Tuesday 8, June 2004
I have been silent on the implications of Thursday acknowledgement by Chavez that the opposition had indeed managed to reach the magical 20% to force a Recall Election on his mandate. The truth is that this has modified the whole panorama and many things need to be reevaluated before doing some possible predictions.
Here I will simply list all the questions that are to be answered in the next few weeks. And to simplify the list I assume that even if Chavez is Recalled, he still would be able to run for office right after (crazy, but crazier things have happened in Venezuela).
What does the Recall Election means?
Which are the possible results? And their direct consequences?
Why the date is particularly important?
How does this affect the regional elections set for September?
Why is the voting scheme so important?
CHAVEZ SIDE ISSUES:
How does the fact that a Recall Election is called for affect Chavez and his followers?
What will happen to the guys that failed in their task to avoid the Recall Election?
Will the indecent pressure put on the signatories to withdraw their signatures have consequences?
Is chavismo experimenting an internal crisis?
Are some in the Chavez camp betting on his departure to create a “chavismo without Chavez”?
Which scenarios are more favorable to Chavez? Which scenarios can cost him his political career?
THE OPPOSITION ISSUES:
How long will the unity hold?
Is the opposition going to be able to present itself as a credible alternative to chavismo? Or at least not as a direct threat to chavistas in case it reaches power?
If Chavez is indeed ousted, will the opposition be able to file a unique candidate? And how will this candidate be “elected”?
Will this be a “transition candidate” or will that candidate be allowed to run again in 2006?
How will the Recall Election affect plans for the Regional elections, in particular if these do happen to coincide with a presidential election?
What are the opposition plans if it manages to boot Chavez out but still needs to wait for a year until a new National Assembly is elected?
PENDING ISSUES (which cannot be solved right now but which will affect the issues described above):
Will we require a constitutional change?
What are we going to do with the violence that has settled in?
What is going to happen with the Venezuelan Army that seems rather divided?
What about the judicial system if Chavez leaves office?
What about PDVSA?
And many more questions.
The reader will understand why I am a little bit weary to get started on that. And hopefully forgive me for the delay as I keep dealing with some of these issues.