Posts Tagged ‘Diosdado Cabello’

Venezuela: Diosdado and drugs – whose powerplay?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

José De Córdoba and Juan Forero report at the WSJ:
Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine HubU.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering. Diosdado is not alone:

In addition to [Interior Minister Tarek] Mr. El Aissami, other powerful officials under investigation include Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence; Nestor Reverol, the head of the National Guard; Jose David Cabello, Mr. Cabello’s brother, who is the industry minister and heads the country’s tax collection agency; and Gen. Luis Motta Dominguez, a National Guard general in charge of central Venezuela, say a half-dozen officials and people familiar with the investigations.

Diosdado’s reaction?

In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year.

Jaime Bayly interviewed one, Miguel Henrique Otero, editor and director of El Nacional daily, last night (video in Spanish),

Daniel sees Diosdado as Hugo Chávez’s creation,

Because let us all be clear about one thing: this has happened because Hugo Chavez, the hero of the left, has allowed for it to happen, has encouraged it to happen. Diosdado did not come out of thin air. That maybe he became too strong for Chavez to control is another story, but Diosdado Cabello is a Chavez creation, just one of the cogs in the drug machinery that Chavez set up to help the FARC against Uribe. And the cogs are many, including noteworthy high ranking pieces like current Aragua state governor.

Daniel expects that

Diosdado Cabello will take down with him as many as he needs to take down. He will take the country down with him if he needs to.

Caracas Chronicle’s Juan Cristóbal Nagel believes

the unraveling of the Suns Cartel has tremendous implications for the power balance within chavismo.

Nagel calculates it’s a US$27 billion/year enterprise, which was “was anything but clandestine, and anything but competent,” and

Maduro has an obvious choice: either tie his sinking presidency to the fate of clumsy, leaky, “stocky and bull-necked” (loved that) drug smugglers, or turn Diosdado and crew over and save face. And just what do you think the Cubans will suggest he do? Maduro’s handlers, after all, are the folks who murdered Arnaldo Ochoa.

Of course, this is all speculative, but if you think Maduro isn’t mulling what to do at this point, then I think you’re being naive.

Nagel has the perfect photo and caption in his post,

Clubbing with Godgiven

Miguel Octavio ponders, Is Maduro so strong that he can get rid of the most powerful former military in Government just like that?

Amid all this speculation, the only thing you can rely on is that, no matter the outcome, the U.S. will continue to be portrayed as the root of all evil.

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello, is in New York and talking:
Bodyguard Outs Diosdado Cabello as Drug Cartel Chief
Chavismo’s Number Two Security Official in New York to Testify with DEA

Salazar has already testified that Cabello heads up the Soles cartel, a criminal organization that monopolized drug trafficking within the country, according to sources involved in the case.

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Pérez-Maura‘s colleague in New York Emili J. Blasco added further details that Cabello gave direct orders for the distribution of illicit substances, and that Salazar knew of locations where the accused “keeps mountains of dollar bills.”

Interamerican Security Watch translated a report from Spain’s ABC (emphasis added),

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.
. . .
In his revelations, Salazar also implicates the governor of Aragua state, Tarek el Aissami, who also has links with Islamic networks, and José David Cabello, brother of the National Assembly president, who for several years served as director of SENIAT [tax agency] and minister of industry. José David Cabello is allegedly responsible for the finances of the Cartel of the Suns. Salazar mentions that [the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela] PDVSA is a money-laundering machine (sic). PDVSA’s former president from 2004 to 2014, Rafael Ramirez, was appointed in December as Venezuela’s ambassador before the U.N. Security Council.
. . .
Regarding the links with Havana, Salazar mentioned the regular use of PDVSA aircraft to transport drugs. A son of Chávez’s and a son of former Cuban ambassador in Caracas, Germán Sánchez Otero, organized these shipments. Other Cuban officials are mentioned as part of the scheme. The final destination of these shipments was the United States.

Caracas Chronicles has more on The Bodyguard.

In Latin America, drugs, terrorism and crime are threads of one fabric.

And paying for the Bolivarian Revolution is not cheap.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Stones Cry Out. Thank you!
Linked to by Pseudo-Polymath. Thank you!

Venezuela: Leopoldo’s letter

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Los Teques prison

Leopoldo López has a Letter From a Venezuelan Jail
I am one of scores of political prisoners locked away because of our words and ideas.

When the current ruling party, the United Socialist Party, first took power in 1999, its supporters viewed human rights as a luxury, not a necessity. Large segments of the population were living in poverty, and in need of food, housing and security. Protecting free speech and the separation of powers seemed frivolous. In the name of expediency, these values were compromised and then dismantled entirely.

The legislature was neutered, allowing the executive to rule by decree without the checks and balances that prevent government from veering off track. The judiciary was made accountable to the ruling party, rendering the constitution and the law meaningless. In an infamous 2009 case, Judge Mary Lourdes Afiuni was imprisoned for ordering the release of a businessman and government critic who had been held for three years in pretrial detention, one year more than allowed under Venezuelan law.

Meanwhile, political leaders—myself included—were persecuted and imprisoned, stifling the competition of ideas that could have led to better decisions and policies. Independent news organizations were dismantled, seized or driven out of business. The “sunshine that disinfects,” and the scrutiny that motivates good decision-making, no longer benefit our leadership.

Venezuela’s current president, Nicolás Maduro, has taken this to a terrible new low.

The odds are that López will remain jailed for as long as the dictatorship remains in power.

Over at the NYTimes, Diosdado Cabello is bellyaching about sanctions, Hectoring Venezuela on Human Rights, and actually says,

Our government responded with restraint,

In other Venezuelan news, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro Names New Foreign Minister
Rafael Ramírez to Become Ambassador to United Nations, Being Replaced by Delcy Rodríguez

Many analysts viewed the shift as a demotion, after he was first removed last year as head of Venezuela’s oil sector following more than a decade. He then became the president’s top economic adviser, before becoming foreign minister this year.

Daniel Duquenal asks,

Why did Ramirez finally fall? Because he was the only one that made a tiny bit of sense inside chavismo. Oh, he was not a bright light, but at least he understood that if you want to make the revolution world wide you need cash; and to get the type of cash revolutionaries will accept you need more than just a printing press. As such, once Giordani was ejected Ramirez set up on the task to convince chavismo that there should be some order put into state finances. After all, he knew better than anyone else the dismal situation looming on the horizon as having been himself the main culprit for the downfall of PDVSA, Venezuela oil company once upon a time golden goose.

Ramirez could risk it as his own power base inside chavismo was rather small even though arguably the one with the biggest potential influence. He could aspire at bringing around some consensus. After all Ramirez had the power of blackmail knowing very well who stole what and when and how much. But he miscalculated the extent of chavismo internecine fights where no one was willing to give an inch or power. So in the end, rather than making some crucial economic decisions they all found it easier to agree in sidelining him. Oh!  They could not fire him outright of course. Chavez almost never did so. Failed operators were sent into the sweet oblivion of an overseas embassy.

But Ramirez is also paying for having “failed” to keep oil barrel at 100 USD. The autistic regime cannot understand the reasons why oil is now below 60, neither Ramirez can, and even less Maduro. But Cuba does and sent Venezuela packing. Which I am sure made  Maduro pass that additional anger on Ramirez… (1)

At least there is a piece of good news for Ramirez there: he has the excuse to bring his family out of Venezuela and never come back if he wishes.

At Caracas Chronicles Francisco Toro looks at other personnel changes and finds Your Christmas Turd, courtesy of Diosdado Cabello and TSJ [TSJ = Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, Venezuela’s Supreme Court].

UPDATE;
Linked to by American Thinker. Thank you!



#SOSVenezuela: Testing Venezuela’s sincerity

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Yesterday’s Miami Herald editorial:
Testing Venezuela’s sincerity
OUR OPINION: Government’s actions undermine calls for mediation

If his stated interest in reconciliation were sincere, the first thing President Nicolás Maduro would do is call off the dogs — the pro-government militants who have sown terror on the streets by intimidating, beating and shooting protesters.

Instead of putting them on a leash, though, Mr. Maduro has publicly praised these thugs as defenders of the “Bolivarian revolution.” Resorting to brute force to silence critics hardly sets the stage for mediation. Targeting high-profile government adversaries, including elected officials, only makes matters worse.

Shortly after the wave of protests began, the government ordered the arrest of outspoken government critic Leopoldo Lopez for allegedly inciting violence. On Friday, an appeals court rejected his plea for bail. Far from discouraging opponents, Mr. Lopez’s imprisonment has served only to raise his profile as a leader of the hard-line opposition and fueled further protest.

Apparently unable to learn from its mistakes, the government doubled down on its dubious tactic. On March 21, authorities jailed the mayors of two cities that have seen some of the most intense unrest — Daniel Ceballos of San Cristóbal and Enzo Scarano of San Diego. They were arrested, tried and sentenced within a matter of hours on trumped-up charges of failing to prevent violence.

Then, last week, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello announced that a prominent opposition deputy, Maria Corina Machado, had lost her seat and parliamentary immunity and could be arrested at any time. She courageously defied the government by leading a street protest days later and remains free as of this writing. But for how long?

While Maduro says he’s open to having a “facilitator” create a dialogue with the opposition, last month he was threatening to bomb the state of Táchira:

“If I have to decree a state of exception especially for the state of Táchira, I am ready to do so. I am ready to decree it, and I will send in the tanks, the troops, the Air Force, the entire armed forces of the fatherland, because we will preserve Táchira as Venezuelan territory, as belonging to Venezuela. I am ready to do it now! I have the constitutional authority to do it, I have the clear strategic vision for it, and ultimately, I have the Enabling Law. I have the Enabling Law. I am willing to do anything for Táchira, anything.”

That was in February; this is what Táchira looked like yesterday,

A top Venezuelan military commander says the security forces have retaken control of the streets in the western city of San Cristobal in Táchira,

The current wave of unrest started in San Cristobal on 4 February, when students took to the streets to protest against the alleged attempted rape of a university student.

Students Set Up Long Term Protest Camp In Front Of UN’s Office in Caracas

When you first talk to them,there are a number of surprises. First, they are not all from Caracas. Second, they are not middle class. Finally, they are not all students, as many of them are part of radical, left wing groups 8yes! [sic], real left wing not imitation Chavistas!) which oppose the Government. So, for fools that claim that these protests are somehow motivated by the US, driven my middle class students, please come down and talk to them. You will be surprised, really surprised.

Today Maria Corina Machado will attempt to attend the scheduled National Assembly meeting, after NA president Diosdado Cabello divested her of her elected position. The Venezuelan Supreme Court rubber-stamped Cabello’s decision.

Now the question is what the opposition will do. Is it still trying to pretend dialogue is possible? Will it make a show of force and try to enter with Maria Corina Machado in Parliament even if all may risk arrest? When are we going to start calling the regime a dictatorship and deal with it accordingly?

There’s a demonstration scheduled at noon to show her support.

We’ll see how it evolves.

Elsewhere, in “one of the most democratic nations on Earth”, the government announced it will begin fingerprinting customers who use state-run grocery stores. Supposedly to prevent hoarding,

Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. Food Minister Felix Osorio says it will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day.

Considering the precedent of the Tascón List and the Maisanta program, this does not bode well.

Update:
Re: the new ID cards for food purchases, it’s worth keeping in mind that just 2 days ago ABC.es was reporting that Cubans manage Venezuela’s ID system, its identity cards and passports.

What could possibly go wrong?

This just in,
Venezuelan president orders landlords to sell homes in 60 days or face fine of £24,000 in wild bid to plug housing shortage
Owners leasing for 20 years ‘must sell’, evicted if don’t pay fine in five days
Law dictates they must sell for ‘fair price’ to prevent dip in the market
Landlords must submit prospective sale prices to the government
Comes as ‘grocery ID’ scheme launched to monitor amount people buy


Venezuela: more censorship, in “one of the most democratic nations on Earth”

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

American leftist websites proclaim that “Venezuela is one of the most democratic nations on Earth.” So democratic, that now the government may censor crossword puzzles:
Venezuelan newspaper accused of devising revolutionary crossword clues
Delcy Rodríguez, minister of information, calls for investigation of El Aragueño for allegedly printing anti-government puzzle

She tweeted that beaut, after which dozens of Venezuelans tweeted back mocking her. Some even made up a crossword (no hay means “there isn’t any”) listing shortages of staples – sugar, rice, milk, meat – and “what supermarkets have”, number 15 across, is “shortage”:

Here’s the crossword they’re sending Delcy Rodríguez

Let’s point out that Twitter and other social media have not been successfully blocked by the government – unlike print, radio and TV. Which, of course, the Left can’t believe because Mark Weisbrot says it ain’t so, just as they believe that Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically”:

This in NOT a demonstration, this is a line to buy food in Venezuela. The result of 15 years of Chavismo.

Those who believe that Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically”, on the other hand, will affirm that he had nothing to do with shortages, no matter what the Venezuelans themselves have been saying on the matter for the past four years.

Over in Miami, Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation filed a lawsuit accusing the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, of receiving at least $50 million in bribes from Derwick Associates for kickbacks on electric plants.

Alek Boyd posts on Diosdado Cabello & Wikileaks

 Wikileaks provides examples of how American authorities perceive Cabello, and so it is relevant to showcase these opinions, to get a measure of the man. I have chosen a few, among the 116 cables (2003-2010) that mention Cabello.

Go to his blog Infodio more.

If you check Alek’s twitter feed, you’ll see that he posts links specifically for Venezuela that bypass the government’s censorship, which of course Mark will have you believe doesn’t exist – no matter that Alek was banned in Caracas,

 It seems, though, as if Infodio has been rocking a few too many boats – a few weeks ago, the site was banned in Venezuela.

At this point even Dilma – who is facing falling approval ratings and is not impressed with Venezuela’s government public relations b.s. – is getting tired of the regime’s shenanigans, and wants to get paid: Brazil grows wary of Venezuela under Maduro, reduces support

Rousseff is worried the Venezuelan government’s repression of recent street protests, and Maduro’s refusal to hold genuine dialogue with opposition leaders, may make the political crisis worse over time, the officials said.

Worsening turmoil could, in turn, endanger the sizeable interests of Brazilian companies in Venezuela. They include conglomerate Odebrecht SA.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported this month that Venezuelan public-sector companies already owe Brazilian companies as much as $2.5 billion in debt.

You know you’re in trouble when Odebrecht starts complaining.

UPDATE:
Linked to be Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A demonstrator uses a slingshot against the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s Failing State, by Leopoldo López, jailed since Feb. 18,

For 15 years, the definition of “intolerable” in this country has declined by degrees until, to our dismay, we found ourselves with one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, a 57 percent inflation rate and a scarcity of basic goods unprecedented outside of wartime.

Our crippled economy is matched by an equally oppressive political climate. Since student protests began on Feb. 4, more than 1,500 protesters have been detained and more than 50 have reported that they were tortured while in police custody. Over 30 people, including security forces and civilians, have died in the demonstrations. What started as a peaceful march against crime on a university campus has exposed the depth of this government’s criminalization of dissent.

Indeed. As the country goes up in smoke, the same government who claims to have been “democratically elected” is in full assault against elected representatives:

And it’s also jailing the military:

President Nicolás Maduro said Tuesday that three air force generals allegedly plotting to overthrow the government had been arrested amid antigovernment protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

While publishing Leopoldo López’s letter, the NYT did a “two newspapers in one” by sending two reporters to gather opinions about Cuba’s interference in Venezuela. Babalu explains,

But alas, this is the New York Times and the outcome of their so-called investigation had already been decided before the reporters were even assigned to the story. Of course the newspaper of record — the same one that has brought us so many honest and respectable journalists such as Herbert Matthews — found absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has infiltrated Venezuela. Instead, what they discover are “hardliners” who are “fixated” with going after Cuba. They even trot out Castro regime supporter Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Castro-intelligence-agent-turned-American-academic who also happens to be a member of the Castro crime family to prove their point.

It’s not just Cuba; it’s also Russia. Back when he was alive, Hugo Chavez offered Putin the use of military installations as Russian bases. A Venezuelan general has even tweeted about it:
SECRET ACCORD with Russia signed in 2009 when Chavez unconditionally offered Russia the use of the Orchilla Island military base.”

Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play, and it’s not only Russia,

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

It’s slingshots vs tanks.


Venezuela: #24F Barricading the country

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The opposition strategy today is to barricade every street and road in the country, on Twitter #24FGranBarricadaNacional (#24FGreatNationalBarricade), video in Spanish:

The video advises the resistance to stay united. I didn’t have time to translate with subtitles, but here are a few highlights:

  • Do not confront – wait until they leave, and close up the streets again
  • (1:47) There’ll be no transport, banking, or commerce
  • (2:29) Care for your life
  • (2:35) Don’t get closer than 50 meters
  • (2:39) Don’t go far from home
  • (3:10) Venezuela (3:12) will shake off (3:20) its tyrant!
  • (3:46) From the poster “in every road, in every town, form your own group of five and close a point”, in red: “YOU ARE THE LEADER!”

Brigadier General Ángel Vivas has issued an appeal on YouTube to the Venezuelan military to fight against the dictatorship, and now the government is after him.

Vivas opened and ended his YouTube with, “I am Ángel Vivas, General of the Venezuelan Army, the old Army, the one that threw out Fidel Castro from Venezuela in the 1960s.” As Mary O’Grady points out, Cuba is worried about losing 100,000 barrels of oil per day if its man in Caracas falls.

Caracas Gringo writes about Vivas, One Man Against Tyranny

Maduro’s Sebin, DIM and National Guard goons tried to arrest General Vivas today (Sunday) at his residence. But General Vivas declined to surrender. Instead, General Vivas and his family have now barricaded inside their home.

General Vivas also took up his assault rifle and sidearm, donned his bulletproof vest, climbed out on his roof with all weapons hot and declared to Maduro and goons:

“(You) can have my body but you won’t have General Angel Vivas. I will remain calmly where I have always been, In Venezuela, in my home, with my wife and my daughters, beside whom I want to live and die. The Cuban pro-consul in Venezuela, complying with orders by Fidel Castro, has ordered my detention and then they intend to kill me. I will not surrender. I will not surrender to Fidel Castro and I recommend everyone do the same.”

Perhaps Maduro’s goons would have stormed the general Vivas home, or else a sniper might have shot him from a distance, but a standoff ensued when defiant officer’s neighbors poured into the street with their smartphones to oppose the regime’s heavily armed goons. Maduro’s goons finally appeared to withdraw – for now.

Update: Vivas requests that the opposition allow his lawyer to reach his home,

I’ll post updates today as time allows.

Related:
Diosdado Cabello, and not Nicolas Maduro, has the power in Venezuela

Venezuela: Can Chavismo last long?

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Venezuelan bloggers are asking the question:

Miguel Octavio is not exactly Waiting For Venezuela To Bottom

Because about the only thing that Venezuela has hit bottom yet, is on the leadership. Maduro is really near bottom, he is no Chavez, but oil and oil prices and some reasonable decisions could keep him there for a long time, let’s say, all of his six years.

Daniel Duquenal asks, Can Maduro last long? He looks at the military, at the judicial system, at the beneficiaries of massive corruption, and at the massive inertia created by “the new normal”,

What is certain is that there is an unexpected inertia in his [Maduro’s] favor. Not love, but the next best thing for a politician, inertia.

Maduro may be counting on oil prices and inertia to keep him in office, but, as I have speculated before, Diosdado may get antsy.

My bet is that Diosdado, not the opposition, will succeed Maduro.

And no, that’s not a Boy Scout uniform Diosdado’s wearing.

————————————-

In other Venezuelan news:
Amnesty International blasts Venezuela for abandoning human rights instrument
Venezuela must immediately reverse its decision to withdraw from the American Convention on Human Rights and make a commitment to truly protect all individuals, Amnesty International said on Monday. The Venezuelan government’s decision will take effect on Tuesday 10 September. The withdrawal will leave Venezuelan citizens without the protection of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Malaysia’s Petronas exiting Venezuela crude project

Maduro mulls relaunching ‘permuta’ forex system in Venezuela

UPDATE:
Linked by Sana Crítica. Thank you!


Venezuela: No bread, but they’ll build a circus

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Mary O’Grady points out how Chavez’s Inflation Bites His Successor Nicolás Maduro needs a circus because there is no bread in Venezuela.

With the bolivar collapsing and prices spiraling higher, the government alleged this month that its No. 1 adversary, former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, is linked to a prostitution ring that was using minors in the state of Miranda, where he is governor.

Lest that not be enough to turn Venezuela’s socially conservative working-classes against the popular Mr. Capriles, a leading congressman from the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) used gutter talk on the floor of the national assembly to accuse the governor of homosexuality.

Don’t suppose for a minute that this mudslinging is merely about destroying Mr. Capriles. The ruling chavistas, led by President Nicolás Maduro, need a circus because there is no bread—and that’s not a metaphor. At times in Venezuela, there really is no bread. Earlier this year there was, for a time, no toilet paper. Mr. Maduro knows he is in trouble.

Indeed he is, so, lacking bread, Maduro’s coming up with a circus:

No, not that circus; a Pharaonic circus, all 630 acres dedicated to – who else! – Hugo Chávez.

Back in the Roman Empire, some emperors were deified. Since Hugo’s not going to get canonized, the next best thing is this:

The 1,600-acre park will include a 35,000-seat baseball stadium and a 55,000-seat soccer stadium, as well as many other expensive features, including a bus depot, a symphony hall, bike trails, and a 100-acre plaza (ostensibly for Fidelesque gatherings of “the people”). To top it off, the park will also house the campus of the new Bolivarian University. It will be the largest park in Venezuela.

Multiple-prize-winning British architect Sir Richard Rogers has agreed to design this eighth wonder of the modern world, the first in human history to combine a bus depot, bike trails, university, stadiums, and a concert hall as window-dressing for a huge plaza in which a dictator can berate hundreds of thousands of his subjects in the tropical heat.

As for the “Pharaonic” theme, my guess is that Maduro can’t throw bread to the crowds as the Roman emperors did, so he had to settle for an Egyptian theme.

Which may come back and bite him in the a**, if he lasts that long. After all, Diosdado has plans.

Venezuela: The Silva tape

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

The big news for the past day or two has been a leaked tape of a conversation between Mario Silva, the hardcore Chavista spokesman anchorman of “La Hojilla” [The Razor] (a TV show on state-run TV channel VTV), and Aramis Palacios, a lieutenant colonel of Cuban G2.

Caracas Chronicles paints the picture-by-the-numbers

In it, Silva suggests that the military – at the prodding of Diosdado Cabello – is plotting against Maduro.

Plus, in the scorecard,

100 points to Diosdado Cabello for being Darth Vader AND Hannibal Lecter on the same day. And then showing up at Miraflores just to mug for the cameras and rub it in Maduro’s and Silva’s face. Cue in Destiny’s Child “Survivor.”

And finally, a negative 857 points to the Venezuelan people, for if Diosdado gets his way and it’s true that he has, to quote Mario Silva, “all the power without being President,” we are about to enter a world of pain that no Cuban doctor can cure.

Caracas Chronicles concludes,

What’s clear, folks, is that Diosdado Cabello is untouchable. He is the pillar upon which “chavismo sin Chávez” is built. The evidence that Cabello is undermining the Revolution with his corrupt ways is staring Maduro in the eye just as clearly as that picture in the Museo Militar. When faced with the choice of throwing Silva or Cabello under the bus, Maduro chose Silva.

Indeed, Mario Silvia is off the air “for health reasons“, the Latin American equivalent of “spending time with his family.”

A couple of weeks ago, I said,

Most observers predict that Maduro’s regime will not last long. So here’s the question: Who will succeed him, Capriles . . . or Cabello?

The signs point in that direction.

Related:
“Fidel Told Me He Did Not Understand Why Commandante Chavez had Not Finished with Bourgeois Elections”