The Mexican Standoff

Our man Raul Stolk got a little thing published over at The Daily Beast. He goes in depth on one of the most puzzling aspects of the current desmadre: the seemingly inability of the Maduro administration to do anything. He answers the question with his trademark mix of gravitas and pizazz.

Here’s the bit I really liked:

Again, you want to ask: Why? Why doesn’t the Government make the basic changes that the country’s economy is desperate for right now? Why doesn’t it look for a solution instead of wasting precious time making up enemies and raping windmills?

Well, the answer to the question is: because they can’t. And the reason is part incompetence, part thuggery, and a big part, the dead man himself, Chávez.

Replacing a strong man is never easy. Whatever Hugo Chávez left after he died, it’s as if he intended for no one else to be able to run it. Imagine a feudal state, composed of several shogunates with their corrupt interests intertwined. Or look at it this way. It’s like a Mexican standoff, no one can move without exposing their vulnerabilities and being taken down by other chavista leaders.

And at the center of this disaster we have the military caste. After Chávez took power in 1998, many officers close to him left the ranks to take positions within the Government. He encouraged the Armed Forces to become politically active and militant in his defense, and with this he opened the doors to imposing military hierarchy over different parts of the civilian government.

 
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