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Venezuela After Chavez

The Aspiring Chief Anklebiter has cancer, and his allies and enemies alike are pondering the future of Venezuela without him. Says the Washington Post:

Chavez has not groomed a successor or built institutions that can manage a transition. He has concentrated all power in his hands, providing a focus for the opposition and leaving no space for any other leader.

Among Chavez’s potential successors: the general-in-chief of the military, accused by the Treasury Department of having ties to international narcotics smuggling organizations; leaders of various armed militias and paramilitary groups that Chavez uses to balance the power of the military; Russian-style oligarchs known as los boliburgueses; Cuba-tilting officers and politicians; and many others.

But luckily he isn’t going anywhere soon:

Chavez has made clear that he will be a candidate in the 2012 presidential election and that victory is inevitable. “El Comandante ” has referred to 2031 as his time horizon for holding on to power — and he is quick to clarify that his tenure could well go beyond that.

This could be trouble.  America’s basic strategy for coping with Chavez is to roll our eyes, sigh, and ignore.  That will be harder to maintain if his successor is a drug smuggling crime lord.  Should Uncle Sam send Hugo a card and some flowers?

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  • Richard F. Miller

    Drug lords are bad, but the use of Venezuelan territory to station Iranian built and operated Shahab-3 missiles (range, c. 1,200 miles) is worse.

    It is impossible for outsiders to assess recent reports to this effect; but if true, it represents a real problem for us. Chavez moving on may be an opportunity for us–a necessary opportunity.

  • Toni

    “America’s basic strategy for coping with Chavez is to roll our eyes, sigh, and ignore.”

    What’s the alternative?

  • Bruno Behrend

    One alternative was tried in the early 2000s, (a coup) but it didn’t take.

    We need to bring back the coup for these instances. Say what you will. Chile is free, Cuba isn’t.

  • Richard F. Miller

    Mr. Behrend:

    I am in violent agreement! Others may criticize the more aggressive CIA decapitation policies of the 1950s, but they had one rather large thing to recommend them: in the aftermath of getting our fingers singed in Korea, these were a lot less bloody than the “limited” wars that followed.

    In an age of declining power projection (that’s just a fact of strained budgets) we better copy Obama in one (and only one) regard–the use of wet operations to execute our interests. Naturally, he hasn’t been a fraction as aggressive as he should be; however, future presidents aren’t going to have much choice.

    That’s going to mean (let the liberals collectively hiss here) coups, assassinations, funding and arming oppositions, shadow armies, and all the rest.

    If anyone knows how to conjure the shades of Dulles and Kermit Roosevelt, please do so.

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