Nicolas Maduro’s Two Plans / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner

The Venezuelan president on his television program 'In Touch with Maduro'
The Venezuelan president on his television program ‘In Touch with Maduro’

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 7 November 2015 — Nicolas Maduro knows he will lose the election on December 6. The disaster is too intense. So say all the polls. Ninety percent of Venezuelans want a change. Eighty percent blame Maduro. Seventy percent are determined to vote against this thoroughly incompetent government.

Venezuelans are tired of lining up to buy milk, toilet paper, whatever. The inflation horrifies them. Everything is more expensive every day that passes. The salary of a month is consumed in a week. The corruption disgusts them. They know and intuit that the Chavista leadership is an association of crooks with no lack of narco-traffickers, all colluding to plunder the country. Lacking flour, violence is the daily arepa (bread). Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. And one of the filthiest. (This is also what Cubanization is: Wreckage and sewage running in the streets on the worn out pavement full of potholes.)

But Maduro blindly obeys an axiom of the Castros: “The Revolution will never surrender.” The Revolutiuon is actually a verbal construction that, in reality, means The Power. The Power is what is never handed over. The Revolution is a plastic thing that transforms itself so as not to lose power. The verbal construction has other rhetorical components: “the people, social justice, anti-imperialism, the oppressed poor, the greedy rich, multinational exploiters, the Yankee enemy.” There are hundreds of expressions that arm the story.

Until 1998, according to the Castros, power came from the barrel of a gun and the Revolution was declared. This was the dogma. This is what they had done. At the end of that year, Hugo Chavez won some elections and came to power by other means, but with the same ends. Fidel, reluctantly, accepted the change in method, but clarified that power is never relinquished.

He accepted that Chavism dismantled in slow-motion the scaffolding of the liberal democracy and liquidated the trifles of the three powers and the freedom of press and association, but made it very clear that the Revolution, that is, Power, was never negotiable. Alternation was a ridiculous republican practice of the soft bourgeoisie. That option did not fit into a genuine testicular and revolutionary model.

What will Maduro do in the face of the electoral defeat predicted by the polls and his decision never to relinquish power, imposed by Cuba but enthusiastically taken up by him and the Chavista leadership?

Maduro has a Plan A and a Plan B.

Plan A is to try to win the elections or to accept losing by a minimum amount. How will he perpetrate it? Jailing or prohibiting the participation of opposition leaders who could drag their supporters to the polls. This is the case, among others, for Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado. Manipulating the voting machines. Generating false ballots. Drawing the districts to favor his voters. Abusing the media 100 to 1. Putting obstacles in front of the opposition vote in a thousand ways .

The intention of the government is to discourage the democrats so they do not vote. They calculate that with the total of all these tricks they can win, or lose by a small margin. And if they lose, they buy at any price a handful of dishonest deputies and continue with the power fiercely clenched between their legs.

And if Plan A fails? Plan B would be launched if the avalanche of votes is such that there is no way to hide a stunning defeat. That’s what happened to Jaruzelski in Poland in the summer of 1989. He used all the advantages of power to crush Solidarity in partial elections limited to the Senate, but Walesa and his democratic tribe obtained 95% of the vote and nearly all the seats. The communist regime collapsed before the evidence of widespread rejection.

Maduro has had the courtesy to announce his Plan B. If he loses he will use the prerogatives of the enabling law to demolish the few institutions of the Republic left standing. In that case, he will govern “revolutionarily” with “the people and the army” through a civilian-military junta. They call this infamy “deepening the Revolution.” Hand over power? Don’t even dream of it. He would create a satrapy pure and simple, collectivist and brutal, without bourgeois disguises.

What should Venezuelans do? What the Poles did. Come out to vote in massive numbers. Bury this filth under a mountain of votes, and fight ballot by ballot and polling place by polling place, without fear and without faltering.

Plan A is worse than Plan B. Plan A continues a dying farce that will inevitably lead to a slow and painful death. Plan B has the advantage of shamelessly undressing the totalitarian character of this dictatorship and puts an end to the doctored narrative of the revolution of the oppressed. End of story.

Many Venezuelans, Chavez supporters or not, military or civilian, will perhaps not remain impassive while Maduro and his masters in Havana distort the popular will and impose a permanent yoke. It will all play itself out on December 6. Perhaps life itself.