The opposition’s big news, publicized for 24 hours, actually exceeded expectations. They played an audio recording (see transcript here) of television host Mario Silva speaking with Cuban G2 agent Aramis Palacio. The interview is crystal clear, vintage Silva vocabulary and style, and incredibly damning of Diosdado Cabello. In the recording Silva portrays Maduro as weak but honest and well-intentioned.
As one analyst put it, what was once an open secret, is now public knowledge. Nothing in the audio will surprise those close to the inner workings of the government. But it will have an impact among everyday chavistas as well as those independents that support the government.
Of course the question is how this audio, apparently taped by Silva himself in order to send to Raul Castro, got in the hands of the opposition.
At first glance this looks like a maneuver on the part of Maduro and Silva to bring to light Cabello’s treachery and definitively marginalize him. Supporting this interpretation is that Maduro did not order a cadena to block transmission until after the audio was completely run on the air. One could imagine Maduro using this to publicly confront Cabello.
However, making this seem a little less like an intentional maneuver on the part of Silva and Maduro are the reactions. Government media have been entirely silent about the whole thing while it ran and until now. Silva did not tweet during the whole video and only afterward said it was a Zionist fabrication and that he would make an official declaration soon. Since then he has been retweeting all sorts of messages of support. One would think that if this had been a planned maneuver, he would have remained silent for awhile or searched for something other than a way to deflect it.
Maduro has not given any signals about his reactions to the audio either. Instead after the audio ended a cadena started with him talking calmly about the Plan Patria Segura. As one analyst pointed out, he looked like George W Bush reading a story to school children immediately after 9/11 had happened.
The coming days will tell what this means within the government. This definitely weakens the government overall in terms of public support since it confirms everyone’s worst suspicions. And it is hard to imagine the government continuing on with Cabello at the helm of the AN as if nothing has happened. However, Maduro’s actual power over Cabello is not great. Institutionally, Cabello is an elected deputy and has parliamentary immunity.