|Capriles and Rodriguez Torres|
In this picture a rather criticized Capriles gathers with the Police Minister, a former 1992 coup monger in charge of killing, if necessary, the presidential family, chat on how to improve personal security in Miranda state.
I am not going to enter into the debate as to whether a dialogue is possible between the regime and the opposition, or whether Capriles sold out, etc.. those are each matter for a complete entry of its own. A mere tweet from Pedro Burelli illustrates some of my thoughts on that.
No me imagino a Rómulo Betancourt dialogando y planificando algo con Pedro Estrada. ¿Será que no creo en la impunidad?
— Pedro M. Burelli (@pburelli) January 20, 2014
I cannot imagine Romulo Betancourt [first president after the Perez Jimenez dictatorship in 1958] having a dialogue and planning something with Pedro Estrada [chief of police under Perez Jimenez in charge of political repression]. Could it be that I do not believe in impunity?
Rather I am going to speculate on what such a picture means politically inside chavismo. For that I am going to start with an excellent summary on the "far left" of chavismo published in El Pais, of Spain. In short, for those who do not read Spanish, Maduro was last week attacking an 'ultra left' that accused him of not being on the left enough.
To understand this surprising outburst you need to realize first that in a neo-fascist regime whose strings are pulled from Havana while the military and the bolibourgeois suck the country dry living the grand life, left is meaningless, just a political label applied as needed. As such, established social democrats are considered "ultra-right" when convenient, leaving us without adjectives to qualify liberal rights parties, not that any in Venezuela qualifies for that.
Inside chavismo there may be several varieties of what we call undemocratic left (the democratic left is long gone). We have those who cannot wait for Venezuela to become Cuba-bis. We have those who think a muscular revolution is necessary until mentalities are changed and we can have the luxury of democracy (Yeah, right, as if this ever worked out historically...) We have a romantic left, the one that believes in its mission to save the world regardless of what the world think of their methods, the comeflor left if you wish. Etc... You get the picture!
The one left Maduro has in mind is a radical left who believe they are the true heirs of Chavez thought (as if Chavez had bequeathed us an organized ideology) and who think that there is no compromise possible with the Venezuelan opposition. None. That opposition must in fact be deprived of its goods, media, etc... These people in theory would have no problem in living of water and bread if necessary (though these days there is no bread). But worse, they do not trust Maduro.
The problem is that this left is against a certain inevitable pragmatism needed at a time when everything is falling apart and at a time where the military, the one issued from the 1992, is finally getting the real control of the country, a control long denied by Chavez himself. Let me remind you that 25% of Maduro cabinet is military while they are about half governors and a large numbers of high ranking folks in public administration issued from the barracks. The army, mostly, occupies now the key posts in managing the economy though planning is still left to unreconstructed commies like Giordani.
What we are slowly witnessing is a larval conflict between the self styled true revolutionaries and a military faction who think their time has come. This is how the picture above must be understood. Maduro et al. have excoriated Capriles and yet the main cabinet position meets with Capriles. This cannot be explained alone by insecurity and the murder of a former Miss Venezuela. Rodriguez Torres showed that he has his own agenda here and Maduro had to accept it as such a meeting cannot have been held without Maduro knowledge if not acquiescence. What it does not mean whatsoever is that the regime is actually going to sit down with the opposition and start some form of dialogue to prepare a transition, or at the very least avoid an economic/social debacle.
There is another piece of critical evidence that indicates that this fight between part of the army and part of the radicals is taking place. As is the case in all revolutionary or pseudo revolutionary sagas, between two extremes there is an amorphous majority center that at some point will be forced to take charge, the same repeating story since Thermidor. But before that time one extreme must destroy the other. Working with one extreme may be the Catholic Church which has been taking a stronger role lately. One event was its own meeting with Rodriguez Torres, in a way, I suppose, validating a future meeting of this one with an opposition leader. This meeting did not stop the Church from opposing sternly the "plan de la patria" three days later. Coincidence so close from R.T. visit? With his blessing?
The "plan de la patria" (plan for the fatherland?) was just an electoral platform for Chavez reelection in 2012, a piece of paper that he did not write himself as he was already too sick for such worries though he had no problem heralding it. The point is that Chavez was never constrained by a piece of paper, witness the uncounted constitutional violations he did to the one he wrote himself in 1999. In fact that piece of paper was studiously vague and general, including wishes to save human kind as if a Venezuelan president could be in such position ever... But with Chavez death his heirs in need of some ideological and methodological union grabbed that electoral pamphlet and made it their raison d’être. As it has been often the case with chavismo, there is more than one version of this pamphlet and it has been the occasion of a stern dispute between Maduro's group and the 'ultra left'.
Whatever it is, Maduro has been forced to announce the date for the first PSUV congress ever. which speaks volume on the importance of Chavez that he avoided such a constraining platform during his reign while his heirs must finally go through what promises to be a duly revamped communist party congress of the XXI century variety. Yes, for those late in the game, the PSUV is the electoral machine of Chavez that behaves already like the vertical machinery of a Communist Party even if it does not have the name. What was missing was a congress with the accompanying purges or abject submissions. They are coming in July.
What a vortex is opening under Maduro's feet, my friends....