The news regarding the health of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez indicates he is losing his battle against cancer and may not make it to the elections scheduled in Venezuela this October. Since he may not be around to claim victory after what is sure to be a rigged election, Chavez has begun putting together a group of his loyal henchmen to ensure Venezuela remains under the tyrannical grip of Chavismo through a junta.
Venezuela: say hello to the junta
Is Venezuela’s government preparing for transition? In the past few weeks Hugo Chávez, the president, has gone from denial about the lethality of his cancer to praying for a bit more life. On Wednesday night he appointed a Council of State, a consultative body created by the 1999 constitution but not set up until now.
It’s first task? To withdraw Venezuela as quickly as possible from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, run by the Organisation of American States. Now, why would that be a priority?
Chávez flew to Cuba on Monday to continue his treatment for cancer, just four days after returning home from his previous course. One of his last acts before leaving was to ask Elias Jaua, vice president, to set up the council and get out of the IACHR. On Wednesday night – governing, as has become customary, from Havana – he named its members.
“Everyone knows the president’s health is delicate, so his setting up the Council of State now cannot be good news,” John Magdaleno, a political scientist in Caracas, told Agence France Presse. “It might be used as a potential transitional body, or in case the president becomes incapacitated and cannot work, or to prepare some extraordinary measures.”
With Chávez’s 21st century socialism imploding around him, you might think urgent measures would include addressing worsening food shortages and other social emergencies.
On the other hand, if you were setting up a junta, your first priority might be to neutralise the threat of international condemnation. Showing your disdain for bodies like the IACHR would be a good first step.