This has gotta be the chavista prayer recently. Since January 5 we can say that the average constitutional violation has been one article a day.... I am not going today into the details because for one thing they may be bait for the opposition and tomorrow they may actually prove that Chavez signed something that Maduro was not allowed to do today but announced anyway (second part of this entry). but the strange thing is that I am starting to have that feeling that they want the chavista crowds to believe that they are indeed violating the constitution deliberately as a way to show strength. Woe is us!
Today it is possible that at least two articles have been violated but I am only going to talk about the nomination of Jaua as foreign secretary, the one that may turn out not to be a violation if tomorrow we do see evidence that Chavez did order that. Which I doubt he did since his signature can easily be forged as no court in Venezuela will dare initiate a probe on its authenticity. But I digress.
According to the Constitution unless he is specifically authorized by Chavez to do so, Nicolas Maduro cannot name any minister The more so that his current hold to the vice-presidency is far from meeting all legal requirements, no matter what the high court ruled. A court, note, that has not dictated a single sentence against the regime in, say, 8 years; just in case you wondered about why I wrote the previous sentence.
And yet naming Elias Jaua the new foreign minister is not the biggest scandal for me today. It is that it was Jaua who was picked to succeed Maduro there. Let's review the guy's career.
Elias Jaua has been all his life a political agitator, of the violent streak. That he reached the vice-presidency did not stop him, he just changed his methods. Under his tenure, which lasted all through Chavez diseases until at the last minute Chavez named Maduro, Jaua has been excellent at insulting and hurting whomever did not agree with him or the regime. If we tie to it his previous tenure as Agriculture Minister, he is without a doubt after Chavez, the main responsible of the disaster in agriculture production, requiring now Venezuela to import at least half of its food. He never conceived of the vice president of an office where you actually were expected to manage the country as our constitution implies.
We should not be surprised by these results. After all, when in college rather than attending lectures, Jaua was more often seen wearing a hood and throwing stones at police or burning cars of whomever had the bad idea to park near any "protest" he would be leading. The guy has "destruction" in his genes and I have never seen any evidence of this being otherwise. And I have followed his career since he was a member of the constitutional assembly in 1999. Once minster of agriculture he placed several of his friends from the "throwing stones" days in key posts. The results were not a surprise, a gang of bitter people had to exact revenge somewhere of their own personal failures in life and the countryside would do while they wait for something better.
Elias Jaua is totally unfit to become Foreign Minister even more than Maduro was (although I think Jaua may speak more than just Spanish, he does have a daughter in a fancy foreign school in Caracas). As far as I know Jaua has never exhibited any talent whatsoever for negotiation. And he is catapulted in the post where negotiations are crucial? Clearly, the reasons for him to get such an important plum job are elsewhere than the mere requirements of diplomacy.
Let's first remember that Venezuela has stopped having a state foreign policy as soon as Chavez was sworn in in 1999. By the year 2003 the Venezuelan diplomacy has become Chavez diplomacy, a "service" whose lone function was to promote Hugo Chavez overseas, and his revolution after he was duly promoted first. On this respect it should not surprise anyone that the requirements to become Chavez foreign minister are strictly based on loyalty to El Supremo.
Still, we need more than that to understand why Jaua was named. I suppose in a way it was a reward for not being defeated by more than 5 points by Capriles. In any, ANY normal election, Jaua should have lost to Capriles by 15 points in Miranda. But the conditions of December 16, and the HUGE expenditures that Jaua provided during his campaign, including inaugurating a music hall with Gustavo Dudamel (who is pretty much damned in Venezuela now for those who really like their classical music) ensured a surprise low defeat, much lower than polls like discredited Datanalisis predicted.
However this is not enough to justify the thing. Maybe it is a also a payback form having given up his vice-presidential seat to Maduro and thus removing himself from the line of succession. This is good, because between Maduro and Diosdado I cannot pick, but between them and Jaua I have no problem eliminating Jaua.
And yet it is not quite enough. I think that the shifting of alliances inside chavismo is going strong, and Jaua did manage to leave one of his men when he left to run for Miranda (Agriculture minister Loyo the infamous). So he may have demanded more power to support Maduro and thus Maduro had to let him in through the Foreign Ministry.
And yet this does not satisfy me and the final argument is in the photo below.
In one of Chavez earlier bouts of his diseases, Jaua went to spend a few days in Cuba and from these he brought that picture that he shows himself above. There he is in a van with Fidel and Raul, all very cozy, very friendly. This is important because we know of nothing he did in Cuba officially as a vice president while there. But he provided one of the rare pictures of Fidel Castro proving that he is still alive. This, in the fidelochavista circles is quite a honor. Is Jaua another pawn of the Castros inside the Venezuelan government? I think so. They are Machiavellian enough to have accepted his initial downgrading when he was sent to Miranda. But now that the Maduro/Cabello fight will extend it is a good idea for the Castros to place Jaua near the throne in case he suddenly needs to step in when the other two destruct each other. That it makes or not sense is besides the point, these people do not think like you or me.
Finally what is Jaua role in his new job? Well, not for diplomacy, he has no clue. He is going to be the anti Foreign Minster, the guy you need to send to the UN or OAS to defend what cannot be defended. A Tariq Aziz if you please, or in more contemporary terms, a Syrian Foreign Minister before defection. That is, Jaua has the quality to remain stone faced no matter what crime with proof is presented in front of him. Perfect to defend the oncoming dictatorship.