Sunday, May 31, 2009

The marathon that roared not: Chavez suspends his 4 days "Alo Presidente"

Truly, something is rotten in the kingdom of Venezuela. Chavez with great fanfare told us (threatened might be a better word) with a four days run of Alo Presidentes, his Sunday talk show. We got two installments on Thursday, we got a long one on Friday night and that was that. Yesterday segment(s) were suspended without any reason given though we were still promised (threatened?) with the Sunday segment(s) as we were told that Evo Morales would be joining.

Today we are told that the show is suspended for technical reasons. Which is a nice code word for Chavez is so pissed at the Friday debacle that he must be trashing the full Miraflores lair and cannot be shown in public by his handlers.

There is really no excuse for such a lame explanation. VTV and other state media have enough cameras and microwave transmitters to make a show from anywhere, even if half the materiel has been damaged by one of the incessant power outages that we suffer in Venezuela. Chavez has been seen more than once giving a cadena/Alo Presidente with a cold, with an ache, with whatever. He even describes at length his problems with bodily functions going as far as to describe in loving details the day he had a bad case the runs while digging a tunnel during a cadena. If he is sick and cannot talk and make good of his promise (threat?), why not say so and postpone the show for, say, Monday? Even bitter hard core opposition like yours truly would find that normal and say nothing of it.

But the truth is that the debacle of last Friday when CEDICE and Vargas Llosa stared down a blustery Chavez had an effect. Unable to come up with a sensible and credible reply, the show dropped its curtain. The chronicle of El Universal says it all (and they also use in another article the word "arrugó"). In summary, once his bluff made Chavez and his handlers realized that they had much more to lose inside Venezuela than Mario Vargas Llosa.

Not without mentioning that international press has not been kind. In addition to amuse itself with Chavez problems they added insult to injury these days. The Washington Post came with yet another terrible editorial, terrible for Chavez that is, and for his accomplices at the OAS, namely Insulza. Though when I think of it, Obama and Clinton must also read it as a terrible editorial as to how they are quickly losing any leverage they might had in Latin America in the Port of Spain afterglow. In addition Simon Romero at the NYT made a rather damming report on the military degradation of Venezuela. There is a lot of things to reply to and we should charitably hope that for once Chavez has decided to sit down and think rather than make a fool of himself on TV for two days.

-The end-

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