01/10/13 - Fox News - OpEd: Venezuela's Coup Made in Cuba
Dr Carlos Ponce
Almost a month after his last public appearance and from his surgery to
continue the treatment against an aggressive cancer, Hugo Chávez remains
in intensive care in Cuba with multiple respiratory, abdominal and
Chávez never delegated power to his Vice President Nicolas Maduro, he only
obtained a temporary permit to travel to Cuba, but he supposedly remained
in total control of the presidency. Nobody knows the true extent of such
delegation of duties or if Chávez is actually awake or has been in coma
all this time.
The information provided by the regime has been more than contradictory.
The only source of information has been the social media. If Chávez has
been in a coma all this time, then we have been in the presence of people
who usurped power and they have been running an illegal government.
Hugo Chávez was aware of the potential complications of this new surgery
and he clearly said that in case he became unable to take oath on January
10th, or in case of his death, his chosen one to run for president was
And the Constitution in Venezuela is clear: the mandate began on January
10th, 2007 and ends January 10th, 2013, and if the elected president can't
take the oath that day the Assembly's President assumes power temporarily
and calls for new elections within a maximum of 30 days.
But for Cuba, which receives more than $10 billion a year plus other
benefits from Venezuela, this is not acceptable. Fidel and Raúl Castro
have been close friends and supporters of Chávez's regime for economic
reasons. Thanks to Hugo Chávez and his fake revolution, the Cuban
dictatorial regime has been able to survive this past decade. For Castro's
regime, the future of Chávez will also mark Cuba's future.
The Castro brothers have become the conciliators and advisors of the two
most powerful acolytes of Chávez as well as of some fractions from the
military. Castro has been coordinating the meetings among Diosdado
Cabello, the president of Venezuelan National Assembly, Vice President
Maduro, Chávez's family and some sectors of the military.
They also initiated an international lobby with Brazil and other countries
to gather support for their plans on Venezuela. They have developed the
thesis of the "continuation" of the government: for them the re-election
of Chávez last October was just a confirmation or referendum of his
regime, and for that reason he doesn't need to be inaugurated or take the
Venezuela is far from been a democratic country. Hugo Chávez has been
ruling the country in an authoritarian and abusive way, and the only quasi
democratic side to it was that periodical general elections. Without those
elections the country becomes a dictatorship. Neither Maduro nor Cabello
were elected. Chávez transformed Venezuela in his big circus but now the
clowns have taken control of the circus. We don't know if they are keeping
Chavez artificially alive just to keep control of the country; only an
independent medical board can determine his current condition.
The alternatives for Chávez's cronies are five: 1) Accept the
impossibility for Chávez to return to power and call for an election in 30
days. In this case they may have a good chance to win due to the Chávez's
influence and memory, as well as the drama that would surround such an
election; 2) Reduce Chávez's sedation and mobilize the Venezuelan Supreme
Tribunal to inaugurate the new term in Cuba; 3) Keep control of the
government by force; 4) Convince some members of the opposition of a
transition regime; 5) The unconstitutional an undemocratic interpretation
of the Constitution that would allow them to give Chávez a special permit
of 90 days, renewable, to delay the inauguration.
They need the time to consolidate their power without Chávez and to buy
more time in control of the institutions and cash flow, so they can also
project themselves as the continuation of Hugo Chávez revolution. They
also need more time for the campaign and to create the image of a possible
government without Chávez but with Chávez ideals.
For the opposition, an election in 30 days will be a major tragedy because
they don't have a clear candidate. Even though the "Mesa de Unidad" has
been playing an extraordinary role creating a coordinated effort among
numerous opposition groups and parties, their ideological differences and
their mutual suspiciousness are still a great challenge.
Sadly, Venezuela will face a major political, economic, institutional and
social crisis in the upcoming months. Several countries and groups will
try to control the game, but now it is a Pandora box, anything can happen.
If the democratic opposition begins to change Cuba's game and become more
active in developing alternatives and implementing a democratic fight, as
well as implementing some strategic planning, the game can change in favor
of recovering democracy in Venezuela.
Dr. Carlos Ponce is general coordinator of the Latin American and
Caribbean Network for Democracy, co-editor of the political magazine
"Nueva Politica", lecturer in several U.S. and Latin American Universities
and member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy
and the ISC of the Community of Democracies.
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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