Six months on, do we miss him yet?


Back in December, just before news broke of El Comandante’s final, doomed Cuban surgery, I wrote this post,

Well, guess what: none of the guys who’ll be fighting it out to take the coroto after [Chávez] is gone are likely to feel bound by his red lines. The upper reaches of the chavista governing elite are top-heavy with narco-drenched gangland types, and they won’t even have a controlling figure standing over them to keep the inevitable tensions between them from escalating out of control.

In this context…the best case scenario after he’s gone is a relatively uncontested transition to an underling who retains at least some commitment to the original red-lines.

I closed it with a call to “check back in six months or so”. So…how did I do?

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  1. I think we have got, so far, something better. There is chaos, there is internal struggle and there are many more attacks against the opposition but the general sentiment is that the growing majority is getting fed up with this government. The opposition has behaved rather not bad, even if it could have done much better. Compared to places like Russia, the opposition has done it very well.
    Not only did Chávez “stopped” following a person on Twitter in the last week but about 20000 stopped following him, trend seems clear. Unless the Cubans or Diosdado manage to surprisingly unleash something like La Violencia, we could be in for a difficult and yet perfectly feasible transition to a more pluralistic society in the middle term.

    • Things are very much in the balance, but I think Maduro knows what it’s going to take to widen the electoral margin again.

      Crime, electricity, food, housing. If the government concentrates on these issues –and it looks like it is doing so– it will survive.

        • Plan Patria Segura is already showing results. Electricity generation just requires lots of investment. Food is more tricky but importing is easy. As for housing, at any moment there are dozens if not hundreds of buildings in construction.

          Overall, I think it is very possible to reestablish a 55% majority.

          • “Plan Patria Segura is already showing results.”

            There’s no way to independently corroborate that statement.

          • I don’t blame you for wanting to doubt it. It would be very bad for the opposition if it were true.

          • Thousands of armed soldiers patrolling urban areas results in reduced crime. You don’t have to study criminology to see why.

          • Thanks to proving me right by no offering any real data to back your point. Thank you, sir. Goodbye.

          • Putting soldiers on the streets does nothing to deter crime. In Central America we’ve had these deployments for several decades now yet crime increases year after year. The military doesn’t do police work because it’s not trained to do so.

          • Yoyo, I live in Europe right now. Where do you live? You do not have to give your address, just tell us how far away from Venezuela.

          • On the electricity we have paid waaaayyyyy more than we should have. It is not about investment. If fact, I dare to say that they don’t have a clue where they should be investing in the electric sector. Same with Patria Segura. They are going coocoo banana nutso with cops and the system would probably benefit more if those bolivares were invested in prisons or courts which is where the bottle neck seems to be.

            It is about human capital. Ability to plan, execute and evaluate. Tools that the chavista management completely lacks.

      • This would imply that the Pres-in-Functions knew something at all at all and that, on the basis of that knowledge, he is in a position to take decisions independently – both questionable conclusions. It also implies that he is legit since, were the real-true-reflecting-the-facts electoral gap were to be widened, then the opposition would win even more solidly.

        As for the adminstration’s committment to addressing crime, electricity, food and housing, where would you look for that in its playbook as we have glimpsed it over the years?

  2. At this stage, our best-case scenario is for our deputies in the AN to make it to the end of the year with their full set of teeth intact.

    • Our deputies deserve my utmost respect, dealing with a “pandilla” on a 24-7 basis…. jeez what a job.

      As far as you Quico, I think your “predictions” where right on, the gangs are starting killing each other, the mafia boss died and there is internal commotion… Diosdado asking for unity in twitter, Haua asking for the USA for them to recognized the guy with the name tag “presidente” as one…etc… and those tape scandals that are coming out, obviously they are coming from Chavistas who are not happy with what’s going on. Probably left out when dividing the pie.

  3. On topic and in all seriousness, this Gringo would have liked to split a case of beer with Hugo, just to hear him talk and run on and all about, he was the real deal. Nicholas would not get by my dawgs.

    • I’m telling you, go to any place like Barinas and half the men you meet will be able to talk and run on like Hugo. Most with more sense because they actually do something. He was in the right place at the right time and he went with it. That’s what I think.

  4. The last audio points to metastatic corruption, maybe with a delay, but approaching the same fate than the comandante supremo.
    How will they get the US$ for food imports, for house building, etc. if the money probably never enters the country anyway?
    The silver lining, if somebody (someday) get the corruption under control things shouldn’t be so bad.

  5. You just turned me into a Madurista…

    “Maduro: because he’s an underling who retains at least some commitment to the original red-lines.”

  6. NOPE! He had to definitely go, one way or the other, in order to be able to… be facing his underlings.

    This is a requisite step. One of many painful ones. Given that he gained absolute power and that chavismo metastasized in Venezuela.

    To eventually mop up his so-called movement and maybe begin healing Venezuela from the mess they made.

    Thank goodness that he offed himself in the one manner that could not be blamed on anyone or anything but on him and his power-tripping. Cuban doctors and campaigning. A winning combination and ridiculously painful too.

  7. For an annoyingly lightweight view on the receptivity to Maduro’s succession, google: Chavez’s Folksy Style Proves to Be a Tough Act to Follow.


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