The regime has made its business to turn into a fateful day the vast opposition rally planned for next Thursday September 1st. The regime has a lot to lose on that day, but it made sure that its losses would be greater than necessary. And, personally, at this point I do not see how the regime could rake any gain.
It all started when the opposition tired of waiting for a Recall Election date decided to mount a massive protest against Maduro's regime, that is, demanding his exit as soon as possible. Of course, the chosen way is to hold a Recall Election before January 10 2017. The opposition to Maduro has nothing to gain from any unconstitutional settlement of the political crisis: all polls give the opposition soaring numbers since last December stunning electoral victory. Besides, even if the opposition did not enjoy a 70+ against Maduro and wanted to do a stunt, how would it do that? The Venezuelan opposition has been deprived of arms, newspapers, TV, and even of its politicians as many are in jail.
The regime knows all of this, certainly. It also can read polls. And it knows that outside of the likes of Cuba or Nicaragua it has no international support left, at least of the kind that would speak favorably of Maduro. Even supposed allies like Putin or Correa are, well, rather discreet in their praise, if any.
The battle for the regime is lost. They are unwilling to change the economic system, to open up. As such the economy will keep spiraling down and soon there will be outright bouts of near starvation with all the political mess that comes along. The laws of the economy are finally speaking up in Venezuela and there is no hope that the only economic policy left for the regime, oil at 80 USD a barrel, will happen in the near future. And never mind its personnel as Venezuela is the only country we know of where its interior and security minister cannot travel out of the country least Interpol grabs him and sends him to a trial in the US. Needless to recall the awaited fate of other regime's luminaries.
Faced with what is predicted to be the largest anti regime rally since 2002/2003 the regime decided against the wise move: let it happen and ignore it the best you can, using this as a demonstration that democracy is not dead in Venezuela. Instead it has chosen the worst way to prove that this is indeed a dictatorship.
All sorts of means to block the rally are attempted, too long to list. Here follows the main ones.
- Threats of all type, verbal menaces from higher up in the regime
- Outright fascist firing of public employees that dare criticize in any way the regime's results (examples here, here and here)
- Forbidding Al Jazeera journalists from entering the country to cover the events
- Forbidding any private flight, even drones, until September 5, so that there would be no evidence of the large turnout, as if roof tops were not enough to establish that anyway. And it does not matter as the opposition announced it will fly drones anyway (so I can illustrate for you the mood)
- Blocking access to Caracas for the possibly 100+ thousand people that will show up from all parts of the country
- After months of absence reopen food fairs like Mercal so as to try to divert folks from the march to go and get some of the scarce food. Though it is not clear if it is just counter propaganda planted by the regime.
- Call for its own counter rally downtown Caracas to block the opposition possible march there
- Promises of all sorts for Caracas, all to be done by Christmas
- All sorts of conspiracy theories as to the opposition wanting to reedit April 11 2002 (from the hands of the Empire in the North, of course)
But the worst assault has been on Voluntad Popular, the political party of Leopoldo Lopez, the cause celèbre of political prisoners. For the last week there has been an onslaught against the leadership of the party, from accusing the mayor of El Hatillo of smuggling arms, to take San Cristobal mayor from his sick bed in the middle of the night to send him to jail, to outright kidnapping of militants. The vindictiveness of the large concerted attack on Voluntad Popular is simply amazing. Other political parties are not buying: they know they are next. And the OAS least raised its tone as its secretary has issued, in Spanish for now, a long letter which resumes all fo the above and can be read as a stern warning against the regime.
We must wonder what is the regime seeking. Can it be so clumsy? Is there some master plan behind?
I am afraid that the regime seeks an act of violence that it can provoke easily itself by sending under cover to the rallies Thursday delinquents that will pretend to pin on the opposition a violence that the regime will have started itself. That would explain all of the conspiracy theories blurted these past few days and the arrest of Voluntad Popular leadership which will presumably bear the brunt of the accusation. The ridicule for the regime's cause that Voluntad Popular would have committed the crimes AFTER their incarceration does not seem to have been considered. But that is not the point.
A desperate regime is building a narrative to justify its September repression in the eyes of the followers it still has. In short, the regime is preparing itself to cut loose from the civilized world and drive into oblivion the Venezuelan populations just as the Cuban one was pushed down to nothing within months of the arrival of Fidel in 1958. All seems to point out to that strategy, from ignoring the OAS to put in jail Voluntad Popular leadership, the most active in the streets, the one that apparently must be threatening the most chavismo.
Let's not forget that the loudest voices inside chavismo are the ones most likely to go to jail as soon as they set foot outside of the country. They have nothing to lose anymore. Hence...
Which does not mean they will succeed and as they fail, well...