The regime lost bad on December 6 but not everyone inside lost the same. The big loser is Diosdado Cabello; he lost his soap box, a lot of protection and his ability to rule through fear. Maduro lost a lot for sure as the election was a referendum on his tenure. But he is still president while Diosdado is, well, not much more than a minority party representative. If for the sake of survival the rivalry between the two men has been put in the side burner a year ago when polls started to look bad, that rivalry still exists and the need for survival is now desperate.
With the army party slightly on the side as they are not willing to pay the political price of 17 years of misrule, with the corrupt chavista narco elite blamed internally for the catastrophic economic crisis, it is the hour of the radicals and they are going for it.
Maduro formed in Cuba and the Castro's viceroy is naturally fond of radicals. He did not advance them before because chavismo was a coalition of interests where displacing a single group could have dangerous snowball effects. But now he can because the other factions are stunned not only because they lost on 6D so badly but also that the people did not revolt to expel the MUD invaders and restore chavismo to revolutionary glory. I am not making this up, read their own words in the press.
The thing about radicals is that even if they lose a battle or an election they do not care much as to the why and how. They just care about pursuing their agenda at all costs since they truly believe that through its completion people will finally see the goodness of their proposal. Be it radical chavismo, IS or Marine Le Pen. Thus yesterday we saw Maduro finally imposing a cabinet more to his liking where the economy tsar/star is pure lefty, but someone without even a formal Marxist formation. Luis Salas is a prophet. He has had visions that inflation does not exist, that gas is not subsided, that Polar hides months of national production in a small warehouse somewhere. As a prophet now in charge he will demonstrate that his fantasy world was the truth that others failed to see and thus failed to seek.
If some of the chavista factions may be stunned they are not necessary totally oblivious. The army sent back to its barracks keeps a few seats, in particular the defense minister Padrino who was the guy that refused to commit electoral fraud a month ago. Some more sensible heads are still around such as the new vice president or a couple of economy ministers offering a strange balance to Salas. It should be noted that the new vice, Aristobulo Isturiz, would be a great president for a short transition in between Maduro departure and the election of its successor. In fact, Isturiz could well be the best candidate chavismo has to offer but is smart enough not to accept this late in life such a poisoned gift. President for a few weeks will suffice him.
Thus go the moves inside chavismo, the first serious realignment since the civilian faction was ousted when Ramirez and Giordani were expelled. Now the fight in earnest between the radicals and the bolibourgeois narco elite supported by part of the army has started.
We will see if some inside the PSUV have the nerve to form a third faction to avoid the final demise of the Chavez party.
I have my doubts.
Rafael Poleo thinks that the new cabinet and the iconoclast wars are a strategy to remove Diosdado Cabello once and for all. I am not mentioning this because I concur, I am just noting it to illustrate the wide swath of speculation going on.
El nuevo gabinete y el discurso de Padrino son las pinzas conque sacan del poder a Diosdado.— Rafael Poleo (@PoleoRafael) January 8, 2016