When the opposition first claimed fraud, back in the Recall Referendum of 2004, it had very little to go on. Quickly, we were split into two camps: those that thought we had lost (albeit uncleanly), and those that thought we had won, but a massive fraud perpetrated by the chavista CNE had switched the results.
We fell in the first group. This earned us the ire of some of our friends in the second group.
Years passed, and those old divisions reared their ugly heads time and again. Managing the two not-exactly-opposing-yet-starkly-different views of the “cleanness” of our elections was not an easy task, and until last Sunday, the mainstream view in the opposition was that, while elections were dirty, they were still clean enough to ensure that popular will would not be completely twisted. The “radicals” had no choice but to tag along, grudgingly.
Yeah, that’s all in the past.
One of the consequences of the fraud of April 14th is that, with the exception of a few tragically out-of-touch curmudgeons, everyone in the opposition agrees that what happened was an outrageous interference with the free will of the Venezuelan people. The old divisions between “fraudmeisters” and “appeasers” have gone out the window.
Now, as we face an uncertain audit, we see that ESDATA and Súmate, two NGOs that have been at the forefront of the “massive fraud” group, have joined forces with Capriles’ Comando Simón Bolívar. They are now cooperating closely on the technical aspects of the audit.
This is a de facto declaration of war on Tibisay Lucena and her merry band of buccaneers. No longer will they play the opposition against itself. No longer will we have fraud, yet not enough fraud to split the hard-liners from the softies in the opposition. Those days are over.
The opposition is united, and it is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at these audits. They are rigorously preparing to show that, indeed, the vote on April 14th was so marred by irregularities, it should be voided. And a consensus in the opposition about this is quickly forming.
I don’t know if this is smart or not, but it’s reality. When the audit wars are over, there will only be one group standing. Let’s hope it’s the guys on the right side.