Today we got examples of what is effective long term action and what is a mere silly rant. Let's us start with the later.
Chavez is very upset these days, and I am sure rather scared. The Keller poll confirmed his decline. He tried to prepare a take over of the Polar Group only to watch the trade union leaders refuse the offer of becoming a state company. He stole a hundred + tons of food from Polar only to be confronted a few days later by the discovery of at least 30,000 tons of food of PDVAL and Mercal gone to waste after having been abandoned in Puerto Cabello for over 6 months. As he tries to come back form this PR disaster by finding a convenient scapegoat we learn yesterday that an additional 24,000 tons of food gone to waste in Tinaquillo.
Let's not be afraid of cliches here: the emperor is naked. Rarely the incompetence of a head of state is exposed so crudely, as the Chavez catastrophic management style has been exposed this week. And it must have shown already in the governmental polls as Chavez went on the counteroffensive by plaguing us with a cadena that lasted from before noon and lasted until around 7 PM.
I question the usefulness of today never ending cadena (reminder: ALL of TV and Radio networks are commandeered for the 7 hours for the simultaneous broadcast of Chavez; ALL, no right to reply, no interruptions). For one thing, it looked too much like a never ending rant. Second, it was a catalog of alleged chavista successes, successes that people do not detect when they go to the grocery store. People also know that these alleged triumphs of XXI century socialism are never confirmed anywhere, that no independent observer is ever allowed on the grounds. At any rate, Chavez was not talking to me today, he was trying to avoid that his hard core supporters get demoralized, or, worse, doubtful of the grace of their beloved leader. That is, desperate damage control and it showed. Still, we must admire the stamina of Chavez, staying 7 hours sitting in front of a table talking non stop about this and that, lightening up the mood by copious insults from Polar to his ex tutor, Maza Zavala who apparently is not as well versed in Marxism as Chavez is today.
While all this B.S. was taking place, elsewhere where it matters in the long run, Diego Arria was reaching another hit in his world tour to denounce Chavez abuses. What is Mr. Arria doing? He is visiting all sorts of International organizations and leaders. See, he has access because he has a long and distinguished career at the UN and many know him, and his worth. For example today he was received for 45 minutes by French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner. This is no small potatoes, because for Mr. Kouchner to find 45 minutes for Mr. Arria while France is in the middle of a European crisis cum Middle East crisis is a message to Chavez. The French are getting tired of Chavez mercurial approach to business, Exito sudden take over is not paid for, CADA take over negotiations are not advancing, Spain contracts for renewing Caracas metro built by the French are questionable, etc, etc... So, for the first time, the French government receives officially a member of Venezuela's opposition at the highest possible level.
Diego Arria will also be heard because his own particular case is just too scandalous: his farm, a rather small one, was a productive one, a farm preserving large swath of unexploitable land, where many people visited from outside of the country and thus know the truth. As I wrote then, it was a mistake for Chavez to attack Arria as he can lose more than what Arria lost, at least politically.
The case is in fact so good for Mr. Arria that he is received everywhere he wants. The International Workers Organization in Geneva as he goes there to defend HIS employees deprived of their job by the abuse of power of the Chavez regime defending Venezuela's independent trade unions from Chavez design to destroy them. He also is received by the UN organization for human rights and against torture to expose the case of Judge Afiuni.
There is an interesting phenomenon going on here: the more people are vocal against Chavez the more this one seems to be crumbling: maybe not in power but certainly in character and mood. Today it was not the self assured Chavez, it was someone feeling cornered. This year has been good for bringing out people willing to take personal chances and ALMOST ALL OF THEM have been given the spotlight by Chavez himself who must feel sorry now. If memory serves me well, a short list and not in chronological order nor in order of volume: Alvarez Paz, Diego Arria, Henri Falcon, the workers of Polar, the Union leaders of Polar, Polar, the state legislators of Carabobo. Last year I can only think of Ledezma as benefiting (unfortunately for him and the others) of the errors of Chavez for his increased notoriety. Surely it is a sign of a government at loss of ideas on how to counter the growing discontent wave.