It’s hard to overstate the significance of tomorrow’s planned televised debate between the opposition’s five candidates for President.
Venezuela has no tradition of political debates. In fact, the only Presidential debate I can remember took place 28 years ago. In it, Rafael Caldera berated Jaime Lusinchi for not responding to a letter he wrote him. This played right into Lusinchi’s hand, whose message was that Caldera was an out-of-touch crank who was more of the same. Some people say the debate sealed his faith.
To put things in perspective, Venezuelan politicians have been more willing to raise the price of gasoline than debate their political opponents. At least the price of gas has gone up a few times since 1983. The closest we got to a debate during that time was in the year 2000, when Francisco Arias Cárdenas…debated a chicken.