The litmus test

September 13th will go down as one of the toughest days in Henrique Capriles Radonski’s presidential run. As I watched on VTV the video of deputy Juan Carlos Caldera getting money from a hidden figure, I must admit that I thought to myself at the time: “Henrique is screwed. This race is now over”. I won’t deny it, I kinda panicked for a minute.

Chavismo set the trap and was ready to milk it all the way to October 7th: changing the whole narrative of the campaign and making it a choice between agents representing foreign powers and the comandante presidente who has been fighting them all along. The dirty campaign was already in motion and violence was fresh on the headlines. Chavez was about to have it his way and turn the entire electoral dynamic upside down.

Then, Henrique Capriles appeared within mere minutes later at his Campaign’s HQ with this:

In a scant eleven minutes, he showed his full commitment to fight corruption, even in his own ranks. Some can say he was just throwing Caldera under the bus to save himself but I think it wasn’t like that. What he showed today is something called leadership.

Just to compare: Rafael Ramirez is still the Oil Minister and PDVSA President, even after the worst industrial accident in recent Venezuelan history, surrounded in mystery and with evidence of ongoing negligence under his watch already made public.

Hours later, Juan Carlos Caldera took full responsibility for a blunder that was not a crime. His real fault was his unbelievable navieté and he’ll spend a few years in the dog house for it. He should have known better.

But really, today has been a big litmus test for Henrique Capriles Radonski. And he passed it.

This is far from over. The worst is yet to come. But he’s ready to face what’s coming.

La moraleja de este cuento es… the need for reforming our campaign finance rules.

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