Over on the IHT, I meditate on what a long, strange week it’s been…
Given the impenetrability of Cuban state secrecy, it’s hard not to speculate that even if the president has already died, we would have no way of knowing it. Venezuelans now have a Schrödinger president: a leader suspended in quantum indeterminacy, simultaneously alive and dead.
Just to elaborate/clarify: anyone with working eyes has been able to see for years now that the Cubans were one of the key power players in the Chávez regime’s internal politics, and that’s how they’d always been treated on this blog.
You had Diosdado and the generals, you had Jaua and the Civilian radicals, you had Rangel Silva and the Narcogeneral Clique, you had Rafael Ramírez and the PDVSA Set, you had the Giordani/Merentes group, and you had Maduro and the Havana Axis.
A given group’s influence could wax and wane, some ended up getting chucked out of the game altogether (remember Jesse Chacón used to be a faction head!) The one constant was that Chávez always played the key role in the system: balancing one group off against the others, and making all final calls.
It’s only been in the last few weeks, with Chávez now clearly incapacitated, that the Cubans have gained unquestionable ascendency over the other groups. They’re no longer one player among several players, they’re now the dominant player. This is new, and Fidel once more showed great tactical accuity in making sure he kept control over…erm…el cuerpo del delito.