedom of speech. Calling what a f**king idiot does is not encroaching on that. The *government* telling you to shut up face legal repercussions is a violation of it. See how that works?

        So, here’s a quiz. Halladaysbiceps gets a talk radio show. He, in true biceps fashion, says something really awful about rape victims or Jewish people. People picket and he is fired. Biceps 1st amendment rights have:
        A). Been violated! Call a constitutional attorney! This ain’t the USSR!
        B). Not been violated, since you’ve been hired to represent a radio station on air and your conduct was in opposition to the editorial viewpoint they wish to express.

    • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:34 PM


      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:37 PM

        You are still around, asshole? Why? Don’t you have a blog to attend to instead of coming onto NBC’s site, you wannabe?

      • The Common Man - Nov 9, 2011 at 11:40 PM

        See above. I’ll remain here and I’ll enjoy how much rational thought seems to piss you off.

  21. yahmule - Nov 10, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    How about the instances where the United States directly contributes to serious problems in another country? For example, 2000 firearms find their way across the border from the United States into Mexico every day. There are 800 gun stores lining the border and the people selling these weapons know they’ll be used against law enforcement and to kidnap innocent citizens. But, hey, our standard of living is superior to theirs, so let’s all starting chanting “USA!” like Homer Simpson.

  22. seanb20124 - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    Pray he released unharmed.

  23. seanb20124 - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    Ramos is believed to be the most high-profile baseball player kidnapped in Venezuela, but the rash of abductions has touched the baseball world there before. In 2008, the brother of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Henry Blanco was kidnapped and killed, his body found a day after he was taken. In 2009, Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba paid a ransom to get his son back, and pitcher Victor Zambrano’s mother was rescued in a raid.

  24. phillyphreak - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:38 AM

    Bicepts, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • pmcenroe - Nov 10, 2011 at 8:46 AM

      haha perfect use of the reference I wish I could thumb this up multiple times

  25. blueintown - Nov 10, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    U-S-A! U-S-A! Bi-Ceps sucks! Bi-Ceps sucks!

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