What has not changed
It is still a matter of a group of narko-mobsters holding Miraflores Palace who cannot surrender power because they will go to jail. All problems originate from this.
This has been a military regime for quite a while. Naming Vladimir Padrino as the head honcho co-president does not change things much, except on some stylistic matters, such as more naked repression, always a possibility.
What has changed
Even people that were reluctant to use the D word (D not for Democracy) are coming around and calling a spade, a spade. That for me it was officially a dictatorship since January 2013 is no consolation. Ever the Cassandra, sometimes even the laughing stock, but oh, so right.
The economic crisis is nearing tragedy proportions and the regime is simply unable comprehend, instead resorting to scrapping the very last bolivar that can be found. The cruelty shown by the regime is reaching genocidal proportions. This is for all to see, even at home in spite of heavy censorship of the air waves and even threats at social media.
And to drive in the point of the crisis there are reports of belt tightening in Cuba which proves that the colony is having problems supporting its master. From there to think that Cuba may want to get rid of Venezuela it is not that long of a stretch.
As a consequence there is some intensifying international movement. The OAS is starting the proceedings to apply its democratic charter on Venezuela. Mercosur does not want to give the rotating presidency to Venezuela. But the US seems to have misplaced views at forcing a "dialogue" upon Venezuelan opposition least a final collapse of Venezuela sends waves of Cuban, and Haitians, and Caribbeans, and Venezuelans to the Florida shores.
Facing all of this, the military had to take a more visible direct role. Why? They are already responsible for the mess, nobody believes for a second that their corrupt structure is going to change anything. Two possible reasons.
First, and foremost in my opinion, there is not enough to loot and the higher ranks have decided to limit the robbery intake and restrain it some, to some. That extremely corrupt Marcos Torres is not sacked and remain in office would point that way. Let me remind you that he was the one managing the billions at HSBC Spain and is yet to account on how that money was used. He has been censored by the National Assembly and yet Maduro keeps him even though his signature on contracts has no more validity as far as the National Assembly is concerned. His direction of the economy in the last couple of years, well, speaks for itself.
Second, the army does not want to do Maduro's dirty job. That is, they do not want Maduro to call on them for rough repression and be the ones to go to trial some day for it. That co-presidency sounds to me like a "if I go down you go down with me" thing
What are the current exits
This being considered we can review quickly which could be the possible exits to Venezuela's political crisis today. Which may be invalid by tomorrow but that is another story.
The best one for the chavista party PSUV to avoid a final collapse is to have Maduro resign. This can be done in such a way that Maduro remains in office for, say, three more months before a new election to complete the 6 years term of office, even if the opposition (if not divided) is certain to win. That way chavismo can put all the blame on Maduro and pull out a relatively untainted figure that would ensure the PSUV to bounce back to the 20ies it currently hold in polls to a more palatable 30ies, or even 40ies.
Odds? since it makes sense the odds are not good. Also, it requires several things. That Cuba approves. That Maduro accepts to abide. That the opposition gets into the deal and offers a more "moderate" candidate than Capriles or Lopez or Machado. That X Y and Z.
The coup is a resuscitated option, the more so when one sees the probably faked coup of Erdogan in Turkey that is allowing him to get a MASSIVE purge of public officials in there. After all, there is a precedent in Venezuela. Chavez himself admitted to have provoked the 2002 crisis and used his survival to purge all what he could in the Venezuelan state.
There are two modalities for the coup depending on what the "provocation" may be. One is a simple dissolution of the National Assembly, akin to the Peruvian "Fujimorazo". The other, a variation, is a more extreme state of emergency removing all powers of the state, Both options are "moderated" through a promise of elections within a year.
Odds? since it is reckless, since they are more into the current style of Maduro, Cabello and all the others that are going to jail sooner or later, the odds are not bad. Since Venezuela is already a bankrupt pariah state, who cares?!
There is the possibility of general collapse. It is clear that the army, no matter what Padrino tries to do, is less and less in control. The latest shopping exodus to Colombia is an evidence. Just as when the Iron Curtain borders control collapsed announcing the end of Communist Eastern Europe.
La foto más impactante de los venezolanos cruzando la frontera con Colombia https://t.co/qANXRl7mah pic.twitter.com/PQUTD56pQc— El Nacional (@ElNacionalWeb) 17 de julio de 2016
What would happen if general looting started, if people started marching from chavista former strongholds like Catia to Miraflores Palace? All is possible, from civil war, to military bloody coup to a swift regime collapse like Argentina's De La Rua escape from Casa Rosada in 2001. Many variations are possible but all drive from a provisional regime to an opposition take over that would have to face the highly unpopular economic measures necessary to end and correct the chavista narko-corruption mess. Let´s not speculate on that for the time being.
Odds? Probably the highest at this point as it seems that the "civilian" and narko wings of chavismo would chose this way out, either to exculpate its mistakes or to purge once and for all its opposition. But it is doubtful that the military would accept that last one as they will be finding themselves at The Hague benches. We are in the XXI century after all. Hence probably the recent take over by Padrino, which is far from ruling out that option as the guy has started by counting chickens in combat vest.
So that is that.@vladimirpadrino visita Empresa de Alimentos El Tunal, en Lara, como parte de la Gran Mision Abastecimiento Soberano pic.twitter.com/Hec5CVYXQ2— Vladimir Padrino L. (@vladimirpadrino) 16 de julio de 2016
PD: something probably thought that I did not discuss the Recall Election scenario. There will be no Recall Election. Nor any election for that matter (can you imagine chavismo losing 90% of State House in December!!!!).
A recall election is the worse case scenario for chavismo. If Maduro is recalled, say, with a 20 points spread, that would reverberate badly downstream and the following presidential election could go to a spread half as larger! That is, the end of PSUV. Thus why I think that if the regime were to be forced into a Recall Election before 2017 it would have Maduro resign first, a less damaging option for the PSUV.