This article should have appeared on February 16 in the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. It was censored. From here I make public my resignation as columnist for that newspaper, for which I worked for fifteen years.
Maduro speaks daily with shock and anguish of conspiracies that he discovers, that he dismantles and that apparently reproduce themselves everywhere, all the time. Why does Maduro feel so tortured by a possible coup? The truth is that when one recognizes the circumstances surrounding him, one comes to the conclusion that Maduro is right and has many reasons to be distressed, to fear a coup, and even more than one. Let us review some of the circumstances.
His international allies have abandoned him and are all in serious trouble: Cubans rushing to reestablish relations with the United States; Argentine president Cristina Kirchner at the end of her term with an economy in a tailspin and facing serious accusations of all kinds. Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, also with a stagnant economy and overwhelmed by the Petrobras corruption scandal, the biggest in the history of Brazil. Vladimir Putin, submerged in the Ukraine crisis, under sanctions by the European Union and in severe difficulties because of the fall in oil prices. Iran, negotiating a nuclear accord with the United States and trying to redefine its relations with that country.
Men very close to the regime are fleeing the country and starting to openly attack the regime: Leamsy Salazar defected to the United States with his wife to tell the story of the Cartel of the Suns (cocaine traffickers within the Venezuela military); Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafael Ramirez will sneak away, distancing himself from the regime. At any moment a bomb explodes there; Giordani reappears emboldened to say that the country has become the laughingstock of Latin America, just months after he was kicked out of the government.
The country’s employment is in the toilet, with Venezuelans experiencing totally unexpected events, lines, shortages, patients dying in hospitals for lack of supplies, runaway inflation, and other tragedies such as unchecked and unpunished crime.
Maduro can no longer count on abundant oil revenues and access to debt which could postpone the solution to many problems.
Maduro lives in a country institutionally ruined, turned into a jungle, without a Judiciary, devoured by corruption. Meanwhile all this was generated by the same regime that presides today and served to sustain it over a long period of time, this same lack of a framework of institutions that now turn against it. The regime no longer has anything to latch onto but repression.
Maduro knows that his popularity has fallen very low, not even the Chavez loyalists want him any more.
Maduro knows, and this is not small thing, that his eternal commander — Chavez — found justification for the 1992 coup in problems much smaller than the country has today.
How is Maduro not going to be anguished by the possibility of a coup?