Today Maduro did his Sunday show and announced that he could not wait for elections so as to trounce the opposition and radicalize the revolution. Oh my! Where do I start?
To begin with he can radicalize the revolution whenever he wants. The problem here is that his "revolution" is based on graft, larceny and drug traffic. Any radicalization would mean going against his support base; though we must concede that he has already radicalized repression.
Let's now discuss his sudden desire for elections. The chutzpah is simply unbelievable! After having killed the recall election last year, his regime voided the constitutional duty of holding governor elections in December 2016. His minions since have been spreading the word that there would not be elections for the foreseeable future, that late 2018 may be a good time for the presidential one, if the situation allow. In other words, never until we are sure to win. His silly argument for wanting now elections is that the governors and mayors of the opposition are so bad that it is time to get rid of them through elections that chavismo will win hands down. Apparently Maduro thinks that in Mars there is a good opposition mayor that he would like to meet. But I digress.
Let's assume that the pressure is getting on Maduro and he feels the need to throw that ball. First, it is B.S.. Even if he asked the electoral board, CNE, to hold elections ASAP, this one needs at least three months to organize the whole thing. Second, there are plenty of "legal" artifacts to be used to easily push the governor election to match the mayor ones scheduled for December 2017. In fact, Maduro's words seem to point that way already.
The reality of that announcement is that Maduro calls for elections to gain time, nothing more. After all, if he annulled the National Assembly elected in 2015, it will be way easier to annul governors and mayors: leave them without money. The real problem here is that elections are not going to solve the problem anymore. Maduro has waited too long for this, the economic crisis is too deep, the constitutional violations too pressing to be solved by a mere governor election. Which will be fraudulent and thus add more kindle to the flame. That ship has sailed!
What Maduro needs to do is to sit down with the leadership of the National Assembly, restore its legal functions and strike a transition deal where he can stay until 2018, maybe, but with an opposition leaning vice president taking the necessary economic measures. And even that I am afraid would be too late to save Maduro, hated as much by the opposition as by a large chunk of chavismo. So repression will keep being his choice.
Speaking of repression he gave us hints how it will get worse. Today he pinned the blame for yesterday's violence on Voluntad Popular and Primero Justicia. He also had the gall to say that no one showed up to validate their party a month ago when the CNE forced them to prove that they have a following to remain legal political parties. The message is clear: we will eliminate Voluntad Popular and Primero Justicia by force before we hold elections with an opposition we do like. Well, that we dislike less than these two. Voluntad Popular has already a lot of its leader in jail or in exile. As expected it is now the turn of Primero Justicia with its major victim so far, Capriles banned from running for 15 years which in Venezuela today means forever.
On that same note he accused El Hatillo mayor of wrongly accusing him of gas attacks like in Syria. This was quickly interpreted by the regime's rag Ultimas Noticias accusing Smolansky to call for foreign intervention in Syria, based on the following Tweet:
4:13 PM Atención Comunidad Internacional: Cuidado y @NicolasMaduro empieza a usar armas químicas como está ocurriendo en #Siria.— David Smolansky (@dsmolansky) April 8, 2017
Translation: Attention international community: watch out that @nicolasmaduro may begin to use chemical weapons like it is happening in Syria. [in reference to a strange reddish tear gas used yesterday that seems to have been more potent than the usual tear gas]. I do not know about you but calling this a demand that Trump throws missiles at Venezuela is kind of far fetched. And at any rate it would require first proof that toxic killing gases would be used by the regime, which I hope is not in the plans. Then again Smolansky has been a target of the regime for quite a while and Lopez is in jail for less than that...
To conclude this, the key words, in a way, from Maduro today is that there is no one to dialogue with inside the opposition, even though Maduro's desire for dialogue is vox populi, including the support of the Vatican State (which is over but that he forgot to mention). That blatant lie is actually part of a strategy.
All that you read above can be summarized as nothing more than a crass attempt at dividing the opposition. What Maduro offers to those who will accept to go to elections is the corpses of Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular so that their electors will be forced to vote for the regime chosen parties, the "loyal" opposition the regime so desperately seeks to create. And it may eventually work. We already knew about the position of Rosales in Zulia who wants to be governor and thinks that governor elections this year are plenty enough. Never mind his relative silence this week of protests. Add to this suspicious tweets from Lara's governor Henri Falcon today, like this one:
Ahora Más Que Nunca Unidad y Victoria! Calle, Negociación Política y Elecciones Para la Reconciliación y La Paz!!— Henri Falcón (@HenriFalconLara) April 9, 2017
Translation: Today more than ever unity and victory! Street [protest], political negotiation and elections for reconciliation and peace.
Nothing wrong you may say. But it shows a basic disagreement between Falcon and the rest: he has no problems letting chavismo stay until December 2018 thus positioning himself as the opposition that wants Maduro out but is willing to let him finish his constitutional term just as if he were an actual constitution respecting president. I do not know whether to qualify this as naivete or cynicism. At any rate I would love Falcon to explain to us how he plans to force Maduro to hold elections in 2018 that may result in his dismissal. Then he can discuss dialogue, negotiation, peace, elections, reconciliation and what not neo-beatnik feeling Falcon may have. Until then it just sounds like a crass attempt at recovering the chavista and opposition light vote, at the price of letting chavismo off the criminal kook.
Falcon will have problems: already some are refusing elections....
This tweet is currently "pinned" by Capriles and reads "The cheat and coup monger does not want elections of any type! We remain to defend the constitution! No to the self coup [in reference that Maduro is himself leading the coup to remain in full control]El farsante y golpista no quiere elecciones de ningún tipo!Nosotros seguimos en defensa de la Constitución!NO al AUTOGOLPE! https://t.co/cirvlZ0apG— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) April 9, 2017
There you have it.