I am dumbfounded. Not only because I just barely managed to open the blog dashboard for the first time today and I do not know whether this post will happen, but becasue I caught by mistake Maduro's cadena announcing what a president usually announces first, his new cabinet.
Well, let's start by the obvious: a new cabinet it ain't.
Not only Maduro recycles whatever Chavez left him, but he cannot even make a single appointment that seems to bear, remotely, his stamp. All the key positions are upheld: Ramirez, Arreaza, Iglesias, Jaua, Molero.... Even Giordani remains though apparently with less attributions, the finance part going to Merentes.The only change in a big job is the interior ministry but this one remains in the hands of the army anyway.
Before we speculate on why such a non-event let's write on the immediate consequences. First, this is not a good sign. There is NOTHING positive for the economy there, there is nothing to build confidence, to get business to invest whatever few pennies they may have stashed away. For the agricultural ministry, one of the few changes, we have the guy that destroyed Agroisleña in charge. So we know right now that agricultural production IS NOT GOING TO GO UP.
The other implication is that this is a nervous government, one which feels in danger and thus the wagons have been circled and the people in key position remain there, to man the fort. No time to make changes, a perfect confession that things are not going Maduro's way, that there is no time to train a new guy (assuming that there are proficient guys left inside chavismo, besides proficiency in repression, spying, snitching...). This is an ill omen, these people are not there to discuss shit.
The "stability" of the cabinet can only mean one thing: Maduro is really not in charge, he is just the figurehead. Every faction that had some quota of power, or at least quota of access to fund and patronage, retains it. You would even be hard pressed to see any verifiable "madurista" in the lot, excepting, I suspect and I do not know why, the labor minister. In other words, Maduro has just replaced Chavez as the guy signing the papers, but the decisions are now taken elsewhere.
You could easily get confirmation of this in the pitiful performance of Maduro tonight. When Chavez made any change it just happened and Chavez announced or discussed it at all when he found it convenient. In fact, appointments and removals have been notified to the parties through a tweet!!!! In more civilized countries, the head of the executive sometimes announces the appointment through a press note and that is that. Ministers are, after all, employees to serve the chief executive.
But tonight Maduro did a long cadena where he went name by name, as if presenting those people to the country as brand new stuff when in fact all the heavy weights have been heavy weights for quite a while. The only cosmetic touch was naming an Olympic fencer minister of sports..... He was almost apologetic for those who left and tried to prop up those who came in, while extending himself on the virtues of the ones that remain in place as if they were not responsible for the disaster that he inherits. In fact, he almost sounded like announcing to the country that the previous government was a disaster but now he got the right team to solve all the problems..... It was a truly eerie performance.... I doubt that Maduro convinced anyone, not even the hard core chavismo used to and appreciative of a more "executive" approach to things.
Tonight I can write in all confidence that Maduro's regime is starting badly, and not only becasue of the electroal albatross that is now here to stay even if the CNE manages to cheat survive. Maduro tonight has proven that he has absolutely no creativity, that he probably has little leverage and that he probably has even less power......