The Post Chávez Era Begins

March 7, 2013


An thus the post-Chávez era begins. It is ironic than the man on your left, is a middle (upper?) class caraqueño, who joined the Liga Socialista and from there jumped to union leader of Caracas’s subway. On the right, is a lower middle class military technocrat, who was with Chavez in his conspiracies, but only ranked a minor technocratic job when Chavez´first term began. Maduro was ideologically trained, Diosdado was his own man. In time, both rose fast in the Chavista meritocracy, Diosdado became Minister and then VP, later Governor, Maduro went from President of the Assembly, to Foreign Minister and from that position, given his loyalty and less independent thinking, he ended up on top, Chavez’ designated heir apparent.

It could have been Rafael Ramirez ( also middle class), Vielma Mora, Arias Cardenas, but somehow, this middle class failed student topped all of them by being loyal and ideologically correct, even if he never wore a military uniform.

Others were simply left behind, like Chávez compadre Raul Baduel. He saved Chavez’ butt in 2002, but later he was too outspoken, removed as Minister of Defense and later jailed on corruption charges for his anti-referendum stance in 2007.

Which leaves us with Maduro.

And it is clear that over the last few months, Diosdado has been loyal. He has never said he should be acting President, even if the Constitution says he should. After fourteen years of not visiting Cuba, he went there three or four times in the last three months. And he has been quiet in the last few days. In fact, he was the one to announce that Maduro’s swearing in ceremony will be tomorrow at the Military Academy in an apparent sign of unity.

Maduro on the other hand, had said little since announcing Chávez’ death, up to today, when he announced that Chávez body will be held for seven days so everyone could see it and pay its respects. He went even further announcing that Chavez’ body would be embalmed and held at the Revolutionary Museum, ironically the site of Chávez biggest defeat in February 1992,

It is all part of the campaign. Maduro even suggested ” I am Chávez”, a clear sign of the level of insecurity of the inheritors of the revolution.

Unfortunately, Maduro does not have Chavez’ presence, while he faces tough decisions going forward in particular on the economy. He probably knows he does not have the good will, but think he can inherit it. Unfortunately, other Chavistas think they have more going for them than Maduro and that bodes badly for the stability of the country long term.

But for now, the show must go on (Chávez dixit) and Maduro will be Chavismo’s leader for a while. Unfortunately for Nicolas, the effort to win the election in October, together with the distortions in the economy, make the medium term economic future very difficult. Maduro likely understands this, He will likely be confrontational politically, but likely more pragmatic on the economy. It is no coincidence the US is sending former Representative William Delahunt who under the “Group of Boston” monicker, led meetings in Cape Cod between US and Venezuelan lawmakers when Maduro was President of the Assembly.

Unfortunately,  what Maduro needs is even more profound in terms of the economy and we don’t think Maduro will take that step of trying to minimize controls and adjust the economy all at once. Which will likely come back to bite him in time.

At that time, it is unclear who may conspire or come out on top, but any scenario is just as likely as possible. I do not dare predict.

Indeed, the post Chavez era has begun.

58 Responses to “The Post Chávez Era Begins”

  1. I’ll right away clutch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please permit me know so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    • Will Says:

      I will make thi simple…..

      No tiene nada que ver con quien gana los elecciones… Osea, Capriles, si gana, nunca va a ser Presidente. Yo no lo digo…. los 25,000 niches con AK-47 dicen.

  2. Gordo Says:

    We know that at least 44.3% of the country is pro-opposition… yet PSUV seems to be able to do what it wants with impunity. 44.3% can cause havoc if willing to strike! With a shaky economy, even more so. It doesn’t require guns, etc. sheer absence of MUD (respect the feeling of Chavez family and followers) is not earning them respect in return! Maybe it’s time to show them some strength!!!

  3. Paal Says:

    OK, guys, you’re in for a long one, sorry…

    Unless there are some specific new turn of events before the election, opposition turnout will be below or close to 6 million, and Chavismo between 7 and 8.5 (depending on how strong emotional solidarity with dead Chavez is, probably closer to 8). There is too little emotional momentum now in the opposition, and the expectation now gone that with Chavez dead everything will be solved. However, I it is very possible that the Maduro administration will get into serious trouble through 2013-2015, and most likely will become much more repressive (fullfill the repressive measures prepared by Chavez and Castro and their team).

    As I see it, radical chavismo will not want pragmatism with the private sector, and will probably feel that opening up a parallell dollar market is showing weakness with the rich, which will lead them to fear that the revolution is failing and being betrayed (which is what the “bases” will be very vigilant about). If Cabello came into power he might have established a more pragmatic corrupt hybrid regime, which would be more livable for the private sector and thus more durable, but the communists seem stronger right now, and Maduro will probably lean heavy on the Cuban, as alliances within chavismo are fickle (as most alliances in Venezuela) in comparison. Would it be possible that the Cubans push for more pragmatism (in tune with their own opening up economically) for the self-interest of Venezuela’s subsidy not falling apart? Probably not, as the Castro’s think most of all about power, and reducing the private sector and making people poorer and more state-dependent (especially on food) is the core of that power.

    A positive factor for the new administration could be that with Chavez gone, people will have more peace to actually carry through projects, and also rational discussion previous to decisions might improve. On the other hand, the waste, corruption and general disaster might be even stronger given that their is no caudillo threathening servants into submission. It is easy to see how the Cubans might suddenly miss a check of subsidy’s and nobody having the power to make anyone accountable. Right now, I think the Cabello-Maduro split is exaggerated, but it does not mean that Cabello might not sabotage the Cubans on the low, and he will have the influence to do it.

    It is also going to be interesting to see if the military will step down harder on crime. It seems like Chavez was the main inhibitor here, and I don’t see anybody else having the power to stop that on pure “humanitarian” grounds.

    Despite all these buts, with the administrations administrative track record, the pending economic disaster will probably materialize strongly, within 2 years. Having no understanding of economic development, most initiatives will probably be either corruption motivated (like SITME partly was), useless (Mision Saber y Trabajo, Veniran etc), bad emulations of Chavez (Mision otro subsidio mas para los pobres, which might not be bad, but won’t help the economy), half-assed completion of existing projects (which normally have a very high percentage of waste and mismanagement) or simply para joder los gusanos escualidos apatridos. We won’t see bureaucratic reform to ease private enterprise, a rational exchange market, sustainable infrastructure investment (as pressing populist needs for whatever next election forces more short term spending next to these massive costs), strenghtening of the quality of universities, modernization of CVG or other useful stuff. Salaries will keep falling in value, crime will stay the same or worse, rule of law further deteriorated and brain drain increase.

  4. I cannot get that other rate on the normal site. Do you think it has been closed?

  5. island canuck Says:

    I don’t usually buy into conspiracy theories however this would explain so many things:

    The alleged bottom line is that Ch is already sealed in crystal & that’s why all this talk about embalming, etc. He’s already embalmed & has been since December.

    There are close up photos showing the coffin with the vacuum seal “box” inside.

    The lies just keep on coming & will continue.

  6. Javier Says:

    I cannot understand Diosdado and the army big boys.. maybe they do not like to enforce the true and constitutional path because Cubans and lefty PSUV leaders will call it a military coup against the Chavez will..
    So they are accepting a legal coup, just accepting Supreme Court illegal and inconstitutional resolutions written especially to keep Diosdado out of Miraflores.
    Indeed this is a strategy to keep Cuba in the top decisions.
    The fast speech from Chavez in December appointing Maduro as the heir was carefully scheduled to create all this confusion and avoid Diosdado temporary empowerment.
    Do not get me wrong… Diosdado is the same garbage with less Cuba , Maduro ir more garbage and more Cuba.

  7. jhana Says:

    You underestimate Maduro. The funeral and embalming (and I predict soon to be ubiquitous dual profiles of chavez and maduro) are not election campaigning – he has already won the election – its the first steps to consolidate his power after the election.

  8. David Says:

    Chavez is gone as a human being he got his end, like everyone should. He so dominated and bullied the venezuelans for years. Certainly this type of personality only come around once in a lifetime. That is why they idolize him, because he sold his point of view against all odds. Now, picking up the pieces of the system he created where there are no checks and balances, where he demanded at his whim, that was the law will have a harder time surviving, especially with all the exceses they got used to. The economy can not and will not hold up with such excessive borrowing. When the time came to meet with his end of life and his confessor he lied to himself, he asked his doctor, Doctor cuantos meses me quedan de vida? la ultima vez le dijeron ya hemos hecho todo lo que se puede humanamente, no vas a vivir mas de 6 meses, el decidio mentir y lansarce para una nueva eleccion, the rest is history, lies upon lies and the inevitable. He also picked the worst possible place to have surgery hence the outcome. In a free and open society, people discuss ideas and come up with Right solution to complex problems,Thank god the system he so loved betrayed him and his outcome coudld not be any different. I hope for the good of Venezuela y la patria grande that we all think we should have Venezuelans can get out of this crookecked system and and fjoin the 21st century, embracing accountability, justice and a lawful society

  9. Slledge77 Says:

    The Chavistas always lie, and manipulate things, even a funeral. they will continue to do so and cheat again in the next elections. Capriles has no chance. The Chavez left-over vultures are starving for more power and more corruption, they will do anything and everything to grab the power and continue to steal trillions of oil money., And half of the uneducated, naive and also corrupted populace will buy into it, sad, but true.

  10. Lobo Says:

    Finally, Capriles was on addressing the ‘they are not following the constitution’ thing. Alert the world press! Start making a big deal out of this now! Expose these unorganized ladrones, discredit them. They don’t have HCF’s charisma to distract the world from the truth, like he did.

  11. feathers Says:

    The attire was … I don’t know what to say, I would have been terrible offended. One with the running jacket á la pauli walnuts from sopranos and the other with the Nazi band around the arm with the wrinkled and very bad fitted red shirt.

    Are they making fun of Chavez? you wanna think.

  12. Dave Hill Says:

    Chavez was just a rapist. He raped you and now he has left you bleeding.

  13. dcmontreal Says:

    Not so much “post” as Chavez will be on display in a crystal urn and will no doubt play a role in future election campaigns.

  14. Slledge77 Says:

    “Don’t think Pérez Jiménez (who was idolized by Chávez) was something good either.”

    Perez Jimenez was another despicable Dictator, but at least he didn’t steal as much and actually BUILT something in Venezuela. He was only in power for about 6 years, but he built things, lots of the highways and big buildings and infrastructures you see today, while the adecos, copeyanos and chavistas haven’t build ANYTHING in comparison for decades and decades of STEALING a a million times more.

    I would take a few years of Perez Jimenez oppression, while he BUILT the country, over decades of Chavismo and other thieves who hardly ever built anything.

    • Ronaldo Says:

      Chavistas have built. Consider Simone Bolivar’s mausoleum, uh what about all the pictures of Che, or all the red flags all over the place, or the satellite that was never used, or the bridge to Maquetia or other bridges they re-built after they collapsed, or the electricity rationing system, or how they cut health care costs with Cuban labor, or what about the truck Chavez campaigned in, or the 25 houses for the poor, Yeah yeah. the list can go on and on.

    • El Venezolano Says:

      People who where around then say the country started going downhill after PJ circa ’59. Being of a younger generation, i say things went downhill after ’83.

  15. Paul Says:

    Interesting, thanks for the update and link. Probably a topic for a separate discussion, to the extent one can be had. I always noted that Lechugavede consistently posted a lower BF rate than the other available sites so as a consequence those buying dollars used this as the standard.Wondering which site will become the “standard”.

  16. Paul Says:

    BTW….As an aside, Big Brother at work? has disappeared.

    • moses Says:

      Here is @dolartoday version:

      DolarToday ‏@DolarToday

      Se los advertimos y no hicieron caso! ESTAFA MILLONARIA de #LechugaVerde suspendidas sus cuentas twitter, facebook y cerrada su webpage #fb

    • island canuck Says:

      They disappeared because they defrauded hundreds of people with promises of low prices to buy dollars & then never delivered.
      A Ponzi scheme that ran out around October.

      There is a FaceBook page of disgruntled people who were cheated.

      • NorskeDiv Says:

        What is with Venezuela and Ponzi schemes?

        • El Venezolano Says:

          What is it with the U.S. and ponzi schemes? BTW, the greatest Venezuelan embezzler to operate in the U.S. recently pleaded guilty. His fraud schemes go back to RECADI. Search for “claudio osorio” and see FBI and Miami Herald websites. I was close to this POS and learned many of the techniques that I later applied against Chavistas (in another line of work, now retired) from CO.

  17. Paul Says:

    Yes, agreed.Then you have the opposite such as Correa who is highly educated but another autocrat wanna be dictator. By the way, I plan to get vaccinated to be protected against any potential “innoculations”. Does a certain segment actually believe this drivel?

  18. Slledge77 Says:

    Education plays a huge role. Sadly, Chavez and now the vultures remaining in power appeal to a good half of a country which is poor and uneducated. Look at Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica for comparisons. They don’t have clowns who can barely speak, from the low middle classes as presidents or ministers.

    The circus we have in Venezuela, the crime, the sunk economy is largely due to ignorance and corruption. Most of the “elite” fled the country. Higher class Venezuelans own half of Miami now.. who want’s to die in CCS waiting at a semaforo any afternoon?

    And we have to blame ourselves, and all parties and presidents since Perez Jimenez, adecos, copeyanos, all of them for the lack of popular education: Politicians have failed THERE, because it takes a long time, money, selfless effort, an entire generation to see the results.

    So, our ignorant “pueblo” is easily bribed, lied to, corrupted, and follow ignorants like Chavez or Maduro or the other clowns, because they identify to some extent with such corrupted low class thieves. They speak their language, unlike the more educated, qualified “bourgeois” elite people who should be the ones leading and educating the people for the next generation.

    • La Cubana Says:

      We have almost 50,000 Venezuelans in Miami as per last census. In the city of Doral, 22% of voters are Venezuelan. I strongly disagree that “Venezuelans own half of Miami” because everyone is investing in South Florida. Venezuelans have significant investments here but I doubt it goes into double digits for real estate.

      • Slledge77 Says:

        I was clearly engaging in light-hearted hyperbole.. But they do call DoralZuela and WestonZuela for a reason..

        The point remains that I’d guess over 70% of educated, middle-upper class Venezuelans, and their families left our messed-up dangerous country a long time ago. Not just to Miami, where we’re starting to “rule” the place, but everywhere, Spain, etc, etc. Thanks to la “Republica Bolivariana” y el Comandante ese..

        • El Venezolano Says:

          Your point was understood, I supplied the stats because they are little known. We have lots of “chavistas” here and lots of Venezuelans who would not be here living good where it not for the robolution. We have a long way to go before we rule Miami. Venezuelans are very oddball in South Florida. We’re making inroads but still long ways to go for a group that started establishing itself 15 years ago and has been slow to adapt and adopt American ways and values.

    • Kepler Says:

      Don’t think Pérez Jiménez (who was idolized by Chávez) was something good either. Venezuela has been fundamentally a feudal country since the Europeans arrived. Before that it was totally (archaeologists call it with other terms but this is what it was) Early Neolithic on the coast and some Guyana-Amazon areas and Palaeolithic in most of the Llanos, specially around what is now Sabaneta.

  19. Paul Says:

    Well put Slledge. I’m in awe that any country,especially with the oil wealth that Venezuela has, can turn into such a cesspool. Ignorance, lack of any conscience, lack of morals, ethics, etc. Even with the masses of people in Asia, which also has extreme poverty and ignorance, you note that the people have learned to live in relative harmony. I guess it all boils down to cultural heritage.

  20. Noel Says:

    Historically, and with the exception of the Chilean junta in 1989, authoritarian regimes in Latin America don’t retire from power by losing elections. They dont lose elections and only go because people march in the streets.

    The good news is that they all go. The difference here, as was the case in Cuba, is that many of the elite and opponents have left the country. That may result in whatever change arising from within the Chavismo rather than from without.

  21. Slledge77 Says:

    “In all at least 50 different countries were sending delegates for the funeral, Maduro said.” All of the hypocrites, leeches for cheap oil, lying bastards and/or ignorants..

    Pretty much as nuestro “Pueblo” in the streets, Bribed with cheap gifts and corrupt positions, uneducated, clueless. Even away from Venezuela, it’s truly sad to see how stupid people can be, praising a ruthless, cheating, murderous Dictator, who was almost as bad as his mentor and hero Fidel Castro.

    How ignorant, clueless, corrupt, retarded, blind, uneducated can people be?

    Instead of just saying “de la que se salvaron los Venezolanos cuando se murio ese canalla, ese loco”

    And now the Vultures, los Zamuros del sistema, putting up a Circus just to stay in power at any cost, and el pueblo – some of it – out in the streets so the keep getting the free arepas or lavadoras or corrupted positions everywhere. While the crime is among the worst in the world, and the economy was ruined for decades to come.. A SHAME indeed. Sometimes I think they deserve their misery, if it wasn’t for some friends i still have over there dealing with so many IGNORANT, LYING THIEVES..

  22. captainccs Says:

    Miguel, I find it highly significant that you don’t even mention “the opposition” which has been thoroughly trounced by fifteen years of Chavismo. Trashed might be the more accurate term.

    The winners write the history (“History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it” — Winston Churchill). But the chavistas feel weak and they need to embalm their god to keep the faithful in line. None of the twelve disciples could have created Christianity without Christ. They hit on the powerful idea of resurrecting him. Chavismo is proving very wily indeed! I can’t stand to listen to Chavista speeches but the little I did manage to bear was about the disciples wrapping them selves in Chavez’s mantle (nunca lo olvidaremos, siempre está entre nosotros, blah, blah, blah).

    At best we can aspire to pick between two socialist regimes: radical, ideological Chavismo or pragmatic socialism Capriles style. If I were a betting man I would bet against Capriles. I hope to lose the bet.

    As for the US, forgetaboutit. Chavismo will continue selling oil to Uncle Sam and that will keep them happy. Don’t expect any drones picking off Chavista operatives.

    • moctavio Says:

      For now, the opposition will play a role in the background and should play a role in the background. I think in six years Venezuela’s political landscape will be so different, that it is not even worth speculating about it.

      • megaescualidus Says:

        So, in your opinion and if there are elections in 30 days, Capriles will run, and loose against Maduro, and it is not even worth it worrying about it now. You’re just saying look forward to six years from now?

        • moctavio Says:

          First part yes, the look forward part to six years from now, no, I think there will be very turbulent times ahead, Chavistas will find a way to get rid of Nicolas. Who knows what will happen in those six years.

          • feathers Says:

            Totally agree with you Miguel than in the very near future, there is this big chance they will “kill” each other.

            But in the inmediate future, Diosdado is Nicolas’ worst nightmare. He is waiting like a piranha in the murky waters. No questions he will take over when he can.

            • Glenn Says:

              Diosdado waiting? Nah, he is on the “payroll”

            • megaescualidus Says:

              It all depends on how big are Diodado’s “agallas”. If he’s content with the power and “guisos” he has right now, then he may not try to topple Nicolas, but on the other hand, if he thinks of himself as belonging right at the top, with the added power and added “guisos”, then yes, he’d be waiting for the first opportunity to get rid of Nicolas.

  23. Dr. Faustus Says:

    A simple question: How can Venezuela ‘afford’ to have its entire economy shut down for nearly 7+ days with this grotesque extravaganza? The store shelves were already empty at the start of all of this. Now what? The very first thing on any rational human beings mind will be personal sustenance. Hoarding will quickly spread across the country, and right before an election! wow.

    • Kepler Says:

      Very simple answer: Venezuela can “afford” to do that because most people don’t produce anything anyway. They get production from China, the USA, Colombia, Brazil and so on…because “Venezuela es un país rico-no-joda”.

  24. Worried N. Caracas Says:

    In the spirit of Sir Winston Churchill’s epiphany, expressed in the epic 1942 speech at the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon at Mansion House, London, I’d like to politely disagree with Miguel regarding the conclusion embodied in the title of this post, reminding us that “… this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

    • Ira Says:

      Sadly, I think the end came long ago.

      Unless the opposition grows some balls and gets some guns, it’s all over.

      I simply take my joy and hope in the fact that the fat stupid one finally dropped dead, but I expect no changes.

    • Virginia Says:

      Well said.

  25. Mick Says:

    Better learn to speak Chinese

    • Bill S. Says:

      You could be right. If there are enough mineral deposits to mine, Chinese might be the second language of Venezuela in 15 years. I’m sure they would like to get a larger piece of Cuba too. Their first foreign naval base? They have the cash.

  26. Gordo Says:

    I totally agree.

    The Chavez legacy, an economic quagmire, has created a capital vacuum. It’s difficult to see how things can turn around without the help of entapeneurial capital and management skills. However, it’s clear that without the political belligerence, entrapeneual investment would return quickly, and with it I think, quick economic renewal and the resurgence of wealth creation. That would mean, of course, the Chevrament giving up the promises that made Cavez so popular in the first place.

    Giving up those promises would probably create a backlash of disillusionment and feelings of betrayal. It’s like they are holding a hungry tiger by the tail!

    Based on how they have been moving in the past, everything gradual and incremental and using their propaganda machine, like Orwell’s big brother did, announcing that at once the enemy and the ally switched places, and the people just cheered on. I wonder if I would want to be one of the entrapeneual investors knowing that I could at any moment become an enemy again. Chinese companies, on the other hand, might feel comfortable. Maybe, that’s the plan? Could that be the future of the Bolivarian revolution?

  27. syd Says:

    Diosdado Cabello: el inesperado retiro del guerrero.
    Nuevo vicepresidente entre Elías Jaua y el “fiel socialista” ministro de la Defensa, Diego Molero.

    Definitivamente, hasta esta hora, el nuevo Vicepresidente sería el ministro Jorge Arreaza tal como lo informamos hace semanas.¿Será?
    RUNRUN:Maduro quiere que los presidentes asistentes estén en su juramentación en la AN.Ya la Pdta.Rouseff dijo NO.”Eso es política interna”
    RUNRUN:Nicolás Maduro vivirá con su pareja Cilia Flores en La Viñeta.Dejará en La Casona a la familia de Chávez hasta que ellos lo requieran

  28. m_astera Says:

    Paper ballots, marked by hand. Counted by hand.

    That should be a platform of the others running, such as Capriles. Enough of this electronic fakery.

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