Marciano (aka Grima Wormtongue aka JVR) is required reading for anyone interested in the Chavez regime’s darkest and most dangerous notions.
Marciano has served Chavez since 1999 as foreign minister, then defense minister and finally as vice-president.
President Chavez reportedly never trusted him. Perhaps that’s why he kept Marciano so close by his side for so many years, as Machiavelli counseled centuries ago.
Certainly, Marciano is one of the three most dangerous men in Venezuela today, a basically lawless country which – as anyone who has lived or worked there for a long time knows – is filled with dangerous men.
The other two are Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello and former Interior & Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin.
Cabello currently is the second most powerful figure in the Bolivarian regime, right behind President Chavez.
Rodriguez Chacin is the president’s longtime personal liaison to the top leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He also serves as the chief coordinator of President Chavez’s regional clandestine political activities in association with the FARC-sponsored Bolivarian Continental Congress (CCB).
Marciano returned to his career as an “investigative journalist” over a year ago. He has a weekly political talk show on Televen (Confidenciales) and pens columns under pseudonyms, including Marciano.
In many of his recent “Piedra de Tranca” columns in the rabidly pro-Chavez daily tabloid Vea, Marciano has warned repeatedly of rightwing conspiracies to assassinate President Hugo Chavez, destabilize the Bolivarian revolution and trigger a civil war in Venezuela.
These threats have been echoed by Public Works and Housing Minister Cabello, who warned recently that the regime has everyone “under observation.”
Cabello was speaking of what’s left of the independent news media, since 80% of the country’s news media – television, radio and print – are now controlled directly/indirectly by the Chavez regime.
But Cabello’s threat literally applied to every sector, entity and individual who dares to criticize any aspect of the Chavez regime.
Of course, Cabello has his own good reasons for desiring a meek, muzzled news media.
Silencing an independent news media in Venezuela means that Cabello’s own activities in pursuit of immense personal wealth – and the activities of his associates in the regime including Marciano – will never be investigated, exposed and sanctioned.
Besides, Cabello is only doing the president’s bidding.
President Chavez always sets the pace and tone of the Bolivarian revolution: Lies, insults, intimidation, political persecution by the Bolivarian judiciary, trials and convictions of some regime critics on completely fabricated charges, illegal detentions, physical assaults of regime critics by armed Bolivarian street thugs and criminals, threats of bloody civil war or conflict with other countries (mainly Colombia).
The president’s violence-ridden rhetoric, and that of his closest cronies, is so constant that one is tempted to downplay reality a bit. Friends of Caracas Gringo say things like, “Chavez has been making threats forever…Chavez is all bark and no bite…Chavez just enjoys hearing his own voice…etc.
But reading Marciano’s recent columns in Vea, it appears to some observers in Venezuela that President Chavez wants to stoke tensions until they reach a violent breaking point.
Chavez certainly has been on a tear recently, threatening war against Honduras and Colombia, announcing more unnecessary Russian arms purchases, asking for a Special Powers Law so he can deliver the “estocada” to what’s left of Venezuela’s democratic freedoms and institutions, etc.
Marciano always has been loyal to Chavez, meaning he always supports the president’s greatest excesses and craziest notions. But first and always, as anyone who knows him personally will attest, Marciano is only out for his own political and economic interests.
Marciano is also a masterful political strategist, and maintains multi-layered alliances with everyone – including some of the hapless “squalid” opposition figures he routinely ridicules and trashes in his columns and TV show.
Marciano certainly has strategic alliances in place with the likes of Cabello, Rodriguez Chacin and others. This doesn’t imply everyone is good friends. These are alliances of political and economic convenience, which usually overlap in Bolivarian Venezuela.
This means that when reading Marciano’s columns, the reader always must read between the lines to try to figure out who he is speaking for, and against.
Here’s a recent comment taken from one of Marciano’s columns in Vea:
“Once again, the opposition’s extreme groups have taken the road of assassinating political figures and economic life. In truth they never have abandoned this type of ‘solutions,’ but in recent days old plans are being accentuated. What’s new is that opposition figures have been added (CG: to an alleged hit list). When someone in a meeting asked by a specific subject appeared on the list, the answer was: chaos, chaos. That is, the plan is to foment a state of chaos.”
“What they do not realize is that in a situation of chaos many more oligarchs can lose their heads than chavistas.”
These extremist groups are receiving “stimuli” from Miami and Bogota, he adds, from groups that participated in the Bay of Pigs, the bombing of the Cubana de Aviacion airliner back in the 1970s. Their “recruits” come from “civilian and military exiles arrived from Caracas.”
Are there any Venezuelans in exile who possibly are dreaming, even plotting, of whacking Chavez and his closest associates, including people like Marciano, Cabello, etc?
Probably yes. With over 1 million Venezuelans now living in exile since Chavez became president as decade ago, the odds certainly support the notion that somewhere outside Venezuela at least one or two exiles are having dark dreams of becoming Rambo.
But Caracas Gringo insists that the real threat to President Chavez’s biological longevity could be as close to him right now as stink on flatulence.
Douglas Bravo described the situation not long ago: “A revolution is coming from within against the revolution, sooner than anyone including Chavez suspects.”
There certainly are true believers in the regime, nutcases like Commerce Minister Eduardo Saman.
But Cabello and others, like Science and Technology Minister Jesse Chacon, always have struck this observer (at least) as being way more pragmatic than ideological.
The revolution’s pragmatists have always served President Chavez well, politically and even ideologically. But in return, perhaps unwittingly, Chavez also has served the interests of the pragmatists in his regime, which has never been as unified internally as the president boasts.
However, what happens when (or if) the converging interests of Chavez and the regime’s pragmatists suddenly diverge and follow radically different paths?
Not that we think this will happen soon. CG agrees with Moises Naim’s recent remark that Chavez has the resources to stick around a long time. But if a rupture were to occur within the regime, the faction described by some as “chavismo without Chavez” could be encouraged to act.
Meanwhile, what of Marciano’s warning of imminent violence against political figures including members of the opposition?
Two possible scenarios:
One, groups that oppose Chavez could be organizing violent attacks against regime figures, as Marciano charges.
Two, the Chavez regime’s political intelligence & counterintelligence services, very ably assisted by Cuba’s DGI assets in Venezuela, are running an operation to selectively assassinate individuals associated with the regime, and pin it on figures associated with the political opposition.