Didalco Bolivar is about to get the boot.
Well, not quite yet but he is on the target line. But before I talk about this amusing event, I have to say that the first image that came to my mind when I heard the news was that famous Goya painting on the right, a nightmarish horror of Saturn (Revolutions) eating his children (discarded revolutionaries).
So, what happened? Didalco Bolivar is the multi reelected Governor of Aragua state. How good a governor? Not very good if you ask me. How good a pro-Chavez governor? Probably the best one of the lot. On occasion work carries me thought back roads of Aragua and I can assure you that they are among the best kept roads of Venezuela. Compare them to the roads of, say, Miranda under Diosdado Cabello, and you can see that there are chavista governors and chavista opportunist. Bolivar is in the first lot.
In fact, Didalco Bolivar was responsible enough of a governor that when Chavez broke with the MAS, Didalco, who was never much more than a lukewarm chavista, decided to go with MAS break up faction which formed PODEMOS to remain with Chavez. That is, Didalco knew very well that breaking up with Chavez would only affect his people and decided that he owed himself to people who voted for him before anyone else.
Well, times have suddenly changed. Chavez in his mad drive to control has decided to create a unique party under his boot. And junior partners are not following. Didalco Bolivar is the main elected figure of PODEMOS, the governor of the 5th largest state of Venezuela in votes. And low and behold, the CNE announced that yes, there could be a recall election drive against Didalco so he could get unseated sometime later this year.
Nothing wrong with that apparently, no? Democracy at work, no? Not so fast.
Didalco has been largely reelected in 2004, with perhaps the biggest majority of any reelected governor in Venezuela. So, it would be highly improbable that a recall election would work against him since not only the YES must beat the NO, but the YES must be higher than the 2004 result. But it gets better: Didalco CANNOT run again and in less than 2 years he will be out anyway. So, why bother spending a zillion on a Recall Election when the guy has his days numbered anyway?
Well, for one thing it is the beginning of the generalized tracking down of PODEMOS. Chavez cannot accept that PODEMOS is not obeying him with adequate servility and like it happened to any of Chavez ally who dared to express its differing opinion, the totalitarian machine has been launched. Didalco is one of the few chavista local leaders that does has a real following, even a small national stature THAT HE WON BEFORE CHAVEZ BECAME PRESIDENT. That is, Didalco owes less to Chavez than Chavez owes to Didalco. You will understand that this is totally unacceptable tot he beloved Supremo of the beloved people.
The second thing, less apparent for the outside observer, is that Aragua has no chavista leader with enough stature to succeed Didalco. Even though Didalco had record votes, it is less than certain that Aragua would remain safely in chavista hands. Any Aragua leader of note is AGAINST Chavez. Chavista leaders are a long list of utter mediocrities and could only win with a strong field work of Chavez supporting them, plus lots of money and some help from the CNE. Which of course will happen, but Chavez does not want to be bothered. Or take chances. If he were able to get rid of Didalco this year he could ensure that a chavista could be placed for the remaining year until the late 2008 elections and perhaps retain without too much effort that sea, once the new chavista governor gets some exposure.
So, according to Didalco the CNE obliged and curiously he is the only governor on the Recall Election list so far, even though there are plenty of much worse governors such the one in Yaracuy that richly deserve to get booted. But all of these governors have always been extremely careful to put Chavez first, and them second. Didalco did not put himself first but Aragua is certainly not as littered with gaudy and trashy pro Chavez propaganda as you can see in other states. Lukewarm but sincere is not enough these days and Didalco, well, he is on the hot seat. Note, he does not mind at all and he already announced today that he would fight a Recall Election, in case this one did manage to get enough signatures.
But it gets better: Didalco stated today that he was against a “unique chavista party”, that the people were the owners of their vote and that candidates for elected offices should not be named by “el dedazo” ('the finger' meaning decided by Chavez, Miraflores and apparatchiks). He also defended private property! Take that Chavez!
And you dear opposition reader stay put and enjoy. It is going to become a recurring show in the country. And if you want to support Didalco and live in Aragua, it is very simple, do not sign any petition for Recall Election, let’s see if Chavez manages the 20% of the artificially bloated electoral roll. And by the way, watch as Didalco and PODEMOS are starting to criticize the CNE as a flawed and partial organism. Geeeeez, about time they noticed!