|The real game in town?|
For example he announced the usual Castro like slogan of now 5 revolutions inside the revolution because apparently after 15 years of Chavez public administration is still controlled by bourgeoisie. He is right on that last one except that it is the chavista corrupt bourgeoisie carefully nurtured over the last decade so as to have a body of public servants corrupt and henceforth subject blackmail. That helps insure the survival of the regime. Thus the 5 new revolutions are nothing more but yet a new attempt at a parallel control system of government such as it was the case for the Misiones, the comunas, the milicia, the colectivos, etc..
No economic measures of significance were announced. Things keep getting worse, oil price fail to increase to save the regime in spite of multiple wars, so this one has decided to light a candle, pray to lord Chavez and hope for a miracle rather than devaluate, increase the price of oil, free at least some sectors of the economy to lower scarcity of at least a couple of basic items.
As usual some ministers were once again rotated though the different chairs, most remained unchanged, betraying the frozen power nature of chavismo tribal groups. As I type there is still no complete list, though I believe that the last cabinet change list was never published either, at least not in an official manner, some ministers discretely retaking their positions. Yet, at least for once some appointments or reappointments are telling of at least the beginning of an evolution within chavismo.
The first surprise is that all powerful Rafael Ramirez, the guy that knows where all the money went the past 10 years has been sent from PDVSA/Oil Ministry to the foreign ministry. It is difficult to decide whether this was a punishment, a promotion or a preparation for things to come.
I am sure that Ramirez will leave his PDVSA offices with a pen drive carrying all the dirt he may need to protect himself so we need not to worry much on him. He also has allowed so much to be stolen that surely he has taken a few safety millions for his family least something happens to him. But he is not out of the cabinet, he is going to the foreign office where he will have two advantages. First he gets away of PDVSA at a time of his misdirected policies are coming home to roost; less crap will fall on him in a country as forgetful as Venezuela is. Second, he gets to burnish his image of statesmen, if he wants to; you know, to prepare himself to replace Maduro in case of early elections. I can add that since his economical proposal have apparently not been accepted he is off the hook to try to solve these problems, merely travelling abroad to explain other countries why is it that at Miraflores Palace they keep messing up stuff and why he should be in charge.
|Khaki and red musical chairs? Interesting...|
On the other hand this could indeed be the beginning of the end for Ramirez, until the regime finds a way to neutralize the pen drive he surely carries as a necklace with a back up in some Swiss vault.
At the very least the departure of Ramirez is a small piece of good news. The presidency of PDVSA is finally separated from the ministry of oil. That is, the comptroller and comptrollee are not the same person, as it was always the case before Chavez gave it all to Ramirez. So administratively we will have two guys now, which in addition will not be saddled with all the other stuff Ramirez had to do. Surely this is an improvement, no? But there is a bad news along: one of Chavez brothers/cousin/relative is the new mister of oil which tells us that the Chavez family is starting its comeback, to cash in its inheritance...
Finally, the "departure" of Ramirez is also accompanied by the stability of the military personnel in charge and of the radical wing. Indeed, if Ramirez was seen as a "pragmatic" (something that yours truly never bought since there is no pragmatist inside the regime) his transfer can only mean that the fight is becoming more marked between the army and the radicals while the pragamatist, those that would allow a soviet NEP of sorts in Venezuela are pushed aside. Note that this is a simplification as the army is itself divided among the business generals and the radical generals but we know less about that.
From the military side, for example, Rodriguez Torres, the interior minister remains in office. This is due at his appreciated repression skills because it is certainly not due to any ability to lower crime index in Venezuela, unless fudging numbers is and accepted security policy.
From the radical side, for example, Jaua goes from the foreign ministry to the "comunas" one. That is, the commune system development in Venezuela, one of the 5 revolutions launched today and mentioned above. It is to be noted that the intention of "comunas" is to by pass the elected authorities (Mayors, Governors) by creating territorial units which regroup dozens to hundreds of "consejos comunales" who can cut across municipal districts and even state districts. What's wrong, you may say. Nothing really, if you accept as democratic that the power basis of these comunas are the consejos comunales whose decisions are taken though show of hands under the scrutiny of red shirted officials. In case you do not get it, if you form a consejo comunal and the local chavista is not the president, then your consejo does not get legal recognition and you are shunted from the comunas system, and the monies that allegedly come with it. In case you still do not get it, the comunas will be chavista or will not be. It is to develop the comuna totalitarian nature that Jaua, a remarkably scruples free radical, is sent to.
Meanwhile for the hoi poloi the long lines for food and medicine will continue, inflation is now officially at a 60% annual rate and growing. The regime has more important things to take care of, such as increase its control and finish off opposition.