And no, it is not that we have an obscure date line that we cross on our own. It is that the obscure power struggle inside chavismo is already in full swing, not waiting to be a 2015 crisis fall out.
Today Rafael Ramirez, once upon a time under Chavez the tsar of the wallet, has been demoted once more. A very few months ago having been pushed from holder of the oil purse to Foreign Minister, he is now mere ambassador to the UN. This confirms that a second group inside chavismo has lost its position and that the battle among the remaining surviving factions to occupy that space is in full swing. And the substitute to Ramirez indicates which are the factions on the rise: the lunatic left.
But first let's look at Ramirez downfall. Downfall, yes, no matter what lame excuse is advanced by Maduro that Ramirez will fight for world peace better by sitting in the UN Security Council. As if that Council had achieved anything notable in recent memory. Which bring the interesting question about the life of the Chavez daughter that was sent there last October. Maybe Maduro already forgot? Who is the real ambassador at the UN? Can the regime hopes to make a difference through ambassadorial revolving doors?
Why did Ramirez finally fall? Because he was the only one that made a tiny bit of sense inside chavismo. Oh, he was not a bright light, but at least he understood that if you want to make the revolution world wide you need cash; and to get the type of cash revolutionaries will accept you need more than just a printing press. As such, once Giordani was ejected Ramirez set up on the task to convince chavismo that there should be some order put into state finances. After all, he knew better than anyone else the dismal situation looming on the horizon as having been himself the main culprit for the downfall of PDVSA, Venezuela oil company once upon a time golden goose.
Ramirez could risk it as his own power base inside chavismo was rather small even though arguably the one with the biggest potential influence. He could aspire at bringing around some consensus. After all Ramirez had the power of blackmail knowing very well who stole what and when and how much. But he miscalculated the extent of chavismo internecine fights where no one was willing to give an inch or power. So in the end, rather than making some crucial economic decisions they all found it easier to agree in sidelining him. Oh! They could not fire him outright of course. Chavez almost never did so. Failed operators were sent into the sweet oblivion of an overseas embassy.
But Ramirez is also paying for having "failed" to keep oil barrel at 100 USD. The autistic regime cannot understand the reasons why oil is now below 60, neither Ramirez can, and even less Maduro. But Cuba does and sent Venezuela packing. Which I am sure made Maduro pass that additional anger on Ramirez... (1)
At least there is a piece of good news for Ramirez there: he has the excuse to bring his family out of Venezuela and never come back if he wishes.
Before we go into the general context let's look at who is replacing Ramirez at the foreign office: Jorge Rodriguez sister, Delcy Rodriguez, one of the most odious person in the regime. Odious because vindictive, incompetent, ignorant and what not. But a true radical, out there to exact revenge for real or imaginary wrongs, no difference for her and her brother. This is exactly what the regime needs right now as foreign minister: somebody unable to understand the subtleties of language in front, someone with no sense of ridicule whatsoever, someone willing to scream bloody murder no matter what. Dictatorships have often Foreign Ministers like that as mouth pieces while the real work is done discretely elsewhere (which who would be lucky if someone in the regime could do "discreet" work...)
Let's add to this that in spite of all international warnings the regime is making life even more miserable for political prisoners, has eschewed any pretense at dialogue, political opening, and what not. This week, after naming three radicals to high civil rights positions, having made sure that the Electoral Board will remain in its hand, chavismo is about to pack 100% the High Court, likely including judges with a criminal record...
It is thus quite clear which are the factions of chavismo gaining the upper hand: the radical/thug groups. They are the ones that knows they have no future if they have to leave office, because they either will be blamed for the 2015 crisis or they will go to jail. They are thus preparing themselves to become an outright dictatorship.
Do we have any glimmer of hope? Not much even though that radical/thug is divided in sub groups: narco military, corrupt nincompoop but cruel revolutionaries (e.g. the Rodriguez), corrupt military, and other assorted idiots with blinders (the opposition has become insignificant). I think that for the time being their animal survival instinct will postpone major break up. We still have to wait for the first serious food riots, probably as early as the first quarter of 2015 already running as the last reserves were depleted the week before Christmas. We will see what happens when these start.
1) A sharp critic may observe that it is simply impossible that Ramirez cannot understand the reasons for oil prices fall. Well, maybe Ramirez understands them but he either refuses to accept it, or is unable to make the other understand. Same difference to me.