Mendoza in his labyrinth

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Following Venezuela’s opposition requires a non-trivial dose of patience.

The comings and goings of the opposition unity table (MUD) have produced a somewhat final list of candidates for the Parliamentary elections. While only a few were selected in a primary that has yet to yield satisfactory numbers (see today’s comments) and others were agreed upon by a smoke-filled room that came up with an unhealthy dose of dinosaurs (op cit.), I think it’s safe to say that we’re close to the point where we can focus on the next stage: the Parliamentary election. For better or worse, esto es lo que hay. We can all exhale.

But when it comes to Enrique Mendoza, I have no more patience.

Mendoza, former Governor of Miranda and leader of the 2002-2004 opposition debacle, has been playing prima donna for months. Refusing to meet face-to-face with the MUD, he has demanded through the media to be placed at the top of Miranda’s lists, in violation of the MUD’s own agreed-upon rules.

Compromises were tried, and he would not yield. They offered him a spot in the Guarenas district, and he said no. They offered him to be a substitute for some other people on the list, and he said no. Threatening to bolt the table altogether, he basically threw a tantrum and demanded to be placed at the top of the list, or else. It’s been an ugly spectacle, one that chavistas have gleefully siezed upon.

His main rival in this discussion, Primero Justicia’s Julio Borges, acquiesced and agreed that he would go to a primary, in violation of the MUD’s rules, if the MUD deemed it so. The MUD said no, and placed Julio Borges at the top of Miranda’s list, as was his right.

Now, in a bout of temporary insanity, Mendoza is changing his demands. He now wants the top of the list in the Petare district., and this is the part that really gets me, "for the sake of unity in the country."

Those correspondence courses at the Yasser Arafat School of Negotiation sure paid off for him.

Leave aside the fact that Mendoza has been AWOL from the political scene in the last four to five years. Never mind that he has yet to explain to the country why he needs to be a congressman. And forget the dirty little rumor everybody in Caracas is repeating – that Mendoza is being bankrolled by chavista power player Gustavo Cisneros.

What Mendoza is doing is toying with the opposition. By faking his negotiating power and throwing impromptu press conferences full of bloated rhetoric, he is distracting the MUD from its job and making people nervous.

So here’s a counter-offer for Mendoza: the MUD should ditch his fat ass. They should show some sack and simply refuse to negotiate with him in public. Until he learns that negotiating in good faith is the only way he’s going to get a job, they should trash him.

What’s he going to do – run solo? He would be lucky to get 3% of the vote, and would be widely blamed if the opposition under-performed in the stronghold of Miranda. It would be another debacle in a career filled with them.

Once he realizes what his options really are – then they can sit down and talk.

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