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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Coming Explosion in Venezuela

When Hugo Chavez (left) died last year and left Nicolas Maduro (right) in charge of Venezuela and as the presumptive leader of Chavismo and his "21st Century Socialism," he probably had little idea that this so-called revolution would dissolve so quickly and the country fall apart so completely as it has in recent weeks.

It is very possible that Maduro will be forced from office in coming hours or days. The rest of the Western Hemisphere is simply holding its breath to see if that change will come peacefully, or with a level of violence that many of us fear.

Venezuela -- and Venezuelans -- deserve better. They deserved better government and better leaders before Chavez, during his 12 year rule, and now. The biggest questions are:

_ Will the violence in the streets, provoked by the government, its informal allies and some members of the opposition, continue to grow and spread?

 _ Will there be a confrontation between members of the security forces and military loyal to Chavez and Maduro and those who have opposed him, either openly or in secret?

_ What will Cuba do?

Thousands of Cuban advisers, including those specialized in intelligence and security, have been at work in the members of ALBA, the leftist group of nations formed by Chavez that includes Nicaragua and Bolivia. Will they return to Havana? Will they fight to hold on?

_ And, importantly, what will Maduro do? There is no one inside or outside Venezuela who truly believes this fellow was prepared to be president when he was hand-picked by Chavez because of his total loyalty to Chavismo. And there is no one who thinks he has any idea what to do with the crisis facing him and his nation.

Here's an excellent analysis of what's going on in Venezuela, from today's NYTs: Repression in Venezuela

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