Happy New Year to all! The last day of 2012 was so full of rumors, that I did not dare make a post about the New Year too early and then the partying took over. I still do not quite understand why the New Years Eve parties in Caracas were cancelled, given last night’s interview with Maduro, in which nothing new was said about Chavez’ health.
And speaking of that interview, I think they should avoid them in the future. If the objective was to promote Maduro as the future leader of Venezuela, he did not do very well. He was dry, boring at times and at a time when rumors abound, he barely mentioned Chavez’ condition. I still wonder what giving all the historical dates were all about. Was he trying to imitate Hugo? If so, he failed miserably.
What is true is that we still don’ know what ails Chavez and days before he is supposed to take over, we really don’t know much about his current condition beyond “delicate” and his son in laws’ statement that he was “stable” the next day. I wonder if we will ever see a medical doctor explain anything before Jan. 10th., as it should be if there is any attempt at bypassing the Constitution on Jan. 10th. Because in a country full of conflicts of interest, we now get Maduro’s own wife giving opinions about the formalism of Chavez having to be sworn in on Jan. 10th. What’s next, a Maduro/Maria Gabriela ticket?
Logic says that Chavismo should rush an election and after seeing Maduro yesterday in the interview, this opinion is only reinforced. You don’t want him to go around campaigning or talking too much, he may have the backing of PSUV, but people may fall sleep listening to him. Thus, if logic follows, Chavismo should change course in the next couple of days and begin talking about a transition on Jan. 10th. If they don’t do that, they are simply fools. Remember, Maduro has never run for office and simpatico or charismatic, he ain’t.
Meanwhile, it still seems bizarre to have had this broadcast from Cuba, led by a Cuban reporter and in which Maduro devoted the first few minutes to praising the Cuban revolution and its achievements (??). Given that Cuba is likely the most divisive issue within Chavismo, it was not precisely the best signal to send to his PSUV mates. It made Maduro look like he follows Cubans orders, while his lack of charisma and even the absence of any information on Chavez reduced the impact of the event.
And the Jan. 5th watch continues at this time. Will Diosdado be replaced? If so, who will replace him? Will he be kept in the interest of unity? Do they trust him enough to ratify him as President of the National Assembly? The best thing for Chavismo unity is to keep him in place. But for that, they have to trust he will follow the playbook if he has to be sworn in on Jan,. 10th.
I still believe that Chavismo will stay close to what the Constitutional order demands. It aligns too well with their best interests to call for quick elections and preserves the image that the law has been respected. But in the end, it will be what Chavez decides to do, if he is capable of deciding. If not, the instructions are likely to come from the Cuban strategists, proving once again how low Venezuela’s sovereignty has fallen under the revolution.
To delay Chavez’ swearing in without any formal proof that he can recover or even that he is conscious, would be a travesty and it will certainly create uncertainty and introduce new tensions within Chavismo. I still think logic should prevail and the Constitutional order will be followed, but neither has been a strength of Chavismo. But to attempt to break the order in Chavez’ absence, may be too risky a strategy for those jockeying for power in Venezuela.