The Ghost of Paez

Adan Chavez posted a call to arms at the site on 28 February titled “Loyalty and Treason,” urging all revolutionaries loyal to President Hugo Chavez to root out and expel the continuing activities of “traitors infiltrated” in the Bolivarian revolution. These “traitors” to President Chavez’s supreme leadership “must not be permitted even the most minimal possibility of infesting our revolution,” Adan thunders.

Adan demands “…Loyalty to our maximum leader, Hugo Chavez Frias, and thus, to the Bolivarian Revolution, to the principles and objectives that we seek to achieve in this process that is taking us toward the definitive consolidation of Bolivarian Socialism.” He continues: “Without a doubt, the principal person here is the organized people…the popular mass; which continues without hesitation, with a clear sentiment of revolutionary loyalty to the leader who has earned (the people’s) trust…”

Adan also warns that loyal revolutionaries must be alert against the emergence inside the revolution’s ranks of “traitors” who call themselves “progressives.” The president’s loyal people must remember how General Jose Antonio Paez betrayed Simon Bolivar by leading the separatist forces that ripped Venezuela away from “La Gran Patria” created by the Liberator, he adds.

“…(A)nother personality like Jose Antonio Paez…cannot be allowed…inside this revolutionary history …Paez, who succumbed to the oligarchy, to gifts of estates and lands, dazzled by the inventions of the north, becoming the great traitor to Bolivar, the traitor to the idea of the Great Homeland, and a traitor to his troops, his people, and his nation,” Adan states.

Self-interest underpins Adan’s radical ideological rant, to some extent. The Chavez family doesn’t want to lose its Chavera hacienda in Barinas and the other vast land holdings amassed during Hugo’s reign.

But Adan is also a true believer, a lifelong Marxist who identifies very strongly ideologically with the Cuban revolution. Hugo received some of his earliest Marxist education from Adan, among others. It was also Adan who steered Hugo, an aspiring baseball player in his teens, to enlist in the Military Academy of Venezuela. After Romulo Betancourt and Raul Leoni whipped the Castro-backed Venezuelan revolutionaries in the early- to mid-1960s, legendary guerrilla chieftain Douglas Bravo was a chief architect of a long-term strategy to seed young men with previously imparted revolutionary formation into the ranks of the armed forces. Hugo was one of hundreds of left-leaning cadets who were infiltrated into the military from the late 1960s right up to the 1990s.

Who are the “infiltrated…traitors” inside and outside the revolution? Adan didn’t say, but we can guess at some. Jose Vicente Rangel heads the list of traitors outside the revolution. Adan and Wormtongue never hung out together, but they have been fellow travelers in Venezuelan revolutionary politics since the 1960s, at least. Adan knows that Wormtongue is completely untrustworthy.

Others on Adan’s hit list of unnamed traitorous “progressives” at the top of the regime likely include Diosdado Cabello, Elias Jaua, Rafael Ramirez, even Nicolas Maduro. Adan knows that these regime capos, and many more unnamed officials, are more interested in their own survival and economic wellbeing than they are with the revolution.

Adan also has reason to worry about the loyalty of the narco-generals in command of the Bolivarian armed forces, like officially US-designated drug kingpins like Defense Minister Henry Rangel Silva and Army Fourth Division commander General Cliver Alcala Cordones. The narco-generals have a personal stake in perpetuating Chavez as “president,” because their freedom and even physical survival are nominally assured only as long as Chavez remains in power. But if cancer fells Chavez quickly, the narco-generals would have to consider other options seriously, like taking flight. I believe the narco-generals are not as powerful as they like to think they are. I’ll wager that if Cliver Alcala ever gives orders to deploy the Fourth Army Mission on a war footing, those orders will not be obeyed by the majority of the division’s officers.

Adan’s call for Bolivarian ideological purity and a concomitant purge of “traitors” and “progressives” from the Bolivarian revolution tends to confirm that dangerous rifts have opened up inside the regime. The regime’s stability is hanging on whether President Chavez returns from Havana quickly and in visibly improved health. Adan appeals directly to the “popular mass” that always has been loyal to Chavez to reassert that loyalty in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution, meaning President Chavez personally. Adan must go the “pueblo” because he knows from first-hand experience/observation over the years that Hugo’s ministers are mostly a passel of crooks and incompetents. The president wouldn’t have it any other way, apparently; it’s a historically proven fact over 13-plus years of Chavez rule that his ministers are, well, mostly worthless at their jobs – in effect, “majunches.”


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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One Response to The Ghost of Paez

  1. Clark says:

    Why would Henry Rangel Silva or Cliver Alcala Cordones need to take flight? They are Venezuelan citizens and their Constitution rules out extradition of Venezuelan citizens. Even post-Chavez, they’ll be better off staying in Venezuela since the risk for them of getting nicked and sent to the slammer is much bigger if they go abroad.

    Caracas Gringo: True – if they’re indicted by a foreign power. But if Chavez leaves the presidecy, they would be exposed to prosecution here by a new government, though it’s also true that money in Venezuela has a very long tradition of always trumping justice. Venezuela’s courts were already corrupt long before Chavez burst on to the public scene in February 1992.


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