Finally I can start. It has been a busy afternoon since I came back from work, early because we lost power at 2 PM and by 3:15 I gave everyone the rest of the day off even though I stayed behind: after all I have a lap top.
I missed the official announcement because having Direct TV recorder I had reset to the start of Alo Ciudadano. So I learned of Chavez death through Twitter. How pedestrian! Then again, did Chavez died at 4:25PM as announced? Already in Twitter we read that he died in Cuba this morning and they waited for the body to be flown back before announcing...
So we had three cadenas today. The first one a midday was a mere series of insults of Maduro against the opposition, accusing us even to have "inoculated" Chavez with cancer. A commission of real scientists will be put to investigate. Of course Globovision put back a recording of Chavez two years ago when he admitted that his lifestyle did not help him avoid cancer.... Already in Twitter I noted that this cadena had a redolence of preemptive strike.......
But the tone was set. The second cadena was after 5 PM for the official announcement Interestingly, besides the expected for public crying of Maduro, we noted the absence of Cabello who is now legally the new president. On Twitter we also learned that some high military were absent. His grief did not stop Maduro to make some implications as to his future political career. Not to be surprised he has been playing with Chavez health for quite a while...
And then we got a third cadena from military staff alone as to unity, safety, constitution blah, blah, reminding us that yes, Venezuela is indeed under a military regime....
The media were ready. The NYT had a full article within an hour from the announcement they just had to add the time I suppose. Globovision also had already a short video in an homage of sorts to Chavez. Etc.... That is what you get by taking months to die, all are ready.... And Simon Romero, ex bureau chief of the NYT in Caracas had the obituary under his sleeve.
Also, San Felipe is quiet. No fireworks, no nothing. We are decent folks.
More ready obits: Moises Naim.
A perturbing coincidence: Chavez died 60 years after Stalin, to the day....
Since Chavez was never sworn in, that we know of anyway, then it is for National President Assembly Diosdado Cabello to be sworn in shortly. He will be so for around 30 days, until new elections are held. Unfortunately nobody knows where he is right now though a couple of days ago he lost his mother and he is probably taking care of that.
If Maduro wants to run he needs to resign his Vice President seat. Unless Diosdado assumes, name shim vice president, and resigns right after so Maduro can run as sitting president. Will they dare?
Elections have to be called in 30 days. This ridiculous tenet of the Constitution cannot be fulfilled. First, it will be simply indecent to start the campaign while Chavez is still not under ground and 30 days would force us to that. Second, there is the Easter holiday which lasts one week and complicates any campaigning Expect a compromise to be reached and elections called for April 14 at the earliest and May 5 at the latest. My bet is Sunday April 28.
My feelings, if anyone care.
I am rather numb. I am not sad because I always disliked the man, since 1992, always knowing he was bad news. But also I know that whatever damage he has done, it is done, and his passing does not change anything to that as the worst is ahead of us, with or without him. And thus I experience neither sadness nor joy because I am afraid to tell you the truth, afraid for the country. And so far there is nothing reassuring me.
World news, indeed!
All is quiet in the country as far as I can tell.
@rociosanmiguel Amiga esto en el 23 esta feo los colectivos alborotados y armados con capuchas en la calle. Dios Bendiga a Venezuela!!!
—Waldy (@Gordozambrano01) March 5, 2013
23 Enero is a very chavista area of Caracas and the natives are restless according to these tweets.
I did earlier a quickie interview for La Stampa in Italy. The link is already out. Venezuela News and Views in Italian!
I have to write a piece for England and I am expecting a phone interview any minute from the states.....
The ridicule has started. For some unaccountable reason, El Aissami of the white cheeks, the governor of Aragua went on TV to give a rather idiotic grieving message. That was OK when you consider that the head of the High Court, infamous Luisa Estela, tells us that noted poly-religious Chavez was with Christ in the end and that he now resides near God. Or something like that.... Maybe she could send her CV to Rome where there is a job opening: her familiarity with who is seated next to God should help her get the job....
Jaua announces that Chavez will be laid on state at the military academy. Several events are already previewed. Some foreign leaders are on their way. Official ceremony is Friday at 10 AM at the said academy. They will give him honors as a military! Not as a civilian president! Fuck them!!!
7 days of national mourning and all classes suspended for three days? And for those who work, who is going to watch out for the kids during the daytime? Creeps!
Capriles speaks. We have our first running horse for the coming elections.
Poised message, not taking the bait from the regime. Peace and reconciliation.
Diosdado speaks. What a creep.
Alo Ciudadano finishes its broadcast.
Trouble starts: conflicting voices among chavismo as to who is in charge as of now. The Constitution is clear, it has to be Diosdado Cabello because Chavez was not sworn in. Will the Maduro camp dare violate once again the Constitution as they did in January 9? Not that it matters really....
A break for dinner, a couple of phone calls, dog walking and two reruns of the Big Bang Theory. Seemed appropriate to the moment. thus time for a final update.
The country seems generally quiet. In Caracas some areas are clogged with chavista mourners but the rest of the country seems to have gone to bed early. Though it did not stop some exalted chavisa to beat up a Colombian journalist from RCN....
Confusion seems to reign on foreign media to quick in deciding that Jaua is right in saying that Maduro will assume the interim presidency until the election. Diosdado Cabello should assume otherwise it is yet again another constitutional violation, and certainly a sign of major trouble inside chavismo. It is interesting to know that chavismo is already starting such speculations while the opposition has stayed calm and composed (except on the rabid web pages, but that is another story).
Several of Chavez friends have already announced their arrival for the Friday ceremonies.
Where things are not going as well is in the population as a mini panic has set up and many food stores had to have an early closing time today due to the affluence of people buying anything at hand. Also the major wireless carriers reported phone collapse as all rushed to call whomever they thought. I did not. In fact, it was until past 7 PM that I got my first phone text inquiring whether I was safely at home..... The S.O. in Caracas reported that his habitual panaderia had been emptied by the time he arrived from work. And his annoyingly busy phone strangely quiet. I anticipate many business not working tomorrow and quiet streets. Not for mourning but for general fear. The legacy of Chavez......
That is all for tonight. See you tomorrow when the show really starts. First question will Diosdado be sworn in. He should first thing in the morning. Second question, where will Chavez be buried? Will they dare to put him already with Bolivar in the brand new mausoleum? If not, where will they put him safely? Third question, will we get a full report, exact time of death, etc, etc.? I am not holding my breath. And many, many more but let's start with these three ones that will tell us more than anything else toward what type of regime we will be moving to.
To leave you with some gossip, Spain ABC writes about the final days of Chavez and how his body was ferried around the Caribbean. Se non e vero, e ben trovatto.