Politician past his prime in presidential poll

Today, former Zulia governor and third-place finisher in the 1993 Presidential election Oswaldo Álvarez Paz formally announced he will seek the opposition’s nomination in next year’s presidential election.

The tone-deaf Álvarez seems to think he can do better against the formidable Hugo Chávez than he did against Rafael Caldera or Claudio Fermín. Not that it’s not his prerogative to run – the more the merrier and all that – but… seriously?

A guy with no platform, no recent record to speak of, no charisma, no known occupation, no social message… thinks he can take on the greatest campaigner our country has ever known? Really?

Álvarez Paz has a curious history. During his presidential run, he declared himself an admirer of Ronald Reagan and NAFTA. Then, in the early years of the Chávez era, he served as an advisor to the President on Constitutional matters, alongside some notorious heavyweights-turned-bashers such as Hermann Escarrá.

Lately, he became one of the President’s most radical opponents. He briefly gained notoriety last year for getting himself incarcerated after a series of comments he made about the President. This prompted Quico to launch himself into an ill-advised, fleeting bro-mance with the guy, one that I never quite understood.

So there he is today, saying he wants the nomination.

His sidekick? Another head scrather, it’s Chávez’s former foreign minister, Luis Alfonso Dávila, somebody who got 1.5% of the vote when he ran for governor of his home state three years ago.

His pitch? Fighting for “a Republic where there is balance, separation, and autonomy between the different branches of power, where the military power is subordinated to civilian rule, which is composed of states and autonomous municipalities with their own rights and privileges.”

Put that on your car bumper!

Something tells me that’s not going to play too well in Parapara.

This really wouldn’t be newsworthy, except for the fact that we want to like Álvarez Paz. We really do.

But it’s hard to take someone seriously when they don’t take themselves seriously, when they can’t seem to calibrate how deeply in doo-doo we really are, when they think the country is ripe for token candidacies and virtual platforms.

We want Álvarez to play a role in our nation’s future. But by setting himself up this way, he’s really just demeaning himself, and us. His campaign launch  is truly disappointing.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.