Javier Corrales and Franz von Bergen have an interesting take on Vladimir Padrino, our new co-president, over in Latin America Goes Global.

Last week Nicolás Maduro named Padrino to oversee basically all government functions. Every minister, every public office, now has to report to the general, in effect making the Defense Minister Venezuela’s #2 –some would say #1– power player.

Corrales and von Bergen are calling this a “remarkable event.” They say that after December’s sweeping loss at the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello was significantly weakened. Chavismo, fearing further losses in public opinion, seems to be turning to the only other guy with any of Hugo Chávez’s political capital.

Corrales and von Bergen remind us that Padrino caught Chávez’s eye back in 2012, and ever since then he has quickly accumulated military power. The choice bits:

Now, in retrospect, it looks like Chávez made a dual succession before his death: a civilian succession (by naming Maduro) and a military succession (by leaving a group of military leaders in positions of authority). Padrino López was part of the latter.

This wing of the military that is loyal to Chávez represents the sector of chavistas who see Maduro as ruining, maybe even squandering, Chávez’s legacy. Those military loyalists may well have decided that Maduro’s chance to lead and save the revolution had expired and they needed to step in.

They go on to claim that this is a new form of coup, one where co-existence is the prelude to the final displacement of an inept President.

Whether this is true or not, we do not yet know. It seems clear that Padrino’s appointment is the result of some sort of pressure from within chavista forces. Whether it signals the military’s willingness to step in and wrestle power from him, or whether it is a way to ensure a transition into the opposition and fresh elections, remains to be seen.

Our take is rather that the move to favor Padrino is a shift away from the civilian wing of chavismo, which is top heavy with far leftwing lunatics, and an empowerment of the military wing that tends to be more pragmatic about where Venezuela is headed.

Whatever the end result, one thing is clear: Padrino has somehow become the most important person in Venezuela … and also one we know very little about.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I may have to acknowledge that putting Padrino Lopez as the “parallel president” was arguably brilliant. Don’t jump, it is a pretty darn good move. It just enables the military to come to the rescue from this “civil and inept president”. It retakes the point that, before president Chavez, was a military; and enforces the (god knows why) myth that the military are less corrupt and better organized than the civil.

    Who in its own mind will relinquish power the way Maduro just did?. Ask that question few many times and you may not have a plausible answer except that the man never actually got that power to begin with. Thus, we have been governed by a PSUV committee since the intergalactic leader gave up. That committee just put Padrino Lopez in charge but perceptions have to be kept in check.

    By putting Padrino the referendum will be averted, Maduro will pass to history as the most inept and probably most corrupt president ever, not counting the first one to resign. The VP will be become the new civil puppet and Chavismo will live to fight another day under the steady hand of Padrino Lopez…and if you don’t like it, plomo con eso.

  2. “Whether this is true or not, we do not yet know. It seems clear that Padrino’s appointment is the result of some sort of pressure from within chavista forces.”
    ———————–
    “Whatever the end result, one thing is clear: Padrino has somehow become the most important person in Venezuela … and also one we know very little about.”
    ———————————————————————————

    Several probable explanations. In Vzla, when in doubt – money explains almost everything: corruption.

    – You can bet your house that Padrino is now a very, very rich dude. As his entire family and close military allies.

    – Maduro and co. are probably scared to death to lose power and go to jail. So they went for the top military crook, bribed him heavily, to cool down the military, the guns, and get’em on the Chavistoide side.

    – From what I read, there are many dichotomies and divisions within today’s Chavismo. Particularly between Cabello and Masburro. And within the military itself, between the few honest guys, and the crooked, corrupt “cupula” in the armed forces.

    In these disguised neo-dictatorships we now see, you can’t just go all out with tanks in the streets, and close the Parliament, and call a straight-up coup d’etat from some military faction. These are oblique self-coup d’etats, while the crooks get richer ever week. The Broiling Frog populist method: you tighten the noose slowly but surely, so ‘el pueblo’ gets used to it. Next thing they know, a few spineless thieve in the military are in charge – behind the smoke screens of “socialismo” or “chavismo” or “democracy”, and if you don’t like it you get shot or go to jail.

    Padrino? I know everything there is to know about him: He’s a crook, obsessed with Power and Money, not too educated by better educated than the bus driver in chief. A piece of… in other words. He’s smart enough to know that in modern times you can’t just overthrow the “democratically elected government” and grab Miraflores by force. You wouldn’t last long, and you’d be able to steal less $$$.

    So he hides behind Maduro, while he sets ups his numerous banks accounts, and threatens people with military force. Disguised neo-dictatorships. All thieves.

    • Juan, you know all about him? Where does his son and daughter live? What’s his role in the narcotics structure? Maduro is not going anywhere meaning Padrino the narcissistic clown is not taking over. They need to maintain the charade. A military dictatorship is not good for it further isolates regime. They are all capitalist mofos who shop and invest abroad….

      You need to factor Cuban realities into background. Few here probably understand Cuban realities as told by Cubans and not foreign press, tourists, and Cuban propaganda.

      A military dictatorship would hit wall fast. From narcotics to weapons purchases including advanced weapon systems to money laundering abroad. Too big and too important IMO

      Padrino’s son lives in Canada and the daughter in Miami.

  3. Oh, but we DO know ONE very specific about Padrino, well, TWO things:

    1) He openly claims that using lethal force against unarmed civilian protesters was “beautiful, precious” and all sorts of boot-licking adjetives.

    2) He’s the one kneeling before Castro in a certain infamous picture.

    • Padrino has a lot if innocent blood on his hands. He shot down 3 jets for Diosdado. One of the murdered crews was innocent….they where coerced to fly. Padrino is a piece of work and a real POS.

    • List of medals and campaign recognition:

      1988: Participation in the AMX-30 refurbishing fiasco
      1989: Controlling the country in El Caracazo
      1992: Defended the government from the intergalactic invasion
      1994: Intergalactic invasion reloaded. Medal for staying loyal a second time
      2000: Vladimir is his name for Vladimir Lenin. Intergalactic gives him a medal for that
      2002: Helped to avoid the intergalactic from being deported to Cuba
      2003: Purchase of the AK74s. Got another decoration+commission
      2007: Medal for keeping Baduel in check
      2009: Medal for ratting out Baduel
      2013: Medal for staying quiet about the intergalactic illness
      2013: medal for being the first ever General-in-chief AND commander of the OSC
      2014: Medal for being the most powerful military ever after the intergalactic
      2016: Medal for being the first successful practitioner of a “Coup Nouvelle”
      2017: Future recipient of the first ever Nicolas Maduro Award: “For those that stick their heads out of the sea of mediocrity”

      • Great timeline. Not sure I agree with all specially Baduel. Baduel was ratted out after 11A. Surely you know that he was in the meetings at Isaac Perez Recao’s? I know from a guy who was there. Baduel had his wings clipped as Defmin….HCh kept this enemy close.

      • According to timeline, Padrino was not MBR-200. His kids are here. He understands the value of education. He already has the power he wanted. To suggest he wants to be the leading man is missing the point IMO. Padrino is ambitious and a maverick. He’s the best defmin in 16 years. He understands the power of media and knows how to wield it. He singlehandedly raised the bar for everyone. A consumate PR man, he knows how to look good. No doubt he spends time in front of mirror. He got directly involved with narcotics in 2014 maybe earlier. His first task was covering up mexican cartel drug aircraft landing and takeoff mishaps that resulted from landing on dirt. Then he shot down three loaded jets. The loads could have been “watered down” as they are known to do (Makled finca setup bust). These guys are all working together….I dont pay much attention to stories of internal strife, in the end they all come together for that’s their strength

  4. Should be interesting to see what US intel can dig up on this guy. Fact is, Venezuela is fucked, and unless socialism is dumped and a bailout is sought asap, Pedrino will find himself with absolute command over a failed state.

  5. They know the economic catastrophe is getting worse and that the climate of adverse internal and international opinion is heating to boiling point . Before things boil over they need to make the army ( the guys with the guns) appear as the regimes most trusted partner , in part to share the blame , in part to join their interests more closely to those of the regime so at least army bosses have a good reason to stay loyal …….!! Also its a sign that trusting the distribution and supply of essential goods is something the psuv faithful working at a local level cant handle and that this will bring a lot of anger against them ……, putting the army in charge of organizing supplies is a way of deflecting that anger away from themselves…….!!

    • I disagree. I don’t think that wing is strong enough to deflect, because actually Maduro we know to be weak where it matters to them. The part of power that matters to them is not lawmaking or effective policy, they leave that to stupid looking Maduro.

      The thing is, stupid Maduro is now threatening their power so all of the allied forces seem to have agreed on an emergency dictator, this time quite literaly (100% supreme tribunal proof, Im sure), to cool shit down and allow them to continue to do business.

  6. Nacho, you mean like 11A when Baduel was double-crossed leading him to return HCh to power? If Baduel had not been crossed by NAMES WITHELD, they may have survived the orher major blunder of Carmona decree.

  7. Btw, the cocaine today ships from Delta Amacuro and Peninsula Paria. It’s all maritime up island chain and into Hispaniola. The bigger loads go to Europe (Antwerp) which is controlled by Russians.

    The air corridor into Honduras petered out after nephews bust. They still fly but the shift is significant.

    Also understand they need to buy more weapons. Its been a while since major purchases made. The song and dance by Zapatero el armero is just that. Throw in a Nobel peace prize for good measure. Money talks and bullshit walks. Most people have a price they can meet and that includes the opposition. I think a more wordly view is needed because there is groupthink and nearsightedness all around IMO

  8. Dont forget Cuba is running the show. The top military appontments are decided and/or vetted by Havana. Maduro is Havana’s man. So is Padrino. So is Adan. The notion that Padrino us forcing his way does not jibe with Havana reality. Nothing happens w/o Havana’s blessing. Maduro and Padrino are there because Havana put them there. Havana is very good (Best in the world) at selecting its men and women

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