I am still not ready to come back, enjoying too much a blog distancing (and life distancing, for that matter), but I cannot resist to report on this latest hat-trick-that-wasn't from the regime.
See, on February 12 the Unidad will hold its primaries to decide its candidates for the election rounds starting October 7. But that day also sort of coincides with the Battle of La Victoria which is one that chavismo likes to celebrate even if it is not a real national holiday. But the battle marks the bravura and self sacrifice of a few young Venezuelans during the Independence wars and for a military regime like the one of Chavez it is irresistible to pass on any linking real youth (meaning revolutionary youth) with any military activities. So the ineffable youth minister, Mari Pili Hernandez, announced that the real Venezuelan Youth will be discussing the Bolivar plan for the next eon and submit their thoughts to Chavez on Youth Day. How much more Castro Cuban can you be? Really..... And this would have been accompanied by a large rally in Caracas on, you guessed it, February 12 while the opposition tries to vote (traffic jams, scare tactics, SA like salutes, etc, etc...). Never mind that historically the celebrations are in Maracay/La Victoria and not Caracas.
Sure enough the opposition was quick in pointing the flaws and the threats and the admission of weakness from chavismo trying to distract in any silly way it can from the primaries. Some within chavismo realized that it was a political blunder, a silly game of "mine is bigger" that they could only lose. So Hernandez backtracked and Chavez said that they did not want to distract the eyes of the country as to his predicted opposition poor showing.
But in the same breath he also said that nothing was changed, that he did not know what Hernandez was up to and that La Victoria was always the seat of the activities on February 12. A strange flip back after the flip-flop.
What to make of that? That the regime is getting worried sick about the Unidad primaries, that it is realizing, belatedly, that they will be held, that a clear winner may emerge in the end. There is no hidden message in Diosdado Cabello "prediction" that the primaries will be cancelled, or that Hernandez wanted to create a distraction if anything to keep a few people from voting by forcing them to march for the regime. They are worried and are at a loss as to what to do to hide them or make them disappear.
Actually Chavez betrayed his worried subconscious by revealing that his information is that no more than 20% of the country would vote and thus the primary will be a failure. In fact 20% turnout for a primary is EXCELLENT anywhere in the world, and the more so in Venezuela where Chavez claims that more than 60% of the people are with him, and we must presume unwilling to vote in an opposition primary. In fact, if 20% of people actually vote in February it may mean that already 40% of us are ready to vote against Chavez and with the usual 30% abstention, well, that leaves 30% for Chavez in October...... Even though I shall add a "caveat emptor" as electoral history of primaries tend to say that the primary vote is never even half of the final vote count.