So we finally have a successor. Today, Hugo Chávez named Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro as his Vice-President.
Long rumored to be Havana’s favorite in Caracas, Maduro’s succession to heir-apparent is a sign of where the tide is turning within chavismo. There have long been rumored to be two “strands” within chavismo – an ideological civilian branch, headed by Jaua and Maduro, and a narco-military branch, headed by Diosdado Cabello. (I know Adán Chávez is in one of those, but I forgot which one.)
It’s important to note that Maduro has never been elected to executive office. He has been a legislator and a minister most of his political life, but never a Governor or a Mayor. This raises some questions about his electability. Then again, before 1998 Hugo Chávez had not been elected to anything either, and look how that turned out.
Finally, Maduro is a surprisingly moderate choice for me. Personally, I can’t recall Maduro having ever insulted me, my children, my faith in my country, or my mother as most chavistas have. The fact that he used to be a bus driver and is now second-in-charge is a tribute to his talents – sorry, but it can’t be all sucking up. And as Foreign Minister he did what good Foreign Ministers do – do the boss’s biddings quietly.
If you compare him to the other people we have had as VP (Incompetent Isaías, Asinine Adina, Defalcating Diosdado, Repugnant Rangel, Joyless Jorgito Rodríguez, Characterless Carrizalez, and Humdrum Jaua) well … next to that group, he’s Harry Truman.
Anyway, this could all amount to nothing, and Chávez could end up in power until William and Kate’s grandchildren are crowned. But this type of Kremlinology can be a fun distraction.