Nicolás Maduro will run again in 2018. He has said that he trusts the people’s vote. That’s not true. He trusts the computer technicians, masters in digital prestidigitation; that ineffable character Tibisay Lucena, famous for multiplying the votes; and his obsequious team of electoral accomplices capable of turning a dying man, a bus driver or a shoebox into president if the Chavist script demands it.
Maduro, who reads the polls, knows that the latest Datanálisis gave him 17 percent support, with a declining trend, while 80 percent of the Venezuelans increasingly reject him, with that figure rising as supplies decrease and inflation grows. Maybe at this point in the overall misery, he has dropped below 15 percent and his regime has a more-or-less similar percentage of support, as shown by the scolding from someone like José Vicente Rangel.
It’s perfectly natural for this to happen. Venezuelans are having a lot of trouble. They’re not unaware that in the future everything will be scarce, except for the infinite discomforts imposed by Chavism. They know that in the past few months importations have been cut in half, a terrible fact in a society that imports almost everything it needs to exist, given that 8,000 companies have shut down due to the lack of supplies. They figure that tomorrow will be much worse than today.
Nevertheless, Maduro — immune to discouragement — trusts “in democracy and freedom as the supreme value of our motherland.” When Nicolás refers to “his” motherland, he means Venezuela, where he spent his adolescence, not Colombia, where he was born, or Cuba, where his little heart lies. None of that.
Strictly speaking, Maduro and his minions mistrust the opposition because they know that they can end up in jail for a chain of crimes ranging from embezzlement — in that country, they have stolen 300 billion dollars — to cocaine trafficking, money laundering, violation of human rights and even the torture and assassination of opponents.
The problem is that the opposition has not the strength to knock them from power, and they have not the strength to remain upright much longer. The opponents number considerably more than the Chavists, but Raúl Castro has explained to his disciple Maduro that, in that type of regime, authority is not maintained through the consent of the governed but by the activities of the counterintelligence and the other mechanisms of enslavement.
All that’s needed is to keep control of the discourse, the propaganda apparatus, the support from the international communist roaches, from Podemos in Spain to the FARC in Colombia, plus that 0.5 percent of the population (150,000 people in Venezuela) enrolled in the secret police, omnipotent and omnipresent, found everywhere and nowhere like an implacable and evil God who is sadistically intent on immobilizing the population by the scrotum.
But, following the worsening of the economic crisis, the plunder and the rejection of the insolent presence of “the Cubans,” Maduro knows the sequence of events that will occur the day that some armed men, military or civilian, challenge the regime. They will seize an army barracks with the approval of the soldiers (or maybe the soldiers will seize it), they’ll distribute firearms to the people, and the structure of power will crack vertically and horizontally.
What can a lucid Chavism and a sensible opposition do to prevent the nation’s collapse into chaos and decomposition? There’s a dozen ways. They can sit down to seriously negotiate a real transition, perhaps in exchange for a judicial moratorium, as happened in Chile after Pinochet’s exit or in Nicaragua when Violeta Chamorro was elected and the first Sandinist regime was dismantled.
For that purpose, electoral mechanisms are extremely useful. Thus, in an orderly manner, without blood or violence, communism ended in Central America and Europe. But the key is respecting the people’s will — and so far there isn’t the slightest indication that Maduro admits that possibility. He’s intransigent.
Published in Spanish by El Blog de Montaner on Sunday December 3rd, 2017