Schrödinger’s President

6a00d8341c5dea53ef0133ef3f999f970b-800wiOver on the IHT, I meditate on what a long, strange week it’s been…

Given the impenetrability of Cuban state secrecy, it’s hard not to speculate that even if the president has already died, we would have no way of knowing it. Venezuelans now have a Schrödinger president: a leader suspended in quantum indeterminacy, simultaneously alive and dead.

Just to elaborate/clarify: anyone with working eyes has been able to see for years now that the Cubans were one of the key power players in the Chávez regime’s internal politics, and that’s how they’d always been treated on this blog.

You had Diosdado and the generals, you had Jaua and the Civilian radicals, you had Rangel Silva and the Narcogeneral Clique, you had Rafael Ramírez and the PDVSA Set, you had the Giordani/Merentes group, and you had Maduro and the Havana Axis.

A given group’s influence could wax and wane, some ended up getting chucked out of the game altogether (remember Jesse Chacón used to be a faction head!) The one constant was that Chávez always played the key role in the system: balancing one group off against the others, and making all final calls.

It’s only been in the last few weeks, with Chávez now clearly incapacitated, that the Cubans have gained unquestionable ascendency over the other groups. They’re no longer one player among several players, they’re now the dominant player. This is new, and Fidel once more showed great tactical accuity in making sure he kept control over…erm…el cuerpo del delito.

88 thoughts on “Schrödinger’s President

  1. And you thought you could somehow get away from this lunacy…

    It’s nice that you touched upon the Cuban angle. I think that’s what’s going on here as well. As soon as that is resolved, they will pull the plug.

    • I heard Diosdado is horse-trading with – wait for it… ACCION DEMOCRATICA – for the votes he’ll need to take on Blanca Eekhout for the AN chairmanship. Shit, I thought they’d at least wait for, you know, the body to be cold…

      • Why am I not surprised….?

        Although, thinking about it in purely strategic terms, what does the opposition prefer: Cabello with power, challenging Maduro, or Eekhout, a complete non-entity, in charge of the AN and the Presidency?

  2. Venezuelans are for the most part incredibly resilient. Very few I’ve seen these past few days sweating this drama too much. They care, they check in on their phones regularly, but they’ve got things to get done. And there’s always baseball.

  3. He’s seriously ill in Havana just like you’ve been told by his family and the VP, who have been by his bedside. If he dies, I’m sure they’ll let you know. Be patient Quico, everyone dies eventually. Assuming you’re still alive yourself and didn’t program a blog bot to churn out your paranoid speculations ad infinitum, have a nice new year. Do not adjust your tin foil hat.

    • As Chavez’s conditions gets worse, so do Quico’s bizarre ramblings about Cuba colonizing Venezuela… Is there a single reasonable person that can read this shit without falling over in laughter?

    • Of course, that’s no business of Venezuelan citizens or of the Venezuelan public. Let our Cuban Masters decide…

  4. While the opposition and US have been like rabid dogs in the last couple days, demanding to know the condition of President Chavez and that any transition of power in Venezuela complies with the Constitution (these are the same people who engineered and carried out a coup and other economic actions and have been trying to stop and bring down the revolution from day one, now they care about the Constitution) the Board of the Parliament through social network Twitter announced “The Board advises that the opening meeting of the National Assembly session will be held at 12 noon of the day 1/5 in accordance with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ” and is scheduled to elect the new Speaker of the National Assembly, one President and two Vice-Presidents and one Secretary and Undersecretary ( not a member of the assembly) as provided by Article 194.

    Cort

    On January 10, nothing will be dispelled

    The former Dean of the Faculty of Juridical and Political Sciences, Central University of Venezuela (UCV), Alberto Arteaga Sánchez, is afraid that “January 10 has been magnified as the magic day where the masses will emerge from uncertainty. Undoubtedly, we have the right to live without uncertainty. In a democratic society, serious, transcendental affairs such as the health of the Head of State should be addressed with absolute clarity and transparency, without secrecy leading to rumors that just feed citizens’ uneasiness.”

    To the jurist’s mind, “The Constitution has clear and not very clear things concerning temporary or absolute absence of the president.”

    Arteaga thinks that should President Chávez not show up on that day before deputies to be sworn-in, this does not mean the declaration of his absolute absence, nor does it automatically open the doors to a new election.

    “The president-elect of the Republic should take office on the tenth (day of January), except for absolute or temporary absence. Therefore, if the inauguration is not feasible, the nature of the failure to appear should be ascertained.” “If the absence is classified as absolute, an election should be held within 30 consecutive days.

    If the absence is classified as temporary, it should not exceed 90 consecutive days that may be extended for a similar, 90-day term, in accordance with the regular scheme on absence.”

    • Cort, why did your man in Havana just spend untold millions running for president when he was clearly, seriously ill? Why? What could all that money have bought, besides one man’s perverse sense of satisfaction?

    • This is what the opposition said yesterday: on January 10th, a temporary absence must be declared for 90 days, with the AN President at the helm.

    • So you start by saying “While the opposition and US have been like rabid dogs in the last couple days, demanding to know the condition of President Chavez and that any transition of power in Venezuela complies with the Constitution” as implying that is not the right thing to do? Should not all Chavistas be asking for the same? I really don’t get this blind people with their stupid way of thinking.

    • WOW! The masks have fallen, the “Y’all” Cort Greene has followed his Leader down, and the “Real” Cort Greene reveals himself as the “sophisticated” Chavista paid apologist Chameleon……suspense…………,…………………………………………………………….GAC! (et.al.)

    • Yes, we rabidly and doggedly want to know whether a President with semi-dictatorial powers is still alive, or is being manipulated by the military dictatorship in Havana. I recognize that the “revolutionary” attitude is to shut your mouth, do as you are told,
      and not ask any questions, but we are incorrigible!

  5. I know this will sound like nitpicking but I thought Cristina Kirchner had a Thyroid gland cancer scare, not a breast cancer scare.
    Aside from that, great article!

  6. Chavez being ill as president is better than a hundred pretenders.
    The very popular US president FDR was ill throughout his 4 elections and last elected in November,1944 and died April, 1945.

    Some think he would still be president today if he was alive

    • In order to compare FDR’s situation to Chávez’s, one would need to know Chávez’s situation. Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about it.

      • This is a funny comparison JC. Did you know that the public didn’t even know that FDR was in a wheelchair throughout his presidency? He also censored reports about his declining health leading up to the 1944 election.

        This comparison probably doesn’t serve you very well, since the level of secrecy was obviously far worse.

        • He could still BE President. He wasn’t dying from it. No problem if Chavez was missing a leg and an arm. The problem is that he is losing his life, at the hands of your Cuban buddies.

        • Yes, the Office of the Censorship, created in the midst of World War II. Exactly the same predicament we are in.

          However, I’m glad to see chavistas admitting the information is being heavily censored, and that Chávez hid his illness during the election. At least we can cut the whole “The President has been completely forthcoming about his disease” BS.

      • There’s no proof FDR is dead. This is just a CIA talking point. I am looking for the YouTube link right now….

    • Let me get this right. So you are saying that what Chavez did by running for the presidency been really sick and now Chavismo hiding the truth about his condition is O.K. because the U.S. did it in 1945.
      Am I the only one laughing at the Irony that you use your hatred imperio as an excuse?

      BTW, as my mom always told me when I had the best grade of my class but it was a 12 over 20. “Mijo, mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos”

  7. Cloud stores your music, photos, apps, documents, and more.
    MORE? yep, your prez rests nicely in the cloud too. Google and amazon to the rescue! Yea!!!!

  8. Schrödinger uncertainty? Superposition? More like classical, Soviet-style… secrecy, lies and wilfull deception. TO THE MAX. FROM DAY ONE.

    I hope he isn’t that bitter about how the choice of Cuba for treatment just for secrecy’s sake killed him in the end. I hope he isn’t agonizing over being hidden by his mentor and by his collaborators so to extract maximum political advantage and probably until well after he’s dead. I hope it’s not too hard on him, though he was gung-ho about Soviet ways and Socialism. Poetic justice I would call it. “Evil shall evil mar”, and these same closed and secretive ways killed their main proponent in Venezuela, and their most powerful supporter for Cuba. And then, another chunk of madness:

    http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/143802/villegas-califica-de-inaceptable-que-globovision-identifique-a-maduro-como-presidente-encargado/

    Can I write an expletive like 8000 times here? Ok, to summarize HOT D*MN x 8000. Let me somehow try to process the schizophrenic breakdown raging inside chavista minds right now. And they call us disociados. Man! How do you process this kind of madness? Is it for real?

  9. jan 5 = OCPD … the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is the natural condition where persons are obsessively preoccupied with rules, orderliness, and control. What? Me Worry?

  10. It’s still seems unclear what will happen if Chavez doesn’t swear in before the AN (or the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia) on 10-E as prescribed in article 231. Doesn’t his current term end on that date as well?

    I’ve read article 233 and 234, and it’s clear what should happen for a falta during the president’s term, but what if he is unable to be sworn in? How can a falta temporaral or absoluta be declared for a yet-to-be-sworn-in president? Would the current term be temporarily extended?

    • La falta temporal no se declara, es un hecho. Es decir, cada vez que el presidente se ausenta del pais hay una falta temporal. La constitucion solo las regula. Si el Presidente se ausenta por mas de 5 dias debe pedir permiso, etc. No es una institucion juridica en si. La falta absoluta debe declararse porque importa calificar juridicamente la razon de dicha falta: enfermedad, demencia, etc.
      En el presente caso, el presidente, al ausentarse por mas de 5 dias pidio permiso a la AN y dejo encargado al Vice. Si Chaves no muere en 90 dias el vice sigue sin problemas, is no fuera por el hecho de que su mandato termina el 10 de enero. El problema es que la AN debera declarar a falta absoluta y en practica el chavismo puede hacer lo que le de la gana mientra la muerte de Chavez se mantenga en secreto.

      • Pues, si cuando llegue el 10-E, y Chaves no pueda presentarse ante la AN or el Tribunal (por razones medicas, etc), cual seria el plan? Van a ir ellos al hospital en Havana?

  11. This sucks. I -as everyone else who cares about this country- am extremely tense about this situation. The degree of uncertainty is exasperating. The Chavistas seem to be committed to do whatever the heck they wish, that is, use the constitution to whipe their you-know-what. Nobody is out there defending or representing the democratic option. Capriles vacationing in NYC (I saw a picture of his with his family!) , Maria Corina supposedly in Europe. I mean, where the fuck are our leaders when they are most needed to defend the country from this group of delinquent traitors-to-the-nation?
    To me it´s crystal clear: Nothing will occur on January 10, it´ll be like any other day, there will be no inauguration act and the dumb asses of the opposition leaders will remain quiet.

          • Realismo Criollo and me are the same, sorry (a blog I started but never continued it). Sorry, sorry, Aveledo is a public figure, I meant a public server or someone who holds a seat in government.
            Quico, and how do you feel about this? You think the oppo is managing this situation correctly?

            • The temptation to take out the legitimate frustration arising from our total lack of power on the people who’ve taken on the immensely thankless task of trying to represent our interests is understandable, but we need to show restraint.

              Bear in mind that MUD is trying to represent us in the context of a political system where insulting those who represent us has become a cornerstone of the regime’s self-legitimation strategy.

              So we should show some, erm, Realismo Criollo here: for me Aveledo is the right spokesman with the right message at this time. But we shouldn’t expect too much from him or anyone else in his position – he has an unbelievably weak hand, and he’s playing a rigged game.

              • “the people who’ve taken on the immensely thankless task of trying to represent our interests”

                I find this phrase to be exceptionally ironic, given that the people referred to above (Capriles and Machado) are both children of two of the country’s largest grupos económicos.

                Anyone who thinks they represent your interests is terribly delusional (except, that is, if you are also the member of a major grupo economico, in which case I take that back.)

              • Just to put it in perspective, this would be like saying that Donald Trump has the average US citizen’s interests at heart. You’d get laughed out of the room…

              • Someone apparently has never heard about Gustavo Machado (related to Maria Corina) and many other prominent communists who came from wealthy and influential families in Venezuela and in many other parts of the world. It’s the same reasoning of people who thinks that all poor people supports Chavez, pretty much reducing people to their circumstances.

              • Oh, I forgot that having a relative that was once a communist automatically means you are not part of one of the country’s largest economic groups. Silly me!!

              • To do justice to the MUD’s actions, Ledezma made some challenging declarations today. But where are the rest? Are they vacationing when the country is collapsing?

  12. Good article, Quico. Really nice flow. But for me, there’s a small discordant note at the end. “…the uneasy feeling that somehow Venezuela has managed to get itself colonized by its junior partner in the Caribbean Communist axis.”

    somehow? as in “como puede habernos pasado esto?”

    Most hoped that the Cuban connection was not for real, was not as extensive as it’s been. But a few with half a brain saw the reality, early on. All roads point to Cuba, from the concerted national instability to Chávez’ apoderándose de la caja chica de PDVSA.

    • I stand by it. Anyone with working eyes has been able to see for years now that the Cubans were one of the key power players in the Chávez regime’s internal politics, and that’s how they’d always been treated here.

      You had Diosdado and the generals, you had Jaua and the Civilian radicals, you had Rangel Silva and the Narcogeneral Clique, you had Rafael Ramírez and the PDVSA Set, you had the Giordani/Merentes Axis, and you had Maduro and the Havana Axis. A given group’s influence could wax and wane, some ended up getting chucked out of the game altogether (remember Jesse Chacón used to be a faction head!) Chávez always played the key role in the system, though: balancing one group off against the others, and making all final calls.

      It’s only been in the last few weeks, with Chávez now clearly incapacitated, that the Cubans have clearly gained the ascendency over the other power groups: not just one player among several, but now clearly the dominant player. That’s my take anyway.

      • They physically control the Comandante, so they control the power. Smart move by Havana to convince Chávez to get treatment there.

      • Hugo got what he paid for and what he deserves in this respect. Soviet (Cuban) secrecy has it’s price. Bad treatment, a painful death, being hidden from view, and then being held in a fridge until they decide when to drop the bomb.

      • I know it has always been a good soundbite for the opposition that Cuba has some kind of powerful influence over Venezuela that totally belies its weak economy, lack of natural resources etc.

        That somehow, because of ideological experience and a large fleet of travelling doctors, Cubans must be in control of Venezuelan politics.

        Sure, both of those have been very useful, but why does one country need to be controlling the other, when both have leaderships well-versed in Marxism and revolutionary theory?

        Could it not be that both are mutually assisting each other towards the same goal? Or does that not fit the oppo narrative? Is it just about soundbites still?

  13. Francisco Toro’s take >>> …It’s only been in the last few weeks, with Chávez now clearly incapacitated, that the Cubans have clearly gained the ascendency over the other power groups: not just one player among several, but now clearly the dominant player.

    Reminds me of an anecdote regarding the DEAD RINGER –
    it came from the times when people were not embalmed after their deaths, and were sometimes buried alive by mistake. The recently deceased was buried with a string around their finger attached to bell that was hung outside the grave. If this person was buried by mistake they would ring the bell and the graveyard attendant would have them dug out.
    ONLY NOW the string is attached to his foster parents, because the recently deceased is definitely deceased, and the bell is being rung by his foster dads.

  14. Really, let’s give a break to Bolivarian trolls and to Bolivarian bullies. Or rather not. They are rather frantic now.

    The “Maduro Presidente Encargado” spat http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/143802/villegas-califica-de-inaceptable-que-globovision-identifique-a-maduro-como-presidente-encargado/

    gave me a wonderful idea that everyone in the opposition could follow. The brown-noses and bullies of chavismo (and castrismo) are not furnishing any meaningful information (about Chavez’s health or Venezuela’s situation), let out that they know what to do, but don’t ever say what they will do, of course do not discuss or agree about anything with anyone outside their own sect, and insult and even threaten anyone not partaking in their teary and rather dodgy telenovela (“psychodrama”).

    Namely, let’s talk, and act to a degree, as if it had already happened but without saying it. Assume in speech and actions (specially those symbolic) that Hugo Chavez President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is already among the dearly (hah!) departed. Let’s point out what’s to be done and how. Let’s do it tactfully and respectfully. It should drive them to a red rage.

  15. Ah, hahahahahaha! GAC, yoyo, Cort Greene (aka as Greene Shiite): oh, puhleese!!! Put your money/oil/crappola where your mouth is. The fact that y’all are major LOSERS is NOT lost on the rest of us. Please go troll where someone might give a fuck about HCF. We don’t. Seriously.

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