A smart profile of Maduro


Javier Corrales gives us his take over at Americas Quarterly. Good read.

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  1. Maduro = Corruption. That is what gets play in the red corner.

    Aporrea.org, for the past couple of years, has had plenty of veiled and not so veiled criticism of the Maduro/Flores “clan”. Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores is the undisputed reigning chavismo-champion in nepotism. Under her helm the Asamblea Nacional “nomina” got packed cronies and family members. Her pulling of strings even made her incompetent brother the president of the Venezuelan section of Parlamento Latino at the time. It was a gigantic piñata.

    When Fernando Soto Rojas took over, his first six to eight months were largely ineffective because he spent much of his energy in fighting battles inside the AN to get some of the worst excesses of the Cilia Flores era fired (recently added redshirts who overbilled for everything and always wanted to set up deals to skim off money, despite never showing up for work.)

    The only reason it all didn’t blow up was the new AN-president’s past: Back in the clandestine days, he had been a Liga Socialista commander and that was the guerilla group that Nicolas Maduro also belonged to. At the time Maduro received his orders from Soto Rojas so because of that, when Soto Rojas took over at the AN the two of them were able to draw on the goodwill from that shared past. Maduro was able to mediate between Fernando Soto Rojas and Cilia Flores. Chavez noticed this, and I am sure that it was that year (2011) which showed him Maduro’s talent for conciliation which now will be tested by all infighting ahead.

    That still doesn’t take away from the fact that the family-and-friends clan of Maduro and Flores steals with both hands and both legs. It is well known and it is the biggest chink in their armor. Grassroots chavismo hates them for that: Just go to aporrea.org

    The fact that the intelligence service now reports directly to Maduro is his (and his wife’s) get out of jail free card: Effective to muzzle those inside chavismo raising a stink about the Maduro/Flores clan’s numerous wheelings and dealings.

    • So Chavismo will be held hostage by its own creation which was put in that position by Chavez himself. Poetic justice.

      The Latin American parliament is a joke by the way, Argentina doesn’t even follow the official tariff rules, and they want to get together and share a legislative powers as the EU does? They spend more time imperialistically butting their nose into the business of Puerto Rico than addressing a single problem in all the rest of Latin America.

      • … just to be clear, Puerto Rico has the right to vote for independence, no one disputes that including Obama. But passing resolutions declaring that Peurto Rico should be independent regardless of the will of the people that live there is absurd. Why doesn’t the Venezuelan delegation to the Latin American parliament pass a resolution demanding the independence of Siberia, Manchuria, Okinawa and southern Italy. It would make just as much logical sense.

  2. Juán: How are they are going to go around Article 229 of the Constitution? Maduro will have to resign first?
    Artículo 229.
    No podrá ser elegido Presidente o Presidenta de la República quien esté en ejercicio del cargo de Vicepresidente Ejecutivo o Vicepresidenta Ejecutiva, Ministro o Ministra, Gobernador o Gobernadora y Alcalde o Alcaldesa, en el día de su postulación o en cualquier momento entre esta fecha y la de la elección.

    • Woa! That could make things really interesting. If Chavez can actually take over in january 10 but if he thinks that he won’t be able to continue then he won’t appoint Maduro as VP, but who then?

      Also, if Chavez dies prior to january 10th then Cabello may not want to be President of the National Assembly as he might want to run for the presindency. But if not Diosdado then who?

      Who ever is appointed VP after january 10th or president of the NA prior to, will be basically “inhabilitado” to run for president.

      • I dont think the article is that much of a game changer because it says that a person who is VP at the time of their postulation cannot run for President. In case Chavez dies Maduro wont be the VP an y more, he would be the acting President so the article wont apply to him, as he would even have to appoint a VP of his own. And even if you considere that he is still the VP, he can just resign and whoever is President of the Assembly would be appointed.

  3. Maduro as president will certainly be weaker than Mr Chavez , he will evidently lack the natural charisma of his would be predecessor , he will in time have more enemies from within his own ranks , people who feel resentful of not having been chosen as Mr Chavez succesor , he will have to face economically more stringent conditions and increased popular dissapointment at the failure of the regime to avoid ever more conspicuous failures of governance. Not to be missed is the great effort spent by Chavez in ensuring Mr Maduro as his Succesor, it is now obvious that the reason the elections were done in october rather than in december was because Mr Chavez failing health would not allow him to complete the following presidential term thus forcing the regime to put up the much weaker Mr Maduro as its candidates for the 2012 elections , To avoid that the elections were brought up to October , The october thriump was bound to raise the enthusiasm of the regimes supporters and keep them excited until new elections would have to be called upon Mr Chavez withdrawal from his official functions due to reasons of ill health. While in retirement Mr Chavez moribund condition will make his calls for support of Mr Maduro’s candidacy ever more stirring and forceful , he will become a sanctified heroic figure for his supporters who wallowing in grief at the prospect of his coming death will find it irresistible to disobeys his calls for giving Mr Maduro the votes which perhaps Mr Maduro on his own would never have been able to attract. Because of all of the above he probably stands a good chance of getting elected Mr Chavez presidential succesor .The real test of his abilities and character will come afterwards as time passes and his image becomes increasingly distanced from that of the now hallowed Mr Chavez and he finds himself facing the accumulated legacy of this regimes many contradictions and failures .

  4. A joke I just received from an Argentinian friend, that will work for Chávez and Maduro et al.

    “Scientists have finally discovered what’s wrong with Argentina President´s brain:
    On the left side, there is nothing right,
    and on the right side, there is nothing left”.

  5. Good stuff. Maduro first came across my radar after 2002 events. He’s was on a lot of nominas. He’s a skilled operator with an interestng background (played electric rock guitar in a band…try to find that reference now). Or his visits to India….

  6. Juan, for how good Javier Corrales usually is, I did not find this article that good. It does not say much and it implies that Maduro IS going to be the president, which is far from a done deal since there is going to be an election soon.

    • I agree. But for a non-initiated person, I think the article is good. Corrales has been doing a lot of research on Venezuela’s foreign relations, and he knows Maduro’s work in that area pretty well.

    • In recent years the opposition has skimmed votes from chavismo, but only the moderates. The remaining 55% won’t switch their vote simply because maduro isn’t their favorite chavista. When maduro becomes the next president it will be because the opposition discourse only talks to 45% of voters.

      • Yoyo, conventional thinking says “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!” Well, Chavismo is in a hole of unsustainable debt… and how much deeper can they dig? Devaluation and spending cut-backs has got impact the enthusiasm of the revolution! Unless Chavez abdicates sooner rather than later, the economics of the revolution is got to hit bottom and nothing can save them!

  7. Cilia Flores, that’s who people need to be focused on. Anyone remember the Ambassador to Kenya being murdered?


    “This isn’t a “conspiracy”, it’s a murder case. There’s going to be progress because the Venezuelan government retired diplomatic immunity for the prime suspect, the Embassy’s First Secretary. Kenyan authorities have asked Interpol to come in and help investigate the case. THey are now in Nairobi interrogating the suspect.

    This morning’s Spanish media has a lot more material as the case unfolds, and one of the articles I read mentions that a previous ambassador had been recalled to Caracas and fired not too long ago. The article speculated that this previous ambassador may have been trying to clean up the mess, and was framed to put him out of the way. So this implicated Maduro or possibly Flores. Maduro is an ex-bus driver who became one of Chavez’ favorites, does a terrible job at the foreign Ministry, but some say Chavez is touting him to become President after he dies of cancer. Flores, Maduro’s wife, is a well connected lady who has served in many roles, and is known to be incredibly corrupt. So my guess is that if the Foreign Ministry is penetrated by people who use pouches to deliver drugs from Venezuela, they are put there by Flores and not by Maduro, who has too much to lose.”

    Kenyan homicide investigators believe that Ambassador Fonseca was murdered because she issued orders immediately upon assuming her new post in Nairobi stating that all diplomatic pouches arriving from Caracas were to be delivered to her directly and unopened, with the official diplomatic seals intact. Assaimi said today that this isn’t true. But since I know who Assaimi is, I’ll take the Kenyan cops at their word.”

  8. Off Topic:


    El único que le ofrece tres opciones de alta cocina gourmet, preparadas por Robón Hood, cordon rouge de la escuela “Le Monde Diplomatique” (antiguo chef privado de Ignacio Ramonet, líder de la gauche caviar internacional), todas a un mismo precio: su futuro personal y el de su nación


    Opción “Cívico-presidencial”

    Fosforera margariteña a la gocha, receta de la “Fosforito”
    Cerdo “sobrevenido” en salsa a la cubana, acompañado de puré de plátano “maduro” y ensalada de lechuga verde con aderezo de “flores”
    Dulce de chayota disfrazada de lechosa con la zeta del Zorro

    Opción “Cívico-universitaria”

    Sopa de rabo de paja, hablada y por hablar
    Hallacas “empaquetadas” a la Giordani, acompañado de pimentón relleno de morcilla “jaua” (de pura sangre de burro) y arroz árabe a la “al-aissami”.
    Torta económica con aumento de gasolina y disturbios estomacales incluidos

    Opción “narco-militar”

    Hallaquitas de chicharrón frito
    Pavo de gallinero vertical, ahumado sobre avión chino y helicóptero estrellados en desfile, con espuma de coca, acompañado de ensalada de gallina saltatalanquera a la “Arias Cárdenas” y croquetas de opio procesado con salsa de amapolas
    Brownies de María Juana


    Advertencia del Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Salud: estos platos pueden resultar fatales, tenga usted o no úlcera gástrica.

  9. Yesterday, I talked to a LatinAmerican investment banker. His primary concern vis-a-vis Venezuela was about the billions of dollars that went into Chavez’s discretionary fund. He thinks the money is not all spent and is going to play an important roll in what he thinks will become a government
    transition free-for-all!


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