President Hugo Chavez raised the Bolivarian revolution’s intensity to new heights in the past month; at least, that’s how it appears after a month-long break from blogging to watch every World Cup game with my soccer-crazed wife on a 65” Samsung HDTV in a location where power outages don’t happen daily.
Returning to the reality of Venezuela after a month inside a self-made soccer cocoon is like waking up with a bad hangover without having tasted even a drop of alcohol. But at least it’s raining regularly.
Chavez recently has been in what I can only describe as accelerated tilt-a-whirl mode. But it’s unlikely that any of Chavez’s recent rhetoric and actions is impulsive or unplanned.
Chavez might strike a lot of his critics as being at least slightly unhinged, but during 11-plus years in power he has outmaneuvered his opponents over and over…and over again.
In the past 5-6 weeks, President Chavez has:
*Built the legal framework of new institutions of governance that will displace at the president’s will all of the elected local, state and national assembly.
It doesn’t matter if the political opposition wins a majority in the next National Assembly. Chavez already has created the mechanisms that will inflict upon the next assembly the same fiscal strangulation that was inflicted on Antonio Ledezma when he was elected governor of Greater Caracas.
The Federal Council of Government chaired by Chavez will govern Venezuela at every level through communal councils that will be organized by neighborhood (barrio) and even by street, if necessary.
The communal councils will have final say on all economic and social matters, including what the communes will produce, how it will be distributed, what people should act, how people should act or think, etc.
Really, it’s that extreme. Read carefully all of the laws approved and pending approval since the start of 2010, and the intent and direction of the regime is very clear.
*Enacted land reform legislation that authorizes the regime to seize control of the entire food production chain whenever it wishes.
When the Pdval putrid food scandal first exploded many weeks ago, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez declared publicly that the regime’s goal is to acquire complete control over the entire food chain. The regime already accounts for 32% of the food chain, according to some estimates I can’t vouch for.
It remains to be seen if the incompetent Chavez regime can ever gain full control of the food sector. But a great lesson of the Cuban revolution for a still-flowering despot like Chavez is this: control the food supply and you control the people.
*Accelerated the process of approving new rental legislation that gives renters the right to stay forever in leased dwellings even if they don’t pay their rent, basically. This legislation completely strips all rights from property owners who rent their assets out.
*Declared war against Venezuela’s Catholic Church hierarchy by repeatedly savaging Cardinal Jorge Urosa and accusing him of having links to groups that have been conspiring to topple Chavez for years now. The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops, St John Chrysostom is said to have remarked
*The Foreign Ministry issued a statement today condemning the alleged incursion into Venezuelan air space a week ago by three aircraft flights that originated in Dutch territory (Netherland Antilles). The last time Caracas accused Dutch authorities of facilitating foreign invasions of Venezuelan air space, it produced threats by Energy Minister Ramirez that Pdvsa might retaliate by terminating its lease to operate Curacao’s Isla Refinery, which shut down on 1 March 2010 due to a power outage and reportedly still is not fully operational.
Then there’s the very strange case of Francisco Chávez Abarca, allegedly a citizen of El Salvador and longtime associate of Luis Posada Carriles, the very old Miami-based anti-castrisra who for decades has topped Fidel’s list of world’s most wanted felons.
I won’t go into much detail, because there’s so much out there already. But this truly qualifies as weird, unusual, incredible, suspicious…take your pick.
If the news reports quoting mostly Chavez regime officials are believable, a longtime black ops professional like Chávez Abarca, whose links to Posada Carriles have been known for years by Havana, traveled freely (though some reports say that he was drugged and kidnapped in Central America) to Cuban intelligence-infested Venezuela to meet several still-unidentified persons near Caracas to make plans to do… what? Organize street protests, create violence, destabilize the regime, or even assassinate Chavez?
The regime showed Chávez Abarca to the local news media, during which he admitted that he was, in fact, conspiring against the Chavez regime, but with whom?
Then Sebin intelligence service (formerly Disip) arrested Alejandro Pena Esclusa, possibly the regime’s most vocal conservative critic in Venezuela. From his cell at Sebin HQ, Pena Esclusa e-mailed an old column he wrote years ago in which he accused Gustavo Cisneros of trying to destroy Pena Esclusa’s personal life and professional career.
Cisneros and Chavez have been allies since Jimmy Carter intermediated in 2004, Pena Esclusa added.
Interior & Justice Minister Tarek al-Assaimi says that “more arrests” are imminent in the ongoing “investigation” of Chávez Abarca, who is already in Cuba being debriefed in depth by Fidel’s experienced interrogation specialists.
The Chávez Abarca case reeks of set-up and double or even triple cross; and if this assumption is right, it means that the hand of Fidel and his most hardcore supporters in the Cuban regime is stirring up something.