Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chavez croaking? For the record I think not

With the lengthening Chavez absence all sorts of rumors are starting to fly.  So for the record I wish to state that I do not believe that Chavez is about to go to the great beyond, that there is no way Cuba is working at replacing him, etc, etc, etc...  So, take a deep breath, do not succumb to hysterical fits, and try to think about other more realistic scenarios: Chavez has been the perfect Manchurian candidate for too long to make much of a difference whether he stays in Cuba a few more weeks.

This being said, of course it is possible that Chavez is croaking but considering the current state of the country it is dicey to guess as to what outcome from Cuba would be best for us.  The more the reason to focus on what might actually be taking place.

I think that indeed Chavez has been/is sick.  In these pages I have already commented on his bloated figure, not a "natural" fat, more like kidneys failing or some endocrinology problem.  Even some weird cancer requiring massive amounts of steroids or something.  He finally could not postpone it any longer and needed a good recovery to be able to face his yet most difficult electoral campaign.  His knee is related to his ailment?  Maybe, but it really does not make much of a difference in that Chavez would campaign even if he had to hop on one leg.  Besides, long are gone the days where Chavez took big dives into the loving crowds.

Whatever it is ailing Chavez he was forced to confront it face on, and naturally with the help of his Cuban advisers tried to figure out a way to use it to his advantage, crating an outpouring of sympathy that could bring him back solidly for a while above the 50% in opinion polls, hopeful long enough to call early elections if needed.  That it might succeed is another matter but if you look carefully at the different contradictions within the regime you can tell that they always protect the image of the strong man, loved by his people, soon to come back to save us once again.

However one cannot plan for everything and even if we assume the cynical position that the regime also planned some problems that could only be solved with Chavez return, for his greater glory, there is always a catch somewhere.  The accumulation of electricity crisis and prison riots might have been more than what the regime expected and might in fact contribute to the accrued delays in Chavez return.  It would seem that there is a kind of succession war already at play within chavismo.  See, taking advantage of Chavez absence, which cannot have been public knowledge among the faithfuls, some clans must have taken the opportunity to try to grab more influence here and there and within days an internecine warfare might start looking quite a lot like a bona fide succession war.  Fueled of course by the regime cryptic announcements as Chavez with Cuban advisers suggestion probably decided to make the best of the surprise mess as a preparation for a great purge once Chavez comes back.

Or some variation of the theory as you wish it to be.

What is the opposition doing?  Well, some cannot help but fall into the speculation and wishful thinking trap but others such as Borges or Machado are stressing the legal points.  That is, it does not matter what is going on with Chaevz, the country must be kept running, laws must be respected, etc, etc...  Which is probably the best strategy as chavistas really want us to think that the country cannot be ruled by anyone else but Chavez.

To be continued........ But meanwhile I cannot fail to be amused by the pretense from both sides, but for different reasons, that the country can actually be managed as it stands today.

PS: my favorite conspiracy theory on the matter so far is the one where Chavez would resign for health reasons, but name first a dummy vice resident to finish his term in office.  Thus for the next few moths the dummy would take the brunt of the administration problems and sometime around next March Chavez is recalled as the PSUV candidate by acclamation.   The CNE obligingly calls for early elections as the dummy promises to resign as soon as these ones are held and in a year from now we can have Chavez starting a fresh new term.  Think about it if it can be managed: only good things for Chavez if he plays his cards right.  Even on the international front he can claim that his indefinite reelection president for life amendment is a democratic one since it did not stop the country from having a different president for a few months.  That the creep failed is certainly not Chavez fault, of course....

You laugh?  Think about how Peron came back in the 70ies through the election and immediate resignation of Hector Campora.


  1. Good theory Daniel, on the comeback plan.

    One that if true, I hope backfires like no ones business.

  2. Boludo Tejano1:30 PM

    PS: my favorite conspiracy theory on the matter so far is the one where Chavez would resign for health reasons, but name first a dummy vice resident to finish his term in office. Thus for the next few moths the dummy would take the brunt of the administration problems and sometime around next March Chavez is recalled as the PSUV candidate by acclamation.

    My immediate thought was of Campora and Peron, but further reading showed you had it covered in your final paragraph.

    Chavez returns from "exile" in Castro's Cuba. Peron returns from exile in Franco's Spain. Franco the Gallego militar, and Castro the son of a Gallego militar. Franco and Castro had fairly cordial relations, as Georgie Ann Geyer relates in Guerrilla Prince. "Give 'em hell, Fidel."

    You point out that Chavez, given the medical necessity of some time off, has apparently decided to use the time to smoke out any overly ambitious underlings. This connects with Chavez years back having set up coup instigators to smoke out those in the military who wanted a coup.

    One connection on the Cuban colony theme. Back in the day I knew a Maracucha who was the daughter of Cuban emigres. She maintained there was a natural affinity between Cubans and Maracuchos, based on ties to Spain. As Maracuchos had been the last Venezuelans to cut their ties with Spain, Cubans had been the last in the Americas to cut their ties with Spain.[yes, along with Puerto Rico.] I wonder what she would think today about the comparison. I suspect that Chavez nationalized her father's business.

    Perhaps some fence sitters will conclude that the country is as poorly governed in Thugo's absence as it is in Thugo's presence. A mess with the caudillo in country, a mess without the caudillo in country. Conclusion: Thugo is irrelevant to the solving the problems facing the country. Wishful thinking here.

  3. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Tejano, I can relate to your Maracucha friend on the warm feelings some of us have towards Spain. Little did we know that the feelings were not mutual. I think the gallegos hate us, to the point of sending the Castros. Such vindictiveness!


  4. Charly2:55 PM

    The oppo seems to be taking quite a bit of flak for not fully taking advantage of the situation. Well, they thread a fine line. Look at Ojeda, they want to strip him of his parliamentary immunity for stating the truth about the Rodeo mess. Can they? You bet, they have a big toolbox of dirty tricks. They have done it before, Wilmer Azuaje.

  5. Anonymous5:26 PM

    "His knee is related to his ailment?"

    My personal pet theory on that matter is that there never was a knee problem. His real illness made him too weak to walk without crotches, so they made up a knee problems as an excuse.

    The evidence for that? The pic on the Devil's excrement of Chavez on the "People's balcony". People with knee problems never touch the ground with their bad leg (I've had enough knee problems to know that first hand). Yet Chavez has both legs planted on the ground. Maybe it's just that particular pic that makes it look that way, but that doesn't look like someone with the knee problem they claimed he had.

  6. Tejano says "Conclusion: Thugo is irrelevant to the solving the problems facing the country."

    He's irrelevant because he's not actually trying to solve the problems of the country, at least not as you and I would define the word problem. I do wonder what he could accomplish if he set his mind to it, because he is a gifted leader. However, the problem he is continually trying to solve is how to ensure his continued rule. Everything else is only relevant inasmuch as it impacts that. No more.

    Daniel, that is a very interesting conspiracy theory, and uncomfortably plausible. It seems to me the biggest obstacle is Hugo's own ego. First, will it allow him to step aside, even temporarily? (He would no doubt continue to be the power behind the throne, but that's never been a role he wanted.) And second, can he take the risk he would not be welcomed back with open arms?

  7. Anonymous #2

    His real illness made him too weak to walk without crotches.

    No one can walk without a crotch (entrepierna)

    I guess you meant crutch (muleta)!

  8. Anonymous5:48 PM

    So here goes my speculation:

    Cocaine addiction, as mentioned several times in previous comments, starting with Evo’s paste for breakfast, then, as an addict, inevitably going hard core snorted cocaine, to free basing or crack or I.V. to achieve the high which the paste no longer provides.

    Assumption is based on 2 very typical behavioral cocaine addiction symptoms: invincibility and paranoia at the same time, often wrongly diagnosed as bi-polar, although the latter can be part of the addiction over time and when brain chemistry changes to abnormal.

    Once at that stage, and given his age / obesity / high stress level (plus likely high blood pressure and maybe diabetes), patient is at very high risk to have a stroke, be it under normal daily life circumstances (using!) or more so during a full anesthesia operation.

    Typical outcome: temporary or (unlikely) permanent coma, speech impediment (likely temporary with residual problems, but possibly permanent), motor function problems, VERY slow recovery, rarely back to health condition before stroke.

    The foregoing answers the question of why he doesn’t give any speeches, isn’t shown on a video and doesn’t come “home” (too risky in health terms or possibility of discovering the truth).


  9. Wouldn't it be wonderful if both dictators, Chavez and Castro, died the same day in Cuba?

  10. 1979 Boat People7:56 PM

    That would be considered as an ENDLESS LOVE between the two. Ooops!:)

  11. Charly10:28 PM

    Sledge, this thought is very uncharitable of you and I take exception to it. Personally I hope that Cuba will eventually deliver him back to Venezuela in good condition as they did for Clodovaldo Russian.

  12. OK, my turn:

    Hugo is toast, stroke or whatever, but the Cubans are cloning him using the fast-clone method.

  13. Seriously now, when you think of all of the people murdered every day in Venezuela, the immense damage this Thugo Chavez has done, how much people have suffered for over 5 decades in Cuba, over a decade in Vzla, the Billions they steal while proclaiming to be "socialists" while most people starve or are force to flee their homes, go overseas, the best that could happen for both countries is that both Bastards, (and then some, like Qaddafi,etc) are stricken DEAD by lightening right now. Actually, they should be tried by a Jury, after several years of torture in some obscure dungeon.

  14. Sledge,
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if both dictators, Chavez and Castro, died the same day in Cuba?

    I would like to extend that list to Qadaffi, Amendinajad, Assad, all in leadership of Hezzbollah, Hamas or Fatah, Mugabe and a couple of other African dictators, the house of Saud, whoever is Al-qaeda, a few Pakistani leaders, and more. The extended list includes most of Chavez' closest buddies. But Chavez and the Castros would be a great start.

  15. Anonymous12:29 AM

    Chavez is in deep doo doo, and uncle Fidel can't get him out of it. There is no way with a presidential election coming up, that Chavez would miss-out on the 200th year celebration of Venezuelan’s fight for independence, even if they had to stick a broom stick up him for support.
    The real question is why is Fidel stalling about Chavez’s health? One can only imagine that he wants time to gain support for his man, Elías Jaua, when you have one member of a Triumvirate die, or lose power you end up with civil war, Jesse Chacón and Diosdado Cabello will have to fight it out for power, directly or with a straw men.

    The big fear for Castro, is to gain support from voters they throw Cuba, and his alba gang, (long considered even by Chavez diehards, as parasites) under the buss. The fact that all the Chavez top party hacks are so quiet, speaks volumes.

  16. ChileJohn1:39 PM

    I want to see the body or I am calling BS!

    WikiLeaksAR is still claiming that Chavez has croaked, via a cable from the Arg. Embassy.

    "@WikileaksAR Argentinean Embassy Cable: Confirmed - ALERT!! Hugo Chavez died of heart attack today in Cuba. 06/25/11 08:43AM 0438VZ/11"


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