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Impunity seems to be the order of the day in Venezuelan politics ... if it isn't one thing it's another!

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VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: Our Venezuelan colleague Verdades de Miguel (Miguel's Truths) editor & publisher Miguel Salazar is now fully convinced that the much-heralded construction of 21st Century Socialism proclaimed by President Hugo Chavez Frias has become "incomprehensible theater ... an exquisite tragic comedy with a succession of actors dancing to the master's cue!"

The President's executive team, he says are "merely puppets of a ventriloquist" since Chavez does the talking and none of the hearing. The various actors have to swallow the bitter pill of personal pride when 'El Comandante' suddenly slams into reverse leaving them with very public egg on their faces.

Quoted examples are given as when Vice President Ramon Carrizales went on Jose Vicente Rangel's TV show on Televen to explain the meaningfulness of the new Intelligence & Counter intelligence Act concurrent with President Chavez' on-air decision to abrogate the selfsame law as "misconceived" and "not fully thought out!"

Another when Communications & Information (MinCI) Minister Andres Izarra put on a media show by throwing down the gauntlet, putting his "appointment at the disposition of the President" (i.e. sack me if you dare!) when Izarra's acolyte, Venezolana de Television (VTV) president Yuri Pimentel had had the suiciidal brainwave of sending a missal to opposition Globovision TV telling the anti-Chavez executives that they would henceforth have to pay the equivalent of $60 a second to broadcast VTV feeds.

Other crass faux-pas are legion but the perpetrators always seem to escape from their charades unscathed as long as they have pledged undying allegiances to the mayhem that the Venezuelan government has, unfortunately, become. Salazar scathingly describes Izarra as a 'buhonera' (street peddler) and says that Diosdado Cabello had to bite the dust in a palace intrigue when not-so-media-savvy Yuri Pimentel found himself in the line of fire and 'big brother' Andres Izarra had to rush to the rescue, defiantly putting his own job on the line.

Salazar opines that Izarra must surely be a cat with more than nine lives since he (Izarra) and his acolyte should have been sent into the perpetual desert of oblivion if Chavez had only had his senses intact. Same thing too with Minister Isidro Rondon whose most recent faux-pas almost caused a general transport strike.

"Impunity seems to be the order of the day in Venezuelan politics," says Salazar. "If it isn't one thing it's another." He highlights the unfortunate fact that "someone somewhere" committed the President to spend millions on printing up millions of t-shirts, caps and other emblems proclaiming 'ten million votes' ahead of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) regional and local primaries on June 1, in which only 2.5 million actual votes were cast despite a claimed party membership of 6.5 million in a national electoral base of some 16.5 million Venezuelans.

Chavez' Frias' sympathies for the communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas is also seen by Salazar as yet another glaringly embarrassing faux-pas on the part of the embattled President of Venezuela inasmuch as it makes a nonsense of Venezuela's own claim to national sovereignty in non-discussions with arch-enemy George W. Bush. While Venezuelan diplomatic mediation in the 40+ year confrontation between the Colombian government and the rebels has been the stuff of a succession of Presidents from Carlos Andres Perez through Rafael Caldera, Salazar says that identifying himself with the FARC and saying that they have taken up the 'Sword of Bolivar' (South America's version of George Washington) has only placed Chavez in the ignominious position of claiming total sovereignty in Venezuela while getting involved himself in the domestic-political affairs of neighboring Colombia ... a double morality that gives the United States convincing leverage in any dispute that may transpire between Washington and Caracas.

The Machiavellian game that the Venezuelan government is now playing could well impinge on crucial November 23 regional and local elections where opinion polls are already claiming that Chavez is heading for a resournding defeat. And, if the PSUV primaries are anything to go by, the mainly government-discredited pollsters could well be right since the fracturing coalition of Venezuela's left and far-left, assembled in PSUV has still to gain momentum in the sticks where disillusioned voters have seen very little benefit coming out of Caracas and huge amounts of promised cash for regional development disappearing as quickly as the hot air that rises from ministerial representatives day-tripping to the deforested jungles.

It leaves the landscape open for Manuel Rosales, Julio Borges and inveterate Chavez-hater Teodoro Petkoff to vehemently rally forces ahead of opposition primaries expected to be held next month, but with former Chavez-ally Ismael Garcia heading Podemos (We Can!) and 'auto-excluded' from the Chavez fold, the current administration could easily be seen as in free fall towards a rout similar to when Luis Miquelina defected in 2000 or the 'putting out to grass' of Jose Vicente Rangel in 2006.

What then to do? Is there danger to 'El Comandante' in the ascendency of Jorge Rodriguez (ex-vice president, ex-Electoral Council chief) or is there something even more Machivellian in the prospect of fellow February 1992 coup commander Francisco Arias Cardenas (recently returned from United Nations ambassadorship) waiting in the wings?

Chavez rightly must be aware of the bevvy of 5th columnists around him and the senseless assassination plotters that shadow his every move -- be they radical opposition or covert CIA hitmen -- but with a true test of voter democracy looming come November, he must surely be aware that contingency plans are already being made for the eventuality that, either by bullet or the ballot box, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias will one day disappear off the radar screens with 'friends in the night' more than ready to fill his army boots!

Roy S. Carson


Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.



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Roy S. Carson is veteran foreign correspondent (45+ years in the business) currently editor & publisher of VHeadline Venezuela reporting on news & views from and about Venezuela in South America -- available for interviews -- call Houston (more...)
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