Nah, he hasn’t.
I’m still troubled, however, by the indifference with what just happened. A brief recap: On Monday, President Nicolás Maduro held a rally against the Empire of the United States of America for the Venezuelan Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act. Yes, you’ve read about it here in the blog and everywhere else. The US Congress passed a bill that enables the(ir) President to punish Venezuelan government officials and any collaborators involved in the human rights abuses that happened during the February protests with sanctions. What are these sanctions? US asset blocking and US exclusion (plus taking away visa privileges).
The thing is, originally, this rally was supposed to be a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the 1999 Constitution, that little blue book deemed “la bicha” that was sort of the spearhead of the whole Chávez non-project. So Maduro, a clumsy communicator indeed, changed the whole sense of the event.
If you were first going to get dragged there to celebrate chavismo, now you would be protesting for the right of Luisa Ortega Díaz to do some shopping at Dadeland. Needless to say, any hardcore chavista willing to attend may have been deterred by the pequeño-bourgeois theme of the protest. Which, again, wasn’t intended as a protest but as a celebration.
The ambiance was party-like, including all the elements of Venezuelan institutional parties. Drinks, live music, spinning (??), and bailoterapia. Attendance was pathetic, even for chavista standards. The President closed the event with a speech and a very awkward oath which should be a post in itself at Chiguire Bipolar. Our friend @Naky transcribed the oath and gave her impressions accordingly (in Spanish).
A little more background. On Sunday, a prerecorded interview of Maduro by José Vicente Rangel was broadcast by Televen. It had been announced that the President would announce important economic announcements, but in fact, the announcement was a non-announcement: the local price of gas would not be increased, ’cause it was not necessary. The next day, gas prices were not increased, however, there was a substantial increase on general public transportation tickets. You get the idea. We are rambling on, like Maduro, and Chávez before him. Amen.
To the point. During Monday’s under-attended celebration/protest Nicolás Maduro, current President of Venezuela, announced (as he loves announcements) that starting January 2015 he would delegate all his powers in Jorge Arreaza, Héctor Rodríguez, and Elías Jaua. And him? Well he will be hard at work fighting the economic war.
Remember, and now this is relevant, Maduro is not an Economist, has no PHD, not even a background working as a Kino ticket salesman. No, this is just the same guy that two days before said that the current strategy before all these economic troubles was to remain stagnant. Or at least that was the message that he conveyed with the gas price freeze. Which, by the way, is a close repetition to last year’s “Dollars at 6.30 for the rest of the year.”
The delegation of powers is a faculty of the President, of course. And he may delegate on any of his VP’s (dunno if the post Rodríguez and Jaua hold qualify, but I’m sure they’ll make it work just as… well, Maduro IS President). Chávez did something similar while he was ailing before his final trip to Cuba when he delegated on Maduro. He left, and then THEY ilegally stretched his Presidency until the 5th of March. They lied for the sake of the revolution. For its continuity.
And as continuity is the name of the game, the PSUV, Diosdado, Daniella, Fidel, Arreaza, or whoever, probably realized that Maduro was just not going to make it. Popularity is down low as the oil barrel price, and the
black market parallel Dollar and inflation are sky high. He cannot resign because there is no political capital (OR MONEY) to pull off another Chávez. He has to remain in office, at least until 4 years have gone by, and then he can pass the torch, or in this case the cross, to another chavista who can finish the remaining two years of his term.
Their hope seems to be Chavismo’s bad seed will be diluted between these three despicable delegates, and my bet is that Maduro will be used to make economic announcements every once in a while (just as Rafael Ramírez just announced that the President would make some economic announcements).
So, in the end, of course Maduro didn’t quit. He just employed the only skill he has: getting out of having to drive the bus.