So the OAS summit is about to start. A lot of clouds are announced, then again nothing may happen. And then again the unexpected may take place. Should we care? I do not need to enter much into that as there is a perfectly good, perfectly complete, perfectly short piece that covers all that you need to know on the Panama gathering, In case you think it is relevant for the future.
Instead let's talk about Maduro's understanding of the situation. Inasmuch as we can even dare making an educated guess about the primary feeling that has taken possession of his psyche. Because I assume that Maduro at least had at some point the smarts of a courtier. That does not mean that he is intelligent, he is not. But at least he had the necessary wiles and instincts to rise inside the Cuban imperial court and the Chavez proconsul court to reach the title of viceroy of Venezuela, no small feat.
But things have gone downhill since and Maduro had to go on survival mode, hence his primal instincts have taken precedence. Cruelty, vulgarity, ignorance, arrogance are now the only things he is able to display.
The problem for Maduro is that two years have gone by and he has nothing to show for and elections are coming that he is certain to lose (he will steal them, but that is another story). The only thing left to do is to create tools of pressure on the people to scare them into toeing the line. And Obama has served the perfect excuse with his executive order. Mind you, Obama was just an excuse, I am sure that Maduro and his team had other options prepared, but Obama was a convenient bonus. The jailing and torture of Lopez were already part of a plan set long ago, in case you are willing to blame Obama for every evil.
This is how you need to understand the drive to collect the "10 million" signatures that are to be delivered to Obama so he feels compelled to repeal his executive order. The world knows by now that those signatures come from non Venezuelans, that school children and public workers were forced to sign, that people have already been fired for not signing, or bribed with a chicken into signing, and what not. Those signatures are D.O.A for Obama and the civilized world.
Because it is an internal demonstration of strength. It is set to demonstrate to "el pueblo" that the regime is a totalitarian state, able to scare people into signing, creating in them the idea that their vote is not going to be safe, unknown. Showing that data can be manipulated at ease like they do with Twitter though all sorts of robots tweeting happily any hashtag. To show that the agenda is set by Maduro, not by anyone else. That who is guilty and corrupt and narc is decided by Maduro, not by honest observers. That truth has nothing to do with power. That resistance is futile.
What we have seen in recent weeks is one of the most odious, naked exercise of fascist power. Fascist but XXI century style, bloodless so far, shrouded in a mist that the civilized world does not dare to pierce, that sickly fascinates some of that so called civilized world. XXI century fascism fascinates. Truly.
It is too early to see whether it worked. But it announces harsh days ahead.