Reading the god-given tea leaves

The President, and some guy with a moustache
The President, and some guy with a mustache

Let’s recap Monday’s events:

  1. A conversation is leaked between Mario Silva and a Cuban intelligence operative, in which it is made clear that the Maduro faction in this government is heavily influenced by the Cubans. In it, Silva suggests that the military – at the prodding of Diosdado Cabello – is plotting against Maduro.
  2. In the meantime, Maduro goes on live TV, deploying armed forces to safeguard civilians as part of his crime-control Plan Patria Segura in Zulia, Carabobo, and Lara. In his appearances, he is flanked by high-ranking military personnel, including the Minister of Defense, Admiral Diego Molero, whom Silva referred to when talking about a fictitious coup-plot. Silva insisted that Molero is a loyal Chavista “willing to rise up and demand blood for treason…” (interesting), insisting that he should be kept in his Defense Cabinet post at all costs, lest Diosdado gets that into his head.
  3. During his parallel live broadcast, Maduro never directly alluded to Silva’s audio, but instead referred to the great benefits that the armed forces have received following his approval of a salary raise for the military, and the fact that “according to information” he has received, “military families are happier.” He went on to say that if the opposition got its way, the military would be divided and start “oppressing the people,” and finished his delivery by asserting that “I am not here to be a weak President. […] I’ve been called stupid (bruto), and here I am, going forward with the people.” Oh, the name-calling, tsk tsk opposition people.
  4. Then, hours later, from Vargas state, Maduro, en cadena, flanked again by military personnel, gives a speech celebrating the launch of a military school vessel by praising “the purest value of our homeland: military honor.” Again, making no explicit mention of that noon’s press conference, Maduro called upon the Navy to “stand guard before lies, manipulation and intrigue,” touting his “immense pride” over the Venezuelan Navy, and ceremoniously handing the National Bolivarian Forces standard to the vessel’s captain, which was then raised. When presented, in return for his honors, with a miniature version of the military vessel, Maduro replied to the cadets “Our supreme commander Chávez left you our homeland, defend it, build it, and lead it when your turn comes around.” Aaaa…HA!
  5. Meanwhile, Mario Silva took to Twitter to blame the Mossad and the CIA for their montage of his alleged conversation, promising an immediate response, but shortly after recanting his promise and stating he would wait till his 11:00 p.m. TV show La Hojilla to air his statement.
  6. At 11:15 pm La Hojilla opened with a huffy Mario Silva, who instead of delivering his usual opening monologue, hastily goes to a tape of Maduro, during his earlier Patria Segura act, going on about peace and safety and values and… oh-oh! The video was interrupted by random news of a Portugal Commerce Minister meeting happening LIVE in Miraflores regarding computers and …  WAIT A SEC. WHO´S THAT WALKING BEHIND MADURO AND THE PORTUGUESE MINISTER FOR NO APPARENT REASON ON LIVE TV?? WHY IT´S NONE OTHER THAN… Diosdado Cabello!
  7. So after this gratuitous interlude of Portuguese-Venezuelan commercial relations… and what a coincidence! Diosdado creepily showing up next to Maduro … back to La Hojilla, and now Mario Silva reads his press release on air.

“Rechazo la grabación categóricamente. Mi apoyo irrestricto al Presidente Maduro, a todas las Instituciones: A Diosdado, a Molero, a la hermosa fuerza armada, al poder judicial, al poder electoral y al pueblo Venezolano. La derecha arremete contra el Comandante Fidel, Raul, contra el pueblo Cubano. Rechazo contundentemente el plan de la derecha de vincular al pueblo Cubano con su desestabilización, un pueblo que solo nos ha traido salud y deporte. Si tengo que inmolarme por la revolución Bolivariana, lo hare. Mi apoyo irrestricto a Maduro.  Me pongo frente a la justicia para que se investigue lo que se deba investigar, no le temo a nada. Ismael Garcia es putrefacto.  Pongo a la disposicion el Programa La Hojilla. Siempre fue un programa de Chávez, y ahora es un programa de Maduro. Siempre con Chávez y Maduro. Hasta la victoria siempre.”

Roughly translated: It’s all lies, I love Maduro, and Diosdado, and Molero, and the Armed Forces, and Cuba, and the right wing is guilty of everything, and if I have to fall on my sword for the team I’ll do it, if I have to leave my show I’ll do it. Oh, and I might be taking a “health” leave from this show for a few days.

8.  Lastly, a nonchalant Cabello sound-byte was published in the press (after La Hojilla aired), stating that “no one will divide Chavismo” and that he wholeheartedly supports Maduro.

So, whats the score so far?

Well, 10 points to Mario Silva for agreeing to…how shall I put this lightly…”consume feces” for the sake of Diosdado.

4 points plus a high five and a pat on the head to Maduro for remaining soberly silent about Mario-Silva-Gate throughout the day, AND for laying on the FANB ass-kissing THICK. En cadena.

100 points to Diosdado Cabello for being Darth Vader AND Hannibal Lecter on the same day.  And then showing up at Miraflores just to mug for the cameras and rub it in Maduro’s and Silva’s faces. Cue in Destiny’s Child “Survivor.”

And finally, a negative 857 points to the Venezuelan people, for if Diosdado gets his way and it’s true that he has, to quote Mario Silva, “all the power without being President,” we are about to enter a world of pain that no Cuban doctor can cure.

(The jury is still out on how many posthumous points Chávez gets for everything staying according to plan…)

Juan Cristóbal chimes in: What’s clear, folks, is that Diosdado Cabello is untouchable. He is the pillar upon which “chavismo sin Chávez” is built. The evidence that Cabello is undermining the Revolution with his corrupt ways is staring Maduro in the eye just as clearly as that picture in the Museo Militar. When faced with the choice of throwing Silva or Cabello under the bus, Maduro chose Silva.

Chavistas should not kid themselves about who’s really in charge here.