Capriles's Blunder on When Chávez Died


News that the Venezuelan government is backtracking on its plans to embalm president Chávez’s body so it could be displayed for all eternity strike me as significant on a couple of counts. As you read on this blog, that kind of embalming is only feasible if the body is treated immediately after death, and as Maduro now recognizes, initial treatment was not done on time.

Set aside the keystone cops image of Maduro randomly declaring pa’lante y pa’trás on this matter. The revelation makes the opposition’s cherished conspiracy theory about Chávez dying long before it was announced seem much less likely to be true…and, at the same time, it makes a blunder of Capriles’s very public questioning on the matter.

Let’s be clear, I love the new, feistier Capriles as much as the next guy. But that’s no excuse for recklessness. Insinuating that the government lied about the timing of the president’s death without any evidence is serious business. And blundering on such a point carries clear political costs, which the government is not shy about extracting. 

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