Why Chavez succession has to be such a mystery?

Since October 7 Chavez has made only one single public appearance to receive his election certificate. He has done a half a dozen TV/radio appearances where he is either sitting or just in voice. He has been totally absent of the regional election campaign except for the decision process as to who is going to be candidate where. And since last week he is in Cuba where we do not know what is going on while the trip was made in the dark of the night. Amen of all the signs of pain pre October 7. Only one explanation can make sense for someone who never saw a camera he did not like to pose for: Chavez is either really on his death throes or he is so sick that recovery will be long and incomplete, at best. The end result is the same: there is a power vacuum and a struggle to fill it up.

If this is so obvious, why is there such mystery around it? Let ask a few questions.

Why is chavismo so bent to make Chavez diseases the biggest of mysteries?

The answer for that one is relatively simple: Chavez ego and the omni-dependence of all his followers on his good will and good health. This has several consequences.

First, such a man is simply psychologically unable to truly plan his succession. There is such a denial of his demise from power through death or whatever that such individuals have no qualms in dragging down their country with them. Chavez might be suffering of this type of hallucination because even though he was reelected he was also reelected with a much smaller number than what he hoped for, and at a great cost. Thus any succession here is going to be a haphazard affair, postponed as long as possible. Few where the tyrants that managed reasonably clean successions (Franco or Pinochet). 

Second this self assumed above all glory forces the individual and the system to hide any weakness  in particular of the morbid nature. The system has created a superman and it knows that once the armor of the superman is dented there is no telling. If silliness in protection of secrecy is a must, so be it.

Why can't we know about the factions fighting for the succession?

Certainly we know that the two main contenders are Maduro and Cabello. But how sure are we that they are the true contenders or just a front for other contenders? How do we know that there is a third one waiting patiently and playing these two against each other? How stable are these coalitions?

To understand this we need to separate chavismo into two major groups:  the hyper corrupt and the others. The others group may be radical, ideological  etc...  but do understand the need to acquire some form of legitimacy the way Chavez did. Such a group could even accept a transition period until they clean up their act and return to power.

The problem is in the hyper corrupt group, that group that got obscenely rich through administrative corruption or the narco state activities (overlap likely).  I am not really talking of the "bolibourgeois" who after all benefited mainly of insider information. I am talking of those who stole directly gazillions from the state coffers or who set up the narco state that Venezuela has become.  This group of people, maybe a couple of hundred only, know that in a non chavista regime, or even in a chavista regime but not of their hue, they risk, they are certain to find the way to jail, or death. For them transition is not an option and they will do whatever they need to do to ensure their personal safety and enjoyment of their ill acquired goods.

That is why coalitions for Chavez succession are in a constant flux because everyone is watching his back and everyone is trying to avoid to be trapped in a dead end group. Thus secrecy is at the same time a consequence and a requirement in the complex maneuvering.

Why the unavoidable transition is such a mystery, such a denial?

The other curious thing is that even though we all know abut the myriad of problems facing Chavez next term there is no discussion of them, a complete ignorance of that reality. And yet reality will call.

There are not enough reserves to pay the bills. A devaluation cannot be postponed.

The entry in Mercosur is going to force the state to change its economic approach.

The current budgets and deficits are unsustainable and even the government has acknowledged that. Yet, we do not know of any measure it is willing to even consider seriously.

And more, but all in a cloud of mystery as to the gravity of the situation and the ways to deal with it. Part of that mystery comes of course that the different groups vying for the succession refusing to reveal their cards. But the other explanation,  the one that I prefer, is that chavismo simply does not know what to do about the economical situation and is more worried about Chavez succession than the solution of these probelsm becasue the succession wars are in fact easier to manage....