The Omnishambles Begins (Updated)

And now, the Wall Street Journal hits us with this gem:

Some experts said the Venezuelans may have a difficult time preserving Mr. Chavez’s body unless the right chemicals were injected immediately after death.

“This is not something you do two or three days after someone dies,” said Camilo Jaramillo, a Colombian embalming expert and member of the American Association of Embalmers.

Mr. Jaramillo said that the process for trying to preserve a body for the long-term is also different than embalming a corpse for a few days or weeks. “If they have done this on a temporary basis, they may have a hard time doing it for the long term, because it’s a different set of chemicals,” he said, adding that he didn’t think Venezuela had those chemicals.

Countries like Colombia and Venezuela don’t have a culture of embalming, and there are few experts, according to Mr. Jaramillo.

He also said the corpses need regular maintenance and an environment where humidity, light and temperature are strictly controlled. That could be a problem in Venezuela, which has regular electricity blackouts.

Now I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass what they choose to do with the guy’s body. It’s their muerto, if they want to put him on permanent display in the Aladino that’s fine by me. But you’d think, think, somebody would’ve thought the plan through ahead of time.

Sure, Maduro said that he didn’t even want to think about the possibility of Chávez dying, and so refused to plan for it. That’s a nice sentiment and all, but we’re talking about an evidently agonizing terminal cancer patient! What’s the next thing Maduro doesn’t even want to think about? That social spending levels are unsustainable? That the jails are still murderous shitholes? What?

I mean, the government reacted as if Chávez dropped dead out of the blue, of a sudden heart attack! Jeezum crow the entire country just spent the last four months talking about little else. Government insiders knew much more than we did, and still didn’t have a proper plan in place!

Let’s review the score. Over the last 72 hours we’ve heard not one, not two, but three different, mutually incompatible plans for what they intend going to do with the body.

First, before the guy had even died, Maduro vowed to convene a scientific panel of experts to prove that his cancer had been the product of an attack. (Classy detail, too, telling us you’re convening a “fact-finding panel” and, at the same time, that you have “no doubt whatsoever” about what it will find!)

Then they announced plans for a more-or-less traditional ceremony-and-burial. And then – but, ojo, only after it was too late – they announce plans to embalm him…forgetting, of course, that the embalming chemicals would destroy the evidence that the scientific-panel-with-a-predetermined-outcome was supposed to look for.

Chamo, Maduro isn’t even up to handling the single most predictable (and predicted!) event in recent memory – something he had months to prepare for, where the set of options facing him was limited and predictable, and where no resistance could be expected from any quarter. How is he supposed to handle, y’know, the country?!

[Hat tip: Lucia]

Update: A previous version of this post contained a picture some of our readers found offensive. Our apologies.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.