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I'm not going to soil a Walter Schloss Eulogy with a discussion about Chavez. It's easy enough to start a new thread.

tim443 asked:

Speaking of "Eulogy" while perhaps premature your thoughts on this breaking news?

Would Chavez dropping out of the political scene make a difference or is there someone else with the same political bent waiting?

I'm mostly looking from the oil side of it but there have been issues for mining companies as well.


Tim, two Foolish boards, including one you frequent, made me walk the plank for talking politics. Do you really expect me to walk the plank on a third board? LOL

Most people misunderstand Chavez. He is no ideologue. He is no Communist. His one and only ambition in life is to be president for life and he will use whatever works to make it happen. If it is giving money to fellow travelers, he raids our treasury. If it is getting the backing of Castro, he surrenders our armed forces to Cuba in addition to sending them cheap oil. If it is learning how to be a lifelong dictator, he makes friends with the worst of them -- too bad some of his buddies have bit the dust (Gaddafi) or have been strung up (Hussein). The three million votes cast in the recent opposition primary is some kind of world record and he almost blew a fuse (too bad he didn't).

No Politics on Carnival Monday, Just a Miami Herald Cartoon

He really needs his mouth washed out with the strongest detergent, not just soap.

A large number if not most of his ideological backers have abandoned Chavez. What remains are the vultures that feed on the ever growing corruption and the blood sucking Castro brothers. His brother, Adan, is reputedly the local drug lord. His family in his native Barinas has acquired huge estates that they could not possibly afford. Loyal military officers are rewarded by allowing them to steal the country blind. But this is also a method Chavez uses to control them. Should their backing wane, they can be tried for corruption so they get locked it -- a Faustian bargain.

An egomaniacal leader also fears subordinates who could possibly replace him so he keeps switching his pawns around hoping none of them gets too much power. Lately the post of vice-president has drawn a lot of attention. The VP is not elected but picked by the president. Until now the office of VP has been filled by a few nobodies but as the likelihood Chavez's demise increases, his own party realizes they need someone there to help with the transition. Brother Adan has already said publicly that should they lose the upcoming October elections, they will hold on to power by force. Such is our democracy!

After thirteen years of having our votes stolen, the opposition is finally getting organized and unified. That's the good news. The bad is that the Chavistas have the weapons.

Breaking news -- sorry, no link:

Chavez Changes Strategy In Light of New Operation
by moctavio

While many act surprised over the latest news that Chavez needs another operation, the Devil is not. This is what I had been expecting and it is happening later, rather than when doctors that I have talked to with have suggested. As a matter of fact, I was preparing to write various electoral scenarios, including a "more likely" one in which Chavez deteriorates between now and the October election. That is the scenario now.

And things will change for both the opposition and Chavez. Capriles should stay on course, but there should be multiple plans B, because there are many possibilities to derail this election if and when Chavez were to be incapacitated.

What is clear is that the medical news had to be rather bad for Chavez to change his strategy all of a sudden. The strategy from day one has been to tell the country after the fact and hide the precise diagnosis. Clearly, because if we were told what it was that was found last year in June by the doctors who operated the Venezuelan President, we would have had a very clear picture that his life span would be quite limited.

Thus, it is my belief that what was found in Cuba, which is clearly not news, as it coincides which many recent press reports, including El Pais, O Globo, Veja, Robert Noriega and Bocaranda, has to be more than a simple "lesion" (injury or damage) the curious word used by the Venezuelan President.

The news simply derails the attempt to project a "healthy" Chavez. He will have to go under the knife for a complex gastrointestinal procedure that is likely to sideline him for a while. These procedures are quite difficult, recovery is not easy and Chavez has been taking many drugs in the last few months. Recall the first operation almost killed him. The expectations can't be very good for such a dramatic change of strategy to take place.


Chavez is a charismatic leader who spends more time in front of TV cameras than working the office of the presidency. One recent stint was nine hours long! While there might be "powers" behind the throne, there are no other charismatic people capable of taking his place. There is no Chavismo without Chavez. Our best hope is that he kicks the bucket. The recent medical news suggests that he is not on earth for long. It's not possible to know just what measures the opposition (and the Empire) have taken in preparation for the coming events - it would be foolish to divulge them. But one thing is certain. Improvisation such as seen in April 2002 has ended.


OK Tim, what was the question? Something about oil? The opposition candidate is a "pragmatic" socialist. You cannot turn around a country after over 50 years of mismanagement on a dime. A pragmatic socialist is the best we can hope for now. Our basic industries have been destroyed, not just oil but all of them, looted and mismanaged by Chavista generals. Reconstruction will need a lot of foreign investment but our Constitution reserves all mineral wealth for the state so don't except too much privatization, mostly joint ventures. The oil giants and mining multinationals know how to deal with this.

Denny Schlesinger
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