It's a ploy

I can see it now. Foreign journalists in Venezuela beginning to board the Henry Falcón bandwagon, naming him Chávez’s strongest rival, clapping away at their keyboards discussing "chavismo sin Chávez."

I can practically hear the chitchat in the bakeries of Las Mercedes, in the halls of plush condos in La Castellana, where the Marialejandralopeces of the world, excited about their "reasonable" chavista, are talking about how the government is discombobulated and has a rival it fears in Falcón.

It’s all a ploy.

There’s no doubt the man has charisma, but he is also highly overrated. Otherwise sensible bloggers label him "the most interesting politician in Venezuela," but I won’t go that far.

True, he is an atypically independent-minded chavista. But that’s like being the skinniest kid at Fat Camp.

True, he is way more efficient than the average chavista hack. But if he’s so hot, why is the Barquisimeto transportation system Transbarca such a mess?

Facts are pesky little things, and the fact of the matter is this: Henry Falcón has been, is, and will probably continue to be, totally committed to the agenda of the revolution.

Just twelve months ago, this man campaigned hard for the Constitutional Referendum. In fact, given the margin with which Chávez won, Chávez probably owes him that victory.

The Governor of Lara says he "continues to be a revolutionary" and continues to "seek dialogue with the President."   This is a man who, when he was expelled from the PSUV in 2008 (he was later readmitted), announced to the world that, in spite of being thrown out of the PSUV, he would "always" support and admire Chávez, calling himself a true revolutionary "forever."

This video from a few months ago where Chávez discusses Francisco Arias Cardenas and his "journey" back to the arms of chavismo is pretty illuminating. Chávez views the fights between his party and Falcón as part of a "conspiracy" of the bourgoisie, even warning of the possibility that people will prop him up to run against Chávez in spite of the "love" he has for Henry.

It’s good to ponder this while we wonder where Henry’s outrage was when chavismo took over the TSJ? Where was his revolutionary conscience when the CNE practically rigged the 2005 NA elections? Where was his democratic instinct when witnessing the treatment of University students exercising their right to protest? And what does he think of the dozens of political prisoners?

In the next few days, chavismo will strap him to the rails and continue its morning commute. But while we rejoice at the infighting and ponder admitting him to our own little club, let’s not forget that chavismo is a religion, and right now Falcón is nothing more than its most famous wayward sheep.

Falcón’s false hope for the opposition makes him a most dangerous Trojan horse.  Let’s not kid ourselves: he’s no opposer of Chávez, and we’d be doing ourselves a disservice treating him as anything but the chavista that he is.