Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights

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Posts tagged Diosdado Cabello

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Reactions to Silva Tape Reveal Dilemmas of Chavismo

David Smilde

If Monday’s release of a recording of pro-government talk show host Mario Silva detailing corruption and conspiracies in the government simply made public what was long an open secret, the response in the following days has provided a window into the balance of power within and dilemmas confronting Chavismo.

What at the moment looked like it could be a power play from the left of the coalition, in which Maduro, Silva and their Cuban advisors might be moving to marginalize National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, quickly turned into a scramble for cover. Immediately after the release, Silva tweeted that a Zionist conspiracy was in the works. Later he read a statement on his program saying the recording was a montage created by international foes of the revolution but that he was going to take a break from his television show to seek medical treatment in Cuba. The next day Silva posted a reflection which included more denials and a folksy story about his long, warm relationship with Cabello.

Maduro restricted his responses to ad hominem attacks on those who released the video, suggesting it was an attempt to divide the revolution. The next day almost everyone alluded to in the recording went to Orchila Island with the manifest purpose of watching military maneuvers but clearly with the goal of addressing the fallout from the recording.

In all of this the main object of accusations in the recording, Diosdado Cabello, remained eerily cool and unphased. Cabello refused discussion of the recording in the AN and calmly suggested hat he had weathered many storms over the years.

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Filed under Mario Silva tape Chavismo Nicolas Maduro Diosdado Cabello

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Recording of Mario Silva Reveals Divisions and Corruption in Government

David Smilde

The opposition’s big news, publicized for 24 hours, actually exceeded expectations. They played an audio recording (see transcript here) of television host Mario Silva speaking with Cuban G2 agent Aramis Palacio. The interview is crystal clear, vintage Silva vocabulary and style, and incredibly damning of Diosdado Cabello. In the recording Silva portrays Maduro as weak but honest and well-intentioned.

As one analyst put it, what was once an open secret, is now public knowledge. Nothing in the audio will surprise those close to the inner workings of the government. But it will have an impact among everyday chavistas as well as those independents that support the government.

Of course the question is how this audio, apparently taped by Silva himself in order to send to Raul Castro, got in the hands of the opposition.

At first glance this looks like a maneuver on the part of Maduro and Silva to bring to light Cabello’s treachery and definitively marginalize him. Supporting this interpretation is that Maduro did not order a cadena to block transmission until after the audio was completely run on the air. One could imagine Maduro using this to publicly confront Cabello. 

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Filed under Nicolas Maduro Diosdado Cabello Mario Silva

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Chávez Endgame?

[Editor’s note: a couple of readers pointed out some ambiguities in my reading of the constitutional provisions and I have clarified the wording of a couple of sentences from the original version.]

David Smilde and Hugo Pérez Hernaíz

As has been widely reported, on Saturday night, December 8, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez made a nationally televised appearance to announce that he had suffered a re-occurrence of his cancer and to designate a successor, current Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro.

The announcement came after he had reappeared in Venezuela only 24 hours earlier. Chávez had gone to Cuba for treatment on November 27. While it was announced that he would be receiving treatment in a hyperbaric chamber to “continue his recovery,” there was a great deal of speculation that it was something much more serious since his departure was not publicized and he had not made any public appearances or even tweeted for several weeks. The rumors only increased when it was announced that Chávez would not be attending the Mercosur summit Brazil.

It seems clear that the primary purpose of Chávez’s weekend return to Caracas was to consolidate support for Maduro within the pro-government coalition and leave no doubts among the population as to who he wants to succeed him by creating a major media event. Not only did he name Maduro successor but had him swear before God, the people, the flag and Simón Bolívar’s sword, to continue the revolution.

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Filed under Venezuela Hugo Chavez Nicolas Maduro Diosdado Cabello Cancer