Fellow bloggers and I have been recording Venezuela's path towards a total dictatorship. It took a long time and useful idiots kept clinging to the idea that elections -whether really fair or not is another matter- are all that counts to legitimize a government as democratic. Going against the rule of law and going against minorities, whether they were 2%, 10%, 20%, 48%? did not seem to matter to them. Repeating referenda on the same issue was a sign of lack of democracy in the EU, not in Venezuela. At this stage, though, there is no democrat on Earth, whether gullible or not, that may still think the government in Venezuela is a democratic one.
Yesterday Chávez forced all national radio and TV stations to broadcast his newest speech where he supported his military colleague Silva Rangel, the military honcho who had said the military would not recognise in 2012 a government lead by the opposition and the population, the military and the people would react, etc. Chávez also insulted Insulza, OAS's president and stated, as usual, that the Venezuelan military had been taken out of context.
If you want to read more on this, you can go to Miguel's, Juan's and Daniel's account of the issue. Or you can read the military junta's version on the state TV site here.
Now I will just go more into predictions, as I have done in the past. Nothing is sure, but things may evolve like this:
- the military junta will try to escalte things through violence. They are the ones who keep saying "there will be a civil war", you won't hear that from the opposition leaders. They will infiltrate groups of the opposition, they will try to provoke violence.
- the military junta will keep getting more support from the Chinese, the Belorussians, the Russians, the Iranians and Syrians. This support may be, among other things, like this:
- the Chinese will provide more support in the area of communications and spionage (finding patterns in social networks supporting the alternative forces, eavesdropping). Belorussians and Cubans may play also a role here (the latter not so much with the hardware).
- intelligence training from Belorussians and Cubans
- the Venezuelan military junta will do anything, anything, to make the Colombian government hand them over Makled, the drug dealer who says he has a lot of incriminating material about the drug connections of the Venezuelan military. Expect more trade agreements favouring Colombians, threats we won't get to read about, new "liberation of kidnapped Colombian citizens".
- some people will try to make disappear the thousands of dossiers on government corruption that the current National Assembly has kept "on hold"...or they will try to adultare them or else...that will happen before the new elected deputies come to work in January.
- the military regime will keep expropiating, specially targeting the companies around Polar, but also others that may support the alternative forces.
- the military regime will attack any alternative forces distributing flyers or holding meetings outside the main 4 cities.
- the government will push for changing university laws in such a way that they can the universities with thugs - not real students - who take control of those universities.
- the government will intimidate more people and use much more state money to influence elections in Amazonas, Guárico and Miranda.
- the government will infiltrate more the local governments in the hand of the opposition.
- the government will illegally divert more money from the areas where alternative forces are in governors and mayors into organisations completely managed by Chavista thugs
- the government will keep up the soviets, the "councils", that will not tollerate pluralism and that will be controlled by PSUV members.
In the map above I drew a selection of key countries where the military junta is looking for alliances.Stay tuned.
- In red you see those where there is a very close alliance at different levels. Those countries are very close because of ideological (or rather pseudo-ideological) and/or geopolitical reasons. They are mostly dictatorships or autocracies, with Ecuador and Bolivia the only ones with some democracy. Ecuador and Bolivia are heavely depending on the Chávez regime.
- The countries in dark yellow are a mixture of democratic countries and autocracies. They play along with Chávez primarily because that's good for their businesses. Argentina is a case I was not sure to classify as red or yellow, but as there is still a strong opposition there, I decided to put the main reason for its closeness to Chavismo on the benefits for the industries there.
- The countries in light yellow are countries that are flirting with Chavismo but are less close. That's the case of Spain, selling weapons and with a social democratic government that is a mixed of real social democrats and people with little sense of democracy, that is the case of Portugal, which is in a similar situation as Spain but has less money and that is the case of Mali, which is extremely poor and tries to get any help it can from somewhere. Still, the links of those governments to Chavismo are less strong than those in dark yellow or red. I forgot to add Zimbabwe, but right now relationships between Chávez and Mugabwe are rather symbolic. Some years ago Chávez was even trying to approach Birmania, but I suppose Burmese dictators did not understand Chávez's sense of "humour".
PS. Elio Di Rupo, the leader of the French-speaking Socialist Party of Belgium wrote to me and told me they were going to answer to my post How Far from Pluralism soon. I am looking forward to his response.