Thoughts On A Possible Transition In Venezuela

December 9, 2012

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.

21 Responses to “Thoughts On A Possible Transition In Venezuela”

  1. Jeffry house Says:

    Of course, the National Assembly, (Diosdado Cabello, President) can declare the Presidency vacant before January 10, and thus short-circuit Maduro becoming President after that date. I think that if Chavez so sick as to be unable to respond to this, it would be very tempting.

  2. Tomate Says:

    chavez looked pretty strong/healthy while appointing Maduro. Maybe the surgery has some risks and the cubans want to mitigate the risk of not having an orderly transition… If I had to bet, I would bet that chavez will be around by January 10th…. It does not seem like the cancer (and its treatment) has him against the ropes…

  3. moctavio Says:

    I agree, but a third surgey for cancer is usually done to improve quality of life, not remove the cancer.

  4. mgh397 Says:

    There are no 2 sides… Believe me… There are at least 5. Nad Maduro was the choice recommended not only by the cubans, but by the other “allies”, since all the others were pro some and anti some. Maduro was the only choice that was neither pro or anti anyone (being the usual “nadie” he has ever been).

  5. mgh397 Says:

    Considering that, according to law, when a President dies in office s/he goes straight to the Panteón Nacional, I cannot stop wondering if the new mausoleum (the skateboard ramp) was actually for Bolívar or for Chávez himself, a la Lenin.

  6. Yngvar Says:

    I have a bet going that Chávez will die this year, so he better have a date with the grim vaquero before 31. December, or I’ll damn him to hell!

    What’s in the play book for these 1st generation communist transitions? Venezuela is not feudal, so no cubanism og northkoreanism.

    1. The ailing Lenin (Chávez) hands over the reigns for a peaceful continuation, but a bitter power struggle ensues between factions led by Stalin (Maduro) and Trotsky (Rangel). The guy with the most impressive mustache wins.

    2. A sick and demented Mao (Chávez) designates Hua Guofeng (Maduro) his chosen successor, but the lack of any abilities dooms him to be undermined by a rival faction led by the ruthless Deng Xiaoping (Cabello) in a short few years. Nobody is happy.

  7. Alejandro Says:

    I totally agree that Capriles lacked foresight, he didn’t take into account the information available and based on that should have played the game better. It says a lot about his judgement. Chavez has cancer, and the rumours indicate that it’s one that has very poor prognosis. Thus, we are still in elections.. a replacement is coming.

    Now he’s the candidate for Miranda and not the presidential candidate, the leader of the opposition waiting for the next round. The leader of the opposition is Aveledo.

    I have nothing against Aveledo, but narrative looks very solid from the chavismo point of view with Maduro as the succesor. Now everyone will accomodate themselves around him and that will make him extremely powerful.

    I


  8. [...] Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo and The Devil's Excrement write about a possible transition, Juan Cristóbal Nagel and Alejandro Tarre [es] analyze what this [...]

  9. firepigette Says:

    I believe that Chavez will die tomorrow, or in give or take a few years :)

  10. Noel Says:

    One further complication in Maduro’s future choice of direction is that Fidel may well pass away too, and it remains to be seen what direction Cuba would then take, besides trying to retain its below market supply of Venezuelan oil; even then, a US Marshall plan for Cuba might be more attractive than cheap oil. If this were to happen, Maduro would be in worse shape than almost any Latin America leader.

  11. Bruni Says:

    Guys, I don’t like Chávez, never has and never will, but as a former cancer patient myself, who has lost several friends from cancer, I am appaled by the lack of compassion that I am reading in all the blogs.

    Everybody is commenting like Chávez’ life is a type of commodity.

    I know that he did not had much sympathy for his enemies, but he is still a human being, sick and in pain, and he deserves the dignity that we owe to the sick.

    No human life is a commodity, not even Chávez’.

    • deananash Says:

      I respectfully disagree, Bruni. Not with the part about “no human life is a commodity” – that I totally agree with.

      But Chavez will receive no compassion from me. I only wish him Godspeed to his eternal reward. Am I glad he is suffering? No. Do I wish that he was already gone? About 13 years ago.

      • moctavio Says:

        Yes Bruni, I have tried to feel some compassion for him and don’t, to me he is evil, incapable of feeling compassionfor others. Whenever I think of this, I remember two cases: Franklin Brito and the son of Haydee Castillo. The first obe was allowedto die like a dog in the street to make a statement, the second, son of two Venezuelans who devoted their lives to the country (and who I nev liked politically) was killed like a dog for the simple reason that he was bold and confused for someone else. In both cases Chavez showed he did not have a iota of rhe same humanity you are asking for. in fact, even in sickness, he has shown no humanity for others, while asking for it for him, because he thinks he deseves it. I pass, he has ruled with no compassion for anyone or fourteen years. He deserves none.

        • moctavio Says:

          And BTW , he showed no compassion for his enemies or his friends. His famous “the show must go on” after Amuay is just one proof of it. The other is his disregard for crime until it became a political problem, crime affects the poor he claims to love orders of magnitude more than the well to do.

          • Bruni Says:

            I know all that Miguel and Dean, he showed no compassion for anybody, even in extreme circumstances, and he is definitely not a nice human being.

            I agree that maybe the term “compassion” is not the right one because it implies a personal empathy towards the person, but I believe that every human being deserves respect for the suffering and for human dignity.

  12. Deanna Says:

    Could that be the reason for Maduro’s tears and sobbing, because he knew that Chavez’s end is near?


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