UPDATED. The pace of events against Maduro has sped up through the week. From being annoyed by his preparation trip to the UN assembly and China it has become a badly reviewed trip top China, a dismal fiasco at the UN and now the questions about his birth have been whipped into a froth. There is open comment around that Maduro days are numbered as the army may be asking him to resign, not as a coup but because he was illegally elected president of Venezuela. And he has only his own idiocy to blame though the trigger may have been the narco activities of the Venezuelan state.
Let's recap some.
First we had the accusations of Maduro against the US for not granting his entourage all the required visas. Then we had the sudden appearance of Rafael Isea in the US, negotiating a deal with the DEA. He denied it on twitter but we have not seen him live doing it since. Rafael Isea former governor of Aragua state and one of Chavez close proteges may or may not have been immersed in drug traffic but he was implicated in many a laundering of money activity. Amounts of what he gained personally, in the different positions where large amounts of money were managed, vary but all give him a low two digits number of millions of dollars in his pocket over a decade, barely.
Second, Maduro cut short his trip and skipped an expected UN speech, just as France was reporting a major drug haul that was carried through REGULAR PASSENGER FLIGHT. That hurt a lot because it is not the same thing to steal a small plane to carry drugs across borders, than to jeopardize the security of an airport and its passengers..... That was going too far, even for Venezuela's military apparently deeply implicated already in drug trafficking schemes.
Thus Maduro came back in a hurry and the reasons of that hurry are being slowly revealed. At this time, as I pointed in last post, we cannot ascertain for sure how much is true gossip or fake gossip but there is a certain overlap that, well.... Let's go by portions, without any real order, without any implication of importance.
May as well start as to hurried return. Apparently the incompetence of Maduro's entourage is so deep that on their way back from China they stopped for refueling at Vancouver and Canada refused to sell gas because it was a Cuban plane. Note that the life of any Venezuelan was not in danger, just that gas could not be dispatched. I can imagine a few smirks in Ottawa about the nasty stuff that Venezuela has said about Canada in the past and how they screw Canadian investors.... Apparently while stuck on the tarmac, hearing alarming reports and realizing that he may not be able to sneak inside the US alleged Cubans agents in his entourage, Maduro decided to skip the New York stopover and came back through smaller state planes. We do not know how they all came back, or whether eventually the Cuban plane was refueled. I suppose it was or it will.
Since he is back we have learned more stuff. For example some experts based on what little they manage to gather from the mysterious Chinese negotiations think that Maduro did not get all what he wanted from the Chinese who must be wondering about the real Venezuelan capacity to pay back their loans. In fact, the regime is calling the latest Chinese credit line anything but a loan, in a desperate attempt at hiding the reality... And apparently the actual cash portion that interests the more the corrupt sector of the regime is smaller than expected. We also learned that the recent 600 million dollars worth of food to be imported in a rush from Colombia before the December election will be paid in coupons.... Whatever it is, the Maduro regime is not happy with the revelation from China, Vancouver or New York.
But in Venezuela rumors keep going. And what we have is a truly bona fide version of a Venezuelan "birthing movement" that has suddenly caught strength. See, Maduro has refused to produce his birth certificate. And in Venezuela not only not proving without a doubt that he is ONLY Venezuelan could be a grave constitutional violation, but it should not be a big deal to produce a piece of paper that needs to be produced for many activities, such as weddings that Maduro did a few weeks after his "election" of April. In the US around Obama was a privacy issue but in Venezuela the bureaucratic nature of our state makes a birth certificate something almost public, something that you need to have at hand to produce at will. Why the reticence of Maduro?
The birthing "protest" is gaining strength to the point that respected journalists are saying blithely that the armed forces are considering the issue (if you understand Spanish listen to the interview of Milagros Soccorro for Colombian TV). Capriles on his Internet TV had tonight a special show about all the evidence that has been gathered that Maduro would be at the very least bi-national (video in Spanish here). True, maybe the Venezuelan high court will rule that Maduro just needs to formally renounce his Colombian origins, but the crisis would still hit him in full, not because of his Colombian origins but because of his dithering....
Are we entering a new major phase of our never ending political crisis?
Update. Nelson Boccaranda, again attacked by Maduro, comes up with some explanations.
1) Maduro may be really upset about the drug caught in the Air France plane. Why is he upset, he does not say. could be anything from him not being included in the deal to him realizing what a PR disaster that was. NB even says that Maduro had a spat with the defense minister during his trip demanding her that she has the balls? boobs? to put in jail whatever high ranking military was involved in that one. according to NB, this was the real issue deciding Maduro to skip the UN stop, in addition of the Chinese not being as accommodating as hoped.
2) The mystery of the Cuban plane stranded in Vancouver is due apparently to poor logistics from Venezuela rather than any interdiction. Apparently Venezuela credit is so bad that now when the regime plans a trip all airports ask to be paid in advance. Though it is not clear yet if Vancouver did not put up at first because Maduro asked for gas all the way to Caracas when at first he was due to fill up just for New York. Clearly, it is not clear yet, if you forgive me the redundancy. But whatever it is that happened there is linked to Venezuela dismal credit.....