PODEMOS has just denounced the TSJ’s reported plan to decree a judicial takeover of the party to hand its control to Didalco Bolívar, the former Governor of Aragua who recently recanted repentant his split with Chavismo.
For 6-degrees-of-Gustavo-Machado fans, let’s recall that PODEMOS got its start as a pro-Chávez splinter group from MAS back when MAS turned against the Polo Patriótico all the way back in 2002. They might as well have spared themselves the trouble, since they themselves split with the government in 2007 and now their caudillistic leader, Ismael García, has a prominent role inside the opposition as unity candidate for Mayor of Central Caracas.
After two years of exile in Perú, Bolívar apparently ran out of money and turned himself over to the Bolivarian authorities. Now, while facing corruption charges, he has attacked the opposition and especially his former partner Ismael García.
Now, let’s get real, Ismael García is no saint – this is a guy who got caught red-handed asking for a foreign power to bankroll his political party, so the ick factor is definitely there. Still Didalco is a piece of work: his story is really not too different than the one of Francisco Arias Cárdenas: first a close ally of Hugo Chavez, then outspoken critic and now de facto leader of Chavismo in Zulia.
The TSJ-led party-takeover scenario PODEMOS faces is already well underway in another party with former ties to Chavismo, PPT (Fatherland for All). Following the defection of Henri Falcón to the anti-Chávez camp, a pro-Chávez splinter group known as “PPT-Maneiro” (named after late guerrilla fighter and political activist Alfredo Maneiro) has used judicial measures to take control of the party. PPT is itself a split of Causa R in 1998, a party founded by Maneiro. (Of course, both PPT and MAS were products of the 1971 split in the Communist Party.)
Meanwhile, the old Christian Democrat party, COPEI, is entering the second year of its seemingly neverending struggle for control of the party, following the suspension of their 2010 internal elections. Even if there’s no hidden government agenda (that we know of) in this case, the TSJ’s Electoral Hall has been key in keeping the conflict alive.