[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
The ANC’s Eastern Cape leadership has renewed its call for President Thabo Mbeki to stand for a third term as party leader. Provincial chairperson Stone Sizani asked the crowd at the opening of the party’s provincial office in King William’s Town on Friday what it was Mbeki needed to do.
Some within the crowd responded eagerly by holding three fingers in the air – representing three terms as ANC president. The crowd roared with support when Mbeki responded humorously in isiXhosa that he had 10 fingers, not only three.