If President Maduro dies...

Venezuela's Executive Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, will take over the presidency if President Nicolás Maduro dies.

Executive VP Jorge Arreaza giving 
the Chavista double index finger 

This post isn't intended to advocate Maduro's death, but current events signal that Maduro's life could be hanging from a thin thread if Raul Castro decides he's had enough of Maduro's stupid behavior (Maduro's personal security is provided by Cuban bodyguards who belong to the Castros' intelligence services, led by Raul's son and heir, Alejandro). 

Since taking over as acting president, in December 2012, Maduro has managed to shatter Venezuela's economy, increased human rights abuses, allowed crime and corruption to worsen beyond the terrible conditions left behind by Chávez....

Maduro's terrible performance caused a huge drop in his poll ratings (less than 25 % approval),    In recent weeks he has created a conflict with neighboring Colombia, apparently in an effort to create emergency conditions which will allow him to suspend Venezuelans' few remaining civil rights. I've heard Colombia's president Santos is very worried, thinks Maduro is expelling and terrorizing Colombian citizens who reside in Venezuela to inflame a conflict between the two nations. 

Colombians forced to flee Venezuela being helped 
by Colombian Army soldiers to cross a river by foot. 

A couple of days ago Arreaza showed up at the border and said the Venezuelan government was getting tired of Colombia's free market policies, and their lack of action to stop smuggling of gasoline and packaged subsidized food from Venezuela. He said he applauded Maduro's orders to close the border crossings and mobilize thousands of Army soldiers to the region. 

But does he? Arreaza got his VP post because he's married to Chavez' second daughter, Maria Virginia. Other than marrying into the Royal family he lacks the military background, or connections to go that high. But he's not as stupid as the other top Chavistas. Most of his statements amount to butt kissing and communist sloganeering, but he must be doing it to stay on Maduro's good side. And Raul Castro knows that. 

So what is Raul going to do if Maduro is freelancing and starts a shooting conflict with Colombia? I suspect he's gong to have his men, Maduro's bodyguards, put a Mickey in Maduro's drink to give him the mother of heart attacks, and have Jorge Arreaza take over as President. This will give the Castro family dictatorship a breather, because Arreaza may pull Chavismo out of the hole it fell in when Maduro took over that mafia. And Arreaza will know who moved the pieces to make him president. 

The only question in my mind is whether the Venezuelan military will accept another civilian in the presidency,  who may try to end their involvement in gasoline and food smuggling to Colombia, as well as in the cocaine trade run by the so called Cartel de Los Soles in alliance with the Colombian communist guerrillas, the FARC? Who will win that struggle? The Castro intelligence services operating in Venezuela, or the Venezuelan  narco generals? 

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