Let me start with the obvious: when the Department of the Treasury of the United States indicates that your vice president is under investigation for MANY acts of drug trafficking there are only two options left for the president (of Venezuela or any other country). For Option one you fire, or at the very least suspend, your vice-president/prime-minister while investigations are undertaken. In Option two you break relations with the US, close the embassy of the US, call back all your staff in the US because obviously the US are liars and you cannot tolerate such a slandering of your principal politician.
Neither one took place. Instead the messenger was shot and the Spanish version of CNN was forced out of its cable broadcasts in Venezuela.
I suppose that the trigger of the long simmering situation happened when CNN put forth an investigative work about fake Venezuelan passports sold to suspected terrorists and what not. I cannot vouch for that story because I am not familiar with it, and I did not even see the show. However what was well known is that Tareck El Aissami was investigated for quite a while already, on accounts of terrorist support and drug traffic. In fact, naming him Vice President of Venezuela (a free removal job here) was considered as a provocation. Well, the US bit.
Thus the report on the fake passport was used today as the excuse to suspend CNN in Venezuela but the real reason is that Tareck El Aissmi has been sanctioned formally by the Treasury department. You should read the Treasury note: it is quite a long list of offenses, a "prontuario" as we call it in Venezuela.
What can the regime gain with the suspension of CNN Spanish news? Nothing. To begin with I do not think it is the most popular news sources among supporters of chavismo. No matter what is said or what they think about El Aissami, they are certainly not going to express it if they watch CNN. On the other hand, the public relations impact overseas is going to be tremendous. One thing is to stop access to an Argentinian news agency or a Colombian TV, another one is to ban the most international network in Latin America, associated in arguably the most watched news channel joint in the world.
Never mind that closing CNN is the most perfect admission that what they reported on our boy Tareck is, well, true.
But the dictatorship in Venezuela is unraveling fast.
To begin with it is clear that the abundant information on Tareck could not have possibly been gathered without the help of his political ennemies INSIDE chavismo. Nobody is fooled by the apparent unanimous support of Tareck as directed by Maduro. That relations with the US have not been fully terminated yet is the best evidence that the inside struggle is not resolved. After all, the promotion of Tareck a few weeks ago was seen as the final move of the radical commie civilian sector against the military corrupt narco wing of the regime. Or something like that. We´ll be fixed soon on how final that move was.
Then there is the inability of the regime to offer a coherent response. Not only neither the US or Tareck were fired, but you should read the official communique of Venezuelan foreign ministry, a masterpiece of ignorance, besides the point interjections, a list of idiocies. These people are not managing well the situation and I am not even sure that the confused (?) message they are trying to feed their supporters can be understood by these.
Meanwhile the magnificent obsession of the regime is reaching new lows. Not only there will not be anymore national or local elections for the foreseeable future, but even student organization elections are now banned. Of course, the vote at the UCV, the oldest university of Venezuela, was widely speculated as a major rout for the regime who may be reduced to nothing at the UCV student representation. Thus the need to stop that. What is more interesting actually here is that it took only 4 students questioning details of the organization to go DIRECTLY to the high court, TSJ, to stop the election. Let me put this in perspective. It is as if the vote for student body for Harvard was stopped by a direct intervention of the Supreme Court Justices through a direct petition from a disgruntled student. Bypassing any local and federal court. Just imagine that for a second. Not even Trump can manage that. But in Venezuela the TSJ has become the to go guys for anything the regime needs. Period. Revolutionary efficiency at its best.
What is next? Nobody knows.
Two things are certain. One, the regime will intensify repression at the risk of imploding from within. The other is that the Treasury actions cannot be seen as a lone initiative. This is something that has been going on for a while and stopped for political expediency by Obama. Times have changed, and it is not that Trump ordered the investigation, it is just merely that the US has decided to act on what it holds; and it acts with broad international support. I specify broad international support because Venezuela's regime has been deluded into the idea that few people truly cared about terrorism and drug trafficking. They do not. They are just waiting for the appropriate time to pounce on criminals. It has usually being the cae, be it Al Capone or Tareck El Aissami. Tareck is blocked in Venezuela.
And this is the crux of the matter. Who will seriously negotiate anything with the Venezuelan regime? Who will accept to be pictured shaking hands with Tareck? Or his provisional protector Maduro? How can you possibly rule rationally a country when you cannot even afford to travel overseas to seek the funds that you have run out from?
Perspectives are getting worse for us in Venezuela, but if the price to get rid of the vermine is more misery, let's misery come!
And then there is that just as I was proof reading:
Venezuela should allow Leopoldo Lopez, a political prisoner & husband of @liliantintori (just met w/ @marcorubio) out of prison immediately. pic.twitter.com/bt8Xhdo7al— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
In the last post I did write that for all of Trump faults, I thought that his knowledge and care for Latin America may be much greater than what his detractors may think. And voila, Leopoldo Lopez wife at the White House. And another nail on the coffin of Obama's failure in Latin America.