Two weeks without a post. Things have been difficult here. Never mind that by the time you feel like writing on something there is right there a new sound blast from the least expected corner.
So, a brief pick of the telling headlines will have to do. And not necessarily in chronological order as my tired mind has trouble keeping track of all that happens.
The "talk" has been elections, of course. But in the street the talk is where can I find food, will I be able to pay for it. There is no more talk on medicine: you cannot find it and you cannot pay for it anyway. But of that Maduro has no care. In an interview granted to what he thought was a friendly journo he revealed himself ignorant of the basic stuff that happens to people. Either that or that he has become an Olympic class liar. Remember when Bush senior was marveled by code bars?
The point is that the regime is in election overdrive. The reason remains the same: they need to strengthen their hold on office because if they lose power they will end up in jail. The objective thus becomes to put fraudulent elections behind them and then force the world to recognize the power at Miraflores Palace. Never does it cross their mind that this time around the world may not follow the "tradition" of dealing with dictatorships in default mode because what the regimes want to pass as a normal dictatorship is in fact a narco-state. And that cannot be accepted. Period.
The pressing factor here is twice: the opposition leadership has collapsed and the economy has collapsed. But likely through hyperinflation some form of revolting leadership will arise and then even with massive electoral cheating it may not be possible to "win" elections. Time is the essence and thus the folly of advancing a presidential election to April 22 when the swearing in cannot take place before January 2019 anyway.
That treacherous set up is so far not recognized by the world that matters. The only defenders are Russia for selfish hegemony reasons and China because they only care about getting their money back and by now they are certain that they will lose less with Maduro since this one has no trouble starving his people to pay China's debt. Even at the OAS trouble brews: at the last session only four country voted infamously for Maduro: Bolivia, Suriname, Dominica and Saint Vincent. Two bought shitty islands and two narco countries. You do the math.
That lack of allies is a problem for the reelection as there is need for money to shower around. Russia and China seem to be less prodigal with funds than what the regime expected. Even Putin knows that throwing good money after bad is not good policy (ref: USSR). So the regime invented the PETRO, a cryptic currency ersatz that is neither a currency neither cryptic, in the good way. It was launched this week to big fanfare and Maduro claimed that on its first day it raised over 700 millions. Next day experts doubted it reached 180 millions. How could it be otherwise? Petro is based on un-pumped oil in a country that cannot pay its debt with the little of oil it still manages to pump. And besides, it is not freely managed but controlled from the regime who decides what its real price is. In short: people got the point quickly that the Petro was a scam, at best a way to launder money to avoid US and EU fiscal sanctions. Thus the bust, by any other name.
But while Maduro minions were concocting their schemes they run afoul Diosdado Cabello. See, the guy controls the official party PSUV and the largest group within the Constituent Assembly (he seems to have missed full control but no one does better than he does there). If he certainly understands that a chavista must be sat for the next 6 years at Miraflores he does not have to like it. He also understands full well that 6 years of Maduro are 6 years where this one will try to get rid of Diosdado, going as far as surrendering him the International Law as a small price to have his regime recognized again.
So Diosdado pulled a fast one by announcing that he was going to ask the Constituent Assembly to call for a simultaneous election of a new National Assembly which has still three years of mandate ahead.
There is no need to add to the twitter thread I posted on Monday. It all still stands. In short what Diosdado tries to do is to use the April 22 election to force the regime to elect a new national assembly that he will be able to control as a counter weight to Maduro. He can do that because there is no time to run a proper elections and thus as PSUV chair he will be the one appointing the candidates he likes. Electoral cheating in assistance even if the opposition were to win a handful of seats he will be assured to hold a majority by himself with his PSUV. That Maduro is trying clumsily to create his OWN party outside of the PSUV, Somos Venezuela, was certainly an incentive for Diosdado to act as he did.
It took two days for Maduro to reply. But reply he did and demanded that all legislative bodies be included in that election, that is to add municipal councils and state assemblies. Sure enough a couple of days later it was announced that such an election could not be organized by April 22 and thus only the presidential poll will be held on April 22. We are waiting with bated breath the next move of Diosdado.
So there is the current turmoil inside chavismo, the same Maduro versus Cabello standout. I do not see where they will find enough Petro to freeze all of this.
Meanwhile the opposition keeps faithfully to its ineffectual self, calling for a boycott of the vote (mercifully!) but unable to state it with conviction and even less to offer an alternative strategy that would make that boycott meaningful.
So there you have it.
For real news visit my Instagram where I have been documenting the hyperinflation effect on the everyday of people. Button on the right side of this window.
The Prime Minister of Dominica @skerritR is the one you can reach. Write him a tweet or retweet my thread to him today. Do not waste time on Evo or the commie from Saint Vincent. The drug lord of Suriname probably cannot read English. The three are beyond the pale but I have the feeling that Skerrit is redeemable.