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The tables have turned: how chavismo's inner struggles and sheer incompetence may spell their doom!

By Romulo J. Ortiz

Originally posted 01.09.06 | If anyone had doubts that the thesis of a “chavismo without Chávez” has little to no chance of ever becoming a reality, the events that unfolded this week might have taught them a thing or two.

I thought it would be interesting to structure this post in a way that conveys the decline of chavismo as I examine the most relevant news during Hugo Chávez’s prolonged absence:

As you know Hugo Chávez has been away for what has seemed to be an eternity, he went on a trip that would take him to China, Malaysia, Syria and Angola and rumor has it that he should be visiting Venezuela today.

He claimed that these trips have nothing to do with Venezuela’s bid for a seat at the UN Security Council but after a painstaking review of the news bits generated during his trip a pattern emerges, there were only two events that were deemed newsworthy:

a) In every country Hugo Chávez visited, he would announce that their hosts would vote for Venezuela at the UN general assembly.

b) Hugo Chávez engaged in the same old tiresome ranting about the "evil empire", and peppered it with insults here and there.

So if we assumed that he went on this trip to try and get some votes, it could be argued that it was quite a successful endeavor, you couldn’t be more wrong!

Let’s see what happened:

News from the trip:

Hugo Chávez announced China’s support to Venezuela’s bid for a seat at the UN Security Council, you would think that the Chinese government would issue some sort of statement on this most relevant issue, wouldn’t you? Well, think again!

Let us remember that Hugo Chávez leads the same morally bankrupt revolution that just a few months ago said that the UNESCO had certified Venezuela as an illiteracy-free territory. This statement was proven to be a lie shortly thereafter. So believe this at your own risk; I find it healthy to question everything that comes out of Hugo Chávez’s mouth.

China has always followed a pragmatic line when it comes to international affairs; this alleged support seems to be a stupid way to alienate their main trade partner over nothing, especially when the USA has been actively campaigning against Venezuela.

Later on his press conference he announced that China would invest US$5 billion within the next few years to increase our oil production capacity (again, not a peep from the Chinese government either confirming or denying). He also said that we would be sending 500,000bpd by the end of this year (up from 150,000bpd right now), since our oil production is steadily declining, it isn’t hard to figure out that this will be in detriment of our commercial ties with the USA, click here and here to learn more on why this is just a horrible idea.

From China he jumped to Malaysia where nothing, absolutely nothing happened, what a waste of money! He later flew in to Syria where he snuggled up with islamofascist president Bashar al Assad, a major supporter of terrorism in general and of Hezbollah in particular, after a sumptuous reception with flags and flower petals reminiscent of when Adolph Hitler marched triumphantly after annexing Austria, they proceeded to issue a joint statement with the sole purpose of provoking the “evil empire”. He ended his trip in Angola where he didn’t do much either.

As you see, nothing useful to our nation took place and since his constant ranting isn’t news anymore, it wasn’t surprising this trip didn’t get much coverage!

In the meantime, his chavista accolades were running like headless chickens

It was a spectacle worthy of some dulce de lechosa, I felt enormous pleasure in seeing how chavismo tried a myriad of diversionary tactics to try to revert the momentum that Manuel Rosales has built since he was acclaimed as the unity candidate.

Francisco Ameliach didn’t think of anything better but to accuse the oppositionist campaign team of releasing TV ads with subliminal messages, as usual this came without a shred of proof.

When that didn’t work, they announced they would seek to void Manuel Rosales’ candidacy on the basis that he violated the constitution by lending his support to Pedro Carmona on 11A (all he did was sign an attendance sheet), they know it won’t work, but they are desperate and they need to manufacture a diversion quickly so they can regroup.

Later in the week, Francisco Ameliach announced to have the results from some polls that gave Hugo Chávez a solid lead with 56% of the voting intention while Manuel Rosales was struggling to get into the double-digits. It has been argued that these numbers are old and that Datanálisis doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence. I agree with both premises. Plus Manuel Rosales doesn’t seem too concerned.

And last but not least Juan Barreto’s verbal diarrhea has unleashed all kinds of demons within the ruling party; he started the week by issuing a decree to expropriate some golf courses in complete disregard of a series of ordenanzas municipales that clearly state that it is illegal to do any residential developments in that area, to top it off he said that he would pay the owners using tax money allegedly owed to his office by the oppositionist boroughs within the city.

At this point his demagogic excesses had reached such unmanageable proportions that even Vice-president José Vicente Rangel came out saying that the regime does not endorse his actions. This had a profound impact on Juan Barreto especially coming from one of his closest allies, so he backed down and faked humility.

It has been widely rumored (click here and here) that Juan Barreto was close to being expelled from his party during that infamous comité táctico nacional meeting convened a week ago. In fact, this fate could only be averted after a few national assembly representatives insisted that the matter be postponed until after their fuehrer returned. However, a few days later and following the publication of the expropriation decree in the national gazette, Miranda state governor Diosdado Cabello hopped on a plane to either Syria or Paris (I get conflicting reports on this!) to meet with the president and explain what’s been going on during his absence and try to convince him to purge a few undesirable elements from the party.

I harbor no doubts that chavismo can’t survive without Hugo Chávez, their attitudes can be summed up in Lina Ron’s anguished request that the president stop traveling and start paying more attention to these issues.

I only wish that it hadn’t taken us 8 long years to realize that a healthy dose of indifference expressed in a few well-timed silences was all we needed to turn the tables, now it’s chavismo that’s turning on each other like piranhas, much like the oppositionist movement did before.


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