Let's do this

A few days ago, I received the first draft of the MUD’s platform.

It is an all-encompassing 163-page document, filled with the opposition’s promises, hopes and wishes for the new government.

There is a lot to digest in there, or not enough, depending on what you were expecting. But getting a grasp on the whole thing is going to require a group effort.

If you’re interested, please email me (nageljuan at gmail dot com) and I can send you a copy. You can also read it here. It’s going to take several people to make out what the main proposals are. So let’s make a Wiki-something out of this, ok?

Just to get the conversation going, here are some interesting takeaways:

  • The writing is boiler-plate, pedestrian in a Boulevar-El_cafetal kind of way, and completely uninspired. Given how the MUD is a mish-mash of a lot of people and organizations, that is how it is supposed to be. It is not controversial, but it won’t lift our spirits either. It was written by a Committee.
  • It comes out head-on (¶46) against a Constitutional Assembly, and for the principles in the 99 Constitution.
  • In order to dismantle the current laws, the new President must use the Courts or present amendments to current laws to the National Assembly. If that doesn’t work, they believe that most of the laws can be changed via changes in the Procedural Rules governing them.
  • The Presidential candidate should announce who his Vice-President will be, in order to give the Vice-President more institutional weight and popular legitimacy. (¶62)
  • The come out against Enabling Laws in general, but leave the possibility open for asking for one with limited powers and time periods.  (¶64)
  • Eliminating the Bolivarian Militia. (¶112)
  • Giving RCTV and the other TV and radio stations their right to transmit. (¶145)
  • It does not come out for or against privatization. (¶215, ¶264-269)
  • Vaguely comes out in favor of targeted social programs. (¶229)
  • Eliminating FONDEN and integrating it into the budget. (¶282)
  • On economic policy, they advocate gradualism. (¶374)
  • Comes out in favor of MERCOSUR. (¶380)
  • It does not call for a reduction in the same of government, but a reduction in the rate of growth of government.  (¶405)
  • It won’t touch public employment. (¶410)
  • More debt. (¶414)
  • It comes out in favor of a unique, under-valued exchange rate that promotes our exports. (¶416)
  • They come out against the sudden elimination of CADIVI, because it would result in a maxi-devaluation. (¶417)
  • A new directory for the Central Bank. (¶422)
  • Gradual modification of price controls. They call for making them “flexible” but not eliminating them. (¶430-31)
  • Negotiating with anyone and everyone who had something expropriated. (¶440)
  • Paying the severance of all those who were fired from PDVSA in 2002-2003. (¶512)
  • Reducing the requirement that PDVSA hold 60% of the shares in any joint company. (¶527)
  • Gradually increasing the internal price of gasoline. (¶531)
  • Creating an independent oil regulator, different from PDVSA. (¶532)
  • Crime is all the way down in page 97…
  • Policies on crime are standard: disarmament, prevention, technology, working with the community. (¶725 and beyond)
  • They come out in favor of security cameras in hot spots. (¶760)
  • Increasing the number of prosecutors. (¶775)
  • Decentralizing jails. (¶784)
  • Targeted social programs again. (¶816 and beyond)
  • Conditional cash transfers! (¶818)
  • Focus on early childhood coverage, and excellent first grade teachers. (¶844, ¶847)
  • Nothing about ending the massive subsidy to public universities. (¶863)
  • Barrio Adentro and the agreement with the Cuban Doctors will be “reviewed.” (¶904)
  • Gradually adjusting electricity tariffs. (¶1089)
  • Timidly opening up the electricity sector to private investment. (¶1090)
  • Nothing about opening up investment in infrastructure (roads) to the private sector. Everything remains state-held, and state-controlled … (¶1122)
  • Nothing on selling off the CANTV, but rather opening up several growing telecommunication areas to the private sector. (¶1147)
  • Nothing on legalizing abortion. (¶1167)
  • On foreign policy, we will be friends with everyone! (¶1201 and beyond)

On the whole, the document is unsurprisingly disappointing. Heavy on the State, short on decisiveness, clueless on how much things cost – it’s exactly what I expected.