My endorsement (Updated)

Getting in touch with my abstentionist side
Getting in touch with my abstentionist side

I’ve always advocated participation. I thought the 2005 election withdrawal was a mistake.  Even yesterday, I tweeted that abstaining would be a mistake.

But after hearing Capriles’ message yesterday, and listening to arguments for either side, I think the arguments for NOT participating are the strongest.

Here is what I would suggest we do:

  1. Tell the government clearly that, in order to participate, Maduro should separate himself from whatever post he has prior to registering as a candidate. Power should be handed over to Diosdado Cabello (Arreaza’s appointment as VP is illegal).
  2. Defense Minister should resign.

If that doesn’t happen (which it clearly won’t), we don’t play ball. End of story. They want an opposition? They want the democratic veneer that comes with a contested election? They need to respect the rules of the game.

My positions are laid out in my tweets, and in the comments to the post about Henrique’s choices.

Obviously, there is no right answer to this, and if they decide the opposite, what the heck. But to me the right answer is clearly staring us in the face.

Update: Five minutes after I posted this, the MUD decided to do the complete opposite, which only proves just how influential this blog is!

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  1. Not participating is perfectly valid, I agree with the #absurdo arguments on your tweets, but the “and then” part of your proposal is still missing, let’s see what AveledoMUD says.

  2. Sorry to go off topic, JC.

    R.G. Aveledo makes a public statement: The MUD will participate in the election with one single unity card.

  3. Six years — it’s a long time.

    (The recall idea — fantasy, after the Tascon List).

    So, things are deteriorating in the coming years, and opposition voters are feeling what? Grateful that way back when, Capriles never participated in the election? Never even gave them their best shot? I seriously doubt it.

    For non-elites, participation in elections = democracy. Those who don’t participate are at best scaredy-cats, and at worst confirming all the allegations about seeking power non-democratically.

    As much as we want this to be different from 2005, it’s the same problem: abstention doesn’t send the message you want to send.

    • Lucia,

      All the contrary, as you can see by past results, by pretending we have a democracy in which to win, we are contradicting oursleves when we say Chavez is a dictator.

      • Nobody’s pretending anything.

        The conditions are insanely unfair. So say that, and say everything else, too: Maduro et al are lying, incompetent, corrupt thieves who will only make things worse. There is a better way. Here’s what we’d do differently.

        My point is: the message you intend to send via abstention is different from the message that is being received by millions of Venezuelans, who will have a very bottom line perception: they thought they would lose, they were too scared to lose again, they are not democrats.

  4. Aaaaaaaaaaaand capriles again… *sigh*
    Let’s see if he keeps being comeflor, my guess is yes and unless something really dramatic happens (yes, even more!), Maduro reelected in 2019

  5. No chico… Mira. The cold truth is that we don’t have a majority of the people on our side and so we are 100% focused on the disgusting abuses of power which will exist on any chavista ruled scenario present or future. You need to go out get the majority on your side, that is the only way out, and for that they need to respect your effort, they need to see you fight against all that and still win. NINGÚN ESPACIO SE SEDE TODO ESPACIO SE CONQUISTA y espichando la pelota no se gana el juego.

    • It’s more than abuse. It’s a premeditated crime designed to deprive, punish, humiliate, destroy. It’s like mob rule. There is no thought of law, justice, equity, fairness. And, what makes it even more paradoxical, it is leading to an economic cliff!

      What I find most disturbing, is that some of them must know that this revolution is a disaster, and it makes me suspect there has to be something planned by them. Or maybe it’s just desperation that is spiraling out of control? My concern is that a mob mentality could take hold that could lead to violence on a large scale, even massacres.

      Non violent resistance when 43 percent of the population is involved is a better option, I’m sure. It needs to be set up now, before it’s too late.

  6. But you don’t seriously expect them to play by the rules, do you? Not now, not ever. You run against them if you think you can 1. win or 2. score points that will help you later. I believe we need to have a discussion about the 2nd one. What do we lose by participating? Money? Yes, but it’s going to be a very short campaign = relatively cheap. I don’t buy the arguments about “legitimizing” Maduro. Heck, we would be running against him! I don’t know JC, you need to make a more convincing argument that running would hurt the opposition.

  7. We have to participate, if 2005 would have never happened I could agree, but the truth is, as you already said, 2005 ghosts are still following us, we can’t abstain or the we’ll have to take the toll when Maduro wins with 90% and the opposition get (again) nothing…

  8. We have to run. BUT this time Capriles must be a mad rothweiler against the gov’t AND say the hard things nobody wants to hear. Nothing to lose now.

  9. Well, I think voting is a privilege that should always be exercised. There are other ways to exert strength and to express resentment… and we don’t really know what can happen through the election. The economy is bad… THREATEN MAKE IT WORSE!!!!

  10. Juan Cristóbal: are you Venezuelan? If you are I imagine it’s been a long time that you left the country, otherwise how can you propose this?:
    1.Tell the government clearly that, in order to participate, Maduro should separate himself from whatever post he has prior to registering as a candidate. Power should be handed over to Diosdado Cabello (Arreaza’s appointment as VP is illegal).
    2.Defense Minister should resign.

  11. The problem with 2005 was not the walk out, was the lack of follow through.

    We keep telling the wrong story because the oppo leadership mato el tigre pero el tuvo miedo al cuero, o es que no se acuerdan de menos de 15% de participacion.

    Si se sigue jugando el juego, y se esperan resultados diferentes se es bien pendejo…

  12. Chavez is dead.

    This fact should outweigh everything else tenfold.

    Maduro is nothing compared to Chavez. Who loves him?

    The oppo can attack him directly every day.

    The chavernment will exploit all their illegal advantages? They will always do that.

    This is the oppo’s best shot at winning. In six years it will be hopeless.

    The alternative is revolution.

  13. Abstentionism AGAIN, in 2013, would only be another smug, self-delusional protest by the opposition. Again, just like the Venezuelan national assemblies, both BEFORE and DURING Chavez’ time,who gave habilitantes to presidents, giving up their responsibility to PARTICIPATE in politics.

    Do you seriously think that anyone of the people who thronged to Chavez’ funeral will see the Opposition’s refusal to participate as a sign of DIGNITY or STRENGTH?! No way. It is ABSOLUTELY clear to them that an opposition who NOW refuses to participate is DEMORALIZED and SCARED after they were shown the truth of the people’s love for Chavismo. They will be absolutely convinced that the opposition is using the excuse of complaining about “democratic abuses” to cover up the fact that the opposition is demoralized by the outpouring of grief and support for Chavez and chavismo. And, the Ni-Ni’s will basically think the same.

    Show some cajones and PARTICIPATE, even if they abuse you. Speak TRUTH to POWER, even if you think you will be drowned out by the state media and even if they put you in jail. Someone like Baduel who went to jail for his ideas, in the end, is much more respected that Manuel Rosales who ran.. Chavez and Diosdado too went to prison for their ideals … even if you despise their ideals, … would Caprilles do the same? Lopez? If you want to take power, you have to show COURAGE. To run from an election is crazy. It is the responsibility of both the left and right opposition to Chavismo to take any and all opportunities to speak to the people and present their alternatives (disorganized and weak as they may be).

    Uggh. This is just too much. Abstaining is: I’m going home and I’m taking my toys with me, that will teach the officialistas.” The opposition will, once again, from the right-wing-dictator wannabe Carmona to the 2005 stupid, anti-democratic, irresponsible abstentionism will once again be the laughing stock of Latin America, — and in Washington they will once again be convinced that all these people (the opposition) want is for ‘us to go solve their problems for them.’


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