My important/favorite is defense minister Padrino announcing that he is against armed colectivos. You know, those colectivos which are nothing else but paramilitary thugs wearing red shirts and working for the regime. Chavismo version of storm troopers.
The reason was certainly the damaging video out of this weekend maneuvers that went viral and that I tweeted below (I am more active on Twitter than on Blog, the more so that it is easier now to make micro posts in Twitter)
A paramilitary group this week end in Caracas. It does not matter wether you underatand Spanish: the theatrics of violence, hate, intimidation and abuse are crystal clear.— daniel duquenal (@danielduquenal) February 26, 2018
Venezuela as the novel totalitarian state. https://t.co/XTLzRJqEsl
That video (and others) showed that the "civilian" side of the regime, the radicals, are way, way too comfy with colectivos, like the one of Valentin Santa Ana who is indicted on many counts and yet roams freely in Western Caracas. My guess is that these videos were too much for a large sector of the army and Padrino was finally forced (or delighted to be finally doing so?) to take a stand against armed colectivos. That he had no qualms supporting them last year when they killed scores of civilians during the huge protest movement is the kind of contradictions chavismo feeds on.
But times have changed: this is the era of hunger games and outright dictatorship. It is bad enough that the army will be called to repress the starving masses but doing so against colectivos is so directed is dangerous. Civil wars tend to start when armed civilians find echo inside the army. Look at Syria.
At this time it is best not to speculate further into Padrino shift, and rather let's look at the other shift (not quite unexpected for me). The regime has decided to move one month later the presidential election (1). And this after suspiciously adding two more days for people to register for candidate to president without nobody openly asking for it.
What shifted there? The Falcon candidacy has not brought the hoped for effect. Never mind that his supporters have been saying all the wrong things, just as if they did not want the opposition to vote for them.... Clearly Falcon is not going to do well, at least not as well as the regime wishes him to do (notwithstanding all sorts of conspiracy theories that I will not discuss now). The regime needs thus a more credible candidate and opened a two day extension to feverishly try to find another candidate . Is it not nice when the ruling party wants opposition candidates?
Apparently there was even a suspicious meeting that some had to tweet that no, they were not at that meeting. That meeting where the regime offered some electoral candy did not turn out as expected. So, to try to salvage something Jorge Rodriguez for the regime signed with the Falcon supporters a piece of paper that they are pretending to pass as a regime/opposition agreement for fair elections. This will not fly because everyone knows that Santo Domingo negotiations failed and because the paper signed is simply unenforceable as written. You can imagine that a regime happily raping the Constitution is not even going to notice such a piece of paper in between.
The situation as of this typing is 1) the real opposition has still not registered a credible candidate 2) the Falcon run looks DOA and 3) in a last attempt the regime has decided now to run in May the simultaneous elections anyway. The objective is that the glitter of council seats will be too much for the opposition to resit since a presidential candidate will drag in some votes. No?
But the regime as usual was ready with smoke to hide its disappointment. So today Maduro announced the third thing of the day, a minimum wage increase of 58%. As the electoral scheme failed again, the people would be pushed to talk about the new wages. Which is what I am doing but at the end of this entry but just for you to notice the following rough equation:
58% wage increase - 80% inflation for February = -22% only drop of purchasing power.
But fear not, increasing minimum wage every two months may actually improve Maduro poll numbers even though purchasing power keeps crashing. Chavismo lumpen is so primed for this crap...
1) note that the CNE who always hides through lengthy procedures and meetings to delay replies to opposition requests and questions did not even need to have a board meeting to announce the postponement. Impartial. Objective. Not.