What the opposition needs is an election

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We need to turn the page
Time to turn the page

After a difficult year that was crowned by a defeat in December’s mayoral elections, the Venezuelan opposition is in a state of flux.

On one side, many voices are criticizing the passive role assumed by Henrique Capriles. These include, most prominently, Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo López, who have formed an alliance pushing Venezuelans to pour into the streets, calling for people to go to Citizens’ Assemblies tomorrow.

On the other hand, you have Capriles, along with a handful of mayors and governors, willing to sit down and talk to the government to find solutions to the problems.

It seems clear to me that these two contradictory approaches can only be solved … by an election. Whether the opposition goes the way of Ukraine or Myanmar is a choice that people need to make.

There are numerous difficulties in materializing this option, but until it does, one side will continue claiming the other one is wrong, and unity will be in jeopardy. The 2012 primary decided that Capriles was the leader, and the statute of limitations for that election is clearly up. We need another election to indicate where we go from now.

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t over-dramatize the current debate. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: whatever happens in Venezuela depends very little on what the opposition does. In a bankrupt country run by ever-diminishing oil rents, the military, the Cubans, and drug smugglers … we are political roadkill.