The first post of the year was about Chávez's decision to name Jorge Rodríguez Vice-president, shunting legendary evil genius José Vicente Rangel to the side. At the time, I mused,
It may be that, in time, we'll come to see JVR's rampant cynicism with something akin to nostalgia, that we'll come to remember him as a moderating figure once no such figures are left in Chávez's entourage.Emboldened by his decisive victory in the previous month's presidential election, Chávez was at the height of his power and ambition, unchained:
With power centralized absolutely, with no more institutional restraints in place, without even a looming election to impose a modicum of caution, we finally get to see chavismo the way Chávez wanted it all along: free to implement all of his utopian fantasies with utter, gleeful abandon.Straight away, Chávez pledged to nationalize the power and telephone companies, though, as I noted at the time, he never really told us why that was a good idea. He asked the National Assembly the power to rule by decree on pretty much all major aspects of national life. And, of course, to suspend RCTV's broadcasting license.
Towards the end of the month, Katy flipped out over a badly misjudged BBC photo essay.
Greater Caracas Mayor kicked things off with one of the crazier attempts to suck up to Chávez we'd seen all year.
Continuing with the surrealist theme, Central Bank director Domingo Maza Zavala told us he had no idea how much money the state was spending.
Quico then started boring readers with the first
of several philosophically minded posts on the role of deliberations in democratic decisionmaking. Zzzzzzzz...
It was around that time that TalCual was fined for publishing a front page editorial that alledgedly violated Rosinés Chávez's childhood privacy, and Quico urged readers to send in their donations to help cover the fine.
The next day, Al Qaeda said the way to fight the US empire was to attack facilities supplying oil to the US, wherever they may be found. Chavismo called it - wait for it - a CIA conspiracy.
The following week, Katy passionately defended Primero Justicia after a set of high profile defections to Un Nuevo Tiempo.
On February 28th, 18 years after the sadly famous Caracazo, Katy noted that too many of the military men responsible for the massacres are now in the upper echelons of chavista power.