Interesting Tidbits from Venezuela

October 18th, 2011

By Dan Miller

el Presidente Hugo ChavezThere were three blog articles recently about goings-on in Venezuela. Daniel, writing at Venezuela News and Views, analyzes a recent report based on an interview with Chávez’ former Venezuelan physician, a Dr. Navarrete, stating that his condition is terminal and that he has only two years to live. Daniel concludes that Chávez’ condition may or may not be terminal but that saying so during the interview was strange.

Of course, immediately I wondered why he chose a Mexican magazine for these confessions, why he decided to breach the patient doctor confidentiality just right now, without accounting for it in his interview. I mean, really accounting for it. Something must be afoot because my twitter feeds claim that tomorrow he will be taken into custody. Why not today already since the interview came out this week end? Why has he not left the country since he knows that he will be at the very least interrogated? Reminder: Rafael Caldera put an astrologer into jail becasue [sic] he predicted his imminent death which happened a decade later…. Navarrete cannot have forgotten that episode.

If you ask me it is all very weird even though so many pieces fall into place so splendidly. So, what is going on?

We could think positively and consider that Navarrete is right and concerned about the country’s future and decided to come out with his tale to force Chavez to fess up.

Or he got paid handsomely, but that would require a lot of money I presume because the guy was a well respected practician.

Or a faction of chavismo wants Chavez to fess up and speed the transition, which is the lone explanation that would make sense for me. They told him to take the plunge, to put up with some unpleasantness but that he would be well compensated later. Now, who may that be?

The Cubans using a Venezuelan forward to allow them to keep a low profile as they have decided to ditch Chavez?

The military that are more an more uneasy about all the problems Chavez is bringing to the country? That military possibility is interesting because Navarrete calmly states coldly that if Chavez dies they will have to take power temporarily. Just like that. “El Presidente puede morir y los militares tendrán que tomar el poder por un tiempo” How comes he knows/advances that?

Oh well.

The other interesting articles are at The Devil’s Excrement, here and here. Both deal with the decision, or more accurately non-decision, of the Venezuelan Supreme Court on the presidential candidacy of Leopoldo Lopez. The OAS Interamerican Human Rights Court (CIDH) had ruled on September 16th that Venezuela had previously violated his rights by preventing him from running for any political office.

[T]he CIDH explicitly said that his rights had been violated by banning him earlier. And he was banned. Period. Leopoldo Lopez was not able to run for Metropolitan Mayor. He is programmed in the Electoral Board with a number which implies that he can not be a candidate.

The Supreme Court did not deal with that. Rather, it said

the [CIDH] decision can not be executed, they were saying Lopez has yet to be elected. They were saying he can run, be elected and then the TSJ will look into whether he can hold office or not.

Although the Chávez administration has interpreted the decision in many contradictory ways — Lopez can’t run and he can run but can’t hold office if elected — the probably correct interpretation is that he can run and whether he can hold office if elected will be decided if and when he is elected.

The rest of the legal mumbo jumbo is simply covering their behinds and throwing confusion into the political campaign. Rather than disobeying the Court they go the typical Chavista way: The Gray Way. Can Lopez run? Yes, but maybe, just maybe, read between the lines, if he wins we may not accept his victory (I doubt it!). …

The strange thing is that I am not sure Chavez likes this decision. The TSJ was not really fully behind him on this. Lying or not, they did not defend Hugo’s position, they were very wishy washy (A sign Hugo is very sick?) Because Lopez could win it all and I think he would be unstoppable if he does. I just can’t imagine Lopez winning the election and the TSJ saying he can not take over.

So the situation remains fluid in Venezuela. Chávez is very sick but maybe he isn’t and is just milking the boost he recently got in the polls on account of illness, and/or the Chavistas are becoming more disorganized and don’t know what’s going on either. If Lopez runs and is elected President of Venezuela, for the Chávez regime actually to bar him from assuming office would likely result in an armed revolt, perhaps a civil war. There are so many people who have been enriched by Chavismo and so many who have been impoverished and/or have fled the country, that all bets are off as to the results.

(This article was first published at The PJ Tatler.)

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