TSJ’s move to give control of once-chavista political parties Podemos and PPT to Chavez-supporting factions has stirred up the race for micro-endorsements ahead of the October 7th election.
Podemos’s new court-imposed big cheese, disgraced former Aragua Governor Didalco Bolivar, has already withdrawn the party from the Socialist International, after the group expressed publicly its support to former leader Ismael Garcia. He also registered Podemos‘s formal endorsement of Hugo Chavez for the October 7th election at CNE. The comandante presidente was pleased and responded with a hearty “welcome back” to his ranks. (Expect a presidential pardon for Alejandro Ramírez Saavedra anytime now.)
In the case of PPT, TSJ-backed Secretary General Rafael Uzcategui didn’t get the chance to support Chavez formally due to legal restrictions. So, he put instead his own name in the running. At least, he was honest about the reasons for this:
“…we agreed to put my name in as a candidate in order to have to have the possibility to change at a later stage… giving time to party members to decide if they want to back President Hugo Chavez.”
In a surprising twist, Chavista faction PPT-Maneiro is already unhappy with Uzcategui’s decision and they will appeal to the Constitutional Chamber the ruling that gave control of the PPT to Uzcategui in the first place. They already support Chavez, so the issue here is who really controls the PPT right now. The whole thing leaves together the amusing possibility of yet another splinter from PPT-Maneiro (now known as just PPT) – making for a fairly advanced stage of the old Six Degrees of Gustavo Machado game. Alfredo Maneiro must be rolling in his grave…
Meanwhile, Henrique Capriles is getting some endorsements of his own, this time from former middle-ranking chavistas. One of them is the former head of the Venezuelan Consumer Protection Agency (then called Indecu, known now as Indepabis) Samuel Ruh, who has strong words about why he abandoned Chavismo: “This is a dictatorship and I never believed in dictators”.
It’s a particularly revealing about-face. Ruh was known as an out-and-out stalinist extremist when he was at Indecu. If guys like him are jumping, well…
But the biggest surprise was the support of former PSUV-Bolivar member Eloy Tarazona, also called “El Indio”. Who is he, you might ask? He was that guy openly calling for primaries inside Chavismo some months ago. When his request fell on deaf ears, he quit the PSUV. Then he went to the Supreme Court and denounced that Chavez has “abandoned his post”. He seriously considered the idea of running for President as an independent (with pre-launch posters included), but endorsed Capriles instead.