Venezuela’s Succession – Not as it Seems

Hugo Chavez cartoon

Hugo Chavez – dealing with the opposition.

Last month in preparation to the obvious, I wrote Hugo Chavez is dead. Today as I write this article, I am more convinced than ever that he won’t be returning as president. While there is still no proof of his passing, one thing is certain. Venezuela’s top government officials, lie as if their careers counted on it.

Chavez and his illness

It has been 8 weeks and the world has heard not a peep, from the normally garrulous loud-mouthed clown Hugo Chavez. Chavez has for the first time in decades, remained deathly silent from both those who loathe him, and those who adore him. By neglecting Venezuela so blatantly, his love for everything Cuban shines brighter than ever.

When approaching death most people want to end their lives in the land they love. Chavez in death will finally prove where his allegiances lie. With Chavez’s passing, his negligence to the well being of his homeland will be over-looked by his worshipers. At the same time, it will come as a relief to Venezuelans who want nothing more than peace, security, and a country without Chavismo.

Chavez chose not to trust Venezuelan doctors and fled the country to have four operations in Cuba. What is Chavez’s ailment? The only thing the world can be sure of is that it is some kind of pelvic cancer. Only in an absolute closed society, the kind of society Chavez has strived for, could a president’s illness and treatment remain a state secret. Let there be no doubt. His decision to go to Cuba is likely to be the cause of his death.

All signs point to the fourth and probably final operation, as not having gone well. Cuba’s reputation as a modern medical miracle state will ensure that Chavez lives on for weeks or even months, after he has gone. In the end, the Castro brothers will not outlive this scandal. Not only will Cuba’s medical reputation be tarnished, but a world without Chavez ensures that Cuba will lose billions from preferential treatment, and bartered oil, coming directly from Venezuela.

When the confirmation of Chavez’s death finally comes, in the eyes of Chavistas, Chavez will not die. Like Jesus, and the phoenix, he will rise from the dead. It is only a matter of time before they demand that Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías be canonized a new saint.

With zealous approval of their now illegal government, the new battle cry of the Chavistas is, “We are all Chavez!”

The opposition

Opposition leaders, who accuse the government of secrecy over Chavez’s condition, have been accused of destabilizing the country, conspiracy, and treason.

When Chavez was alive, or should I say up and talking, he and his worshipers believed that he was untouchable, invincible, and unstoppable. Now with Chavez out of the picture his followers face a terrorizing new reality. Once the mourning period is over, they will get weaker. The opposition at this time will also get stronger.

Henrique Capriles Radonski, the head of the opposition, ran against Chavez in the last presidential elections on October 8, 2012. Although he lost, he was able to garner a respectable 44% of the vote against the unlimited power, wealth, and reputation that Chavez had at his disposal.

Capriles, like all democratic parties, played by the rules and used his own funds when he ran in the elections. Chavez on the other hand, had the entire Venezuelan treasury as his piggybank, along with a Constitutional amendment ensuring the continuance of his presidency. He never stopped calling Capriles a loser, a traitor, a puppet, or any slander he could think of. In spite of all this, Chavez barely squeaked by in a race that was one-sided, corrupted, and whose outcome was already ordained.

The election against Chavez was the first and only election Capriles has lost since his career began when elected mayor of Baruta, in 2000. Although Capriles was down, he was not out. Two months after his loss, on December 16, 2012, Capriles was reelected governor of Miranda, the most populous state, and the state where the capital Caracas is located.

As is fitting, Capriles has a job to do. One of those jobs, one would assume, would be to drum up business between neighbors and diplomatically represent one’s own country. On Saturday February 2, Capriles did just that when he met in Bogotá with Columbians, along with Felipe González (ex-Prime minister of Spain from December 1, 1982 – May 4, 1996).

This meeting, placing Capriles in Columbia and in the spotlight, was apparently too much for Nicolas Maduro. Maduro is the man keeping Chavez’s chair warm, and the new president in waiting. Rather than being magnanimous, and wishing Capriles luck in his negotiations, Maduro stamped his feet and threw a temper tantrum.

Maduro rants mirror Chavez

The reason Maduro faked such fury is because if the Venezuelan Constitution were being followed, a new election must be held, due to the absence of Chavez. This absence places Maduro against Capriles in a new run for the Presidency. Chavez appointees in the Supreme Court, and in the Congress, have declared the Constitution mere rhetoric in this case. How long they continue to get away with this ploy is anyone’s guess.

In a televised speech The Venezuelan Vice President, and wannabe next president said, “Capriles should be ashamed to go to Colombia to conspire against the homeland.” He continued his rant further stating,

“Information reaching us is not good. We are confirming a series of meetings were held. We know with whom he met, where he met, and the conspiracy he’s involved in against our country, against the peace of the country, and doing business… In a few hours we are going to say what that loser was doing against the fatherland in Colombia.”

HORRORS! Strong words coming from an ex-bus driver anointed vice-president. The plot according to Maduro could not be more sinister.

Maduro’s ranting continued,

“They’re a trio of wrecks with a history of defeat and treason. They must know that if our people see the proof that has been prepared of their plot … it is just going to radicalize us even more.”

In the world’s democratic countries, which Venezuela claims to be part of, freedom of association is absolute. In Venezuela, unlike other democracies, freedom of slander by government officials is absolute as well.

Capriles response

Capriles shot back, using the social network on Twitter, to respond to the vice president,

“The conspirator and traitor is Mr. Maduro, who receives orders from the Cuban government and gives the money of our country away to people abroad. Keep ranting to cover your mediocrity. The real conspirator and traitor is Maduro, who can’t rule without taking orders from Raul Castro.”

The war of words is now reaching a fever pitch and unfortunately Capriles will be on the losing side for a while. The government’s accusations and unreal demands that people refrain from questioning the health of their absent leader is not only a state of denial, it smacks of desperation. For now, the government is fully entrenched with Chavistas. For now, the armed forces are Chavistas as well. In this climate, Capriles must tread softly or he does not stand a chance.

With the current crisis of an absent Chavez, Venezuelan officials are so paranoid they will turn every lie or rumor into fact. They don’t want to allow Capriles to walk free yet with 44 percent of the country supporting him, what do they do? Like countless other heroes from Venezuela Capriles may have to run for his life, or remain and put up with the risk of going to jail. It has always been my way or the highway in Chavista land.

Fortunately, Chavez is out of the picture and Maduro is not the brightest of the bunch. The one Capriles needs to watch out for is Diosdado Cabello.

Chavista’s fatal mistake

There is a silver lining for Capriles and the opposition that comes from the government’s refusal to follow the Constitution and set a date for new elections. If elections were held today, as they should be, Chavistas would win. With that said, without Chavez as leader, the government is heading straight towards disaster.

The disaster Venezuela has in store is all Chavez’s making. Chavez’s followers saw him as a miracle worker, even as the country descended towards hell. They let him get away with everything and anything. Chavez buying the last election cost Venezuela dearly. Now it is time to pay the piper, or the devil.

The longer Chavez is gone the more the government implodes from within. By the time new elections are held, Chavistas will be so fractured they will have lost any chance to rule another 6 years. To me the outlook for the opposition has never looked brighter. Capriles, the conspiring traitorous loser and scourge of Chavistas, may end up president after all.

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