17 April 2013

Diosdado Cabello, and not Nicolas Maduro, has the power in Venezuela

Diosdado Cabello holds the keys to Venezuela's future. Not Nicolas Maduro. Not his Cuban handlers. Not Henrique Capriles. Not Rafael Ramirez. Not the criminal enterprises that sustain chavismo. Not the electoral authorities (CNE) that will most definitely not allow a recount of votes or meaningful scrutiny, as requested by Capriles. Not the Congress. Not the media. Not the "international community". Not the USA. Not Colombia (Santos reached a new low if that was ever possible). It all depends, in my opinion, on how Diosdado Cabello plays his cards.

Cabello graduated from Venezuela's Armed Forces military academy in 1987. He was the second best, in a class of 216 officials (the Tomás Montilla Padrón, class of 87). Many of Cabello's colleagues participated in the coup led by Hugo Chavez in 1992, and many were rewarded by Chavez, once he reached power. Cabello has been one of the fixtures of chavismo. And so have been Jesse Chacon, Alejandro Andrade, and Jose Vielma Mora, to name but a few. Cabello and his colleagues have reached key positions within chavismo: tax collection, army, telecoms, finance, and government. Colleagues of Cabello control many of the most important military commands in Venezuela. On the 5th of July 2012, Chavez announced a new wave of promotions within the army: 42 officers were promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, with direct command over troops. Of the 42, 36 belonged to Cabello's class of 87. But, and here's a crucial point, 97 members of the class are still active within the army, but only 36 were promoted. That means 61 colonels, companions of Cabello, are due a promotion. It did not happen last year, which sources told me caused a great deal of discontent, that Cabello is managing to his advantage.

The power to promote people within the army rested solely with Hugo Chavez. In what can only be taken as a political decision, Chavez decided to promote some, not all of Cabello's classmates. All the while, there's never been lost love between Cabello and Cuba's dictators. In fact, Cabello never shared Hugo Chavez's subservient attitude and infatuation with Fidel Castro: he rarely, if ever, went to Cuba, and is said to despise what he considers the affront of getting orders from Cuba.

The Castro dictators picked Maduro for obvious reasons. A semi literate, intellectually handicapped yes-man, through whom continuation of Chavez's progressive cession of sovereignty to Cuba could continue unabated. But the Castro bros miscalculated big time. They put all the eggs in Maduro's basket, and that might prove fatal for their plan. For Maduro, a civilian, does not have the slightest ascendancy over Venezuela's army, which Cabello quite obviously has.

When push comes to shove, the Venezuelan army will step in and decide who runs the show, as is always the case. When that moment comes, neither Maduro, nor his Cuban handlers, stand a chance. Cabello already voiced, in Twitter, what could be interpreted as an open threat to Maduro, whose slim margin of victory over Capriles is seen as a monumental failure that could have brought an end to the "revolution". Cabello could, very easily, leverage fresh demands on the very real fire power of his classmates. With Chavez out of the picture, there's absolutely no one that can restrain Cabello, if he decides to move against Maduro.

In all of this, Capriles is just a passenger, background noise. He has no power to force the game, and will probably end up jailed (that could be a game changer, but it remains to be seen whether Cabello and the Castros are that stupid).


Petroglyf said...

Interesting analysys Alek. If Cabello gets Maduro out of the way, how do you think he'll attempt to govern? Although not a true believer in Communism he seems to have no problem being authoritarian.

AB said...

As to how Cabello plans to govern, just check his video in Congress saying that those who do not recognise Maduro's presidency will not be allowed to speak... Proper fascist and totally unafraid!

Bruni said...

I very much agree Alek and we are witnessing that in real-time now. Cabello has chosen the role of the strongest repressor, the one that curtail rights, screams and persecutes.

Manuel said...

All semblance of trying to do things undercover is gone, now every bit of totalitarian power and rhetoric is done out in the open for everyone to see.

I wonder if this is the start of the end...