As slowly but surely I get back into the disaster mentality I thought that to clear up my mind further I should let you know what my thoughts are. Maybe someone can let me know whether I am getting it....?
There is a method in the madness of chavismo. That is, to explain the hits and runs that we have been witnessing last week we need to understand that there was already a well planned strategy to block the opposition form reaching power in 2012 (by all means, legal or not), that has suddenly found itself complicated by Chavez disease. Thus, the distinct possibility that Chavez might be dead, or unable to assume the campaign the way he should, have lighted a few fuses inside chavismo. We can divide the reactions according to two set of people: those who think that chavismo will remain in office and those who are not so sure of that factoid.
Let's start with that second group. A panic mode has set among them as all try to secure their financial future least they are kicked out of office in a few months. The thing is that they are not sure chavismo will remain in office, but even if it remained in office they are not sure whether their "corriente" (trend?) will be the wining one if Chavez is not the next president of a chavismo without Chavez. In fact, even if Chavez manages to retain Miraflores palace they know that major purges are in the making.
This is the main explanation of a recrudescence of extortion practices by the "civil servants" duly prodded by apparatchiks, military and Cubans. This year we have noticed already more pressures with unfair taxes, customs, inspections, etc, etc... whose sole purpose is to force the private sector to pay and pay, even if it has to go bankrupt. My clients have been reporting all sorts of exactions when their business has the bad luck to be in a chavista held town hall. Inspectors come more often and always manage to find some obscure rule that they reinterpret to their advantage and for which they levy the highest possible fine. Retroactivity applies obviously since there is no court of justice you can go for redress. Unless of course you are willing to come to an "arrangement". And let's not get started on the corruption in Puerto Cabello and La Guaira which is basically stopping imports to Venezuela. For example I have been told that there is no more mouth wash because the regime has blocked a whole bunch of containers and the owners are refusing to cave in the extortion scheme imposed. I suppose the containers are ripening under the Puerto Cabello sun.
And there is of course the speeding up of the debt burden of the country with more and more loans. With the price of oil at 100 these loans are absolutely unnecessary if the oil production were indeed what the government says it is. The fact of the matter is that these loans are to pay for the electoral campaign by buying votes and creating a brief fake prosperity. In doing so there will be plenty of chavista that will skim a few million dollars as their cut to distribute the electoral freebies.
In other words we are all perfectly aware that the burden of debt will become unmanageable soon but the regime does not care because many of those who are creating that debt will be either out of office or "retire" and let new chavista generations deal with it.....
The second set is also panicking even though they think chavismo will retain office. The panic issue here is will it be Chavez and if not Chavez who?
This political group, as we could call them, is still going ahead with its plans to make sure the election goes their way except that they are speeding it up, even if haphazardly. Long term plans of electoral treachery continue. For example today El Nacional publishes a long study on how the vote of Venezuelan overseas is simply being voided. No results have been reported since 2006 in the web page of the CNE (you may go an check, as I have often mentioned in this blog). Also it is often near impossible to register for vote if you now reside overseas. And in addition big centers where anti Chavez votes are known to reside have single voting stations (Miami) whereas in Cuba where Chavez gets 100% of the vote there are 4 voting centers for less than 1000 voters. This is no small matter: the opposotion could lose a potential of anywhere between 50 and 100 thousand votes! No small peanuts if the election is as tight as it promises to be.
In addition, even though we are in a presidential system where terms are set and thus should be election dates, the CNE is refusing to consider any electoral timetable. That is, the CNE is waiting for the order from Miraflores to decide when will the election take place, strictly based on polls and predictions as to when the fake recovery, of the country and of Chavez, could help better Chavez chances. Even though Chavez is president until February 2, 2013, the elections could be held as early as June of 2012 instead of the expected December 2012. Not earlier because they should be announcing them at least with 6 month notice, I presume. But I might be wrong and Chavez could well ask the CNE to vote as early as this December 2011 on any lame excuse of his health status "to remove uncertainties". Crazy? So was the February 2009 referendum that came out of nowhere in December 2008.
But there are also some other sinister electoral plans going on. One is the new "just price" decree that allows the regime to control any price, anywhere, at any point of the productive chain. The real reason here is very simple: to try to block earnings of the major business that could finance the opposition electoral campaign, such as the Polar group. That law is not for small business like mine though its turn will come soon enough. The regime does not have the personnel to apply this law to the whole country, but in a few weeks it could train enough creeps to control someone like Polar who could finance as much as 25% of the opposition campaign. You may recall that this one is already woefully underfunded when compared to the state finances at the service of Chavez.
What has changed from a few weeks ago is that all of these plans are now applied faster as a vote could be nearer than expected. And more will be added such as the demagogic law to force rental units into the property of the renters, for peanuts. Any demagogic measure will do if the regime thinks it will give it a few thousand votes (or at least make sure chavista voters do not stay home).
Consider for example that Chavez may need (may know already?) a second chemotherapy treatment in early 2012. He could hold the vote, say, March 2012, secure his reelection and then resigns for the rest of his term to undergo his treatment and recovery. Once "recovered", he is sworn in for his fourth term. Do not laugh, the pro Chavez High Court will find a way to make it legal.
We can hope that this sudden panic and thus rush in electoral cheating might backfire (though I do not see the MUD taking much advantage of the situation). But we should not forget that this electoral panic also goes with the other panic question: who if not Chavez at the top of the ticket? If chavismo may make a lot of mistakes it could also become very dangerous as it becomes more irrational, if possible. A deceased Chavez might be even worse than an alive one once chavismo starts slaughtering itself.