I will try to be short. The actions that Maduro and Cabello are taking are playing against them. One could almost call them suicidal.
Summary: after a begrudging acceptation of results in the wee hours of Monday 7, Maduro and then Cabello have started to push the ante by taking all sorts of measure to neutralize the reach of the newly elected assembly. Accompanying this, of course, we hear a fiery speech to defend the revolution and go above institutions as needed, if we can call the racketeering system that the regime has put in place "institutions". In no particular importance:
- Promotion of the judge that put Leopoldo Lopez in jail
- Swearing o 12 new high court judges without respecting the delays and rules specified in the constitution and laws (written by the regime, by the way).
- Depriving the National Assembly of its own TV network, thus maintaining the country real news black out.
- More promises of the sort such as ruling through "asambleas del pueblo" as if the pueblo had not just voted in 112 seats...
- Sending red shirted thugs to break down press conferences of dissident chavistas (and directing a full blown scale verbal attack on those inside chavismo that want to point out the high levels of the regime as the ones responsible for the defeat).
- Refusing to accept any guilt for the defeat; all is the fault of the economical warfare, of the empire, of the opposition hold on media, etc. Without bothering to present a single shred of evidence: it is my word and that is enough.
First there was the shock. The regime never expected such a stunning defeat. Like this blogger, it expected that in the end, facing the voting machine, a lot of disgruntled chavista would vote conservative, that is, the 17 year old regime. Except that this blogger knew the polls were too overwhelmingly against the regime and that the vote spread would be 16%, 10% less than what polls were saying.
See, the inner workings of the fraudulent electoral system is that it is not too difficult to apply some make up to bad electoral results. The regime can pad its vote at the last minute if the results are close ("late" voters, voting tables where opposition witness have been banned and which suddenly have 100% participation, and more). But this time around the results were so dramatic that the last minute forcing out of people to go and vote may have resulted in actually more votes for the opposition...
In short the regime was prepared for a narrow victory, at worst. They truly believed it. We cannot conclude otherwise. How come they made such a crass mistake is for the books.
There were two immediate consequences when the results were announced.
The first one was that the repressed dissidence within chavismo was going to cash in, the "I told you so" campaign that the regime had all the trouble in the world to contain would not be contained anymore. And that will be a direct challenge to Maduro and Cabello.
The second one was that the new assembly would sooner or later start investigating the actions of Cabello and his allies (Maduro as the president must be removed from office first before being fully investigated). For Cabello, already under international investigation, it was a sure thing that Venezuela was his safe haven. But not anymore. For him to avoid investigation at home would be at the price of leaving the political scene and, possibly, return part of what he stole or gained illegally. That is, the opposition could only forgive him once it made sure that Cabello could not be a nuisance anymore. Maduro's own unpopularity does not make such process necessary but that his family can now be thoroughly investigated has the same effect on his future.
It is true that the opposition for the sake of political stability and because of the dire economic crisis ahead may chose not to remove Maduro or to investigate Cabello for the time being. But it will happen and there is no way for Maduro and Cabello to recover politically fast enough to block these attempts. A 15% vote defeat cannot be regained in a few month, not even through some form of referendum. By the time chavismo can regain competitiveness it would be too late for both of them.
Hence the sudden and desperate offensive this past week, and the ones to come until January 5. What Maduro and Cabello are doing are desperate measures. Even if they were to be met with some success the economic crisis aggravation as of now would sweep them.
In short, what they are doing right now is counterproductive for their political survival. We are witnessing the last weeks, maybe months at best for them, of Cabello and Maduro. Which is not to say that their replacement would be any better, but that is another story.
Note: since Chavez left for his last trip to Cuba, Maduro and Cabello have been fighting out for his "legacy". Their never ending battle which seemed to go Cabello for a while had a very negative collateral effect: they forgot or did not have time to think about the realities of the country. Not daring to take any of the necessary measures needed to avoid a worsening of the crisis, that had already started in the last year of Chavez, this one came back with a vengeance causing this electoral disaster. They have only themselves to blame and chavismo knows it. Hence the open dissidence of a political system that does not want to go down with Cabello and Maduro.