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Chavez, Castro and Petkoff: a ménage à trois?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 08.07.06 | Erstwhile guerrillero Teodoro Petkoff finally came out of the closet. Knowning that apart from the claque of adulators in his entourage no one will actually bother to go vote for him cum December elections, he declared yesterday that he was not going to participate in the primaries proposed by Sumate. Now I ruffled some feathers a little while ago by defining Sumate's position as irresponsible. After all the electoral NGO is perceived by most in the opposition as the earthy representation of the Virgin Mary. I guess in that respect I happen to agree with Petkoff although for different reason, but enough with this digression. My opinion of Sumate has nothing to do with ultimatums given to opposition candidates, but rather with the fact that knowning, as they do, about the impossibility of having a clean election under the present circumstances, it is irresponsible in the extreme to participate in the charade set up by the regime, which seeks to repaint with a thin veneer of legitimacy the autocratic façade of the Chavez revolution.

So it seems that Petkoff understands that much, yet he's eager to not only participate but to become the sole candidate that will confront Chavez in December. Good luck with that one, especially when the time to convince the other 23 egocentric halfwits aspiring to the presidency that him, and only him, has a chance to defeat the caudillo with his intellectual tough talk, bearing in mind that the chair of the National Assembly is a former bus driver who recently declared that the intellectual level of some of his peers was below par. What a pathetic bunch. To hell with the polls and advice from more pragmatic minds, for the umpteenth time in his political career he's vying for the presidency and that's that.

In my mind Petkoff, and pretty much everybody who entertains the thought of the possibility of having clean and transparent elections in Venezuela, is just happily dancing boleros played from Havana. There was this gossip, that I have not been able to confirm, that Petkoff visited Raul and Fidel Castro on his way back from attending Bachelet's investiture. True or not it looks rather clear that come rain or shine he is prepared to divide the opposition down the middle, unless he becomes anointed as the next Great White Hope, and give Chavez, and Castro, what they need. So far so good.

Petkoff has published a book about this hypothesis of two Lefts: one progressive and one radical. In his 'progressive' view he is part of a sensible, mature, pragmatic and socially responsible Left. In that group apparently he is in the company of Lula, Bachelet and others. Then there's the radical left, that groups comprises thugs like Chavez, Castro, Kirchner, and errand boys such as Evo Morales. Not surprisingly the book came prior to the announcement of his candidacy, presumably to lay the ground of his campaign. However rational and pragmatic he fancies to portray himself as he's fooling no man. For it seems that he wants to become more populist than Chavez and is one of the main advocates of Chavismo sin Chavez. That is to say Petkoff is willing to take Chavez's job leaving intact the most disturbing elements of his wretched bolivarian revolution.

Me? I think there's no such thing as benign and malign lefts. They're all the same crap. Lula is not a progressive by any stretch of the imagination; it's just that he hasn't been able to replicate in Brazil what Chavez has done in Venezuela, not because he doesn't want to but rather because Sao Paolo's powerful industrialists and the Brazilian army haven't allowed him to do so.

So this day in Havana and Caracas, some must be in a state of celebration due to the accomplishment of Teodoro Petkoff, the new partner.

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