We’re going to miss him…

So long, suckers!
So long, suckers!

So Chávez’s wholesale disappearance for 3-weeks+ has finally convinced me: the guy’s probably dying now. There’s no other way to make sense of it.

And, you know what? We’ll miss him when he’s gone.

We really will. Because for all his many, many faults, Chávez really does think of himself as a redeeming figure, a democrat and a justice-maker.

The psychiatrics behind that self-perception are clearly FUBAR, but they impose a few clear red lines: Blatant, large-scale ballot rigging. Indiscriminate (as opposed to selective) persecution of ideological opponents. Wholesale application of outright censorship (rather than selective after-publication harrassment.) Mass political killings.

It’s been 14 years and Chávez has never resorted to these. That doesn’t make him Aung San Suu Kyi, but it does keep him from sinking to Castro/Mugabe territory.

Well, guess what: none of the guys who’ll be fighting it out to take the coroto after he’s gone are likely to feel bound by those red lines. The upper reaches of the chavista governing elite are top-heavy with narco-drenched gangland types, and they won’t even have a controlling figure standing over them to keep the inevitable tensions between them from escalating out of control.

In this context, losing ourselves in exegesis of Article 233 seems pointless. The best case scenario after he’s gone is a relatively uncontested transition to an underling who retains at least some commitment to the original red-lines. The more likely scenario is a chaotic scramble for power. The whole notion of thirty-days-then-elections-then-a-relatively-stable-transition-to-an-oppo-led-government strikes me as vanishingly unlikely, not to say wholly fantastic.

It may seem inconceivable to us now. But check back in six months or so: when the guy’s gone, we’re going to miss him.

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  1. More rumors hey, well if you are correct the 1 out of 100 times trying ( even a broken clock has a better record than you, its right twice a day)you may have the civil war you all really want because the grassroots will not put up with y’all or the pretenders!

    Rojo Rojito

    • I can almost promise you that an actual peasant/proletarian revolution would scare us all much less than what we are now realizing might happen.

    • Yes remember when they all assured us Chavez would die before the start of the election campaign? And the oppo was declaring he had only “weeks to live” as far back as last year.

      • Desperately ill he is. Or else he lied about the few things we know for sure. The few half-truths he let transpire about his illness. He is a liar or dead man walking. Choose.

  2. What really scares me is the power struggle that will start within chavismo. And when I say power struggle I mean violent. In my worst nightmares it is something like the massacre in The House of Blue Leaves in Kill Bill.

    • Actually that sounds great! Put all the Chavistas willing to kill people to get to power in one room together and the problem solves itself. If it’s like Kill Bill, you’d only have to arrest one person when the fight is over.

  3. On the other hand, the narco-military establishment has it pretty good. They’ll probably be able to work things out when push comes to potentially having to give up their nice little routines.

  4. Miss him? I have a bottle of champaign in my refrigerator waiting to celebrate. After that I am willing to fight with all my power to get back on the right track, no matter what it takes! Can’t visualize anything worse than what we have lived for the past 14 years!

    • FC might be right, más vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer. But that doesn’t mean that we should want Chavez to stay, and even less miss him when his gone.

      • what? we just need some background information, it’s not the same to elect someone that is been governor, mayor and such for a long time than someone that only had a cup d´etat on his curriculum vitae. If we use to something else I’m thinking of a woman who gets out with a man who hits her, following this “mas vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer” then she should stay with him because the next one might be a murderer… Sorry, but I cannot accept that kind of reasoning

        • reading my comment I see I wasn’t clear, what I meant was that when electing someone you just need to see what he did, and than the “mas vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer” is for people awfully cónsonas. You cannot get out of a crisis doing what you always do.

  5. For me, the only reason that he would be missed would be because those who are against him will not have a cohesive identity/person to rail against. I say good riddance to bad rubbish.

  6. While this post is the very definition of “Jumping the gun” I can’t help but agree. It’s going to be scary if it comes to that.

  7. “The whole notion of thirty-days-then-elections-then-a-relatively-stable-transition-to-an-oppo-led-government strikes me as vanishingly unlikely, not to say wholly fantastic.”

    Yes, you are right. The transition will NOT be stable, but a transition is likely to take place nonetheless. Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution says so. You are also correct in the assumption that there will be violence. It’s unavoidable. But, let’s not overlook the fact that the opposition will have the clear edge in any upcoming election. The current government knows that. Behind closed doors they, the Chavistas, are scrambling to put together a new game plan under these changing circumstances. Who are they gonna run against Capriles in thirty, or sixty, or ninety days? Who?

    • Oh I think that’s naive. They can just inhabilitar the oppo candidate after the super-compressed timeframe for nominations closes, forcing a Maduro vs. Maria Bolivar only election. Totally shameless and over the top? Yup…but that’s just my point, tactics that were too shameless and over the top to fly while Chávez was around become not only thinkable but necessary once he’s out of the picture. Because remember, the alternative for some of these guys is U.S. Supermax sentences…

      • I hope I’m wrong, but:

        1. Chavez dies
        2. Diosdado declares teary-eyed that it was his last will for the revolution to continue, and that he will not allow the yankee empire to come back to Venezuela. There will be no elections.
        3. The US, Human Rights associations, the UN, et al. pronounce themselves against the provisional government, and call for upholding the constitution and calling for elections. Their outrage goes largely and hilariously ignored.
        4. 3 months go by and people just get used to bitching about the situation and going about their lives.
        5. Congratulations! You are now an official dictatorship! May the eight million pairs of hands never wash the blood of their hands.

        I’m just a ray of sunshine.

        • There’s just no use pretending to know which scenario is more likely than the next… Even if a civil war broke out, how long will it last? Who will fund it? Seriously, the doomsday scenario is just as likely as the complete-meltdown-followed-by-a-new-system scenario.

          • Smart comment.
            Descent into chaos is a likely scenario. For chavismo to maintain a strong grip on power for any substantial time seems unlikely. An exceptional figure would have to rise and successfully maintain control in a highly volatile situation without the obedience and popularity that Chavez enjoyed. Venezuela is not like Cuba, China, N.Korea and/or the Soviet Union where a well organized and uncontested political machinery had sole control of the society and could handle successions without trouble. Chavez never created such a structure of power that could survive him.
            If chavistas decide to go that way, we may see a series of pretenders rise and fall, some lasting less than Carmona, before stability is achieved.

        • Yes, don’t underestimate the capacity of people to just do nothing. But the opposition has an opening here, and they have a capable leader.

      • No te vayas tan lejos… A constitutional amendment proposed by the A.N. needs only 1/3 of diputados in order to be proposed, and then a simple majority in order for it to be subjected to a referendum. Or the president could just call for one, efficiently sidesteping the whole pesky legislative process. With the voter de-mobilization that we have so far witnessed as of lately, and the fact that Municipal elections have not even been “convocadas” yet, its really not that far fetched to envision a scenario in which a referendum is called in order to modify 233, sooner rather than later.

  8. Hey, I bet ‘Uncle Joe’ Stalin and Mao Zedong thought of themselves as redeemers, democrats, justice-makers, kind-to-children-and-small-animals types. Chavez hasn’t refrained from mass executions because it would clash with his self-image. He has done so because the circumstances required – or perhaps, permitted – it (or both). And the apres-moi-le-deluge stuff is Chavez’ own line. It has been a major selling-point all along: listen, you namby-pamby bourgeois types, you’d better support me or you’ll get Diosdado Cabello, mafia wars, a popular uprising and, well, in short, Armageddon. It will certainly be messy but ?miss him? His departure is an indispensable pre-requisite for starting to put things right. Necessary but, of course, not sufficient by any means. So no – the sooner he gets out of the way the better, because the shit-hole the country will have to pull itself out of only gets deeper the longer he’s around.

  9. Mister Toro is right and wrong at the same time:

    Chávez won’t be really “missed”. The thousand “collateral casualties” of the Civil War that will come after his untimely demise won’t be missed… those will go to engross XXI century statistics… more or less, proof or no proof… dead will they be… and at peace with their individual credos… But some of the readers of this woebegone site will miss individuals they knew and will be no more…

    Then all the “paja” will be what it always has been: pointless…

    En mi caso, como buen civil venezolano, “mejor muerto que bañado en sangre”, so…

  10. Let’s face it – getting rid of chavismo is impossible with Chavez around, the guy is simply unbeatable. Chavez dying is the only way we can move forward. Whether or not that implies bloodshed is beside the point – there is already a lot of bloodshed.

  11. Guys, I dont know what to think, the guy just shown up this morning at 2h20 in Venezuela..Im starting to believe that he is bluffing pretty bad…

  12. He arrived again in Venezuela? He is bouncing back! A REALISTIC bouncing ball (For our Socialist friends: this is Real Life). A little less high on each bounce. A little lower… a little lower each bounce…

    Add friction and losses from campaigning and “building Socialism” never mind being President for a change too.

    We have enough time for this to finish, don’t we?

  13. Wrong again, hey! Looked good to me watching the video and listening to his speech.
    Chronically Clueless strikes again.

    Rojo Rojito

  14. Writing someones obituary when that someone is still alive is quite disgusting. Gossip magazines use this kind of journalism to attract readers. I hope this is not your goal.
    Good to see ‘el comandante’ walking down the stairs of an airplane. He will be around for some time and looking at the situation, I am happy to see him alive and kicking.

  15. I really do not think he is dying and I think he just pulled one of. The silence was there on purpose because he knew what would follow. Speculation, writing obituaries and so on.

    How do you think this lands with the people who voted for him? Guess who they will be voting for the 16th. Great job..

      • As almost nobody knows what he has or had, it is pointless to say that he is gravelly ill. It is speculating and makes you look like a … when somebody suddenly walks down the stairs of an airplane.

  16. I don’t know why our resident chavistas have this urge to remind us that, “HE’S NOT DEAD AND WILL LIVE FOREVER!!!” People get sick and die, it’s a part of life. See the forest instead of the trees. He came back alive but has been seen less and less since the election. The fact that these absences are longer and more frequent should tell you something.

  17. whoops, I guess pointing out that Quico is once again dead wrong hurt his feelings…. 🙁 He’s now deleting my comments. Seriously, it doesn’t get more pathetic than this…

      • Only in opposition fantasy land does questioning someone’s baseless claims mean you are “smearing” them and “making fun about [sic] them.”

        • Get a clue, you didn’t question, you assumed falsehood, while assuming that a call to investigations implied belief, though investigation is mandated by law. Do you support that the law be followed that requires investigation?

          • Umm… It’s Afiuni and her lawyers who are opposed to an investigation!

            “Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega assured that an investigation into the rape allegation would be carried out, and called on Afiuni to file a formal complaint. However, on Friday the ex-judge refused to cooperate with the investigation, citing fears that the state would prosecute her for making a false complaint.”

            “They want Afiuni and her lawyers to file a complaint so that they can open an investigation and show that there was no crime, and then accuse her of making a false accusation,” said defense attorney Thelma Fernández. “We aren’t going to play that game,” she said.

          • Ummm, you missed the main point. Rape is a crime that requires by law that the prosecution investigate EVEN if the supposed victim refuses to file a complaint or cooperate with the investigation. In other words, by law, it is optional for Afiuni’s to participate, while it is not optional for Ortega to investigate without requiring anything of Afiuni.

            Imagine that the report is of an autistic child. It is Ortega’s responsibility to investigate any suspicions at all even without asking the child or requiring anyone to file a complaint. Same action is required of any rape victim.

  18. It looks like there are five possibilities:

    Chavez dies before 10 January, Maduro assumes power as incumbent VP until the election.

    Chavez dies before 10 January, Cabello assumes power as PNA until the election.

    Chavez dies before 10 January, Maduro assumes power as incumbent VP. Maduro retains power until 10 January, then Cabello assumes power until the election.

    Chavez dies after 10 January without naming a new VP, Cabello assumes power until the election.

    Chavez dies after 10 January after naming a new VP, who assumes power until the election.

    These all assume that the special election will be held per Section 233.

    Another possibility is that whichever Chavista assumes power proclaims a state of national emergency, accuses the opposition (and perhaps rival Chavistas) of conspiring to overthrow the government, and has the accused summarily arrested. They could all be charged with narco-trafficking, too.

    The Chavistas are desperate to stay in power as a group – but also some are ambitious to get supreme power for themselves. A tool for the latter would be to paint rivals as selling out to the opposition.

    The election could be postponed, due to the “emergency”; or rushed through on schedule, with all plausible oppo candidates disqualified by arrests. Whichever chavista has won the internal power struggle is elected President against token opposition. This passes muster with the world community, because it is the election of a chavista to serve the term just won by Chavez.

    (Or the interim President spares, say, HCR to run, but arrests a lot of key oppo figures, especially organizers, and also a number of relatives of oppo figures and backers as de facto hostages, thereby hamstringing the oppo for the special election. Add a dollop of vote-rigging to make sure.)

    With a chavista safely elected, the chavistas can start on crushing out the opposition for good.

    • My interpretation as per the second paragraph of Art. 233 is that, if chavez dies from now until president elect takes office, then the president of the AN takes over until a new president is elected. Not only do I think any paragraph below this one to be trumped by this one, the existence of this paragraph would not make much sense if not interpreted this way.

    • The sixth and correct possibility is that Chavez will return to Venezuela looking great after the hyperbaric treatment and make you all look rather foolish to say the least. Hahahahahaha…….

      • And this is what did happen. Once again the hate-crazed Venezuelan right have demonstrated their world-beating talent for wishful thinking. They ALWAYS look foolish.

  19. Quico – from time to time you really are full of shit! How can you lower yourself to that of 5to Poder or 2001. Get a grip. You’re losing the plot completely.


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