So, chavo/madurismo has all in its hands (1). No Venezuelan government in history had so many levers of power in its hands. All the formal state institutions are now controlled by the regime except a handful of state houses and town halls. But those are restricted on their means, heavily supervised and thus almost insignificant in their potential actions. What makes this one more of a dictatorship than any past one is the complete control on press and media, and the economic control that no government in Venezuela ever had. That these controls broke the country is another matter, though it happened because of these controls.
However for the regime the conquest is not complete enough and the novel assembly has put as it priority to quell what is left. The priority is not solving the awful economic and health crisis, the priority is to close internet media, harass NGO, go after the remainder of the opposition leadership not yet in jail or exiled. It already started and more is in store. For example barely seated as third chair of the assembly Iris Varela has repeated her old promise: seize the properties of those that are not in Venezuela anymore. Now she may have the means to execute that promise.
Totalitarian regimes cannot help themselves. It is inherent to them to discriminate, sow discord, repress, invent ever new enemies, etc, etc. Castrist originated chavismo cannot escape that condition. Even when all opposition will be erased, even when no private property will be left, save for those of members of the regime something new will come up, most likely inside purges Moscow trial like. Some of this are already taking places against those who abandoned ship, treated more harshly than opposition hostages.
That democratic international opinion is against the regime they do not care anymore. That there is an investigation is going at the Hague international court against some of the regime higher up is of little concern. That the support of Cuba, Russia and Iran comes at the price of accepted slavery is just what you need to pay to remain in office. The regime is inured to this, they got used to this, they may even toast to this.
As a narco kleptocracy the dictatorship heroes want to enjoy the loot they gathered, preferably not in Venezuela. This, they can do no more. In some cases not even their families. Also, it cannot fail to escape them, at least the military in charge of repression that more and more repression is needed as hunger is now the daily routine for a majority of Venezuelans. Never mind the Covid situation here where the regime has basically given up, without plans for a massive vaccination program.
That is the double Achilles’s heel of the regime, the worsening situation and the jail feeling inside Venezuela for the elite. How to solve that?
The solution would be extremely simple: hold free and fair elections and all sanctions will be lifted, confidence and investors will return, travel to party on will resume. But that means chavismo will have to give up large amounts of power. This is THE NO-NO for most of the chavista elite. But the reality is there and needs to be dealt with since repression may not be enough. Now that the regime has no more enemies able to challenge it in the near future the temptation to settle publicly internal scores will rise. The chavista factions notable for their leninist unity against the opposition may find it more difficult to keep that unity. In particular for the army who will be called increasingly to help in repression. The Soviet Union had developed an institutionality ad hoc. A poor institutionality, certainly, but one where all had their place: KGB, Red army, sovietes, Party, universities. Chavismo has been unable to build anything. Its model is more like Cuba who long ago gave up the idea of pretending to be a state…… But if Cuba so far as avoided the fate of “failed state” this may not be true anymore for Venezuela.
And this is the regime problem: It dominates but it does not rule. Nothing functions anymore in Venezuela. The government is unable to offer a minimum of public services. It does not even pretend to do something about hyperinflation. Nothing. The regime seems to have abdicated its state functions. All is improvisation. (2)
It remains to be seen how long chavismo will tolerate its own dysfunction now that there is no real enemy in front..
1) I think that we should start making a distinction between today’s chavismo and what it was, say, in the early past decade. Not that one was better than the other: they were equally awful in their intention, but the results are harvested by Maduro. This has turned the regime way uglier, crossed new lines.
2) This decomposition of the state, need it be recalled, predates the first international sanctions. It has been years that there has been electrical power outages, problems in water supplies, insecurity, etc…. Sanctions did not help of course, but the regime is not shy at announcing certain type of unnecessary purchases or sending humanitarian help for propaganda purposes.
This post was originally posted on Venezuela News And Views – View Original Article