Monday, 24 December 2012

Chávez's big guns: between Scylla and Charybdis

Both vice-president and anointed Chávez successor Nicolás Maduro and the Machiavelian head of the National Assembly and former coup monger Diosdado Cabello are facing a conundrum: when to spill the beans and cast the die, when to say the caudillo won't make it.
Rough seas between Caracas and Havana

Our latest constitution is badly written but still most people will say it clearly states the elected president has to take oath 10 January by going to the National Assembly or by going to the Supreme Court if he couldn't go to the National Assembly. As Miguel wrote, Nicolás could very well ride on the wave of Chávez's persistent popularity, specially as Chávez declared this Sai Baba's follower to be his Petrus. But waves don't last forever, the sooner he does it, the better. Cabello, on the other hand, reckons he or someone closer to him could have a bigger chance of getting the throne if the elections were a little bit later.

Maduro was initially confident - or at least he wanted to show confidence - that Chávez would somehow appear in Venezuela 10 January. Diosdado kept repeating that date didn't matter and Chávez could be sworn any time later on. It seems Maduro has realised Chávez might not be able to go to Venezuela for that date. Now he is suggesting what I thought initially: that Chávez may just as well take his oath in the presence of the Supreme Court whenever the doctors say so. Of course: this might mean, according to Chavista fuzzy logic, that Luisa Estela, Venezuela's Judicial Star, the woman who said separation of powers is a rubbish concept, will have to take a  plane to the Caribbean's biggest island. So, following the US interpretation of the Muhammad dictum: if Chávez won't come to the National Assembly or the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court must go to Chávez. There is another date these people have to pay attention to: the municipal elections, which Tibisay Lucena, the head of the National Electoral Council, said would be 26 May.

Now, bear in mind 26 May may be seen as a suggestion. Although Tibisay Lucena publicly declared that was the date, anything can be moved if it is good for the Chavista strategy.

And yet: they are all tense. They know petrodollars get spent much faster these days, specially in the land of Grace, specially in the hands of fervent revolutionaries. They aren't sure where and when to take the next step between Havana and Caracas.


We have already had a virtual Chávez on several occasions: Venezuelan law says the president cannot pass laws anywhere else but Venezuela. And the Chávez government has created a digital signature that by some outré interpretation of the law makes him physical present in Venezuela even if he is actually abroad in some kind of Bolivarian trnsubstantiation.


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