Girish Gupta

HOME

PHOTOS

VENEZUELA ECON

ONLINE

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
LinkedIn
AngelList
Keybase
GitHub
IFTTT

BY COUNTRY

Afghanistan
Brazil
Colombia
Cuba
Ecuador
Egypt
Guyana
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Mexico
United Kingdom
Venezuela

BY MEDIUM

Text
Photo
Radio
TV/Video

BY PUBLISHER

Al Jazeera
BBC
BuzzFeed
CBC
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Daily Mail
Data Driven Journalism (EJC)
Datum
Ecologist
Economist Intelligence Unit
Emerging Markets
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
France 24
Fusion
GlobalPost
Guardian
Independent
La Prensa (Panama)
LatinFinance
Mancunion
Monocle
National (Abu Dhabi)
New Internationalist
New Statesman
New York Times
New Yorker
NPR
PBS
PRI
Radio France Internationale
Reuters
RTE
Sky News
Sun
Sunday Times
Telegraph
TIME
Times of London
USA Today
Vice
WLRN

ABOUT

About
CV
Contact (PGP Key)


From a funeral to a campaign season? Venezuela prepares to elect its next leader
Mar. 9, 2013 — Caracas, Venezuela

Published by GlobalPost

Just hours after the state funeral of Hugo Chavez, the man who led Venezuela through a self-styled socialist revolution over 14 years and died after a nearly two-year battle with cancer this week, pots and pans were being banged by residents of Caracas’ wealthier neighborhoods.

The "cacerolazo" is a traditional form of protest across the Spanish-speaking world, and this time was aimed at the inauguration of Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor. Maduro will govern until new elections are held — elections that he is to stand in and very likely to win.

“Nicolas, no one elected you president,” said Henrique Capriles Radonski, the country’s opposition leader and Maduro’s forthcoming contender for the presidency, in a televised speech sandwiched in between the daytime funeral and the nighttime inauguration on Friday.

It was a concrete sign that campaigning in Venezuela has begun, if that had not already been evident long before Chavez’s death, announced Tuesday by an visibly shaken Maduro.

“The funeral was part of the election campaign,” said Luis Vicente Leon, a Caracas-based pollster, whose firm Datanilisis correctly predicted the outcome of October’s presidential election in which Capriles lost to Chavez by 11 percentage points.

The funeral was attended by more than 30 heads of state, from Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Spanish Crown Prince Felipe. The former was cheered and the latter booed by the Venezuelan crowd watching proceedings on television screens erected in the Caracas military base.

Celebrities in attendance included Sean Penn and Jesse Jackson, both of whom have spoken out in favor of the Venezuelan strongman who has been a thorn in the side of Washington since coming to power.

His ally in that battle with imperialism, former Cuban President Fidel Castro, was absent, though brother Raul made the event. On taking his place in the guard of honor by the president’s casket, another pariah in Washington — Ahmadinejad — tapped the coffin and clenched his fist in a revolutionary salute.

Earlier this week, the outgoing Iranian president said that he predicted Chavez would one day rise again as Jesus Christ, in a letter penned in tribute to his anti-imperialist ally.

Those in attendance summed up Chavez’s foreign policy over his tenure, pivoted on its antagonism with the United States.

Scenes at Fuerte Tiuna were mixed. Some cried uncontrollably at the loss of their Comandante, while others danced in the churned up mud and grass, as if they were at a music festival celebrating the continuation of the Revolution which Chavez begun.

“Long live Chavez!” people shouted. “The struggle continues!”

“I’m sad and joyful at the same time,” said Juan Silva, 63, a pensioner who watched scenes at the military base. “I’m sad because we lost a great world leader. I’m so happy that we’re all here and will be able to see him forever, embalmed in the glass case.”

Chavez’s body is to be embalmed and placed in a glass case at a museum in Caracas’ 23 de enero slum, a stronghold of support for his radical politics, “for eternity.” That news was announced on Thursday by Maduro who — aware of the gravity of the move — said it echoed “Ho Chi Minh, Lenin and Mao Zedong.”

While Chavez's body may survive for eternity, the question now is whether Maduro is capable of keeping Chavismo — the former paratrooper’s political ideology — alive both in Venezuela and across the increasingly moderate continent.

Maduro announced in his inauguration speech Friday night that he had requested that elections be called immediately. These are expected within 30 days, as vaguely stipulated by the constitution.

Just before his fourth cancer operation in December, Chavez anointed Maduro his heir should he be unable to govern. The momentum from that, coupled with the opposition’s fracture after last year’s elections, looks to make it an easy victory for Maduro.

“The death of a leader at the height of his popularity would be very powerful for elections,” Leon told El Universal, a Caracas-based newspaper, last month. “The funeral for Chavez would merge into the election campaign.”

In the crush to see Chavez’s body lying in state this week, Eric Garcia made his voting intention clear.

“Of course I’ll vote for Maduro,” the 32-year-old lawyer said. “Because Chavez chose him and he’s demonstrated that he is dedicated to the people.”

In the 23 de enero slum on the morning of the funeral — where murals of Che Guevara and Chavez himself look down on residents along with a Last Supper mural in which Jesus is surrounded by leftist leaders such as Marx, Lenin and Fidel Castro — 60-year-old Alejandro Espinosa sits in front of a Che Guevara mural.

“I’ve got complete confidence in Maduro,” he said. “Because our president gave him all the power he needs to fight.”

Filed from
Caracas, Venezuela






More...

Advisers urge deep discount in Venezuelan cryptocurrency offering
Jan. 16, 2018


Inflationary math
Dec. 12, 2017


Venezuela money supply up 14 percent in one week, fastest rise on record
Dec. 1, 2017


How a defrocked judge became the chief enforcer for Maduro's Venezuela
Nov. 15, 2017


De cómo un juez destituido se convirtió en el principal artífice judicial del presidente de Venezuela
Nov. 15, 2017


The 'Venezuela Econ' app: Harnessing data to understand a spectacular economic meltdown
Nov. 6, 2017


Venezuela's monthly inflation rises to 34 percent: National Assembly
Sept. 7, 2017


Ousted Venezuelan prosecutor says she fears for her life, will keep fighting
Aug. 10, 2017


Venezuela quells attack on military base, two killed
Aug. 6, 2017


Exclusive: Venezuelan vote data casts doubt on turnout at Sunday poll
Aug. 2, 2017


All eyes on Venezuela military after protests, vote
Aug. 1, 2017


U.S. 'sweetheart' of Venezuela sees worrying signs of authoritarianism
Jul. 29, 2017


Venezuela money supply surges 10 percent in one week, fastest in 25 years
Jul. 29, 2017


Exclusive: At least 123 Venezuelan soldiers detained since protests - documents
Jul. 6, 2017


Venezuela hikes minimum wage 50 percent, effectively down 17 percent
Jul. 2, 2017








© Girish Gupta