Certainly, having been away for a week should disqualify me from writing a review. And yet I am helped out by the crudeness of this past week.
What has been most striking for me was that Nicolas Maduro has proven himself totally unfit to hold office in Venezuela. Any office for that matter. In a previous post I mentioned the bird as Chavez incident. In other previous posts I did mention his machismo, his homophobia, his ignorance on economic matters, etc... You may argue that Chavez had all those flaws and that did not stop him from ruling for 14 years and bring the country on the verge to chaos. But at least Chavez had some "strengths". He had charisma. He was able to hold together the disparate elements of his coalition with the added skill of knowing how to destroy in full those that dared to contradict him.
Maduro has none of the Chavez strengths, and probably even more flaws than Chavez had. Even Chavez vulgarity seemed studied as in private or international public settings he could be affable and well behaved, fooling all. Maduro comes across as mean, all the time. Plain mean, trying to hide it. That he was foreign minister for half a decade is no reference for good manners and of negotiating skills: his was not a job to conciliate, his was a job to promote his boss, to do his bidding. Cuban foreign service decided all the major points with the acquiescence of Chavez who tied the knot with Cuba with the hope of inheriting the whole thing. Maduro was even clumsy at that: he got caught in Paraguay trying to stir a military action in the crisis that ended in the removal of Lugo from its presidential chair.
I do not mean by this negative basic portrait to underestimate Maduro: he is the perfect courtier, trained long ago by Cuba as pictures of his younger years there have been surfacing lately. Instead of going to college, Maduro seems to have spent a couple of years being trained in Castroists youth organizations, something that we cannot have a full account of even though at least two pictures of him in Cuba then exist and circulate. He was sent then to work as a bus driver in the Caracas Metro system where he quickly stopped working once he became a union leader. Again, no way to know exactly how this happened. A classic example of placing moles by Cuban intelligence.
When Chavez was projected to fame after his failed 1992 coup but his media successful one liner "por ahora", Maduro managed to join his entourage where his talent as courtier came in handy. Slowly but surely, either by remaining quiet on the sidelines when other battled for Chavez favors and lost, or by accepting to do the dirty jobs such as the secret reunions with the high court of justice when Maduro told the judges who to send to jail, he managed to become indispensable to Chavez but also to the Castros. Now he is their candidate to keep destroying the country for the next 6 years at least.
But the problem with this kind of political career is that you are never truly your own man, something you learn only by taking political risks, losing them and managing to come back, forging your character and ideas (even Chavez sort of did that). When a courtier reaches the top, even more when it is by default, then his troubles start as he was never prepared for the task. He starts making political blunders, as his campaign shows. He is unable to set a political course, as his flip flopping on devaluation shows, for example. He shows that he has no moral compass as his homophobia reveals, as just an example. First he made homophobic comments against Capriles Then stupidly he tried to make for it by saying that were he to be an homosexual he would proclaim it on all winds. And then this video below where he he shows that plantain with which he plans to fuck the opposition next Sunday 14.
That is the problem of the courtiers: once they have no one to ingratiate with they cannot even ingratiate themselves to their own persona. Maduro has established definitely this week that he is absolutely unfit to be president on Venezuela, on all accounts, and that his election will lead to major political unrest, a political break down that he can contain only through repression, for a while. Until he touches too many interests in his fraying coalition and they do him in. Think for example what could happen to him when he decides to jail a narco general, tries to put to jail a major bolibourgeois player.... Chavez had no problems on that account.
And yet this deeply flawed man, this obvious traitor to his country, may well be elected next Sunday.
But will he? The other noted event this week is that the informal polls are letting know that the trend is with Capriles, that the gap is closing. That I know of, no serious pollster is going to publish anything complete for that election besides tacking polls and last minute surveys that cannot be published since polls are forbidden to be mentioned in the last days of campaign. At least we can take solace, if Maduro indeed makes it, that people are starting to measure the man, that he is not liked, even if scared chavistas still vote for him.
PS: I must also mention the scandalous endorsement of Maduro by Brazil's ex Lula. Not only it is a grotesque interference in Venezuelan politics, but also it will tarnish Lula's image in history when Venezuelan blood starts running down the streets. Then again corruption has started to dent his image lately: he is a piece of shit just like Chavez was and Brazil historic books will be harsh on him in a few years when they realize all the mistakes he made that have slowed down the rise of Brazil to greatness.