Can Capriles be Yeltsin?

Coming to a city near you?

We have heard nothing from the government on Chávez’s surgery, and again rumours are flying. As always, they are pretty bad for the Comandante: the more subdued ones talk of a 90-minute long exploratory laparotomy, the more far-out ones about metasthasis in various organs.

These are all rumours, many of them likely untrue, so make of them what you will.

Assuming the rumours are true – and we are strictly in the hypothetical here, I cannot warn you enough – and Chávez is really too sick to campaign, run, or govern (take your pick), the likelihood of a power play from the extreme members of the government is increasing.

Chavistas have to be worried. They know that it would be incredibly difficult for someone other than Hugo Chávez to beat Henrique Capriles in a “normal” election, even with the CNE’s usual shenanigans and the government’s advantage. Extreme elements in the government must be considering some sort of move – a suspension of the elections, a mass imprisonment of opposition members, some sort of military takeover – anything to hold on to what they have.

Does Henrique Capriles Radonski have it in him to be what Boris Yeltsin was to Russians in 1991? Can he face down the tanks, or the TSJ, or the CNE, and armed with the legitimacy of his primary win, force the institutions to behave constitutionally?

Because it may come to that.

30 thoughts on “Can Capriles be Yeltsin?

    • Funny how those who say they won’t waste their time over rumors, are the very ones lapping them up to write on the topic, and to advise readers not to lose any sleep over gossip. hahaha!

  1. I know I’m getting pretty carried away with this one, but hey – things can happen quickly. Whatever.

    • Just like they did on Feb.27 1989.
      I would take Daniel’s advise. Stock up some supplies just in case and wait.

      • When I came to Venezuela in the early sixties, my father-in-law often warned me to stock up supplies in view of an imminent coup. I did the best I could on a Bs.1620 monthy income. Maybe most of his warnings were based on unfouded rumors but I know some were coup plots nipped in the bud. Be that as it may, for years we had a small stock of dry goods “para el golpe” that only petered out in the late eighties. Sometimes I say that I had helped keep those distant coups at bay and that, due to my lack of prevision, was somehow “guilty” of F-4.

        My pantry cabinet aside, prevision and plannind for different scenarios , withoout discarting even the most improbable worst case ones. I would like to belive that the MUD is on that track.

  2. He very well can be. Of course, Yeltsin was powered not only by his legitimacy but by enormous amounts of vodka.

    And…. He had onboard many ex-KGB’s that new how to manuever inside that labyrinth.

  3. One thing I know: both MUD and the Tricolors are Scenario Planning furiously for this kind of event. They won’t go into any more detail than that – at least not when I’m in the room – but these guys are NOT the coordinadora democratica – they’re not going to be caught napping on this.

    • That’s what I was about to say. Henrique himself might well be Yeltsin material or whatever, but the coherence of the response will rely heavily on the MUD’s collective conduction, they are the ones called to give solid foundations to Henrique’s Yeltsinesque-non-vodka-ralated act in case the non-true gossips become true

      • Now I feel bad for Yeltsin. He was the guy with the stones, but its Gorbi that gets to live a long life post-communism endorsing luxury handbags and touring the ivy league.

    • I agree with all said, specially about the MUD and Tricolors scenario planning. And it may very well come down to fighting the tanks, this is not just what I think but a long list of international news including the economist. Since there will be such a gray zone during a possible power vacuum, the well known military boot may jump up again, they’re the experts. They are led by some of the most vicious characters in the current Bolivarian scene, dealing with drug traffic etc, I wouldn’t underestimate their potential to create havoc….

  4. The best scenario is that Chávez lives and is beaten by Capriles. All the other scenarios are the twilight zone.

    And, if we happen to get into the twilight zone, history has told us that the only way out
    must be the Constitution. Like it or not.

  5. One good thing is that the eternal “juego trancado” that we’ve been having for the last few years has now become more fluid with opportunities for the opposition to strengthen itself even more,and win if it plays its card right and doesn’t squander this opening as happened in the past.This time around , the opposition is much more prepared than before and is at its peak due to the primaries.

  6. Globovisión ‏ @globovision
    Jaua: se realizó la extracción total de la lesión pélvica diagnosticada bit.ly/x0Rvxk

    Jaua: en las próximas horas se contarán con los estudios para establecer el tratamiento

    Jaua: El Presidente Chávez se encuentra con sus familiares y en contacto directo con el gabinete ejecutivo

  7. One can hardly blame the rumor-mongers. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the government has created an information vacuum in this case.

    Nevertheless, the “right thing” is to sit tight and wait. Regardless of what happens, I feel comfortable that the leadership of the MUD has plans developed for every conceivable eventuality.

    And Bruni is 100% correct that the Constitution is the right map to follow in any event, no matter how difficult or unpopular. Honduras stuck by their constitution in 2009. In the end, they came out of their crisis OK.

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