Liveblog: Vice-President Maduro speaks

The gist:  There were no big decisions announced, but this speech will surely be remembered for the delirious bit at the start where Maduro takes my post from...

The gist:  There were no big decisions announced, but this speech will surely be remembered for the delirious bit at the start where Maduro takes my post from two days ago and makes it the explicit government policy, blaming Chávez’s opponents outright for his cancer.

A rough translation:

“We have no doubt, the time will come in history when we can create a scientific commission to show that Comandante Chávez was attacked with this disease…We have no doubt that our fatherland’s historic enemies looked for a way to harm our Comandante’s health… We already have plenty of clues about this, it’s a very serious matter that will have to be investigated by a special committee of scientists.”

Yup: he went there.

The liveblog is after the jump.

(All times Caracas time)

2:15: Move on, folks, nothing to see here.

2:12:  “Nobody has immunity here.” #RepresiónAnunciada

2:10: Looking more and more like there’s no big announcement here. #HeadFake

2:08: This speech is a perfect exemplar of the themes I developed in that post two days ago:

Chavismo as an ideological system creates its own truths through the expedient of repeating them until they are believed. It makes truths out of assertions it needs to be true in order to preserve the moral order Chávez’s discourse creates, one where he is good, those who oppose him are bad, and when good things happen it is always because good people act, and when bad things happen it’s necessarily because bad people act.

This is why the idea that “the Opposition is to blame for Chávez’s cancer and must be punished for it” is well on its way to becoming “true.” We see clues to this scatteredthroughout official declarations.

2:06: Maduro calls for chavistas to close ranks facing a (totally imaginary) imminent U.S. invasion. #CabinFever@HospitalMilitar

2:03: Half an hour in, the guy has basically said nothing yet. #PrologoSinFin

2:01: “The difficulties of the situations that may develop in the coming hours…”

1:58: Insane message aside, Maduro has improved a lot as a speaker. #PracticeMakesPerfect

1:56: Las ratas estas mercenarias inhumanas inventan encima que los insultamos. #HabráTambiénEscacezDeCamisasDeFuerza?

1:54: Maduro afirma que “nuestra juventud no se encadena, rompió las cadenas” en Cadena Nacional.

1:53: Maduro confirms “there’s no cure” …for the opposition’s madness. #GimmeABreak

1:51: Maduro insists that Chávez is both fighting a serious infection and receiving chemotherapy. #Worst.Oncologist.Ever. (or, let’s get real: #BlatantLie.) 

1:49: Seems to declare Chávez still alive (obliquely) – or did I hear that wrong?

1:46: The shrill-attack-to-news ratio is tending to ∞ here.

1:44: Eliminationist rhetoric bla bla woe-be-us bla bla bla. #ExcesivamenteNormal

1:43: Is it possible that he won’t say anything of substance? #PerverseBastard

1:42: Now April 11th. #DiscoRayao

1:41: “A right wing that has persecuted and harassed our comandante.” Finally persecution and harassment is on the agenda! #GetToThePoint

1:39: Electrical sabotage. Bla bla bla. #Ruled by Paranoiacs

1:37: Expels a gringo military attaché for spying. #DavidDelMonaco #ParanoiaOutOfControl

1:34: Los viejitos, viejitas. Los cadetes en El Pao. Bla bla bla…

1:33: The empire murdered Arafat. Maduro good as blames the opposition for Chávez’s cancer. #CalledIt

Earlier: Reuters tweets: Venezuelan VP Nicolas Maduro to speak on state TV shortly at Cabinet meeting. Bocaranda says they’ll declare Chávez’s permanent absence and call elections.

Article 233 says “The absolute absence of the President of the Republic will happen: when he dies, when he resigns, or when he is stripped of his post via a sentence from the Supreme Tribunal, when he is physically or mentally incapacitated in accordance to a diagnosis from a Medical Board designed for this purpose by the Supreme Tribunal, when a majority of the National Assembly decides he has abandoned his post, or when his mandate is recalled via a popular vote.”