And thus, in a complete change of strategy, Hugo Chavez defends the Constitution and picks the person he wants to be his successor. To me, this is a recommendation from the old man in Havana and his buddies and it may signify that either Chavez is very, very sick and the end is close, or it may mean that infighting got so bad, and it is known Chavez will only live a few months, that a decision had to be made on a succesor. Moreover, Maduro campaigning with Chavez alive, regularly speaking out for him, may be the way to insure the continuity of the revolution. Thus, if Chavez were to say that he is in no shape to assume the Presidency after Jan. 10th. , the campaign will begin and Chavez will be there to lead President Maduro to a win.
The easiest path, if the second scenario was correct, is to wait and have Chavez resign after he names Maduro VP on Jan. 10th. If he is in danger of dying soon, then the President of the Assembly would assume power, if Chavez did not manage to be sworn in on Jan. 10th. This second option is likely filled with more uncertainty for Chavismo.
It is hard to know which of the two scenarios is right. In this so called XXI st. century revolution, we have yet to hear a medical Doctor explain what ails Chavez. Such is the disregard for the people, knowledge and the truth by the revolution.
And I still think Capriles blew it when he took the low risk, low reward strategy of running for Governor of Miranda. Now he needs to win there big, very big, or he will look weak to be the Presidential candidate. He should have stayed above the fray, gluing together the opposition, campaigning all over the country and for everyone. Had he done that, he would be the no discussion, unanimous choice to be the opposition candidate. Now there has to be lots of discussions, while Chavismo already has its candidate.
Beyond that, it is anybody’s guess. With Chavez alive, Maduro is likely to stay the course of the revolution and the different factions are unlikely to show their differences in public. But once Chavez is gone, Maduro may decide to be his own man in order to survive and he could go either way. He could ally himself with the anti-cuban faction to have the support of the hard core military and slow down the revolution or he could side with the pro-cubans in the belief that this guarantees his ability to survive.
With so many institutions under total Chavez control, it is unclear which ones will side with whom. Clearly the military is the most important one, with the Supreme Court close behind.
Chavez was and is the glue that holds Chavismo together. Once he is gone, the two sides will be equally splintered and what happens then is truly hard to discern with clarity at this time.