From what Maduro said on his return tonight we can only surmise that the situation is difficult, that the devaluation camp has won (exit Giordani?) and that Maduro is supposed to bring a conciliatory message to the private sector of Venezuela, barely a couple of days after he said that he would never talk to them.
Is there a NEP like temporary reconciliation between a sinking regime and the cold remains of the private sector to avoid total catastrophe? Or at least starvation? Apparently we will get fixed within a few hours.
However today we also learned that the CNE has once again postponed the council/mayor elections to July 14. Certainly, the CNE does not show signs of coping well with these rather complex elections and the gerrymandering seems to be more difficult to do than expected (there is a need to redraw the council member circuits of 300+ districts, about an average of 3 to 5 circuits per district...). But I am sure that it is not all behind that announcement and I am willing to bet that it means presidential elections before June 1.
Indeed, elections by June 1st is the only thing that makes sense. By playing footsie suddenly with the private sector the regime is clearly looking for a pressure valve to the food scarcity problems it is unable to solve. It may be as simple as allowing private business to import and distribute fast enough food to calm down the populace until elections are held.
The devaluation is more than likely going to be the formalization of a two tier exchange rate, the least politically damaging for the regime. One low, say, 6 VBF for the dollar for food stuff and medicine, and one floating starting at 8 for the rest, making a revamped SITME the floating exchange rate for all purposes. This way the regime can hold for 6 months until it brings the VBF to a more real rate at around 10 VBF per USD. By then, hopefully Maduro is president (or Chavez back in office, all is possible since he apparently can sign checks again).
Now, what are the political scenarios? If indeed the regime devaluates within the next two weeks, then this means that Chavez dies or resigns so that elections can be held in March, before the full impact of the devaluation hits. Once Maduro in office, the PSUV strong with three victories in a row, even if gained on fraudulent premises, can face a primary like process in May for the July elections.
Also and again, it is possible that Chavez comes back, even if ill, even for a few months at most. But he needs to secure his succession and as such has a devaluation take place while away so as not to be blamed for it. Yes, in Venezuela the chavista lumpen can buy that.
Whatever variation of the above the scenario is, today we all got reminded that all can change very fast as the country is clearly crumbling, faster than expected. Food shortages are not only not improving, but other disasters are joining in. The Uribana jail was taken by assault by the Nazional Guard and at this hour more than 50 inmates have been killed while scores are hurt. The regime finds nothing better to accuse Globovision of having warned the inmates by announcing a search operation this morning. Really.... As if the inmates did not see the gathering of security forces, as if their relatives camping outside did not warn them of what was coming, as if the presence of these weapons inside Uribana was not already because of Nazional Guard sectors trafficking in drugs and weapons in jails....
Whatever best plans are laid down, Uribana reminds us in all its gory horror that the country has entered a dangerous phase of instability. Never until today the regime gave so many signs of weakness at once.