Cantankerous Rafael Poleo makes the point of its Zeta main piece this week that after the Amuay disaster the elections of October are pointless. He suggests that the sate of the country is so bad that we need to be creative and remove Chavez now, reach some sort of political compromise (a transition period regime of a year or two?) and then proceed to elections once it is all settled some. All this because it is now impossible for Chavez and Ramirez and a few others to surrender government if they lose elections. They know they will go to jail and so their only option at some form of freedom is to make at the very least an electoral coup that will only destabilize the country further.
Now this is my reading of Poleo whose articles are not on line and who uses allusions, never naming names, while he has an agenda of his own that does not include Capriles or Primero Justicia. He makes one think for sure but I do not fall for him usually nor do I fall this time around because it is many of the stuff that I have been writing for a long time (the most recent wondering whether Capriles could square the circle).
One thing is certain: too many chavistas have too many crimes to answer for so that a peaceful transition is possible. This much I trust we can all agree with even if we do not want to admit it, starting with Capriles himself. When a new administration takes charge, it will not be able to ignore a lot of stuff, no matter how strong a conciliatory spirit it pretends to have. And after last week in Amuay, the task will be even more difficult. How can we not prosecute the managers and heads of PDVSA for not having fire extinguishing foam at hand? Not to mention that they were fool enough to brag about the speed they brought some from abroad.....
If the regime were following its own laws, Ramirez today would be in custody while investigation goes on. I know the law, I know that I could go into custody even if a worker commits suicide while at work.......
But I digress. If Ramirez by himself is one of the biggest criminals of the regime, now with charred blood on his hands, he is not the only one. Amuay is only the first of the major bombs that are going to explode soon in many areas of the country. And Amuay itself had plenty of warnings: Cúpira, Aban Pearl, Jose's coke, Monagas rivers, etc.... We can also expect major financial bombs, agricultural bombs, etc, etc....
I expressed in the past my concern that we may not make it to the October election and suddenly those concerns, I hate to admit, have revived. It all depends if chavismo is already decided not to recognize the electoral result (they need more than a victory, they need a million votes whereas Capriles would get a mandate with a mere 500,000, but that is another post).
What we have to face now is that the situation of Venezuela is worse than we thought it was one week ago. Much worse, probably, and this is going to affect politics in the next weeks. Maybe as extreme as Poleo suggests. Maybe under a milder form through a chavismo wing that wants Chavez out. Maybe a landslide for Capriles that would make resistance futile. Maybe..... Perhaps, and I hope, the silver lining in all of this will come from within the army and chavismo, enough of them understanding that the disaster cannot be allowed to go on. They would support a Capriles take over if anything because they are sick and tired of chaos (and stole enough to ensure part of their future and want to enjoy it, Capriles only being able to jail a few hundred at most).
But I also fear is that the other dark side of chavismo, the one subjected to Castro's dictates, will embark in a fatal adventure.
VERY UNLIKELY SPECULATION
But for the sake of argument let's play Poleo's game which has among other motives to weaken PJ to the point that maybe in a year from now Capriles would not be Unidad candidate anymore. Let's not forget that AD and to a lesser extent COPEI have fed chavismo and thus have some form of ties with it. Chavista voters were not spontaneous generation, they came mostly from AD and COPEI even if chavismo would prefer us to believe otherwise.
AD and COPEI drag UNT into a pact with the army and some inside chavismo, in particular some inside the TSJ High Court and CNE Electoral Power. As of that pact, to be achieved late September at the latest, Chavez resigns under any excuse but names before a suitable VP for all (maybe even Jaua, why not?). Since there is "instability" in the country after Amuay and PSUV lost its candidate, the TSJ decides that elections should be postponed and the CNE promptly obliges. A law is quickly passed in the National Assembly to polish the legal aspects, a law approved with AD support which breaks ranks with UNIDAD where basically PJ and VP are left alone to cry.
Even though the term "transition" is never used the fact that new elections are called for June 2013 make the new vice prez. a transition government. To hide what was a mere coup to stop Capriles to reach office, local elections are held not in December but in February and divisions inside the opposition allow chavismo to retain about 10 states, including Aragua, when a Chavez defeat would have meant losing all but 2-3 states.
Along the way a constitutional reform is voted, removing the amendment for eternal reelection voted in 2009 altogether, bringing in a two round presidential ballot, validating the September legal coup and changing the nomination process for justices and other folks. Thus by June chavismo accepts to surrender some of the judicial controls of the state to the opposition but keeping enough so there will be a limit in the amount of chavistas that will face justice. The two round balloting divide the opposition and this one goes to the July election with three candidates at least, allowing for a second round ballot in August where actually the chavista candidate is competitive enough to have a chance to win.
Even if the opposition wins in August 2013 it is weakened, cannot do all the hoped for judicial reparations and must limit itself to work the economic agenda. Chavismo divided in parliament between a raging left and a more "centrist" group manages to strike a few legislative deals with an equally divided opposition. But by January 2014 the new opposition president cannot manage the assembly anymore and either uses the recall election feature of the dissolution of the National Assembly by forcing it to vote a non confidence motion on the vice president. Whatever it is, chavismo loses its majority but the winning opposition is divided enough that shifting coalitions keep marking the agenda, though this time more favorable to the president. Still, no matter what, by the end of 2014 chavismo is beginning to be able to create enough trouble in the streets that by 2015 the possible return of chavismo before 2019 is a distinct possibility.
With such a scenario chavismo has avoided the debacle, the country a civil war, maybe, and Cuba may be able to keep getting some money though not as much as before, as her free to accept Chavez demise without the bloodshed Cubans could have organized. The average opposition voter would have been cheated once again to allow the remains of the old political class to fuse with some of the new and a large portion of the chavista one to create a new status quo. AD will not be reborn but it will recover enough chavistas to reach a solid 15% that will make it the hinge party in parliament. But the new status quo eventually will create resentment and bring the country into the hands of a new messiah, this time maybe from the real right......
In other words, what Poleo proposes is to postpone ad patres that Venezuela cleans up its act. Do you agree?
PS: with this entry I inaugurate a new label, maybe too optimist: post-chavez