Killing two birds with one stone
Uncertainty will prevail; anxiety feeds on rumors
The news about the reappearance of cancer cells and the need to undergo surgery once again is just a short cut for sending a message to the opposition, as it has been requiring information on his disease. Most important, though, is the order given to his followers and comrades not to feed anxiety about his succession.
The successor, it has been decided in Havana, will be Nicolás Maduro, and Chávez repeats as if the appointment were on his own: "My firm, full-moon like, irrevocable opinion is that you should elect Maduro as President of the Republic." The rest of contenders, namely: (Congress Speaker) Diosdado Cabello and his comrade-in-arms; (former Vice-President) Elías Jaua and hardcore leftists in the government; (Minister of Petroleum and Mining and Pdvsa President) Rafael Ramírez and his gang who have handed over to Chávez the management of the oil income, and high-ranking military officers designated by the US government as drug traffic kingpins, seem to have been left on the lurch.
Now then, Chávez's strategy has been sort of rude and intended to kill two birds with one stone. Dissenters must be happy, yet the reaction in Chávez's ranks remains to be seen.
In the meantime, uncertainty will persist; anxiety will feed on rumors; the country will look like a ship adrift without a helmsman on trouble waters; politicians will get their sums to cash in on the situation and the country, losing its bearings, will let the usual demagogues take charge.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.