President Hugo Chavez claims he cancelled the last two days of his “Alo Presidente” blablathon and called off plans to attend the inauguration of El Salvador’s new Marxist President, Maucicio Funes, because his intelligence services discovered an assassination plot hatched by Luis Posada Carriles and the CIA.
Interior & Justice Minister Tareck al Assaimi, who is “heading” the “investigation” of this alleged assassination plot, claims that Posada Carriles and his CIA sponsors had “very sophisticated” plans to shoot down Chavez with several man-portable surface-to-air missiles.
This is the 17th or 18th conspiracy to assassinate Chavez denounced by Chavez since approximately 1994. As always, Chavez and his criminal associates have offered not a shred of evidence to support his claims.
However, Chavez has good reasons to worry about the probability that he could be the target of an assassination attempt, but not by the CIA or frail old anti-Castro militants like Posada Carriles.
The people likeliest to kill Chavez are inside his regime. Some of these people have held senior posts in his government, and have been among his most loyal political supporters for years. Their loyalty to the president and his revolution was as hard as diamonds, at least while their profits were robust.
But the business outlook for these people has been red for months. The collapse of Stanford International Bank wiped out an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion of Venezuelan-owned wealth.
At least half of this lost money belonged to a handful of very senior regime figures including a first brother, a former vice president, a former defense minister, a former communications minister, a former interior and justice minister, and the current heads of two secretive and ruthless intelligence entities, among others.
These people are desperate to recover their lost fortunes as quickly as possible – before the Bolivarian revolution explodes at the seams. But oil prices are still very weak by Venezuelan standards, Petroleos de Venezuela is essentially broke, and it’s unclear how much longer the regime can hide Chavez’s obvious mental instability.
These people didn’t care much about Chavez’s ideological agenda before Stanford International Bank collapsed and erased the bulk of their wealth. They figured by the time Chavez finished nationalizing, expropriating, confiscating and stealing everything in Venezuela their personal fortunes would be assured.
But, oops, shit happened.
First, over $8 bn deposited at stanford evaporated. Second, the DEA caught Miami-based Rosemont in a drug money laundering sting and disrupted the Pdvsa-supplied foreign exchange “permuta” or swap market.
Now the economy is tanking, Pdvsa and the government combined probably owe the world over $100 billion, and Chavez is on another nationalization binge.
But whacking Chavez is potentially a very explosive topic for these people. The Bolivarian revolution has tens of thousands of well-armed and true believers, activists who aren’t in it for the money, but for the ideology.
Also, Chavez is surrounded 24/7 by Cuban security escorts. The Castro brothers are looking after their own business and strategic interests, which consist of milking Venezuela’s wealth – and the venezuelan people’s future – to keep the Castro regime afloat.
If Chavez does get taken down, there very likely could be a lethal backlash against the regime’s senior “bolibourgeois” figures like the current and past ministers who own banks, large haciendas in the interior, food processing companies and many other capitalist enterprises.
But, of course, this is just idle speculation by a disinterested observer.