By Julio César Gálvez
The battle for power in Venezuela deepens as the date fixed by the Constitution of this country for the swearing-in of the reelection Hugo Chavez takes office nears: January 10.
Chavez has been in Cuba since December 11, when he underwent his fourth operation for a pelvic cancer diagnosed 18 months ago, where he suffered postoperative complications, first with respiratory failure, and now with a severe lung infection, according to official reports, so his presence in Caracas for his swearing-in won’t happen.
This has unleashed an open fight between Nicolas Maduro, Vice President of the nation and the person hand-picked by Chavez as his successor in case of his death, the man whom the Cuban regime fully supports for the presidency of Venezuela, and Diosdado Cabello, former military, a close friend of Chavez, who was at his side in the failed coup attempt against Carlos Andres Perez and who was reelected as president of the National Assembly on Saturday January 5, but who never sat at the table of the Castro brothers in Havana, much less took orders from them.
In an interview on Friday 4 through state broadcaster Telesur by the journalist and current Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas, Maduro, imitating his boss, holding a booklet of the Constitution in his hands, was unable to answer why the fact that a medical board appointed by the Supreme Court certifying the permanent physical or permanent inability of Chavez to take power was not the equivalent of a “complete failure.”
He only managed to repeat, again and again, “The Constitution provides that in all cases, as a formality, there must be an oath of office before the National Assembly on January 10, but on January 10 the new constitutional term begins and he continues his their duties and is established (…) the moment at which he can take the oath before the Supreme Court of Justice.”
The Supreme Court, in an informal statement, made a somewhat unusual argument, justifying that the oath is not necessary because Chavez is the President of the Republic, and therefore it is a continuation of his acts.
Meanwhile the opposition said that “The president of our country has been in the hands of the Cuban government for over 18 months. He was practically kidnapped by a foreign government. We have a right to go there and see what is going on. No more mysteries, Venezuela is not a colony of Cuba, “said Antonio Ledezma, mayor of Caracas.
But from Havana the threads that weave the skein in favor of the Cuban totalitarian regime are, supposedly, well woven, according to some media. The presence of an entire Cuban military contingent of more than 5,000 troops in Venezuela, which may have been increased between December and January, in full combat readiness for any emergency, and more than 50,000 aid workers — doctors and health personnel, teachers of primary and secondary teachers and coaches, agricultural and forestry advisers, in addition to military intelligence specialists and counterinsurgency — seems to support this view.
Stationed at Fort Tiuna, the headquarters of the Cuban troops in Venezuela, Barquisimeto, Barinas, Elorza, Puerto Cabello, Agua Viva, Pariaguan, Maracay, the military air base (ramp 2) installed in Maracaibo International Airport, as well as that of Apure region, with about 50 senior officers, all under the command of Major General Leonardo Andollo, accompanied by Brigadier General Herminio Rodriguez Hernandez, as chief of staff, who is in the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.
More than 100,000 barrels of oil daily, the control of customs and all that goes in and out of Venezuelan ports and airports, and delivery of more than six billion dollars a year, according to expert Latin American political analysts and economists, are the perks that Cuban totalitarianism can not afford to lose at this critical time for its economy and its hold on power.
Both Maduro, who has the backing of the pro-Cuban leaders of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, like Cabello, more pragmatic and who has broad support within the armed forces, have lambasted the opposition, making it clear that they will not allow them to take advantage of Chavez’s illness. The latter said that Parliament will remain revolutionary and socialist.
With just a few days to the presidential inauguration in Venezuela, interests of all kind are active. None of the beneficiaries in government or party positions for Chavez wants to lose their privileges. The fight is gut-level, sordid and no one shows his true colors. They play under double standards. Waiting to see how events unfold. But who will be the chosen one? There is no sign of any favorite. Everyone has an opinion and a preference, but for fear of reprisals they do not make them public.
Maybe it’s like in our childhood when we played with the candles, pointing with our index fingers: he did it!
January 8 2013