Henrique Capriles Radonski was attacked by armed chavista thugs yesterday while stumping for votes in Cotiza on the west side of old Caracas. Ismael Garcia’s son, who reportedly was very near Capriles, suffered a gunshot wound to an arm.
The bullet fired by a regime street thug just as easily could have struck and killed Capriles.
One of the alleged shooters already has been identified by name as a chavista who works for a PSUV official. But the shooter hasn’t been arrested yet; indeed, the regime doesn’t seem to have any interest in jailing the shooter, either.
Interior & Justice Minister Tarek al-Assaimi today blamed the Capriles campaign for yesterday’s violence that was perpetrated by chavista thugs.
Judging by al-Assaimi’s remarks, the regime’s official view apparently is that the violence was caused by the Capriles team, or else it was provoked by Capriles who had no legitimate business campaigning in a chavista stronghold where some normally peaceful revolutionaries might have taken offense… understandably.
President Hugo Chavez always has embraced violence as legitimate political behavior for his supporters, but never for the opposition. Of course, Chavez also always blames the opposition for the violence that is perpetrated by the regime’s street thugs including the ones that fired over a dozen shots towards Capriles and his supporters yesterday.
Chavez and many of his senior capos have been warning repeatedly for months that Chavez will be re-elected no matter what: The Bolivarian revolution will never admit defeat or surrender power; the old Fourth Reoublic “escualidos” will “never return to Miraflores;” Chavez will rule for at least another 30 years; it Chavez ever leaves power for any reason there will be bloodshed and civil war.
Chavez and gang aren’t bluffing. The regime’s position today is that Chavez will prevail over cancer – but even if he loses his battle with the emperor of all maladies, the revolution still will never surrender even a sliver of political power to the opposition. This position is unsustainable, as I believe will be demonstrated by developments over the next couple of months. But it’s where the regime stands today.
The climate of political violence has been growing since the 12 February MUD presidential primaries.
It started with Chavez appearing six times in less than a week on national television to rage and rant hysterically at Capriles. Chavez called Capriles a “majunche” – a worthless nobody – and a “cerdo” (pig). Chavez repeatedly invited Capriles to “fight” during the president’s multiple televised tantrums.
After a week of the most shameful public behavior by any Venezuelan president in the history of the country since it gained its independence from Spain, Chavez dropped from sight for several days and then confirmed reports that he was having a third cancer surgery at the end of February.
But the regime-fueled violence continued. After the 12 February primaries there were at least 45 confirmed separate invasions of private property in the Petare area of Caracas (Miranda state). The Bolivarian National Guard stood by and did nothing for days. The regime apparently hoped that the Capriles state government of Miranda would deploy state law enforcement to oust the invaders by force, possibly creating an excuse to intervene Miranda state’s police forces.
But instead, the invaded private property-owners organized themselves defensively. Several confrontations between armed property owners and armed invaders almost resulted in some gunfights. The National Guard finally intervened and expelled the invaders after the regime realized that the public blamed the invasions on the government. The Interior & Justice Ministry belatedly announced a new plan to seize all weapons from private citizens who do not have legal ministry gun permits. But this won’t make much a dent in the huge arsenal of weapons now circulating in private hands throughout Caracas and the rest of the country.
The shots fired at the Capriles rally in Cotiza yesterday could be an isolated act by an out-of-control chavista street thug. But the gunfire in Cotiza also could be an indication that regime hardliners are sharpening the focus of their escalating violence to target senior opposition figures in public.
The Chavez regime is desperately trying to goad the opposition into words and acts of violence. Chavez wants to portray the opposition as violent right-wing agents of Gringo Imperialists determined to seize control of Venezuela’s oil and non-oil riches.
“Come fight me,” Chavez pleaded repeatedly over six consecutive days of nationally televised presidential insults hurled at Capriles.
But Capriles and the MUD have refrained, intelligently and courageously, from responding in kind to the vitriol, filth and violence that the Chavez regime has been spewing incessantly since the 12 February primaries.
Capriles understands that it’s pointless to get into a public pissing contest with a herd of skunks.
Skunks always inflict a bigger stink on their foes.
But the regime’s violent provocations will not cease. There will be blood, count on it.
The Chavez regime knows after the MUD’s presidential primaries that it can’t win fraudulently by packing the ballot boxes digitally. The election fraud plan is kaput, and is Chavez. But the regime hasn’t devised any alternative plans yet.
Meanwhile, it’s already a very close race, with eight months still left before the 7 October Election Day. Anything can happen in eight months, including the (un)timely departure of Chavez from the presidential race, or perhaps even his demise.
Oscar Schemel of Hinterlaces says that Chavez would get 52% of the vote if elections were held today. But Datanalisis reports that if Chavez drops his candidacy, Capriles easily will defeat anyone that the PSUV fields as its candidate to replace Chavez. The regime’s top gangsters also know that they can’t beat Capriles without Chavez.
The regime is stoking political violence because it’s being true to its nature. Lacking well-thoughout alternative strategies for dealing with the rise of Capriles vs Chavez’s tumor-weighted falling political star, the regime’s thugs are doing the only thing they really know – violence.
But the official thirst for a violent political confrontation instead of a civil electoral process is also driven by fear. The bad-ass Boludarianos are scared s***less by the real prospect of what could become of their lives without Chavez in Miraflores.
True, the regime could be trying to escalate political violence for a number of reasons, like creating an excuse to justify the army’s intervention to restore public order, and/or postpone the esidential and gubernatorial elections, and/or frighten voters into staying home on election day, and/or promoting a “street climate” in which Capriles or other opposition candidates for state governor and mayor could become targets for assassination by deranged fringe revolutionaries whom the chavista capos would immediately disavow, of course.
But fear remains the chief cause for the regime-driven rise in political tensions and violence. With Chavez ailing from cancer in Havana and perhaps unlikely to make it on his feet to 7 October, the regime’s vertical command/control structures, and the loyalty of his senior associates (inspired more by fear and self-interest than ideology), are breaking down.