I had not blogged at all on your little constitutional referendum in Venezuela because, silly me, I doubted there was anything to it. I was absolutely certain that, as a candidate member of Dictators for Life, that you had matters securely in the bag. Rule One in the Good Dictators Handbook is to always promise elections, but never to actually have them unless you know the results in advance.
And now you’ve managed to screw the pooch. Gotta tell you, big guy, that your candidate Tinpot Club membership is in serious trouble, Double Secret Probation, even.
All is not lost, Venezuela is stuck with you (more or less legally), until 2012. There is plenty of time to give the voters as many more chances as needed to attach their own chains, until they get it right. “No” is just temporary, but a “yes” is forever and ever; or until you get shot, poisoned, deposed, or (many years hence) your squabbling aides resolve the succession question and turn off the life support, or apply a handy pillow.
This little reverse can even work to your long-term advantage – it’s yet another bit of evidence to be invoked by your useful idiot friends worldwide that you’re a real democrat. Besides, you lose nothing by gassing a little now about democracy, and you have to do that anyway, since the other, more accurate, interpretation of what just happened is that you’ve behaved as an overconfident buffoon.
Until you’re ready for a new and improved referendum you need to review some Dictatorship 101 basic concepts. Friend Fidel over in Havana, professor emeritus and a giant in this course of study, is available for any questions you may have, but for now, lets sum-up where you went wrong:
Counters Count. As old Joseph Vissarionovich might have said, it’s not that people that vote who count, it is the people who count the votes. Clearly, your electoral apparatus needs some “Bolivarian reform.” In future, have no election where the poll-workers aren’t sufficiently inspired, motivated and empowered to ensure correct results.
Educate the Students. It’s hard to set up a regime of justice and enlightenment if the students haven’t been taught manners. It’s not enough to have fans in the English and Political Science departments of a bunch of American and European universities – these idiots are useful of course for confusing and retarding pesky foreign interference, (and for keeping tabs on what their lawyer and media encrusted governments might be up to). However, there is no substitute for properly intimidated students. With all the demonstrations late last week, it’s painfully apparent you haven’t got the students housebroken. Access to education and employment has to be made dependent on political correctness, and those who still talk too much need to be reeducated or otherwise disappeared. You need to read up on East Germany. Fidel can probably help here too.
Police ! It’s simply inexcusable that after almost ten years in power, your police allow you to be embarrassed in such a manner. The coup of 2002 should have been a wake-up call for you. Yes, I know you’ve worked on this a bit since then, but it’s painfully clear that your Chekists are not up to the job. Fidel’s Ministry of the Interior (Security Section) is probably the most appropriate model, but you should look at the East German Stasi too. By this time you should have had the opposition completely penetrated by informants; your police should have files on everybody of significance, and all the troublemakers locked up someplace. If you want to be the Savior of the Nation for Life and build justice for the downtrodden – you really need to get busy here.
Bread and Circuses. Your plebiscite failed, among other things, because of low turnout among your supporters. Probably the voters you were counting on were too busy trying to use their next to worthless currency to find the meat, bread, milk, pasta and vegetables that are no longer available in your stores. Yes, yes, shortages of staples are a common consequence of socialism; and poverty and inflation byproducts of your Great Plans For Justice for All. Still, on election day, you should have used some of that oil money to pay for hand-outs by your party workers of free food and other goodies. Of course, if your police were up to snuff, you’d even know who to give the food to, and who to throw in the paddy wagons, but we’ve been over that point.
Shut Up and Lets be Friends. As your regime of Social Justice marches on, you’re going to find places like Miami filling up with all sorts of troublemakers. These people are, in varying degrees, dangerous – they’re the people smart enough, and liquid enough, to get out. While you’re working on the police, you need to be working on foreign intelligence too, so that the people in Miami can be reminded occasionally that you have a long arm. Also, you need to make better use of your idiot friends in academia and the media in the US and Europe – they will be helpful at running interference for whatever trouble the dissidents and conservatives manage to stir up. Meanwhile, they can help muddy the waters by parroting what will no-doubt be your party line that you only lost this referendum due to "CIA intervention." Again, Fidel can really help out with these things.
Cash. The basis of your power, in the short run, is the oil money, so you’ve got to be careful with the cash-cow. Take better care of PDVSA ! You need to see that it gets just enough reinvestment so that it keeps producing cash to pay your police, and for the bread and circuses, and for all the Heroic Socialist Projects that will keep you the Man of Destiny for Life. This is more than a little tricky – your extra heavy, soupy oil takes real engineering skill to refine and use properly, and American engineers are going to be harder and harder to come by.
You need a foreign patron with plenty of skilled engineers. The Russians and Chinese can’t be much help here, they bid for the same foreign technicians you do, and they have their own problems. My own suggestion would be to explore connections with the French: they have some skilled people, and they aren’t over-burdened with scruples, as long as the money is good. As for other sources of income, your prison system should be taking in plenty of skilled troublemakers who can be put to work producing foreign exchange. (See Gulag).
Well, big guy, this should be enough for you to start with. Who knows, you might even have the chance to do it, if you don’t wind up dead in a ditch someplace, as you should have after the coup of 2002. But, hey, that possibility’s a chance you take, when you’re wanting to be the Savior of the Nation. Here’s hoping you screw that pooch too.