If I am saying that it is because since last Wednesday we have attended to one of the saddest and scariest spectacle of Chavez since he is president. For three days, in an unnecessary way, he has held the front line by holding everyday cadenas that lasted several hours each. And in each one he announced who will be punished and what he will do for the rest of his rule. It was al done in crescendo until Friday where he has acted almost as a Messiah on judgment day. We are not talking here of communism or fascism, we are talking here about the naked will to establish a totalitarian state with the consent, forced if necessary, of the people. A little bit like the rapist who says "I am going to rape you, you cannot escape, but if you relax and try to get into it then you might enjoy it, you might fall in love with me and we will stay together for ever". I cannot think of a more simplified psychological way to account for what we have seen these three days as Chavez went from commemoration of April 2002 to outright celebration, booze and all, this week.
Resuming all what Chavez said will take pages and pages, and in a certain way it will not be news for readers of this blog who have always been very instructed as to what are the ultimate intentions of Chavez. But redundancy is necessary when we deal with Chavez as it is important to repeat things over and over until eventually people get it. Or at least we can say "there ws blogging on that, you know!" However this post is really not a redundancy, it is a master plan publicly revealed, a reading of "Mi Combate", assuming that Chavez would have the necessary concentration to write his book.
Writing a blog on very regular basis offers an advantage if one has the courage to go back and read one's words. If to that you add an occasional night of rest where you can reflect on the events after writing a blog post forced you to put order in your ideas, then you start seeing the forest behind the trees. I had one of these moments Wednesday night. Through the Easter holiday I had been following carefully the public lynching of Marcel Granier. Then I covered almost accidentally two cadenas in a row, a first for me after 8 years of cadenas. And thus it hit me when I woke up Thursday morning, the cadena of Wednesday night was too choreographed, too planned, too calculated, too staged when compared to the usual Chavez fare. This was a cadena that had been prepared days, if not weeks ago. It was a cadena with a real message.
I did not write on that earlier as I was a little bit afraid of my conclusions. The ad that appeared on Thursday in El Nacional was a good distraction, even though it turned out to be an additional confirmation point to my evolving mindset. The simple conclusion is that Chavez is openly building the groundwork to create the legal apparatus that will make opposition citizens second class citizens, citizens without a future, citizens that will be forced to hide their views. The notion appeared very clearly as early as Wednesday night when Chavez said that the Venezuelan opposition will never learn, will never cease to be anti democratic and thus the veiled implication that he has the right to muzzle them, to dispose of them. Oh sure, Chavez though crazed is not crazy, and he pointed out to some of the right wing, some military that are blinded with hate. But since he reserves for himself the decision as to whom is a rabid opposition you can figure out by yourself that that boundary will be moved at will until all opposition is obliterated. Whenever you remove the outer layer of an onion, well, the closet inner layer suddenly becomes the outer layer and looks as mean to your teary eyes as the layer you just removed.
That awful feeling with which I woke up on Thursday Morning had been confirmed through these two days. That allusion that all of the opposition was now a fair target for removal has been confirmed by an assortment of announcements that have pushed the ante continuously until Friday night rally apotheosis of sorts.
Some of the highlights of the week below:
- Reconciliation or understanding with the opposition, and the US, is impossible. The implication is that the opposition is enslaved by the US ideals and thus it cannot be redeemed. How you prove that, demonstrate that? Who cares as Chavez word is enough for the red crowd filling a respectable few blocks off Miraflores Palace. The day he will say go, they will go and lynch whomever he wants to be lynched.
- The military will be purged of any element that is not revolutionary (In English here). There a full agenda to transform the army into the revolution praetorian guard, a tool to control any opposition. The army will officially be transformed into a political arm. Chavez pushed the envelope to an extreme that he had never dared to do beofre. If until now his political harangues to the army were made to army separated from the civilian population, this time he joined both in his audience to declare that the army was not anymore neutral, that people should not fool themselves. The army is revolutionary and will remain so no matter who becomes president next. We assisted to the incredible spectacle that we would had never seen since the times of Gomez. Chavez packed the front rows of Friday night rally with the students of the armed forces schools and asking them to scream Patria, Socialismo o Muerte; Fatherland, Socialism or Death. To give a sense of what that means, let's imagine that the West Point Cadets would be placed in the first rows of a Bush political speech and they started shouting all in unison "Christianity, imperialism or death!"
- Private property will cease to exist if it does not submit itself to the will of the socialist state. That gives a new meaning to the "lose-lose proposition". And of course if there is no more private property, only "collective property" then how could an opposition of any type could gather the means to pretend to challenge the central power?
- The Judicial power will not counter anymore the executive. In an astounding admission Chavez said that he did not foresee the TSJ ruling against the closing of RCTV. But that was not it, what was more impressive where these words: "I am sure that as the Executive power observes the decisions of other branches, the judiciary will also respect the decisions made by us. It seems to me impossible that another branch will interfere with this, a final decision." So, what is justice for if it cannot rule against the executive!? Or was that a new threat to prepare us to constitutional changes that will neuter the judicial power so that Chavez does not need to worry anymore, not even in making judicial appointments?
There are also so many other small details that betray the mood and plans of Chavez. For example making the whole April 2002 experience as simply a plan to kill him. That it took five years to reach such a declaration betrays the creeping folly within chavismo. Or that more frequent switch between using the Yo, Yo (me, me!) and then an occasional "he" to refer to himself. And the return of the menacing rictus when the opposition is nowhere to be seen, even on the Globovision sets were only analysts appear these days as no strong leaders are trying to counter Chavez. Truly a bully looking for some one to abuse, anyone.
Thus we have it clearly announced, clearer than ever, as directly announced as the demanding minimum of diplomatic decency obliges Chavez to abide with, least even the reluctant friends he has amassed around decide to balk at so obvious an attack against Venezuelan freedom, or rather what is left of it. The plan is simple: during the next few months a set of laws and constitutional changes will be established in such a way that with or without Chavez the system he is putting in place cannot change, ever. Just as in Cuba a couple of years ago the Communist regime was declared permanent.
There is no such a thing as permanent, we all know that, all reaches an end one way or the other. But the intention is not really that, the intention is that for the chiefs in place to live a long a peaceful existence never having to worry about some one challenging them or threatening their enjoyment of riches and comfort that they have accumulated for themselves, their families and their close lackeys. What was new and grotesque this week is the directness in the announcement, the dissipation of any doubt as to which were the plans of chavismo. We saw back close to Chavez on Friday the "thuggiest" of the thugs that have surrounded Chavez since the start, such as Barreto or Bernal. Non entities such as Navarro have been brought back and are about to be promoted. It is the time where political savvy or managerial skills are liabilities in an appointee. As of today a lot of dirty work is required and the time of killers has arrived.