Wanted: wonks

mistrust-the-people-and-therefore-deprive-them-of-their-arms-aristotle-6732One of the remarkable things from recent opinion polls such as this one from Datanálisis is that, while the Maduro government is blamed for most of the country’s ills, a large chunk of Venezuelans still mistrust the opposition.

From the same Datanálisis poll (HT: @puzkas), we learn that while a majority of Venezuelans dislike the government,

  • 50% of Venezuelans think the opposition could not solve the problem of scarcity;
  • 53.9% of us think the opposition cannot solve crime;
  • 57% of respondents say they do not know what the opposition’s proposals on crime are;
  • 56.8% have no idea what the opposition proposes to tame inflation;
  • only 36% think the opposition can be trusted to solve the country’s problems, and
  • only 24% of independent voters think the opposition can solve the country’s problems.

Now, after two presidential campaigns, you would think that people know what the opposition stands for, that they understand what they would do if they were to reach power. The fact that they do not speaks volumes about the opposition’s inability to get their message across. It may also signal that the oppposition actually has no clue.

I know what many are going to say: the opposition is blocked from media, so people don’t know what our proposals are. To which I say: bull. Crap.

Listen, I am not one of those people who doesn’t get the message about the opposition’s proposals. Any time a “proposal” comes around, I dissect it. I look out for them. I analyze and write about them. And you know what? After all of my research, if polled, I would probably side with the majority of the people up there.

Few of our main opposition leaders have a sound idea about many of the country’s issues, and the majority sees through it. They are not idiots, or uninformed – in fact, they are quite clever. For too long, our leadership has disdained the concept of thinking hard about the country’s problems, and spelling out the *obvious* solutions to the people. People see that.

For example, there are a few obvious things that need to be done. The gas subsidy needs to go away. We need to bring in private partners to jack up our infrastructure. We need to privatize some of the government’s companies. We need to stop using PDVSA as a cash cow. We need money for more judges, prosecutors, and prisons. We need to do away with most price controls, including the currency exchange controls. We need to fire a bunch of government employees.

There are tough choices ahead, but unless we confront them, we will never solve the country’s problems. When was the last time you heard an opposition politician honestly say these things out loud?

Look, people are desperate. We now learn that Twitter is being used as a means to barter medicine for diapers, for crying out loud. The country has never been in worse shape. You, opposition politician, may think that sticking to sound bites is what people want, that responding to this or that crazy proposal is the only thing you need to do. You’re wrong.

People need solutions. They need to be told the truth. They want someone who is unafraid to show that they’ve thought about their problems, understands them, and is honest enough to give it to them straight. They want someone … who respects their intellect. And after looking at you, they have decided you are not that person.

Think about why that is.