Update to Chávez Health Story: His Brother May Succeed Him
This article is about the presumed successor to el Presidente Chávez -- who has cancer, is receiving chemotherapy in Cuba and may (or may not) be dead within eighteen months - -- his oldest brother Adan.
Adan helped to precipitate Chávez' entry into revolutionary politics. A Marxist ideologue and as corrupt as they come, he is now the governor of Barinas State, the home of the Chávez family. The article observes,
Adan, the oldest of the six Chavez brothers, is currently the governor of the western state of Barinas. The area is home to the Chavez family and has some of Venezuela's highest homicide and kidnapping rates. But it is not just the worsening security in Barinas which casts doubt on Adan's ability to rule effectively. The state, previously governed by the Chavez patriarch, Hugo de los Reyes, is Venezuela's poorest. It is also home to several large, unfinished infrastructure projects -- including a soccer stadium, a mall and a museum -- pointing to, at best, poor management of the state budget, or, at worst, the embezzlement of funds by corrupt officials.
Adan previously served as the minister of education, as well as the ambassador to Cuba. These are both key political jobs, and signs that he is one of Hugo Chavez's most trusted confidants. Early in life, Adan was the more politically involved of the Chavez brothers, adopting a hardline Marxist ideology and joining the Venezuelan Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Venezolano - PRV). In the 1980s, it was Adan who reportedly put Hugo in touch with Douglas Bravo, former leader of the guerrilla group the Armed Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional - FALN). Bravo later became an important influence on some of Hugo Chavez's political ideas. Adan, meanwhile, has remained a committed Marxist.
Although Barinas is the home state of the Chávez family, it has not done at all well economically. The Chávez family, of course, has done very well and so have the Chavistas who have not strayed from the correct path; that's what's important. Adan's apparent failures to do good for Barinas probably will not impede his assumption power as or after el Thugo passes to his reward, as the linked article suggests that it might, since the only purpose of a succession is to keep the Chavistas in power and to keep Venezuela as a de facto Cuban colony. A big part of that is to keep the corruption going so that the officials thus far holding allegiance to el Thugo will continue to hold that allegiance to his successor. That's very important to Cuba.
Absent an unlikely armed revolution against the Chavistas, a free and fair election in Venezuela next year at which the Chavistas will be deposed is at best highly unlikely. And, should there be a free and fair election despite all apparent odds, General Henry Rangel Silva -- the Venezuelan Minister of Defense who assumed that position last year, "said, at the time of his promotion, that the military might not accept the election of an opposition president." I would not expect the Venezuelan military to accept it; to do so would result in the trial and imprisonment of many if not most of its ranking officers. They might even be stripped of their financial gains, narco-businesses, power and even of the medals awarded to them for faithful service to el Thugo.
Need I mention that Venezuela is economically, socially and in all other respects a basket case?