This blistering play-by-play account of the inner workings of last week’s MUD meeting is mandatory reading (in Spanish, sorry). In it, practically all the main players in the opposition come out looking like adolescent prima donnas not-quite-ready for prime time.
The main point of contention seems to be La Salida, but I think it goes beyond that. The main thing driving these people away from each other is a lack of maturity, a real absence of the urgency of the moment, a lack of awareness of the historical role they have to play, a complete absence of humility, and an inability to empathize with ordinary Venezuelans, particularly the political prisoners.
The money quote (and, boy, there were many candidates) was this one:
“While these and other skirmishes were taking place, people noticed that Henrique Capriles Radonski kept quiet, with a face that one eyewitness described as “profoundly bored,” (profunda ladilla) his attention focused on a tablet computer. The governor of Miranda and two-time presidential candidate did this deliberately. “It’s Henrique’s personality,” says a personal friend. He decided that through his silence he would “eloquently” express his disagreement with La Salida, with what was being discussed in the meeting, and with “immediate” methods “that failed in april 2002, and with the withdrawal from the legislative elections in 2005.”
No one failed to notice the silent protest. Only once did Capriles fall into the temptation of interpersonal duels. That was when Antonio Ledezma, Caracas’ Metropolitan Mayor, placed the origins of the opposition’s division not on the La Salida crowd – as Julio Borges and Justice First claim – but Capriles’ decision in 2013 to suspend the march to the National Electoral Council after the results of the Presidential Election were called into question. When confronted with this, Capriles jumped from his seat and said “I don’t regret it, and I would do it again. Whoever is bothered by that, tough.”
As folks such as Sairam Rivas sit in jail, as Leopoldo Lopez is imprisoned for simply raising his voice in protest, as the country’s economy veers toward complete collapse, as the opposition coalition lies in tatters … the supposed leader of the coalition cannot be bothered to engage with the people on his side. He is too uninterested, too entitled to explain his strategy to his partners. He’s too busy playing something (the Kim Kardashian app? a version of 2048 called 2019?) on his iPad.
There is lots more in the story: fights over how many people from which party get to attend the meeting, immature walkouts (Henry Ramos, that’s you we’re talking about), and a heavy dose of sexism (Maria Corina Machado, the lone woman in the room, seems to be everyone’s enemy).
It paints a
sad horrifying picture of the MUD. Of the many things that jump out of this text, none is more important than the question: is the opposition … ready to govern Venezuela?
I think we all know the answer to that.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.