I am off a heated argument with my S.O.: Chavez knew very well that Ingrid had been released but he went as far as playing dumb, pretending that a construction worker informed him, as a way to show that the event was not that important and did not affect him.
I have of course some problems with this interpretation of my S.O. but I cannot help been perturbed by the idea as it is not that far fetched.
Chavez, indeed, did not know
I prefer that theory because the entourage of Chavez has demonstrated such a deficiency on these type of situations in the past. The efficient Cuban intelligence in Venezuela is there to monitor opposition activities, not whether Uribe is rescuing hostages. That would be the job of the Bogota Embassy, the Venezuelan army or the Foreign ministry. Since we know that they long ago stopped running a professional service, that they only worry about what makes look Chavez good, and that the rest of the time they are trying to get illicit cash rewards, the possibility that Chavez was ill served by his people is quite clear. As you can see from the video linked in this post, Chavez seems very natural in admitting that he did not know, that he was one of the last people on earth to learn abotu the Colombian rescue mission of the other day. Or was he?
Chavez knew Ingrid had been freed but played dumb
Here, the force of the argument is that Chavez has long stopped speaking to rational people like us and that all his words since the 2004 referendum are in fact destined to the hard core 20 to 40% of the population that need to be constantly whipped up into frenzy. I cannot rebate that since I have been saying it all along, but perhaps I have not truly comprehended it fully.
Thus, you may ask, why would Chavez pretend such an ignorance who for rational people makes him look so stupid? Because it allows to self mock himself and this way downplay for his followers the importance of the news, and henceforth the damage that the Colombian rescue does to his already weakened international position. Yes, I know, twisted but plausible.
The fact of the matter is that for ten years Chavez has been polishing his argumentative style which is now down to constant disqualification of any adverse opinion. The disqualification might be rude, even highly vulgar, or more sophisticated, but 90% of chavismo arguments run around character assassination of whomever is criticizing it. And with that low 90% I am very generous as some weeks it is 100%.
The country is now effectively broken in two parts that should not communicate with each other. Today, coming out of the National Assembly Cilia Flores implied for example that those who were not with Chavez were "apatridas", traitors to the fatherland. Once upon a time the independence day celebration, July 5, was an occasion for the country to come together when all political factions sat down at a formal session of parliament while a notable Venezuelan spoke on the transcendence of the day. Today it is a 100% chavista sycophantic crowd sitting down and they have Evo Morales come over to talk to us about Venezuela.
So it is quite possible that after 10 years chavismo has been caught in its own game and Chavez is able to pretend that he did not know shit when he knew all along. In a way I cannot figure out which of the two hypothesis is the worst one for us. However oen thing is common to both explanations: Chavez does not care about Venezuela at all.