One big red blackout

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The Venezuelan government has just announced nationwide rolling blackouts affecting most of the country. Read the details here.

The challenge for the opposition is how to spin this to their advantage.

It’s pretty obvious to point out that blackouts are bad for the economy, that they make the streets more dangerous and that people will lose their jobs. After all, it’s electricity – everyone knows how important it is. Harping on that point is counter-productive and borders on insulting.

To avoid getting tangled up in its own message, opposition leaders should focus on simply linking the crisis to chavismo, if possible with catchy phrases.

They should point out that this is what happens when chavistas take over a sector, because while electricity was nationalized just last year, the excessive regulation that has led to under investment has been in place since the government took over.

They should top it off with catchy phrases. It’s lights out on democracy & lights out on our future. Lights out on honesty and competence.

Chavismo has been trying to peg this as a problem with El Niño. This is nonsense, and easy to debunk by simply pointing out that neither Trinidad and Tobago, nor Aruba, nor Colombia, nor Brazil have electricity rationing. It’s not the weather.

What they absolutely shouldn’t say is that the government is wrong in forcing these blackouts on us. Everyone knows these are unavoidable – but saying it’s a mistake simply makes the opposition look incompetent.

Just some friendly advice from your neighborhood bloggers.

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