14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 2 April 2017 — Everything was to get to this point: the long harangues of Hugo Chávez, his populist promises and the perks distributed to the loyal. Nearly two decades of “Twenty-first Century Socialism” have successfully led to Venezuela’s abandonment of democracy. This week, with the cancellation and subsequent “restoration” of the powers of the National Assembly, the cage has been definitively closed.
Nicolás Maduro took a bold and desperate step. The all-powerful entity into which he converted the Supreme Court dealt the blow that the president had been planning since he lost control of Parliament in December 2015. The judges just did the dirty work and, three days later, they faced the ridicule of backing off from their decision.
The claims inside and outside of Venezuela prevented the leadership from accomplishing the self-coup. A move with which Maduro sought to end his stubborn opposition, to stand up to the possible application of the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States, and to buy time for his battered and corrupt government.
A country shaken by the whims of a political elite as obstinate to preserve its own privileges, as it is to refuse to recognize that it has lost the support of the citizenry
Although Maduro backed down shortly afterwards, previous decrees make it so that the parliamentarians still can not implement their legislative decisions and the country has been living from January of 2016 under a state of exception, euphemistically denominated the economic emergency. The Venezuelans go through a calvary of hardship, violence and exodus.
Every week Maduro invents some campaign or confrontation that will help him, with the support of the leadership of his party, to stay in the presidential chair and exercise control over the country’s budget and oil wells.
The Chavistas have no ideology left. The movement they described as popular has become addicted to the attributes of power, unable to perceive the reality of the streets. It is not the Venezuelan people who interest them, but the life of luxuries that they have constructed in their palaces while proclaiming to the four winds the discourse of helping the poor and the needy.
However, more frightening than their insatiable material voracity is the institutional fragility in which they have left the nation. A country shaken by the whims of a political elite as obstinate to preserve its own privileges, as it is to refuse to recognize that it has lost the support of the citizenry.
Maduro has Venezuela in his fist and does not seem ready to let go.