President Hugo Chavez is the brand, face, voice and supreme leader of the Bolivarian revolution, in effect he is the bulls-eye.
Chavez has claimed for 12 years that the CIA, Colombian paramilitaries, “escualidos” and various other unnamed villains are actively plotting to assassinate him.
Chavez has made this claim at least two dozen times that we know of over the past 12 years, and possibly more. But he has never offered any proof to substantiate his allegations.
His most recent charge: that unnamed Venezuelan “escualidos” have pooled $100 million to kill him.
Chavez’s charge is pure fiction, like Frederick Forsythe’s political thriller novel “Day of the Jackal.”
I asked a good friend in Venezuela’s army who knows about these matters.
There are people in Venezuela, active and former military professionals, who would happily neutralize Chavez permanently as a public service, my friend says.
I ask my friend why it hasn’t happened yet. Cut off the serpent’s head and the body dies, right?
It’s not that simple, he replies.
If Chavez gets struck between the eyes by a wayward meteorite speeding through the galaxy, Venezuela would erupt in political and social chaos that could persist for weeks or even months.
My friend in the Venezuelan army asks me, “Who would take charge after Chavez?”
I can’t answer that, I reply.
It’s not just Chavez, my friend says, explaining that there are “about 50” senior civilian figures in the regime, and perhaps “another 50 more or less” in the armed forces that would “need to be neutralized” at the same time that the president is neutralized.
Neutralized? “Dados de baja,” he says.
Many Cubans deployed inside the armed forces and key government entities also would be targets in a regime-change scenario, my friend adds. “Not all Cubans, only the ones in charge,” he says.
Chavez counts on the Cuban military and security component in Venezuela to back up his regime.
However, the Cubans would be “too occupied defending themselves to help any senior Venezuelan government officials,” my friend says.
Containing the regime’s civilian militia and its gangs of street thugs on motorcycles could be problematic because they are dispersed. But the effectiveness of these groups will be reduced significantly if their leaders inside the regime are neutralized, my friend says.
But my amigo won’t speculate on the timing or circumstances that could trigger a regime-change scenario. There are too many external and internal unknowns and variables, he says.
A majority of Venezuelans are fed up with Chavez. But for a forced regime change scenario to materialize there would have to be a tremendous surge in public support for a radical solution to the problem of Chavez, he says. And that won’t happen anytime soon. “Aqui no paso, ni pasara, nada,” he says.