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Chapman’s News & Ideas When Maduro Can’t Pay the Police and Army

How bad is it in Venezuela now that oil has dropped from over $100–the prince the Chavistas needed to keep making government redistribution of profits to their political supporters–to only about $60? Actually, it is hard to find out. There are demonstrations, disturbances, open grumbling. Critics have been rounded up and jailed. An international scientific organization has been nationalized, its assets seized. So the government is prepared to make very short term gains and not worry about the huge losses that come with international pariah status.

It seems likely to me that until the state implodes, Maduro will keep sending oil to Cuba, propping it up, while Cuba dragoons doctors and intelligence agents to provide health care and keep the totalitarian state running. However, if matters reach the point that Maduro can’t pay the police (who are under attack by some forces in the countryside already), or even worse, the Army, there will be a revolution.

The next Cuadillo will be of the same material as Maduro and may even say he is saving the legacy of Hugo Chavez. But unless he is a fool, he will know that he has to change policies. He could change them a lot, knowing that the public will expect an election soon. It is that election, somewhere over the horizon, that offers hope.