And thus I am back to the “tierra de gracia” just to find me even more confused than when I left. It seems that a mix of bad polls, better polls through sickness, a new found respect for mortality have played havoc with the regime line and a major mutation is taking place. Or is it?
First, before I enter into the few details I am able to grasp so far, it is important to remember that all of Chavez electoral campaigns have been bipolar. That is, there was a period of “Mr. Nice Guy loves you” followed presto by a “you better vote for me or else”. No matter what the result was, the days that followed the election saw a radicalization of the regime either to cash in the victory or to drive the point that an electoral defeat in no way diminished Chavez power.
In other words, no matter what happens these days, we already know that Chavez functions like the fabled story of the scorpion asking the frog to help him cross the river and stabbing the frog in the middle anyway so that both drowned. But then again a strategy that has functioned so well should not be discarded: it is not really Chavez fault that the Venezuelan people are stupid enough to keep tripping on the same stone over and over. And yet....
Suddenly Chavez in his rare appearances is not sporting as much red. He also says that wearing red is not a sign of true revolutionary spirit (Imagine that!). Red has started fading from his surroundings.
Then the "patria, socialismo o muerte" (fatherland, socialism or death) is apparently not appropriate anymore. True, a new slogan is not quite here to replace it, but Chavez considers suddenly that death, well, is a serious matter, too serious to be abandoned to slogans when he needs people to wish him well so that he does not become a martyr of the revolution. The guy apparently really prefers to weaken his pseudo revolution and stay in office until 2031 rather than become the new Che idol....
And best, now the middle class should be courted more seriously by the PSUV. You know, they are poor misguided souls that were abandoned while the hoi polloi got the word. Now it is their turn to enter the bolivarian "pueblo". That is why, I think, Chavez now wears canary yellow shirts for his birthday.
There is however a problem with all of these good intentions: the scorpion is still so much the same that he already tries to stab the frog before this one even starts to cross the river. In the same couple of weeks where these transcendental changes take place (with all the irony intended) the regime issued two new decree laws that will destroy the essence of freedom and the meaning of middle class.
First, the destruction of the rental market by forcing owners to sell at vile price their holdings least they are taken outright from them. For example now rental contracts will be by law for 3 years, and the owner will have to pay for water, electricity and the like.... And kicking a tenant will be achieved only through an expensive legal proceeding, and when you win, execution is only possible after new living quarters are found for the tenant. No deposits, of course.
The other decree is the "just price" one which gives the regime the power to decide what cost each and every step in any production chain. That is, the regime does not want to control the final price only, now it will tell you how much you are allowed to make at every given step. And along the way place business owners in stocks to public disgrace. Voila! Il suffisait d'y penser! And inflation is dead! So will be our grocery shelves as production will be dead along the private sector.
There is no aggiornamento of chavismo, nor there will ever be one. The sole, lone, single function of chavismo is to perpetuate in office Chavez, dead if necessary it seems now, so that Cuba and a few allies can keep sucking the blood of Venezuelans. There are no ideas there, only a goal and a goal can never change: at best it is postponed. The vampiric blood thirsty red will remain de rigueur.