By Beatrice E. Rangel
As splits within the governing coalition in Venezuela multiply, many observers have wrongly described the feuds as bitter public policy disagreements.
I tend to believe that the sudden stream of official divorces (Rafael Ramirez; Luisa Ortega Diaz, Diosdado Cabello) has nothing to do with disagreements on public policies and a lot to do with the size of the booty.
To be sure, authoritarian leaders can only rule with the support of powerful handlers. This includes the military leadership, business leaders and important intellectuals. These individuals aspire at getting rewarded for their support through consistent and material contributions to their wellbeing and that of their families.
Thus, tyrants survive through their capacity to channel rewards to those supporters most essential to their upkeep of power.
Over time, however, the number of individuals attached to the ruling coalition tends to grow, as does the price that each member charges for support.
Vibrant and growing economies can support the scheme. But when growth comes to a halt and countries enter bankruptcy proceedings the tyrant must choose with surgical vision who to reward while discarding those that are not essential to maintain power.
As income shrinks there are "too many pigs at the trough." The leader must thus remove those non-essential while keeping those that are crucial to clinging to power. When removed from the source of wellbeing, the castaways seem to suddenly become believers in democracy.
But as the economy continues to worsen and the population reaches the conclusion that passively observing the internecine fights is a formula for sure death through famine or disease, violent revolt is bound to take place.
This outcome is truly dreaded by the Venezuelan regime's leadership, as they know that there are far too many weapons in the hands of civic organizations and paramilitary cliques armed to terrorize civil society. In desperation such weapons can turn against their providers.
This is the most feared scenario for Venezuelan leaders. They have thus reportedly addressed the dilemma by securing new income streams arising from money laundering to organized crime and stepping up drug trafficking.
The economy however is in free fall and these new income streams seem to fall short in keeping everyone on board. So now the country is sliced into territories which are granted for exploitation by regime acolytes in partnership with foreign mafias.
The result will inevitable be the loss of power and the takeover of the country by these mafias.
It thus seems that the governing clique, contrary to most informed reports, is preparing a regime change that will bring to power organized crime in the country that has geopolitical advantages in South America. Quite an unexpected turn of events!!!!Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.