Bolivarian Electoral Chess

Insanity, Albert Einstein is said to have written in Letters to Solovine, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Teodoro Petkoff writes in today’s Tal Cual that the Mesa Democrática Unitaria (the latest incarnation of the Coordinadora Democrática) is “clarifying the electoral panorama” ahead of the National Assembly elections scheduled for 26 September 2010.

Petkoff says that opposition candidates will be chosen by primaries in 30 of 87 electoral circuits nationally. But two other sources with a deeper knowledge of how Venezuela’s electoral system is structured tell Caracas Gringo that primaries will be held in 22 or 23 electoral circuits, from which 30 opposition candidates will be chosen.

In effect, opposition candidates will be chosen by primaries in about 25% of the country’s electoral circuits. Opposition candidates in the other 75% of electoral circuits will be chosen by consensus; i.e. in backroom, closed-door horse-trading where sharp elbows will abound.

Petkoff says the color of the cat’s fur doesn’t matter as long as the cat is able to catch mice. If nomination by unity consensus doesn’t work, then primaries will be used, he adds.

Separately, Omar Barboza, the Zulia-based president of the opposition Un Nuevo Tiempo party, tells Universal that the opposition is going to win big in the upcoming National Assembly elections.

It is worthwhile recalling that Barboza is the jam between the toes of Manuel Rosales, who now lives in Peruvian exile after President Hugo Chavez ordered the attorney general to lynch him politically on fabricated corruption charges. If the color white denotes purity and integrity, Barboza is dark grey at best.

It is also worthwhile recalling that in the last presidential elections, the triumvirate of Petkoff, Rosales and Julio Borges (the political offspring of Rafael Caldera’s disarticulated Copei party) decided among themselves and behind closed doors that Rosales would be the opposition presidential candidate – and the people’s will be damned.

The history behind that process, as recounted to Caracas Gringo by a half-dozen sources who worked at very senior levels with this pathetic trio, is that Rosales was “nominated” by three-way “consensus” after polls commissioned separately by Rosales, Borges and Petkoff confirmed that Borges and particularly Petkoff had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning more than single-digit support at the polls.

Rosales ran a lousy election campaign characterized by permanent infighting between his Zulia-based inner circle of advisers and other advisers that were not from Zulia. Professional political strategists who worked with the Rosales campaign say its inner-workings on a day-to-day basis resembled a drunken brawl inside a bawdy house. Backstabbing abounded.

Not surprisingly, Rosales got his butt kicked in the last presidential elections, and subsequently was hounded into exile by the regime. Petkoff returned to his full-time occupation of pretending to be a European-style moderate socialist while simultaneously carrying water for the regime. Borges became as irrelevant politically as Eduardo “Pussycat” Fernandez.

Now Venezuela is preparing again for legislative elections. Chavez already has defined the benchmark for his PSUV party: The revolution must win at least three-quarters of the seats in competition, or all is lost. But, typically, Chavez is playing his tried and true game of electoral rope-a-dope.

Chavez isn’t afraid of losing the National Assembly elections. After all, he holds all the institutional aces under both sleeves. Chavez de facto controls the Supreme Court, the National Electoral Council, and the Attorney General of the Republic.

Chavez also owns the National Assembly, even if Ismael Garcia of Podemos and the intelligent communists in the regime (Patria Para Todos) are pretending, respectively, to be in the opposition or independent of whatever Chavez wants for his PSUV slate of candidates. What this means is that, even if Chavez “loses” the legislative elections, his lame duck legislature still can change the rules of the game to favor the regime.

The reality of this electoral chess game is that the opposition has no real options or moves capable of checkmating Chavez. But Chavez has numerous options and moves he can put into play whenever it becomes convenient or necessary. For example:

*The Council of Ministers (i.e. Chavez and his top gangsters) can approve a decree to hold a new Constitutional Assembly. This would allow Chavez to finish writing his Socialist (i.e. Chavez forever) Constitution. The “oppo” would be allowed to gain some token presence in the new Constitutional assembly, but a chavista majority would ramrod a new Red Magna Carta tailored to the president’s whims down the people’s throats.

*A presidential recall referendum is also a possibility, if Chavez can persuade some in the opposition to buy into this scheme. Alternatively, Chavez could mobilize his PSUV to seek a recall referendum. Since the start of 2010, Chavez has urged his foes to seek a new recall referendum at least seven times. If he succeeds, and then “wins” (which is likely considering he controls the CNE and Supreme Court), Chavez could claim again that his six-year term as president starts after he wins the referendum, extending his “constitutional” mandate to end-2016 or end-2017.

*Rig the results of September’s legislative elections. Chavez owns the CNE and Supreme Court. The CNE could “cook” the data to ensure a Chavez/PSUV victory. It wouldn’t be the first, second or even third time that the CNE engages in Bolivarian arithmetic where 2 – 1 = 5.

*Suspend the legislative elections indefinitely due to the current national security crisis created by the power crisis. The power emergency decree issued by Chavez on 8 February already is based on articles of the Constitution which can be invoked to suspend all constitutional guarantees and implement a “state of exception” until the economic crisis is over. Since Venezuela faces at least three years, and possibly over five years, of continuing power deficits that will impact on everyone and everything, Chavez could perpetuate his presidency until 2013 to 2015. Who will protest? Certainly not the OAS, the United States, Unasur or anyone else. With 52% of US voters already telling liberal-slanted pollsters that President Barack Obama should not be re-elected to a second term in 2012, the White House has bigger fish to fry.

*Hold the legislative elections on schedule, but change the rules of the game if the outcome doesn’t favor Chavez and his gangsters. This happened in the last gubernatorial and municipal elections. Ask Antonio Ledezma, who won the elections as Mayor of Greater Caracas and then was defunded by the central government. Every opposition figure who won in those elections has been sabotaged and undermined by the regime.

*Alternatively, call a 350, invoking the Constitution to disavow every law, regulation and anything else which inconveniences the Chavez regime. The Supreme Court, which is all Chavez all the time, will back the president’s play in a heartbeat. And any judges with the cojones to demur on legal/constitutional grounds will be arrested and jailed on presidential orders. Ask the judge who freed Eligio Cedeno on legitimate legal/constitutional grounds and now sits in a women’s prison surrounded by violent female criminals.

Of course, there’s always the strikeout scenario: one strike, two strikes, three strikes and ponchao!

Strike One: The national power grid collapses sometime in April or May.

Strike Two: No electricity = no potable water. The government has already announced that anyone who consumes too much water will be levied stiff surcharges on their monthly bills. Water rationing is, de facto, under way.

Strike Three: A serious food supply shortage grows to critical proportions nationally. No power = no refrigeration capacity = putrid perishables.

The strikeout scenario brings Venezuela full circle back to a national crisis option that justifies the indefinite suspension of constitutional guarantees, and Chavez checkmates the opposition.

About Caracas Gringo

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19 Responses to Bolivarian Electoral Chess

  1. BOB says:

    Seems that the Henry Falcon affair aligned with the PSUVs idiotic move of freezing ties with the PPT (Patada por el Trasero) could convert a timid trickle of doubtful PSUVistas in a full blown rebellion within the pig farm.
    I was quite surprised that PPT could have the guts to pull this trick.
    The Falcon-PPT combination under the right circumstances could wreak havoc around and including the Lara region.
    This could well prompt Chavez to further purge his party of perceived dissent under the delusional assumption that he can afford this luxury .
    In the end, the opposition as a whole might be tempted to entertain the notion that its better to leave their marketing efforts to Chavez,an unwitting campaign manager.


  2. Hugo Groening says:

    From the faculty online forum at Universidad Simón Bolívar:

    “Eagle obsessed with hunting down flies, ends up being hunted down by a Falcon”



  3. L. Paz says:

    Come on, can’t you write these posts without gratuitous swipes at the opposition? I know with certainty that the poll numbers you quoted (single digits against Chavez!) are bullshit.


  4. BOB says:

    On the latest event in Cancun, Uribe did the predictable thing by trying to reinstate communicacion channels with Chavez. Chavezon the other hand, tried hard not to appear overly complacent as a result of Uribe´s offer and acted as if he had aces under his sleeve.
    But the most conspicous to me was Rafael Correa keeping a very low profile.
    On the Bolivian president, its just obvious how these guys suffer from altitude sickness because everytime he comes down at sea level his mind starts to wander.


    • CuervoBlanco says:

      Without any intentions of being discriminatory on indigenous populations around the world, Evo its just another native. And had one too many coca leaf teas.


    • Gringo says:

      On the Bolivian president, its just obvious how these guys suffer from altitude sickness because everytime he comes down at sea level his mind starts to wander.

      Which implies that Evo is as model of rigorous thinking when he is in the safety of the Altiplano. Like Thugo, his powers of thinking are confined to amassing power.Like Thugo, he does very well at this. Amassing power would include amassing spiritual power as shown by his becoming spiritual leader of the country.


  5. Hugo Groening says:

    I read in El Universal a few minutes ago, that Colombia is willing to sell Venezuela “up to” 150 MW of power. I don’t think that this amounts to much, but that doesn’t matter. The point has been made that Colombia has surplus power to sell while Venezuela has a large deficit. That should prompt the question “Why is this so?”. Even if Chávez decides to buy power from Colombia, he’ll still be in a bind. Nice maneuver.


  6. BOB says:

    Uribe made a supremely elegant move by offering electric power to Caracas, with apparently no strings attached. Chavez can´t afford the luxury of refusing, reiterating him as a bona-fide jackasss and with a “damned if he did and damned if he didn´t” dilemma.
    Chavez tried his best to distabilize Uribe´s government by cutting all security and trade talks, while Uribe seized this crisis as an opportunity and win big by coopting Caracas into colaboration with an unofficial truce and partly reestablishing binational trade.
    I guess that in exchange for more Megawatts/hr.his government will ask for the resumption of binaltional security border joint patrols in return(??)
    Tough if Uribe doesn´t get reelected but his torch will be passed on to Santos , leaving the Uribismo in power for another four years at least.
    As Chavez is left eating humble pie, the opposition for once might might get a shot assuming it does its homework and fast .


    • CuervoBlanco says:

      And dont forget that Santos is a tough man. He never smiles. He only smiles whenever the body count is ammounted by dead FARC scumbags.

      The next chance will be now or never again…


  7. firepigette says:


    I agree that Chavez is only going to give up power when and if there is a confrontation where the opposition stands up to him with a massive demonstration.For this to happen there needs to be a trigger event or a play where a line can be drawn in the sand.This could happen at the moment that Chavez steals the coming election.As people have invested time and effort in voting against him, they can be rallied into a “now or never” call to go out and defend their vote.

    The difference with previous elections will be that for the first time it will be obvious that the election was stolen.

    As a significant change in the barrio vote away from Chavez will occur and the middle class will definitely not go over to his side, people will realize what has happened.Without a trigger event , just calling on people to go out and demonstrate is not likely to be successful.


  8. vhlava says:

    Gringo I am a silent fan of your blog, but I am confused by your two last posts. In the one about Cubans being pissed off, Chavez seems to be a crumbling figure whose downfall seems imminent. In the last one about the Chavez-opposition chess game he is a shrewd invincible player. Could you please be consistent?

    CG: Read our reply to a comment in the electoral chess post.


  9. BOB says:

    Seems then that we agree. This government could bolt out under extreme events.The situation is going to hold while the population keeps getting workable basics and services, (whatever this means). Their Salamy tactics will work up to a point until all hell breaks loose and there are plkenty of unconceivables where this might unravel.
    In the end Chavez is no God nor the Cubans seem to have all the variables figured out or under control despite the stupid opposition.So there´s still room for gallows humor.


  10. BOB says:

    Well Gringo if Chavez´s strategists seem to have it all figured out, where´s the problem? Why do they keep postponing the power rationing plans for Caracas? Then what did Valdes come here for? Or is it that some crucial assumption is missing because I have the impression that your premises might be right but your conclusions are flawed. You seem to imply the only way out is a US armed intervention after a full scale civil rebellion-Ceacescu style, braving government Ton Ton Macoute bullets like sitting ducks?

    CG reply: The regime’s strategists do not have it all figured out. The post you commented on lists the options which we believe the regime has available, one or two of which are not necessarily constitutional or legal. But the regime could not care less about constitutional or legal issues. On the other side, the opposition appears to have few, if any options, mainly because the opposition at day’s end is little more than a sack of wet cats with no real traction among the general populace. The regime refuses to implement a power rationing plan for Caracas because it knows, after its failed 36-hour experiment on 12-13 February, that if the lights go out in Caracas it could spark protests which the regime would be unable to contain or suppress without resorting to massive violence – and massive violence unleashed by the regime very likely would open deep splits within the armed forces. Do not believe for an instant that the armed forces are submissively loyal to Chavez. This blog has never suggested or even hinted that the only way out is an armed US intervention. The US will not intervene under any conceivable situation. The US has no real stake in the Venezuelan crisis, which was created by the Venezuelan political establishment including both the Chavez regime and the “oppo”. The Venezuelan tragedy can only be solved by the Venezuelan people, and the solution at day’s end will not happen through a democratic electoral process because Chavez and gang have made it clear that they will never recognize any election losses that threaten their hold on power. At some point the Venezuelan people will have to decide, individually and collectively, whether they are truly glorious descendants of the “Bravo Pueblo” who fought courageously for their freedom and independence, or if they prefer to live forever on their knees like submissive cattle “arreados” by criminal gangsters who, like all dictators, use intimidation, persecution and violence to silence dissent. You have to ask yourself whether you prefer to live on your knees for the rest of your life, or instead stand united against the tyrants who would enslave you for life. Freedom is never free. Simon Bolivar understood this. Negro Primero understood this. Both paid a terrible price to ensure your freedom. The Ton Ton Macoutes you refer to (in Haiti) were brutal and murderous while they felt strong, but when the Haitian people rose up against them, they broke and fled into hiding. The Bolivarian regime’s Ton Ton Macoutes se sienten fuertes, protegidos, pero en el fondo casi todos son una plasta de cobardes que huiran en panico cuando el Bravo Pueblo tome la decision de luchar y defender su libertad y su democracia. La libertad se gana, y se paga, con sangre y sacrificio. Pero esa decision, amigo, unicamente la pueden, y deben, tomar los venezolanos. Pero jamas entretenga ilusiones que los gringos algun dia le van a resolver sus problemas. Decida Ud. si es mejor vivir de rodillas o morir de pie, y cuando haya tomado la decision arropese hasta donde le alcance la cobija.


  11. SOB says:

    Even when you are speculating on scenarios, your strike three scenario conclusions might be flawed. Not that Chavez won´t give it a try, but at that point the institutions and people he governs simply won´t respond with an empty stomach and things will get so enervated that he simply might be able to hang on to power. His own will start smelling blood on strike two.You know that the government twice suspended a power rationing plan in Caracas, out of dread from the expected citizens´reaction. On the other hand, the Venezuelan military is fed up with Cuban military advisors breathing down their necks and you know for fact that a hunting season for Cuban military advisors is on and please disprove this. Civilian doctors and advisors are on a quiet but steady trickle of desertions, taxing the wrong runways or picking the wrong buses ending into Colombia, with final destination into the US or elsewhere.
    If strike three scenario ever happens, Chavez should consider himself dead meat, politically and even literally.


  12. Roberto N says:

    Hey Caracas Gringo, is it me, or did a post disappear, one titled Two Rafaels, or something like that?


  13. firepigette says:

    In this article is a long list of all the different ways Chavez will be able to check mate the opposition.Although all this seems to be true, I do wonder just how easy it will be for Chavez to rig the elections.If this can be easily done as thought by many,other options like postponing the elections etc, will be unnecessary.

    Also tying in this post with the previous one about the Cubans being spooked with what is happening in Venezuela,if their man Chavez is going to stay secure in power anyway, what do the Cubans have to worry about?


  14. revbob22 says:

    So it seems as if it’s “Dammned if you do, Dammned if you don’t”

    What about the offer from Colombia? Will the Colombians be able to provide just enough to get us through the worst?

    Will Chavez hold his nose shut enough to allow the purchase of Electricity from Colombia?

    If so, we’re still f’ed, as any of the scenarios described can still come to pass.

    It would seem that one of the few options to counter these rests in the spilling of more innocent blood. I certainly hope that can be avoided, but it doesn’t look good.


  15. RWG says:

    One last scenario–
    If Fidel Castro dies, then Chavez will be a complete bumbling idiot with no one to advise him. Hugo will make major mistakes and be taken out by the Chavistas themselves.


  16. CuervoBlanco says:

    Is there any possible scenario where we dont get rammed?


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