Our youthful friends over at the Spanish-language blog “Sin el Chivo y el Mecate” have a new post up. In it, they address the fact that Venezuela’s top military officer, alleged drug king Henry Rangel Silva, said that the Armed Forces were “wedded to the Revolution” and “would not stand by” if an opposition candidate were to win the elections in 2012.
Tomás, the post’s author, wonders what this means for Venezuela’s future, and how we can possibly expect to overcome the Chávez years by democratic means if the Armed Forces cannot be counted on to respect popular will.
My message to Tomás and all other Venezuelans who fret over this is simple: lighten up.
If there is one thing we know about the modern Venezuelan Armed Forces, it’s that they go where the money is. Once they realize the government has lost popular support and that the opposition may win the election, they will come around.
The FAN, with few exception, sucks up to the people in power, those who control the purse strings. They won’t be fighting quixotic, ideological wars, and they won’t be battling a potential opposition government. They will be focused on getting the new government to place them where the funds are there for the taking.
Our main job is to win the election and make sure the CNE respects the outcome. Once that is done, we can worry about the TSJ, the FAN, the Consejos Comunales, and everyone else getting on board, or at least respecting the outcome.
My guess is that most of them will. Like the good fiefdom we have become, one the new cacique is in place and the winds have demonstrably changed, the ducks will line up. It’s the Venezuelan way.
Let’s remember how, in the wee early morning hours of April 12, 2002, members of the DISIP were celebrating, shouting on the radio “cayó el tirano!” Yes, the tyrant had fallen, only he came back the next day, and we never heard from them again.
So don’t lose sleep over Rangel Silva’s words. When time comes, his successors will come sucking up to Maria Corina Machado or Henrique Capriles just like he has done with Chávez. The FAN will be falling over itself trying to show they never, ever believed in the Revolution. If we play our cards right, we might even get them to shout “Capitalismo, patria o muerte!”
Playing the winning card is in their DNA.