Chavez must be livid tonight. Or perhaps ecstatic. With bi-polar personalities one never knows.
The hurried up second closing of RCTV Saturday at midnight has provoked a major reaction in the country. Between Sunday and today all the usual suspects gave their condemnation to yet another arbitrary and, let's not be afraid of words, dictatorial measure. But the most unexpected reaction came form the student movement who rioted (after provocation from the police in most instances) in Caracas, in Valencia, in Merida and in Zulia (and other places to a lesser extent). Harsh repression took place. Eventually seven students were injured and one killed. And it will not stop as already the student movement has called for more actions for tomorrow. In a moment of stunning candor the inept interior minister Tareck el Aissami noted in his usual "the Empire from the North is behind everything" speech that there was no noted political figure behind the student near uprising. In other words, the government is absolutely unable to note the spontaneity of the protest due to such an unfair action as closing RCTV as we in the opposition know full well that even if the leadership wanted such a day it could not do it as fast and as complete. Unbelievable to be so out of touch!
But the overseas front was not any better for Chavez, the US and the French government, recently battered by the idiotic Haiti accusations and the takeover of French EXITO, expressed fast their concern over freedom of expression in Venezuela. In the press things were hardly better, a press system reacting this time around much faster than it did in 2007 for the first closing of RCTV. The press went as far as writing articles on the now obvious rotting out of the Chavez regime, such as this piece at the WaPo from Jackson Diehl who obviously reads at least Miguel's blog. And never mind that Insulza sensing that Chavez support might not be enough to ensure his OAS secretary reelection chimed in offering to come himself to mediate! Some people really have no shame!
To finish the day a major cabinet reshuffling as nothing less than the Vice President (and his wife, the Environment minister) resigned "for personal reasons" taking along the CEO of the recently nationalized Banco de Venezuela. Speculations go from chavismo nasty infighting, to corruption charges to, gasp!, disagreement with recent Chavez policies.
Clearly, the situation is degrading fast, perhaps faster than anyone expected. The regime is in crisis and Chavez ability to control the situation can be seriously questioned. Then again it is possible that Chavez is provoking the situation as he knows that the in the straight way he is toast any time soon. So maybe tonight he is exulting, thinking about the civil war he is about to start.
Ps: other notes added after publication of this post.
TV is calling for calm and quiet.
Major league baseball (of Venezuela) begs to stop poltical demosnterations at our local World Series between Caracas and Valencia (they are afraid that the president will be too upset and take revenge on seeing that a very large majority of the stadium is booing him!).
I observed on TV the pro Chavez "students" who came out in Caracas to try to counter the protest in front of CONATEL (with Lina Ron who is now out directing her red shirts instead of attending her trial!). Since the 2007 student movement started we are now seeing THE THIRD GENERATION of student leaders taking the front line. Chavismo still has the very same spokes-students it had in 2007, all of them identified as also being public employees.... and accompanied by fewer people than the opposition movement. By the way, these people accompanying these pro-Chavez students look more like the red shirt goons of Lina Ron than the "bolivarian" students I see at the UNEFA. I do not know about you, but for me this is the best evidence of how exhausted, and desperate, chavismo is becoming.
A great image gallery from Globovision. It includes a pic of Lina Ron and her lined up red shirts.