Plan A ended in a bitter defeat on December 2nd, 2007, when the Venezuelan people rejected chavez’s scheme to secure his stranglehold on power. All of his promises of countless government giveaways and social programs could not persuade the Venezuelan people to relinquish their liberty for a few handouts. The NO vote, which came on the heels of King Juan Carlos’ verbal slap down weeks earlier, left the would-be dictator reeling.
The Venezuelan electorate delivered a devastating blow and left the despot with a noticeable limp, but it was by no means a knockout. Less than two months later, the outline of chavez’s Plan B to make permanent his dictatorship has begun to take shape. Unable to gather enough support among Venezuelans by the strength of his personality alone, it appears chavez has decided instead to pick a fight with neighboring Colombia in the hopes that a war would bring about a nationalistic fervor that he can manipulate in his favor.
The saber rattling has begun with chavez ordering a military exercise in the region while making his usual unfounded accusations that Colombia, in cahoots with the US, is planning a military attack against Venezuela.
The president’s accusations coincide with the launch early this week of “Operation Caribe 01,” a series of Venezuelan military exercises scheduled to run until Feb. 3. Some 3,000 troops concluded the first phase of the exercise Friday, which included the mobilization of fighter planes, tanks and helicopters, according to the Bolivarian News Agency in Caracas.
It seems that chavez is becoming aware that his ambition to emulate his mentor fidel, which at one time seemed a forgone conclusion, is becoming more and more unlikely with each passing day. His popularity in Venezuela has plummeted and nothing he says or does seems to improve his waning poll numbers. The population appears to have tired of the “21st century” socialist rhetoric, so chavez is now looking to focus their attention on something else.
“What he is trying to do is to invent, to gather support around himself under the threat of a supposed external enemy and appeal to a desperate nationalism … at a time when people are suffering domestic problems.”
Plan B, if ever fully realized, will be a bloody chapter in South America’s history. The only hope lies in the leadership of Venezuela’s military. It will be up to them to stand between the aspirations of a demagogic tyrant, and the wellbeing and safety of their nation