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.