Diosdado IS chavismo

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My take on the Mario Silva recording, over at the Transitions blog. The value added:

The way that [the scandal] plays out will reflect who holds the key to power within chavismo: either the heavily corrupt, nationalist military wing headed by Cabello or the radical, pro-Cuban wing that Silva represents. Early indications are that Silva is backtracking on all the claims he made on tape and even suspending his show for unexplained “medical reasons.” Though still early, Silva’s apparent self-immolation suggests Cabello’s power inside the revolution is remarkably resilient.

As disturbing as the revelations are, they are not terribly shocking. Authoritarian regimes seldom find it easy to handle succession when a larger-than-life leader dies. It happened in Russia with the de-Stalinization process after the death of the dictator. It also happened in China when Mao Zedong died and his successors quickly acted against the “Gang of Four.” Something similar could be under way in Venezuela.

Then again, this could also mark the beginning of the unraveling of chavismo. This echoes what happened in Peru in the year 2000, when a series of videos of politicians being bribed leaked by an intelligence mastermind led to the toppling of Alberto Fujimori’s regime. The opposition has said more videos are on their way.

Another possibility is that nothing happens. Venezuela is a country used to scandal, and with chavistas showing remarkable tolerance to corruption within their own ranks, no allegations against chavismo ever seem to awaken the institutions from their slumber. For example, a few months ago a former justice in the Supreme Tribunal fled to the United States, claiming that the entire judiciary was run like a criminal organization. Nothing came of his claims.

1 COMMENT

  1. The brilliance of the tape was that it was so clearly true and created so much havoc, they could not deny it was not a real recording…

    If the opposition has more tapes like this the the government officials will start turning on each other and whole administration will self implode. I hope they have the goods to keep this up!

    • you are missing the point, Venezuela is not a country where scandals lead to anything!!!
      We are so used to soap operas and drama that hardly anything shock us anyway and if they do, then no one else cares enough to do anything, anyways!

      Name one single scandal or expose that has led to anything even remotely close to getting justice done?

      not the tons of food wasted at the ports,
      not the savagery of the expropiations
      not the blatant destruction of basic industries
      not a single financial “Fondo” raided to the bones of any money has been challenged.
      Not even the Maletin case got any traction….
      heck not even murder! (Danilo Anderson)
      Political prisoners? heck did what’s his face died tied up in a military hospital?

      And so it goes, yet another scandal, yet another day, life will go on, until we are all like cubans, completely run to the ground accepting whatever happens and in the not so distant future we will see Corina Machado become the native version of Yoanny Sanchez…and you know how effective that she has been right? (yes it is sarcasm).

      Impunity? heck yeah, that’s how venezuela has and will always be run…

      • I totally agree. This is why I think Diosdado’s team leaked this tape to Capriles’ camp. They know that scandals are a dime a dozen, nobody cares. What people do care about is entreguismo, the tendency to turn over the country to Cuba. Many Venezuelans don’t like that. That’s why Diosdado is going to win this.

  2. Mario para la proxima cerciorate que tienes todos tus CDs antes de levantarte de la mesa de domino de los Tupamaros.

  3. I have faint memories of my Western Civilization course back in my freshman days as an undergrad that totalitarian regimes generally fall from within. All their defenses are directed against insurrection and opposition on the outside but leave them vulnerable to insurrections and conflicts from the inside.

  4. “who holds the key to power within chavismo: either the heavily corrupt, nationalist military wing headed by Cabello or the radical, pro-Cuban wing that Silva represents”

    I think you could call both sides heavily corrupt

        • Oh yeah? Do they resent them more or less than Maria Corina or Julio Borges? I don’t believe that. They don’t resent Cubans, they love them. Time for a reality check.

          • your question belies your bias. the question isn’t nicolas maduro vs maria corina machado, it’s nicolas maduro vs diosdado cabello. the latter is gaining daily. the opposition is a sideshow.

  5. a former justice in the Supreme Tribunal fled to the United States, claiming that the entire judiciary was run like a criminal organization. Nothing came of his claims.

    I’d say that AA was the start of the simmering implosion. These are incremental steps, my friend.

    • Re the AA revelations about the TSJ, they may not have gone anywhere in the short run, but I am sure in one form or other they will show up in some trials on various continents some day.

      Also, probably like many Venezuelans, they certainly made me think about fridays in Venezuela in a different way (‘thank god its chavez’s time to usurp my decision-making-role day”?).

  6. FYI, just in at The New Yorker: Venezuela, Black and Blue, by Boris Munoz. He talks with both sides. Chavismo:

    I met with Evans on May 10th in the offices of Noticias24, on the twelfth floor of an office block in Chacao, the city’s financial center. He comes from the ideological sector of Chavismo that nested in the academic left, and he had been a loyal advocate of the government’s policies until Maduro started his campaign. Evans told me he believes Chavez’s leadership style had created an attitude of unconditional support in his followers that didn’t promote self-criticism and has hampered Chavismo’s political renovation. “In the most powerful sector of the party’s leadership, Stalinism is the fastest way to resolve any differences. This totally contradicts the red book of the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, which proposes socialism through participatory democracy. The current leaders are outdated.”

    Julio Borges:

    Julio Borges has a radically different point of view. “As Diosdado Cabello says—and you have to take him seriously—Chávez was the brake on all the crazy ideas that occurred to his cohorts. Now nobody knows who’s in charge of the economy or the military. Maduro can’t manage all this, and that’s the reason for the reactions we see—violence and repression.”

    Read it.

    • Thanks for the link. Chavistas are slowly facing the reality of the failure of their system and are having a hard time reconciling the promises and fantasies with the harsh reality.

    • Dude, you only have to register once and it’s FREE, for fuck sake. After that, the ‘cookie’ logs you in automatically any time you return. And, hey, if Juan is good enough to get tapped for Foreign Policy, we ‘escualidos’ should be grateful for his voice – even when he and Toro get miffed at each other.

      • You are absolutely right DJK, except for the “escualidos” part.

        I do not consider myself “squalid” because I oppose Chavismo, Madurismo or whatever tag you want to hang on the last 15 years.

        Show some self respect, friend.

        • Roberto… neither do I consider myself “un escualido’… just a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humour in the face of GAC and his ilk. Saludos.

          • Exactly.

            When the opposition tries to label you, own the label as sign of pride.

            During the great Dutch rebellion against Spain, a royal councilor said to the Regent “Are you afraid of these beggars?”

            The rebels adopted the insult. The Dutch sailors who defeated mighty Spanish fleets called themselves Watergeuzen – “Beggars of the Sea”.

  7. For true dye in the wool Chavistas there is no room for compromise or tolerance or ideological differences . they are passionately engaged in a holy War against a demonized enemy , and every one must march to the same tune . Remember some years ago they tried starting a slogan of the nazi “Ein Reich , ein Volk , ein Fuhrer” variety which they dropped when it failed to catch on. Chavismo is a sectarian movement, beholden to the cult of monolithic authority, bent on total and perpetual monopolization of Power. It is because this is the spirit of all sectarian groups that radical movements of any kind tend to split into irreconciliable factions. Because Chavismo demanded total subservience to Chavez, while he was alive, he was able to prevent those divisions from growing too mutually inimical , but since his death these factional divisions have blossomed and bloomed , although careful to keep their mutual hatreds contained because they face the threat of a common enemy. These chavista intellectuals have no say or influence on the rank and file nor on the leadership , they are isolated half ,muted voices , they count for next to nothing in the scheme of things . Different chavista groups hate each other but together they hate ( and fear) the opposition even more , until they hate each other more than they hate their enemies they will maintain some semblance of unity. But the point is coming near where they will hate each other guts more than they hate the opposition and then we will see some fireworks, the recently discovered recording is but the first salvo in this internal struggle inside Chavismo!!

  8. Juan,

    Your claim that the Vladivideos were leaked by Montesinos himself is sufficiently off-the-wall that I’m assuming that either it was either a typo or an editing catastrophe. You might have meant that the videos were recorded under Montesinos’ orders and/or that he played a starring role in them, but no self-respecting intelligence mastermind would release videotapes which could only serve to destroy the government he more or less controlled, and force him to flee to Panama and then Caracas.

    There’s an interesting Venezuelan angle to Montesinos’ flight and capture; despite the breezy words on the Wikipedia page you link to, I don’t believe that this is an accurate summary of the history: “through the assistance of the U.S. Government Montesinos was turned over to the Venezuelan government in Caracas and extradited back to Peru”. As I recall, he was widely suspected to have been protected by a segment of the Venezuelan military, with whom he had excellent relations. Which segment, precisely, I couldn’t possibly even guess at.

  9. No matter what, it’s always right wing’s fault. That’s the problem with chavistas… And opposition just don’t care enough.

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