Henrique's Choice

Henrique Capriles
Henrique Capriles reading a rare copy of the constitution that hasn’t had article 328 excised yet.

Our understanding is that, as of today, the opposition has genuinely not yet decided whether to participate in upcoming elections.

Yesterday’s snap judgment from the Supreme Tribunal allowing Maduro to be sworn in as president and to retain the office during the campaign, together with the Defense Minister’s astonishing vow to effectively turn the military into Candidate Maduro’s campaign ground-game machine have put the MUD’s participation into serious doubt.

In his speech, Capriles focused mostly on Maduro’s irregular accession to the presidency – the constitution is quite clear in  stating that the Chairman of the National Assembly, not the old VP, should serve as interim president if the president-elect can’t be sworn in. But, as Jeff House puts it, “once Admiral Molero announced that election of Maduro was the objective of the Army, he effectively announced a military regime. The simplest and most easy-to-explain Constitutional violation is the violation of Armed Forces neutrality.”

When both the guys with the gowns and the guys with the guns are openly, unembarrassedly lined-up behind the incumbent and vowing to eliminate you, it’s hard to convince even the most die-hard comeflor to take part.

A final decision has not yet been made.

It’s telling that this is even a question. Henrique Capriles, Primero Justicia and the current MUD leadership have long been the standard-bearers of the opposition’s participationist camp. In some ways, their determination to participate in campaigns even when they could see conditions were not really fair was the defining feature of their political position, the thing that set them apart from the other main camp, the abstentionists.

That even these guys are thinking twice about taking part tells its own story about the gravity of the political moment.

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  1. I confess to having a very hard time falling asleep last night wondering what would i do if faced with these circumstances? What would be my decision? .I remember LL’s abstentionist stance when the AN election, for the same reasons, and it has led us to chaotic consequences. And at the same time, the adverse circumstances are there. Large as Maduro backed by reverol. Even diosdao menacing with we will do whatever it takes and done it to ensure their claws are in deeply enough. On ome hand that’s what traitors want. To make it hopeless enough. Cave in? Or not cave in? Hamlet had it easy…

    • I can’t figure out why Capriles should run, there’s really no chance that he could win. Worse yet, dueling Maduro this time around, I think, would serve only to give Maduro legitimacy. Can’t the MUD see this? Don’t his advisors see that running and, then loosing, could possibly castrate him in a future match? If he’s serious about his presidential aspirations, he should consider sitting this one out, concentrating his efforts instead in doing an exemplary job at governing Miranda and letting the chavistas take a whack at each other until the country finally crumbles and falls all over their heads. Unless, perhaps, could there be some nefarious agenda lurking deep within the MUD’s halls that’s pushing him along?

      In my humble opinion, the MUD needs to pick a soldier to battle this one for all. A disassociated individual who could call it like he sees it without holding back, without fearing a loss. A mouth piece to contrast the lies and to predict the calamity that is just around the corner and about to unfold.

      • Perhaps you are right, but running with a weak candidate may be too obvious. Capriles should not worry about losing face in this election. The next election would be in 6 years by then whatever damage done today would be long forgoten.

        • in 6 years many things can happen. We should aim at the recall vote within 3 years. As for the campaign, I agree with Andres. We should play the doomsayer. When everything collapse, Capriles or whoever the candidate is will be able to say “I told you so. Now vote for me”.

          • But where is the “I told you so,…” without throwing the hat into the ring…

            Its a separate question if its a safe decision given the threats.

      • In my humble opinion, the MUD needs to pick a soldier to battle this one for all. A disassociated individual who could call it like he sees it without holding back, without fearing a loss. A mouth piece to contrast the lies and to predict the calamity that is just around the corner and about to unfold.

        Why not Henrique Capriles? He won’t win, but it won’t matter. Showing up and speaking the truth is what matters. It’s the decent and courageous thing to do.

        • It’s also the expensive thing to do. If you’re a financial backer ocf the opposition, and you’re faced with these sorts of odds … would you open your checkbook?

          • It’s cheaper to run a known figure than to develop name recognition for someone new. That said, the same financial situation will apply to anyone who is the designated lamb.

  2. In a regime of law, the Supreme Court doesn’t just pop out with “judgments”. Instead, the various contending parties file written briefs, then, ideally, get their day in court to try to convince the judges.

  3. I think it would be a mistake for the opposition not to participate. Abstaining in the AN elections was a mistake and should not be repeated. The opposition should always be able to say “we told you so” in the event of an implosion of the government in the future. Abstaining removes this possibility.

    • Run to lose? I sort of feel that’s the least bad option as well…

      What pisses me off is that if the opposition hadn’t made the insanely premature decision it made in 2005, abstention now, when conditions merit it much more, would remain a powerful weapon in its Arsenal. In the wake of the idiocy of 2005, it will look more like a case of “these people haven’t learned at all, have they?”

      Sad. We’re still paying the price of the 2005 fuck-up. And yeah, I’m looking right at you Leopoldo López.

      • It will be difficult to strike the right campaign tone, but yes: run (to very likely lose) is the least bad option.

        I don’t want to see the MUD running an Olavarria-style campaign (“Folks, I know I will lose and I’m proud of it”). Nor I want a Teodoro-like one (“We will win! Feed optimism to ensure high turnout!”). But somewhere in the middle, Capriles must find the right mixture of optimism, realism and defiance. In the future he has to be able to say, I ALWAYS gave my all to this country.

      • I think you guys are deeply wrong!
        As you clearly point out on you article, we are facing an on-going Coup. The widespread consensus among voters on the opposition camp is we won´t vote under actual circumstances.
        Moreover, the line of this blog since the mega-defeat of October has been of a looming economic doomsday, hasn´t it? So, why to fight for the presidency if the consensus is that chavismo has to carry the crux of their mistakes?
        I think is not even the fact that the violation of the constitution is, this time, absurd. It`s the fact that the MUD knows people won`t vote this time. Regardless of what they say…
        Until the CNE is not changed, there`s nothing you guys can say here to convinces us, the abstentionists.
        If you want to go and convalidate the Coup, please do so. But don`t call us idiots…

        • Yes, it’s a coup, but we have – at least formally – a way out of this. It’s not unlike the situation in Paraguay. They are not considered a democracy until they have a new election. Right now, Maduro is a un usurper, but as soon as he gets elected, he’ll become a democratically elected president.

          We have to take part because that’s the only thing to do. What other option do we have?

        • For this Regimes , decent and couregeus words means nothing.
          I agree ,better not to vote and play their game. Let them deal with their frauds.

      • Not abstention, withdrawal. Abstention is never a real weapon.
        I think the opposition should run so that there is an actual campaign an a ‘democratic’ exercise, not an apathetic and pathetic transition. To show that there is still a democratic opposition in Venezuela. It may not be the time for the opposition, but we are here and we’re active. Also to force the government to run a campaign with all their abuses and test their motivation this time around.

        Pasar agachao no funciona.

    • I do think the opposition should participate. But a presidential election is different than a legislative election. The AN election is all about the number of representatives each side gets. The presidential election is an all or nothing proposition so if your chances of winning are low you effectively lose nothing by not participating. Also, many have argued that Maduro should carry the consequences of the crisis that may be coming. In that sense Capriles may not want to waste economic and political resources running a campaign for an election that is not even worth winning.

      • But … but … amieres, you just gave a very convincing argument for *not* participating. How do you square that with your first sentence?

        • I know, you are right. I just wanted to point out that, the situation is not the same as in 2005. Then, we lost a lot of political space, today, we do not lose much.
          Then it was a big mistake, today it would be only a small mistake.
          But still a mistake just because not participating would be similar to saying “we give up, you win, do whatever you like” and that may have very bad consequences for the country. It may sound absurd or impossible but the job of the opposition is to “keep them honest” for that they need to do a show of some force (not like in December).

          Of course, they could always save some resources now and do a show of force later, in the next elections, in better conditions hopefully. Who knows when is the best time to reignite the fire of the opposition voters? I am of two minds here.

  4. I’d rather see Maduro win with 51% of the votes cast and fail miserably than see Maduro win with 90% of the votes casts. As plob500 mentions, the oppo must learn from it’s mistakes. Absention in the AN only resulted in less seats for the oppo with no upside at all.

  5. Big mistake if they do not go for the elections: we are in for 40 years of chavismo or something even worse. One should never leave open spaces in politics, unless there is a plan B. If Capriles does not want to run, because he is sure to lose, someone should run for the sake of it. We have to concentrate on recuperating the NA in 2015, and that will not happen with an opposition that becomes absent every time it feels the cause is lost. This is 2005 all over again, but worse, because at least with Chávez one had the enemy clearly identified.

    My obituary of Chavez, a little late, but here it is:

    • I agree with 2005 AN elections but with the new Maduro Fraud , it is very delicate , because by participating ,we are accepting the fraud , and I rather not see Venezuelans
      “inmolarse” like the first Chirstian going to the circus.Let them have their Orgy of power, they will succumb.

    • What open spaces does the losing candidate in a Presidential election leave? We’re not really making coherent arguments here folks.

      The only open space left will be the space in our checkbook after fighting an absurd losing battle.

      And yes, I’m on the fence still, but if the pro-participating folks are going to convince me, you’re gonna have to do better than that.

  6. I have the feeling that the MUD won’t run for this election, letting the road open to the “sole rangers” (Arria, Fernandez, Maria Bolivar, etc) to run. That way Capriles doesn’t get burn, keeps his word with the mirandinos and so the chavistas dig themselves deeper into their own mess.

  7. Perhaps every political party should run with someone, but not allied under the MUD. That is one option. I mean, honestly, this is the first election where I don’t want to participate, I really need the Voto Nulo structure here.

    • I disagree, whatever the decision, the opposition has to stay united. It’s the only thing we can’t let go of.
      I kind of understand Mayke, a lot of people I know don’t want to vote. running against Maduro and getting less votes than last time would give Maduro bragging rights and inflate his image for a while. I guess the question is what do we win by participating? Spaces? No, this is an all or nothing election. I have not made up my mind about this either way… We’ll have to wait and see

        • I don’t think there is much danger of that happening.
          The purpose of running is forcing the government to conduct a campaign. The more they do, the more they expose themselves, people will get to know them more. That will bring dividends later. Remember Maduro is not Chavez, he’s going to be measured differently, the people need to get to know him. If the opposition doesn’t actively participate they don’t have to show much.

  8. I have been thinking about this since yesterday. I always thought abstaining from elections is one of the biggest mistakes the opposition made.

    But today I cannot se any advantage to Capriles running. He is sure to lose. He would have to step down from an elected position , he just won. After that he is would not get elected, certainly not in Miranda and perhaps never in the national stage.

    So what is exactly the benefit of him running? Not disenfranchising millions so opposition voters? Should the MUD sacrifice him? Long term, what do we get out of this exactly? It’s not like we get seats at the table, aka the asamblea, as it is just a presidential election.

    I do think that Capriles yesterday was setting the stage for not running.
    To run or not to run, that is the question,

    • Barring any unforseen TSJ judgements “popping up” again, Capriles wouldn´t have to step down from his Governorship in order to run, he would just leave his post temporarily like last year, so he can fully commit to a national campaign, and if (when) he loses, he can go back to Miranda. You do have a point on Capriles running not being advantageous, if anything, because of what it would do to his political and most importantly, MENTAL health ( 4 elections in 1 year y otra paliza asegurada en las urnas? how much can a guy take??)

  9. Just a couple of days ago I saw this video where Eva Gollinger told Patricia Janiot that all the things that the opposition was saying about Maduro not being able to run was just pure bullcr.., and there is a moment where she says “he will step down to run from president…” And kept attacking MCM who was in the program. I’ll be curious to hear what she has to say about that now.
    Sorry, the video is long, I wanted to indicate at what point she says that, but right now I don’t have the stomach to hear the whole thing again.


    • “Creo que hay una distorción aquí porque en primer lugar, este gobierno se ha quedado pegado a la constitución… ”
      — Eva Golinger, 7 de marzo de 2013, hablándole a Patricia Janiot desde Nueva York.

      (Entre tantos otros manipuleos verbales…)

    • “Si el vice presidente Maduro, en este momento, es juramentado como un presidente interino, déjà de ser vicepresidente y entonces así puede ser candidato a las próximas elecciones presidenciales. O sea, hay siempre un discurso que distorciona y me parece una cosa, una falta de respetamenta (sic), en estos momentos de dolor, que está sientiendo el pueblo de venezuela y muchos alrededor del mundo, que se enfoca en unos temas así de golpismo, porque al final en lo que es el discurso de esa señora (Maria Corina Machado) es siempre buscando la manera de desacreditar y deslegitimar el gobierno de Hugo Chávez y ahora los que lo han sucedido….”

      — Eva Golinger, minuto 10:38, 7 de marzo de 2013, hablándole a Patricia Janiot desde Nueva York.

  10. If it is hoped that at some point chavismo implodes from its own unsustainability, then a winning strategy could include a means to accelerate said implosion. Imagine if the pueblo demanded their share of oil money from chavismo. Perhaps the opposition could sow, seed, and fertilize that little thought into their heads.

      • GotaDeAcido,

        You don’t. You do what any country would do without oil: government lives off of taxation derived from consumer market development which would be turbo powered with the oil revenue injection. Besides kick starting the economy, bottom-up, this would eliminate the petrostate model, and eliminate poverty.

        Most importantly, this is the alternative with the greatest chance to win.

        Allow me to turn the question around a bit on you: Do you prefer Maduro with that oil revenue, or the citizens with that oil revenue?

  11. I have heard that Caprilles press conference was only aimed at the foreign head of states that came to the funeral, so they wouldn’t attend the sworn in ceremony and convalidate something constitutionally questioned by the opposition, so we should not read this as the oppo saying that it won’t participate in the elections at least right away.

  12. My opinion of “we havent decided” is part of the eternal chronical agüevoneamiento opposition suffers from. Id rather have Capriles participate and loose than Maduro winning with blazing 90%, because we are more than sure that they dont give a rat’s ass about being legitimate or not. This sort of things make me wanna quit my nationality.

    • It’s a good point. Withdrawing only has an impact if you’re expected to get more votes than the other side. My guess is that the opposition will end up running somebody – not necessarily Capriles.

      I have a fantasy that they run a real bruiser. Guy like Alfonso Marquina. Just a guy to throw some punches, call a spade a spade, and then ride into the sunset. Marquina can’t seriously believe he’ll be president anyway, and I’m sure he’d relish 30 days in the spotlight. As somebody wrote me, the campaign materials practically design themselves:

  13. I believe the opposition should participate. We will lose. That’s ok. But the opposition must run – as Juan argued some time ago – saying the truths that need to be said no matter how politically unpalatable. I just hope that that they have the good sense of not burning Capriles in the process. Yes he made a mistake running in Miranda. However, he is still the most viable and legitimate candidate for the opposition when we go to elections again 6 years from now but probably much sooner.

  14. Bears repeating –
    In his speech, Capriles focused mostly on Maduro’s irregular accession to the presidency – the constitution is quite clear in stating that the Chairman of the National Assembly, not the old VP, should serve as interim president if the president-elect can’t be sworn in. But, as Jeff House puts it, “once Admiral Molero announced that election of Maduro was the objective of the Army, he effectively announced a military regime. The simplest and most easy-to-explain Constitutional violation is the violation of Armed Forces neutrality.”

    When both the guys with the gowns and the guys with the guns are openly, unembarrassedly lined-up behind the incumbent and vowing to eliminate you, it’s hard to convince even the most die-hard comeflor to take part.

    Más claro no canta un gallo

  15. I don’t understand abstentionism. I can understand in any particular case not running because this sort of hyper charged partisan environment is dangerous. There is no longer any pretense to rule of law. But abstentionism is just the sort of learned helplessness that strengthens a dictatorship. Venezuela is now ruled by a dictatorship.

  16. For Capriles to legally put his name into the hat, but declare he will not actively campaign might be a good strategy to highlight the real danger to the opposition to the outside world and force the Chavs into providing space.

    • Hmmm…

      Yeah. I like it. an underground campaign would be bound to spring up, and maybe it’s good not to have some bullshit politician lead it. No, I’m not asking for a new chavez ferchrissakes; let’s just us do it without un papito que te diga como.

  17. How much time does Capriles have to make up his mind? He doesn’t have much time to test the waters and see if there is any hope of a significant voter conversion. You really can’t ask him to risk all in a pointless campaign.

    • I actually think he already made his mind. They had a lot of time to think about this, and they are not chavistas improvising a funeral and acting like they guy dropped dead by surprise.

  18. A veces se va a ganar y a veces se va a perder, la mayoría de la gente que se mide en elecciones sabe que va a perder. El peo es que en éste caso, no es que vas a perder, es que vas a parate en el paredón como Piar a legitimar con tu presencia a quién burlaste por no haber sido electo. Igual yo opino que hay que ir al paredón, por la remota opción de ganar, para que Capriles siga a la cabeza de la oposición y porque sino, la gigantesca decepción que va a sentir la gente será un costo político aún mayor.

    Es como si tienes que presentar un examen difícil, tu profesor te odia, es el jefe del departamento, es el rector de la universidad, tienes que sacar 20 para pasar y tienes dos días para estudiar. Si arrugas simbólicamente estas clavado igual, no te queda otra sino intentar.

    • No! En ese caso lo que tienes que hacer es armar un peo, no presentar, y encadenarte a las puertas del salón!

      • No JC. En este examen te van a joder igual aunque te encadenes. Lo que pasa es que no solo es el Profe el que la tiene contigo. Es también el señor de la cantina, el guachiman y la mitad del sindicato de bedeles. Y tu tienes que conseguir la manera de hablar con ellos para convencerlos de que te apoyen… en el proximo semestre.

      • No vale. Te vas a encadenar a decir que no te odie, o que te lo ponga más fácil sin tener instancia donde acudir ni nada?? Esto es lo que hay. Vamos a una coñaza como la de Rocky y el ruso, sin entrenamiento reciente ni recursos equivalentes y a buscar lo imposible a punta de sudor. Sé que es muy difícil pero las he visto más feas y se han casado…

  19. The groundhog scenario is the worst for the opposition. Yes, Maduro will win with the sympathy vote, blah, blah. But so much time was wasted before Capriles entered the ring, that it’s not time to retreat and create MUDdy waters once again. Lula lost 3 times before becoming president!.

  20. Difficult situation , 1.- : As a matter of principle one doesnt vote to win but to express ones political choice in exercise of a right which others might violate but which you will not renounce to . Its a way of asserting your dignity as a citizen whatever the outcome. .2.- Coming from two defeats its true that many in the opposition will abstain and that the result will underscore the ‘invincivility of the Regimes candidate and undermine the image of whoever is defeated. as a ‘loser’ , something which might come back to haunt him if, as most expect, he will come back in the future to be the oppositions candidate again. 3.- If we feel the decks are stacked against the opposition then the illegitimacy of such posture should be protested with as much scandal as possible , politically draw the max political blood from their abuses and let the record stand, . 4.- Participate in the elections under protest that conditions make them unfair choosing a protest candidate to make your position clear ( Not hcr) and perhaps leaving people the option of voting void as a way of protesting their rejection of an unfair election . The protest candidate should use his candidacy to arouse anger are what are going to be the most salient failures of Mr Maduros government in months to come . Trying to leave imprinted in peoples mind what the next year is going to be like . the idea is not to win but to do as much damage as possible to the regimes image in preparation of future elections .

  21. I repeat, unless there is a plan B, which I doubt, abstention from elections has only weakened the opposition movement.

    Wether Maduro is there legitimally or not, he will be there just for 30 days until the elections. Would it make a difference if Cabello was president in charge instead of Maduro? IMHO no, in both cases the Constitution was violated because it was badly written to start with to distinguish President with President elect. So we have a Constitution that depends 100% on the interpretation given by a non-independent entity that is the TSJ.

    The TSJ was non-independent from DAY ONE, as the old CSJ was dismantled illegally. Nobody complained there, everybody let go and this pantomine has been on and on and on.

    The key in Venezuela is recuperating the National Assembly because it is the AN the one that nominates the judges, the fiscal, etc. Until that is not done, we will live in a constitutional twilight zone that will depend solely on TSJ interpretation.

    Now, abstaining leads nowhere. It only discourages the opposition voters and weakens the opposition in the long run. One cannot have an opposition that cries “Illegal” only when it has no chances of winning.

    To the opposition leaders that might be reading this: PLEASE learn from your past mistakes, we want at least a chance to get rid of Chavismo in our lifetime!

    • Agree that abstentionism is totally wrong both as a matter of principle and as a matter of practical politics but sometimes people will abstain from an absence of cojones , or from lazyness or from frustration specially after two consecutive defeats so although abstentionism should be discouraged there is likely to be lots of it. In that case something ought to be done so as to lessen its impact on the oppositions image and instead use a really hard hitting candidate , a dispensable candidate to draw blood from the regime and prepare the ground for the comming dissapointments which Maduro will present its followers in the comming year.

      • Also, they are two separate issues, and should be argued distinctly:
        1. Abstention from running.
        2. Abstention in voting.

      • I think Capriles is the best (disposable) candidate for several reasons:
        – He is already known
        – It is a very short campaign
        – He is a good loser (not joking)
        – He already has a job to fallback on, so no harm done

    • Agree that abstention is NOT a good strategy (and in particular lacking a plan B).

      A couple of points to add:
      * How many times did Lula ran as a candidate before winning? Did loosing several times ‘lo quemo’ ???
      * Asamblea National elections in 2015
      * Possible recall referendum in 3 – 4 years (but for this to work, Maduro should not be able to get a huge vote)
      * My stance, Capriles should run with a sledge-hammer. That is asking Maduro when are they going to raise gasoline prices, IVA, or other paquetazo measures they will have to take. Asking why Chavez ran last year if he was so sick (or was adviced by such lousy Doctors that could not prevent such a bad relapse), etc.

    • Bruni, you are way off base here. Diosdado as President and Maduro as candidate will make it more difficult for Maduro to take advantage of the incumbency advantage. With Maduro candidate and President, cadenas of him inaugurating stuff every day will be the norm and we have no chance. Honestly…

      • I disagree, I think that whoever is the President in this 30 days would make no difference. Chavismo is there with all they have. They want to win big and they will use, as usual, all the resources of the state to accomplish it.

        I think the opposition is trying to take a way out because they are overwhelmed by the response on Chávez death and nobody wants to “burn” itself for this election. As usual, they are unprepared for what everbody knew it was coming, as they were unprepared for the effect of the morochas in 2005.

        I have learned one thing in life and in politics: never leave your space unless you have a plan B, like a massive popular response on your side, but that is very unlikely to happen, specially after Chávez death.

  22. Most of my friends believe that Maduro will win. And I have to admit that it’s a very unlikely outcome. Given the slim chances of winning in April, I think opposition should play this mid-term. Wait til the temple falls down on Maduro’s head and go for the Recall Vote in 3 years.

    Setting the recall vote as our goal, we should run right now a campaign predicting what’s going to happen in the next few months: a new devaluation, an increase in gasoline price and taxes (IVA, IDB), even more food shortages and a high devaluation. If all happens according to our predictions, opposition will win some credibility and will be able to run a strong campaign in a couple of years.

  23. After reading the article and follow up posts it seems we have a disconnect with the realities of life and we should think a little bit just for the fun if it

    A) Why is the government rushing to have elections? Are they not using the old approach of takibg advantage of the “pity” after someone dies . Should we be surprised?
    B) That the VP or the AN should be the president who cares really. What is the benefit of the whinning
    C) That the courts allowed this to happen, are we asking this question after 14 years, again really!
    D) That Capriles has to be the candidate, did he lose the previous election?.By stating this are we not playing into item A , who really benefits
    E) Elections cost money, who has the most.Who can afford these. If the opposition is just to run for these elections to meet someone else deadline , are they not burning through funds in a unnecessary way.At the end wil the opposition weaken
    F) Are the elections % going to change in such a short time?

    It seems that if Maduro wants to be president let him run against a silent vote.He will have to deal with the mess that is behind the curtain and the opposition needs the time to re structure and come up with a better playbook than the passive aggressive style used to date and have a real story

    If the opposition wants to have elections then time is required and should be used to have a real candidate selected by all and a real plan, the government should be fine they are still the government

    In 3 years people will come into voting age for 1st time and they have only known one government, sounds familiar

  24. Abstention is not an option. It sends a message that you lack conviction in your beliefs. The message needs to remind everyone that it has been more than a decade has passed since the opposition has been in power. The chavez cult needs to responsible and reap the economic mess they have sown. The safety crisis should also be a central tenent to any campaign. Ask yourself if you know anyone that has been a victim of crime in Venezuela. In my immediate family there has been theft from the house when nobody was home, a home invasion where the family was bound and the home was looted as well as a kidnapping, robbery, and theft of a car . The sad thing is that the theft seems as if it’s almost nothing compared to other violations my family has endured. All of this in addition to the variety of hardships that have been created by the government which have decimated my families business. Sorry for the rant. I am certain that safety is something that impacts every voter in Venezuela. The government can’t run from its record of failure.

    • Abstention or running just to run is the same thing.
      Was crime an issue during the last election did it change the outcome
      We are “romantics” if we just say lets put Capriles for elections on April 14th that is complete shortsighted view of the real situation.
      In order for the election profile to change you need an event that changes people thinking.
      Chavez death is not one helping the opposition

  25. Capriles will run. He doesn´t have to, he’s free to choose, but he will. Why? guess he sees it a personal responsability.

  26. “Como en el juego de perinola loco, si la ensartas pierdes y si no tambien…” it’ seem to be the case!!

  27. Since 2000 I have been convinced, and told anyone who wanted to hear it, that it is utterly stupid for the opposition to participate in any kind of elections in Venezuela. The only sensible position is to abstain from participating in elections when the Government abuses its power in many different ways as everybody knows. Partipating legimizes those elections which are impossible to legitimize. This middle of the road approach is sheer stupidity. You can’t be half pregnant. Either elections are fair or they are not. If they are not, the opposition are “tontos útiles” by participating. Please concentarte on denouncing the abuses and the hypocrisy and double standard of the dictatorship.

  28. I’m calling it. COPEI will run someone, to lend Maduro a constitutional fig leaf. Between Ricardo Sanchez warning against “abandoning democratic spaces” and Roberto Enriquez saying we have to “get over it” regarding Maduro’s designation, I think they’re ready to be the government’s patsy.

  29. These “leaders” who showed up in Venezuela for the Chabruto Funeral Circus Event (CFCE) are nothing but hypocritical LEACHES, after the Venezuela oil and riches, as usual. I’m even ashamed of my own direct heritage from Spain sending the Prince over there.. what a disgrace.

    It shows us the nature of international Politics: all about hidden interests and future contracts and very often, personal gain for the politicians in shady, under-the-table deals.

    It’s CLEAR that the vultures, and international sharks are out in the prowl, trying to get a piece of the pie after an infamous, murderous dictator called Chavez, luckily for Venezuela, is dead.

    I’m ashamed of Venezuela by enlarge, ashamed of all 50 countries who even showed up in Caracas. What a crock of shyt..

    They’ll probably show up in Cuba too, after the Castros are dead, after they killed and destroyed and robbed that country for over 50 years, as Chavez tried to do in our Country.

    Why? $$$$$$$$$ and political motives, of course.

  30. And of course the next so called “elections” will again be rigged and fraudulent. The leaches and vultures around, including half of our bribed “pueblo” will make sure the chavista system remains in power. There will be thousands of new bribes “cambures” and fishy job offers, of course. The flimsy, dumb “opposition” stands no chance whatsoever, they should just police and denounce the corruption now, with proof of the blatant transgressions. They should focus on numbers: criminal records, unprecedented inseguridad publica, inflation, the economy in shambles, etc. It’s a waste of time and resources to even show up for the next “elections”..

  31. I agree that it would be a BIG mistake to abstain from the election. And, yes, in all likelihood whoever runs will lose to Maduro. But as has been pointed out here, the spending levels that ‘bought’ the previous election cannot be sustained and the ‘defecation is about to hit the rotary oscilator’ when it comes to the economy. Maduro will try to blame the oppo for this collapse, as always. But that is why the MUD has to participate in this election – to use the election ‘soap box’ to get the word out and warn of the impending collapse. Forget whether the Maduro-Cabello front is a mask for a bloodless coup. It just doesn’t matter. It is a fait-a-compli, so let it go. They have made their bed and better they lie in it than have the oppo in power when the collapse occurs.

  32. You know what’s going on here: an “argument” that I’ve heard repeated time and again: “we will lose face with international public opinion.” And you know what, so f-ing what? Wanna know what public opoinion thinks of the opposition? We should have asked them yesterday while they were all lined up like toy soldiers “guarding” Chávez’s coffin.

    The fact is that you want Capriles to run because you don’t want to have to explain to your friend in Paris or London or Montreal why it is that the opposition didn’t participate. And that’s simply not strong enough.

  33. OK, after my little rant, here’s sort of where I’m leaning.

    Yesterday marked the first day of the Chavismo sin Chávez, and from the way they treated us (like dirt, like we’re worthless), things are not looking good.

    Maduro simply thinks the opposition is inhuman, and murderous, and crazy, and unpatriotic, and unworthy of even the slightest gesture of magnanimity. Folks, nobody from the opposition – not a mayor, not a governor, not a deputy – nobody was allowed to go to our President’s funeral. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in the front row, and chavista women gave him a standing ovation on International Women’s Day. That’s how far off the deep end we are.

    Aside from that, we have very serious violations of the Constitution and the laws, which very clearly state that the only person who DOESN’T need to separate himself from his job for an election is the person running for the job they already have. That is why Maduro was sworn in, because as “President” he can remain on the job while he campaigns and commands all public funds and looks down at people from gigantic billboards and orders the Armed Forces around to ensure his triumph … all paid for with public money.

    These violations, and the Armed Forces’ position, simply make it impossible for Capriles to win. Even without them it would have been hard, given the general sentiment toward Chávez, but with this, it’s a done deal.

    If we let chavistas know that no matter how outrageously they behave, no matter how many laws they break, no matter what odds they stack against us, we will still play ball, then they will never respect us. And this is the beginning of their term – it marks the tone for what is to come.

    I know that not participating is, in principle, wrong. I have always been on the pro-participating side. But even I have to concede that this is not clear cut, that they have crossed the line with their latest shenanigans, and that if we let them run over us now, they will never stop doing so. We will let them get away with it.

    Maduro NEEDS the opposition. He needs to be legitimized by his people, and in front of the Armed Forces. He needs it to implement the unpopular reforms that must come. And if he needs us, he’d better start treating us like human beings. Furthermore, the opposition doesn’t need to fight a losing battle that will leave it demoralized, bankrupt, and with no leader. It doesn’t need to fight a fight where death is 100% assured, because Luisa Estela and the Defense Minister have practically decreed it so.

    So yeah, I’m on the fence, but you know where I’m leaning.

    • Sadly, the oppo running or not will not change anything anytime soon, and if Maduro wins with one vote, the Carters of the world wll declare him demoratically elected. Doom and gloom, I know

        • OK, yes, a campaign is hellaciously expensive. So why spend the money when the outcome is foretold? Because almost half the country voted AGAINST Chavez in the last election and those people deserve to be represented in THIS election, that`s why.

          • Yes, the opposition voters are just dying for another slap in the face. We can’t wait til April 14th!

        • I’m not saying I disagree with you. I think for the oppo it’s a loose-loose proposition and any money campaigning might be better spent on migration.

    • I beleive money would be better spent on campaigns (rearguard actions) directed to slowing down their transformation project. Anything that will target their dirty laundry, particularly their money men and economic interest behind the Chavismo both at home and abroad, even petitions for referendums targeting the CNE or other governmental organizations projects… Anything will be more productive than participating. The next electoral process in Venezuela as it stand today is absurd, Playing ball will only lend credibility to the Maduro consecration as High Priest of the Chavismo movement and elected President, Why do it?

    • By stacked and rigged elections the opposition cannot make inroads
      In April the death of Chavez is still fresh, oil price forecasts are showing prices stable.
      So the lower classes in Venezuela will be treated to another surreal windfall of freebies
      Why drain opposition funds in that type of conditions
      Another critical issue

      What is the oposition message

      They are bad, evil, etc

      Come in the opposition needs to understand the current Venezuelan behaviours and taylor the message and actions to that reality

    • JC,
      How to package in an understandable message all those violations you mention??? Do we even remember the violations of 2005?
      It is much easier to understand that MUD did not run because of fear of losing.
      Again you are right, but how do you communicate that in layman’s terms is very important (and doing that is an big asset of chavismo).

      OT, you want a campaign theme: get the part of yesterday’s speach when Maduro says he is not prepared for this.

      • Communicate to whom? I think it’s clear. The law says that Maduro has to run by separating himself from his post. By allowing him to run while being “President,” they are giving him an unfair advantage. This, and the Armed Forces position, ensures he will win, and is clearly illegal and unfair.

        It’s quite simple, Henrique explained it very well last night.

        • To whom? 70% of the population (the base).
          Capriles explained it very well to you, me and the foreign media.
          Yet the constitution says in that in an absolute absence the VP becomes president (encargado). Isn’t that what happened? (you see, you have to add that the electoral law does not allow to run while maintaining public office, etc. and here is where it gets fussy and complicated).
          What Molero (defense minister) said is much easier to prove.
          But thats my point.

    • 1.- Chavistas will NEVER, NEVER respect the opposition. Whether they participate or not, whether they speak up or not. No matter what they do, chavistas (in government) will NEVER respect us. We cannot earn their respect. Period.
      2.- We need to earn the respect of Venezuelans in general, chavistas, ninis and opposition minded, the people. That is your target, that is who you are talking to. Not the military, not the foreign press, not the deputies, the people.
      3.- I totally buy the argument of not participating because there are no resources or to save them for later.
      4.- I do not buy the argument of not participating because we ‘legitimize’ Maduro if we do. Participation legitimizes nothing. Abuses are abuses they delegitimize when they happen. If you do not participate there are no abuses to cry about.
      5.- The purpose of participation is to talk to the people, to present your points of view, to contrast your ideas, to expose yourself, to gain support. If you don’t participate you lose support. Other elections will come and you’ll have better chances if they know you already.
      6.- Chavistas in power will only respect force. The only force that the opposition can have is the support of the people. That is why political activism, with elections or not, is the key for the opposition. They have to side with the people in all their protests.

    • The chaviztas do not care about respecting people,they are for the power and money. The more they can anihilated opposition the better.they will win an keep their foundation work and form of politics. Let them be alone in the elections for president,that will be a sane step to do ,why make a harakiri with Capriles.Nobody needs to see him be converted into a fakir and support all the pain for nothing really , better to make a strong point about the fraud and keep working ,the problems will come later for those bandits.

      • You can’t seriously be making the case that abstaining from elections always leads to political suicide.

        • No, I’m not, and the more I think on it, boycotting the presidential election may be a viable course – though the boycott of the AN elections WAS political suicide. A boycott of the election robs Maduro of legitimacy, but only to those who care about such things – which, of course, the rank and file chavistas do not. (but, JCN, be real, you cannot equate Capriles with Ang Saan Kyi…)

  34. Look, the MUD will lose in all scenarios (not running, running Capriles, running Marquina, etc) but hey, we had already lost hope for the 2013-19 period so let it go (ok, some suspected CHavez would die quickly, but you get my point)… So two key questions: should the MUD participate? Yes, it lets you say a few things to their face and makes for a nice set of ‘I told you so’ clips that we will be able to use in the next elections (local, AN, etc) … ‘i told you infation was going to soar, i told you scarcity was going to get worse with Maduro, i told you crime was going to increase with Maduro, etc) who should run? It doesn’t matter, do not worry about burning Capriles, six years is a long time to re-build before the next election but hopefully also enough time for a new set of oppo leaders to come up (students, community leaders, etc)… There is hope in 6 years once the memory of Chavez has faded, Chavistas are divided (they will divide, no doubt about this) and once he consequences of their socialism are even more clear… Then whoever the MUD runs will ride to victory…. But I can’t begin to imagine the mess that Maduro-DCR can create in 6yrs, so depressing….

  35. Search your feelings. Is this not the exact same kind of fear as 2002 Chavez? I’m starting to think that Maduro’s instructions were “start it all up again, it works.”

  36. Chavismo without Chavez is like pizza without cheese. If Chavez himself could only draw 55%, Maduro will be lucky to get 35%. (IMO, of course.) The funeral response will have burned out in another month. IMO (again) the extreme rhetoric of Maduro and the comments from the military are braggadocio, to initimidate the opposition.

    Yes, the chavernment will do everything in its power to skew the election. What are they going to do that they didn’t do in October? Can they even do everyting they did in October, considering the financial collapse? Have not many circumstances worsened for them? The devaluation – the electrical breakdowns – the prison riots – all bad news.

    And they don’t have Chavez.

    Can the oppo turn out as many votes as in October? Why not? The intimidation of the chavistas? That is letting them fulfill their own prophecy.

    I can’t see any oppo voters from October voting for Maduro. If they all turn out this time, Maduro has to hold over 85% of the Chavez voters. If just 10% abstain (of the Chavez bloc, not the total electorate), and 5% cross over, the oppo wins.

    And Chavez is gone.

    Now consider the probable results of abstention.

    First, it may not be enforceable.

    Some oppo faction may think it can grab the whole brass ring. The removal of Chavez and the bad news certainly creates an opportunity. If MUD declines it, there are militant oppo elements who will still believe that the voters are ready to repudiate chavismo. The true believers often think they have wide support.

    CC has reported rumors that COPEI will run someone if MUD abstains. Even if the copeyano only gets 15%-25%, that would legitimize the election, nullifying the effect of abstention.

    Second, it concedes control of the state to chavismo for six more years.

    Chavez trusted his ability to win “honest” elections, and refrained from forcibly suppressing the oppo or rigging the count. He was thus vulnerable, and the chavernment with him.

    The post-chavistas have no such confidence – therefore they will make certain of the results later on. But they haven’t had time to do that yet. If they have six more years in power, they will. They will abolish the oppo parties, suppress the independent press and media, and seize the remnants of private enterprise not owned by their friends. Anti-chavistas will be driven from the country – and the vote of expats will be eliminated. Venezuela will become a police state on the model of Cuba.

    So the snap election may be the last opportunity to defeat chavismo without a revolution.

    • Rich, the concept of elections as a mean to change President Venezuela is not feasible.

      You do not have anything that resembles the maquinaria Adeca to get people to go vote

      The opposition is fragmented, under funded.Chavez made good efforts to insure the weakness

      Capriles may be a good guy and good at managing but the last Elections show that he does not have that FIRE that is required to attract all levels of the country.Dont get me wrong , Maduro is not great but the PSUV has the means to rally and force people to go vote

      What was that saying in Maracaibo

      Cobres mata galan

      And Capriles is our galan in this party

  37. If the opposition abstains because the defense minister said something sinister and because the TSJ took a totally crazy decision favouring the regimes candidate , whose to say that in the next elections things will be different ?? they will be exactly the same if not worse , so does that mean that opposition out of principle will take always the same position of abstaining because of something the regime does ?? thats political suicide!!. the opposition should participate in the election but do it in a way that extracts every ounce of advantage it can from the regimes illegitimate behaviour and protesting about the unfairness of its abuses and making sure a message gets through about the comming failures of Mr Maduros administration . Churchill didnt stop fighting when the Nazis defeated france , he went on fighting until the opportunity rose to strike back fiercely at nazism and defeat them !! Same thing here , keep fighting whatever the odds until a door opens and you get in!!

    • I am not sure why people believe that running on the April 14 elections is so essential for Venezuela.
      Is the opposition ready? What is the message , I hope you don’t think is the one from the last election. It did not change anything. What about organization? .We still have creeps like Omar Barboza talking in TV. How about press, TV , what is the strategy for the masses

      Referendum, delaying the election, voto nulo are all options that could better provide momemtum

      Remember the government uses the elections for their validation

      What happens if Venezuela stages the abstention vigil the day before to demand more time, lets prepare and not be forced

      Hey even Cuba holds presidential elections


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