Contingency planning for the post-Chávez era is now in high gear throughout Venezuela’s political sphere. For my part, I spent the weekend writing an Obit, just to make sure we have one. The subtle and not-so-subtle jockeying inside the pro-Chávez camp is obvious. But…what about the MUD?
The opposition’s Roundtable for Democratic Unity will face novel challenges in the months following the guy’s passing. If it all happens on a Ratheresque time-scale (sooner Rather than later), it’s possible to imagine tensions that would set off: the whole adeco-UNT galaxy would find itself backing a candidate who doesn’t feel at all like one of their own. The tenuous peace between Barboza and Ramos Allup might well fray, as the Maracuchos wonder why they should continue to play second fiddle to a “machinery” that ran out of gas eons ago. Without the glue of Chávez-aversion that’s held them together for so long, the government’s long-fantasized bust-up – the Mesa de Alacranes scenario – could imaginably come to pass.
So far, MUD’s leadership has been canny about getting all agreements down on paper and then forcing people to stick by what they’ve signed up to. With Chávez gone and PSUV in factional knife-fight mode, I wonder if that’s really tenable in the medium-run.