Alone in a crowd

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Leopoldo 3I continue to be entertained by Boris Muñoz’s candid interview with political prisoner Leopoldo López. Here are a few takeaways of what Leopoldo says in the second part:

  1. The only evidence the government has against me is my speeches. What more proof that this is a dictatorship?
  2. The military controls who goes in and who comes out of the court room. (Note: this is outrageous; López is a civilian being tried in a civilian court)
  3. They prevent people from entering the proceedings, even though there are many empty seats.
  4. I have been allowed no witnesses for my defense; some of the government’s witnesses are members of the ruling party.
  5. The government barred me from running for office, but the measure expires in 2014. That is why they put me in jail.
  6. I’m taking it day by day. One of the things I’ve read is the memoirs of Cardinal Van Thuan, who went to jail in Vietnam. I am using this to prepare myself physically, spiritually, and mentally for the long haul. (Note: Van Thuan is one of my favorites, an inspiration; it’s the first time I hear a politician talk about him. Good for Leopoldo for feeding his soul with good things, and for at least saying what he reads, unlike others)
  7. He mentions the “Hospedales Report,” unknown by me, which was presented to the MUD in January and apparently vouches for the #LaSalida method. (Note: anybody know what he’s referring to?)
  8. We’ve been talking about the Constitutional Assembly as a way of fighting the dictatorship since October.
  9. Capriles was convinced the government had stolen the election, but he did not support the idea for people to go out into the streets. He told me, “if you think street protests are the way to go, you lead them.”
  10. I tried to coinvince the rest of the parties, but they wanted to wait.
  11. Waiting for the economy to deteriorate political support for the government is not feasible. Look at Cuba – economic deterioration there has not loosened the government’s grip on power.
  12. In the election of April of 2013, we were more ready than we had ever been. We had witnesses in many places where we hadn’t had them before. In October of 2012, we knew we had lost, there was nothing to do, in spite of all the tricks that Chávez used.
  13. I asked Capriles on the night of April 14th to call his supporters to the streets to defend his victory that night. He said no.
  14. Capriles asked Ramón José Medina to audit the election results. (Note: Ramón José Medina is an infamous political operator, famous in part for being the lawyer of the bolibourgoisie, and for … this disgraceful interview)
  15. I disagreed with Capriles’ suspension of street protests following the April election.
  16. Maduro is a moral midget, he is no De Klerk.
  17. The reasons for sitting down and talking to the government while students were being attacked belong to the individuals who went there. They owe the people some answers.
  18. 60% of Venezuelans do not believe we live in a democracy.
  19. The process of change inside the opposition began after the April 2013 elections, and after the municipal elections later that year. It didn’t begin with #LaSalida. (Note: Curiously, those two benchmarks are two of Henrique Capriles’ most painful defeats – the moment when his victory was “stolen,” and the moment when the opposition, except for Leopoldo, did poorly on what Capriles termed a “referendum” on Maduro. Leopoldo seems to hint that Capriles is through, as a consequence of the events of 2013)
  20. Hugo Chávez did very well when he was imprisoned in Yare. He had tons of visitors, and he was interviewed several times. I have had none of that.
  21. I have a map of Venezuela in my cell that I am studying it carefully. I am also learning to draw. (Good grief, more prisoners who think they are artists!)
  22. The constitutional assembly is needed because the entire system needs to be changed. Large numbers of Venezuelans would be willing to sign to call for a Constitutional Assembly.
  23. Venezuela needs to become the world’s largest exporter of crude.

It’s amazing that the tone Leopoldo strikes from his prison cell in Ramo Verde is much more positive and optimistic than the tone struck by some of the politicians who are out and about. However, one troubling aspect of Leopoldo’s political career comes through in this interview.

Much of what he has to say has to do with his inability to convince important political allies. His narration of recent events is littered with failed attempts to convince others of his points of view. Whether it’s calling people out into the streets after the April elections, convincing folks that the Constitutional Assembly is the way to go, or the wisdom of #LaSalida, it just seems like, barring a few exceptions, there is deep chasm between himself and the rest of the MUD.

This was on display this week. The MUD announced it was offering its position of Secretary General to activist Chúo Torrealba (more on that later), and it was leaked that Voluntad Popular, Leopoldo’s party, was the only one voting against the motion.

I don’t really know why this is. Maybe it’s a clash of personalities. Perhaps it is a product of leftover resentments from Leopoldo’s splits with multiple parties inside the opposition. Who knows to what extent political jealousy plays into this. Regardless, it baffling to me that such a charismatic, smart, obviously talented politician … has so much trouble making friends with those on our side.

1 COMMENT

  1. Waidaminute, he really said Maduro “is no DeKlerk”!???!?

    En serio?

    Then the guy wonders why people think he has delusions of grandeur. He’s very explicitly casting himself as…NELSON MANDELA!!

    • “El diálogo fue una táctica de Maduro para aplacar la protesta de calle. Los hechos muestran que nunca hubo, ni habrá intencion de quienes gobiernan de dialogar para cambiar el sistema. Nicolás Maduro no es Frederick de Klerk, quien ante la imposibilidad de mantener el sistema de apartheid liberó a Mandela y promovió unas elecciones que sabía perdidas. Maduro es un enano moral que prefiere hundir al país en la miseria antes de rectificar, antes de dialogar.”

      • Juan, this quote is revealing. Of course the State has/had no intention of dialogue to change the system.

        There is no political crisis of sufficient magnitude to impel such a thing. Maduro is not at all in a situation such as that faced by de Klerk in So. Africa where a revolutionary situation was maturing and the state might soon be forcibly overthrown.

        The was nothing of this sort in Venezuela (there weren’t even mass opposition protests after a photo-finish election was arbitrarily decided in favor of the PSUV). Maduro had no reason to act like de klerk. Rather, what Maduro et al were doing, as I understand it, was to seek the opposition’s cooperation in dealing with crime and similar civil/social issues that the PSUV could not solve on its own in return for some concessions that were to be discussed. Maduro had no material reason to be anything like de Klerk.

        There seems to have been a belief among the opposition that participating in these discussions and working together would be a positive step in the national interest, would make a statement against political polarization and etc. (Of course, each side thought they would be the ones who would get the greater political capital for their willingness to work together in the public interest.)

        Clearly Leopoldo L. did not approve of this tactic and this quote from him that Juan cites above shows the reason:: talks with Maduro et al on mere reforms implies that a transition from the present state to a new state (to a new constitution) led by the opposition) is not the immediate and sole goal of the opposition’s political activity.

        Leopoldo felt that any negotiations or cooperation that does not have a devolution of power as its objective should be rejected … in fact, they should be disrupted by mass protests, and that is exactly what #LaSalida did. (Note: he could have called for demonstrations to force the State to negotiate in good faith on reformist matters such as improving citizen security, etc. … which would have lit a fire not only under the PSUV negotiators but under the MUD negotiations as well! … but he did not.)

        Meanwhile, demanding a constitutional convention as an ACTION item (not merely as a perspective, as an ultimate goal, but as the sole immediate goal) is a maximalist/revolutionary demand. A constitutional convention goes beyond merely demanding a leadership transition from PSUV to MUD politicians — i.e., to change the leadership of the State via elections. It is a call for the reconstitution of the state – it is revolutionary in content.

        It is completely premature to call for a constitutional convention when the program for such a convention is not broadly known and broadly agreed upon. (it is sort of like calling for “All Power to the Soviets of Worker’s and Peasant’s Deputies!” when there are not any such soviets, much less a detailed, widely supported manifesto as to how the new constitution would be different from today’s constitution!).

    • Hahaha. That’s rich. I felt this coming for soooo long and still I feel disappointed. Why does everyone need to become an intergalactico? It really feeds the predominant conformist attitude… waiting for another hero

    • Must be something with the water, or the Caribbean sunlight that make people have a very good opinion about themselves. And is not only LL, is something generalised among the population.

      Starting with the fallacy of having the most beautiful women in the world, to believe such a nonsense as Venezuela is the most rich country in the world…we Venezuelans have a gigantic ego that can be partly blamed of the current crisis we’re living in

    • I’m no LL groupie, I am sure the guy has an oversized ego and he does come across as having calculated that his incarceration would increase his political capital which seems a slight bit pretentious (and will hopefully not become a very costly flight of fancy). But all the bashing perhaps should be reconsidered in light of the fact that he’s boosted the legitimacy of the opposition. What he has done is pretty heroic – who here would eagerly take his place, or that of Ivan Simonovis, or other political prisoners in Venezuela? Seems to me the guy can say he’s Mother Theresa for all I care – he deserves it.

      • I agree. When I think of all the things LL could be doing besides being in prison, and when I think about what the experience of being in a Venezuelan prison under the watch of a military narco-regime must be like, it seems to me that the evidence at this point in time indicates that LL’s motivations are pretty selfless. He could much more easily stroke his ego in the land of the rich and comfortable.

        If he is finding some sustenance from studying the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, more power to him. I kind of like the notion of a white, privileged guy studying and trying to emulate a successful black freedom fighter. At least someone is studying the nuts and bolts of how you go about defeating undemocratic regimes and if the guy identifies with Moses himself, good for him.

        I think the notion that LL went to jail to increase his popularity is a kind of victim blaming. Sure, you should not walk into a bar where your enemy is drunk and waiting for you, but in the case of Venezuela, people who want to practice politics have nowhere else to go. They are in that bar.

        LL went to jail because freedom of expression and assembly and the rule of law in Venezuela are dead, not because he has a big ego. What is his viability as a leader? The regime obviously thinks this guy and the people who support him are a big threat. They should know as well as anyone.

        • “I think the notion that LL went to jail to increase his popularity is a kind of victim blaming” – great analogy! I honestly think that a lot of the discomfort with LL comes from (sub)conscious jealousy (his origins, education, looks, attitude, persistence, life, money). The disconnect between his political accomplishments and how he is perceived by some in the opposition is fascinating. “No eres monedita de oro para caerle bien a todos”

        • “Sure, you should not walk into a bar where your enemy is drunk and waiting for you, but in the case of Venezuela, people who want to practice politics have nowhere else to go. They are in that bar.”

          I love this.

    • Maybe not the most humble of analogies but they’re both political prisoners and leaders of the opposition, no? If he’s looking for international comparisons which ones do you think are more appropriate?

    • I think you’re all overthinking it. He was strictly talking about Maduro, he did not say he’s Mandela, that the PSUV is racist or anything beyond Maduro not being someone you can negotiate with to end the regime. If anything, he’s calling Mandela those who did try to negotiate with him, but even that’s a stretch.

  2. Just last night I watched the Lech Walesa film. It struck me that the guy wasn’t really smart. Nor disciplined but he was courageous. He was willing to risk all of it. Maybe asking LL to be smart, understand the depths of the Venezuelan society and be brave is asking for a whole lot.

    Maybe we just need this courageous guy.

    • In the 80’s and 90’s, if Venezuela had had one political leader with the courage to “do the right thing”, Chavez would never have happened. LL is doing the right thing. I think he is pretty smart too, but that is not as important as character and courage. It is easy hire smart men. It is the political leader who must make the hard choices and do that which is “right” instead of what is “popular” or “expedient”.

    • Ever since the candidacy race for the top post in oppo leadership, just a few short years ago, LL has sharpened his vision and political marketing. His earlier efforts, including the look-at-me-I-can-jump-hurdles, were embarrassing and contributed zero to his stature as a statesman-in-training. So, I see this jail time as a continuum of the needed honing of a political skill set.

      LL’s “40 days in the wilderness”, so to speak, gives him an opportunity to concentrate, to read and to study. The absence from the fray shows in his greater mental cohesion during soundbytes. I would not want to trade places with LL. But for someone with large political aspirations, a long view given current chaotic realities, in an environment where being a political prisoner is an asset, I can only guess that LL would have calculated the possibility of being jailed and would have figured out that it offered some opportunities.

      That LL mentally draws comparisons between Maduro and DeKlerk to describe the difference in challenges faced by one political prisoner and another, does not necessarily mean that LL sees himself as a second Mandela. And even if he did, thereby drawing global attention to the frayed political system in Venezuela, well, there’s nothing wrong with that.

      (And yes, I think LL has egomaniacal tendencies. The trick will be for him to keep them under control. A focus on objectives will be key.)

      • Yeah…. but maybe all those things are alright. Mandela nor Gandhi nor Walesa were humble people. They knew they had to play a historical role and that only them could do it.

        In that sense, LL may serve as a great transition element in our history. He is not capable of resolving Venezuela’s structural issues, but he may be able to restore democracy so we can elect that person who can actually solve the problems.

        • Problem is, LL doesn’t see himself as a transitional piece for the blossoming of Venezuelan democracy. He will not step aside as Betancourt first did. He craves glory and power under Western rules. For that, he is an ominous man as well as a likely president. Think CAP.

      • Every leader and politician, at every scale, has an ego. Presidential candidates are literally saying that they think that they can run an entire country better than anyone else. He doesn’t have a cara e’bobo like others and so he plays into certain archetypes.

  3. “Good for Leopoldo for feeding his soul with good things, and for at least saying what he reads, unlike others)”

    Funny, but I would have answered exactly the same way as Capriles. I simply hate to tell other people what books I like, the political leaders I admire, I even try to hide the songs I’m hearing on the iPhone when in public. It’s invasive. I used to read Flaubert’s “Memories of a Madman” with it’s cover removed at University. Imagine if Capriles say that he is currently reading Marx, Mises or Hobbes, it would be enough to rouse all kinds of unnecessary theories about his person. I admire him more after watching that youtube video.

      • I’m sorry to disagree, Juan, but Capriles is an experienced lawyer with a vast résumé, with specializations at Columbia University and other relevant centers in Europe…
        In my opinion, to say that someone like Capriles “does not read”, simply because he didn’t want to disclosure what he reads to what seems to be a chavista teenager at an informal meeting is to overstretch the issue.

        • Perhaps we overate the worth of great intellectual breeding in a effective political leader , Look at Reagan, Bill Clinton,or LBJ , they were not intellectuals and yet managed to change the political landscape of their time . What is important is their character , their basic view of things ( the more pragmatic the better) , their people skills . their self disciipline and the awareness that they have to work with a team of talented people to get ahead . Im not sure that Capriles or LL are much intellectually inclined which doesnt detract from their potential as political leaders.

  4. I believe that the rift between López and a good part of the rest of the MUD comes from strategy, specifically this point:

    “Waiting for the economy to deteriorate political support for the government is not feasible. Look at Cuba – economic deterioration there has not loosened the government’s grip on power.”

    You see, without an actual refutal to this point, there’s no reason to follow the strategy of AD and PJ. Because waiting until things get worse is simply not going to put the oppo in power.

    • “‘Waiting for the economy to deteriorate political support for the government is not feasible. Look at Cuba – economic deterioration there has not loosened the government’s grip on power.’
      You see, without an actual refutal to this point, there’s no reason to follow the strategy of AD and PJ. Because waiting until things get worse is simply not going to put the oppo in power.”

      – I thought that was his most powerful point. I constantly read people complaining on these forums that “Venezuelans are so dumb and ignorant, they wait 4 hours in line for harina pan and don’t revolt” and when people do protest it is criticized…

      • “… and when people do protest it is criticized…”
        That reminds me of someone’s comment in Noticiero Digital some years ago, it was more or less like “El venezolano lo que quiere es que se corra una teja y se caiga el gobierno para ellos no tener que mover un dedo, pero eso sí, van a venir a celebrar …” which translates more or less to “What the venezuelan wants is that a tile runs and the government fall so they don’t have to move a finger, but they’ll be the first ones to come and celebrate…”

        Many people want protests, but don’t want themselves to protest, it doesn’t need to be guarimbas or any street protests, where is more than true that the regime’ll send its death squads to score some kills, but a lot of people is terrified from even raising their voice when a bus driver steals their change or an asshole charges double for some crappy product or service.

        April 11 realli left a fire-engraved mark on many venezuelans, that mark reading “If you dare to complain, we won’t hesitate to kill you and all of your family.”

        • it’s just perplexing that some people want Venezuelans to wait for the perfect timing (collapsed economy/widespread hunger/chaos) for people to protest. No, our breaking point should not be starvation and war-like conditions. It was irresponsible for people on our side to dissuade and criticize public protests. Leaders against “La Salida” further conditioned Venezuelans to continue accepting the unacceptable. Shame.

          • I think an important distinction needs to be made between protests and #LaSalida. Protest should be encouraged, people need to express their discontent with the situation and make themselves felt.

            #LaSalida OTOH was an all-or-nothing proposition, #ElQueSeCansaPierde, we will take the streets and LL will go to jail until Maduro falls or resigns. That is a losing proposition a grave miscalculation. Who got tired first? We just repeated the same scenario from 2002-2003 culminating with internationally sanctioned negotiations and the same results: a deflated opposition and the regime surviving another day.

          • We need all-or-nothing propositions because there is no middle-ground or negotiation with the Maduro regime. Do I need to link to the bullet point list posts from this blog? A regime that will shoot protesting students must be pressured to step down. Maybe our side lost because we were not united, because the main “leader” of the opposition and others (for purely selfish political reasons) refused to support #LaSalida. LL and MCM may have been partial catalysts but ultimately the hundreds of thousands of people on the streets decided to be there on their own volition.

    • The refutal is simple, the strategy of the MUD was to build political support for the opposition and reduce that of the government. Without that political support strategies like #LaSalida are simply not feasible. A final, all-or-nothing-push-until-the-regime-falls-or-resigns is only possible with massive support of the people repudiating the government. We were not there yet, far from it, but LL seemed to think we were.

      Meanwhile a large crisis looming in the horizon (just months away not years) presented an opportunity to erode the support for the government by orchestrating growing protests against the socio-economic situation. Protests that could be joined by everyone independent of political affiliation. Unifying protests, not polarizing ones. It is not really a strategy of “waiting”, but of growing support, taking advantage of the government mismanagement.

      Either way you see it. The real sin of #LaSalida was going against the unity. That practically ensured its failure; with a divided opposition that couldn’t have a coherent message, and was attacking and contradicting itself. Any plan, no matter how good, is destined to fail if it cannot make use of all the forces in its side in a coordinated and committed manner.

      • “The real sin of #LaSalida was going against the unity.”

        First, the unity is not an end on itself, second, the unity seemed to be OK with the protests before they got popular, I mean:

        “if you think street protests are the way to go, you lead them.” – Capriles.

        • “unity is not an end on itself”

          The point is that without unity that end is not possible.
          Is rule number one of any struggle: “There is strength in unity”

          “unity seemed to be OK with the protests”

          Like I wrote somewhere else, protests are fine, in fact they are necessary, in February, now, and in the future too. That is how discontent is expressed. But #LaSalida was something else, it was an all out politicized campaign to take the streets until the government resigned or fell. A pipe dream. It was destined to fail, and it prevented the social protests which could have been joined by all Venezuelans.

          • “… it prevented the social protests….”

            Bull. La Salida started because of the social protests. Specifically the student protests against Vielma Mora and his thugs.

            Unless, of course, that you mean that the protests are inherently elitist because is LL leading them.In which case, dunno what to tell you.

          • The social protests that I refer to would be people protesting for quality of life issues like scarcity, unemployment, crime, inflation, etc. It has nothing to do with elitism.

            The student protests which are also valid morphed into #LaSalida which was a purely political campaign to outlast the government. A bad strategy because in an attrition war the government can easily outlast the people, having all the resources.

          • You have a weird view of the relationship between citizen(s) and government. Protests aren’t just to express displeasure but about causing a tangible change. What’s the point of ever protesting anymore if “in an attrition war the government can easily outlast the people”? That’s all folks just wait until the next fraudulent elections! Let the fear of an incompetent and autocratic government paralyze you!

  5. I think that at the beginning of #lasalida, he thought that they would not dare to throw him to jail, then, when he realized that his calculations were wrong, he thought that he would have to make a “manageable jail time” and then he would go to Miraflores a la Mandela.

    I really hope that he is right on that second calculation, because that would be a very costly mistake for him and his family.

    I am no fan of LL, but he is way better than anyone on the government side…

    • “he thought that he would have to make a “manageable jail time” and then he would go to Miraflores a la Mandela”

      You do realize Mandela was jailed from 1962 until 1990. A la Mandela is 28 years, not really “manageable jail time”.

      • I am very clear about that, and that is my point. I hope that LL is right in his mental calculations because nobody is willing to spend 28 years behind bars to become president of a country.

    • “” The MUD announced it was offering its position of Secretary General to activist Chúo Torrealba (more on that later), and it was leaked that Voluntad Popular, Leopoldo’s party, was the only one voting against the motion.”

      They changed their minds after meeting the man:”

      It is mildly interesting, from a kremlinological angle, who was that originated the idea of nominating Torrealba. (It is clear that he was not going to accept until it was unanimous and it is easy to guess which factors of the MUD would be resistant to him).

  6. Dont be disingenuous, all politicians in Venezuela these days are courageous!
    LL inparticular sicne he knows the regime knows how powerful he can be and is keeping at it.

    same for MCM, Chuo T. many valuable PJ operators and many others NGO and civil society players.
    No one is naive and they all know who the real power behind the throne are.

    Very challenging and trying times for all of them.

    (Even some PSUV politicos may be salvageable, but I digress., that is reconciliation talk, first gain power)

  7. “… his inability to convince important political allies … I don’t really know why this is. Maybe it’s …”

    It could be that those allies do not agree with his opinions, and maybe they are right.
    Personally I like Leopoldo Lopez and I think he was doing a great job with VP, but I’m not convinced by his tactical/strategical vision in dealing with the regime.
    Lets review:

    – “… the night of April 14th to call his supporters to the streets to defend his victory that night…”
    In a scenario where the political forces were basically even but all the rest was stacked in favor of the government he wanted to fight it in the streets. It was a losing proposition as demonstrated by #LaSalida.

    – “Waiting for the economy to deteriorate political support for the government is not feasible. Look at Cuba…”
    Wrong comparison.
    Cuba is a country prostrated economically where the opposition (is there a strong opposition?) has no resources whatsoever as there is not even a private economy. Certainly the plan of chavismo/madurismo is to take Venezuela there, but we are not there yet. The “wait” was not going to be one of years until Venezuela was like Cuba but of months when the crisis was felt deep by the people. He could not wait.

    – “The constitutional assembly is needed because …”
    The Constitutional Assembly as an institutional mechanism to change the power landscape is fine, the real problem is winning it, for that you first need the strong support of the people. To call a CA without first ensuring a win is wasting an opportunity.

    – “the wisdom of #LaSalida”
    No wisdom there. To break the unity of the opposition and go on an all-or-nothing campaign (#ElQueSeCansaPierde) or adventure alone, without the support of the rest of the opposition is basically a recipe for failure. It was a wasted cartridge that should have been kept for a better moment, just like the CA.

    – Leopoldo as Mandela.
    In this one I am ambivalent.
    Did he miscalculate the outcome?
    Was he calculating that his martyrdom was going to fuel the people’s outrage and ignite #LaSalida?
    Did he think that the government was just bluffing?
    Or, did he think he needed a personal epopeya and experience prison like so many other political activist before him (including Capriles)?
    Did he really want to offer himself in sacrifice as a new Mandela, Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi to become a long term symbol of the struggle for freedom?
    He certainly has a right to immolate himself, it is his life after all. And hey! even Obama demanded his freedom, so maybe it is “working”.
    So, was it wise for him to sacrifice himself, never mind his family or his budding party?
    I do not know. He should be the judge of that himself. And history I guess.

    To surmise:
    In politics and in war timing is everything and Leopoldo’s proposals (except for breaking unity) are all logical, sound and even brave but he does not have the patience to wait for the right moment to apply them. He is too frontal, like MCM. He seems to think that the battle for the peoples’ minds is already won and that the only thing left to do is go out and take the price, whether by taking the streets or with a CA. He does not seem to have a concept of strategic planning.

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/think_logically.png
    http://xkcd.com/1112/

    • “..In a scenario where the political forces were basically even but all the rest was stacked in favor of the government he wanted to fight it in the streets. It was a losing proposition as demonstrated by #LaSalida.”

      It’s not really known if the political forces were actually “even” since 2005 when chavismo got a phyrric 18% of votes for the assembly, maburro is an asshole as they can be, who coupled with the fascist disociado leave chavistas with very few “followable” people to defend.

      As I said before, venezuelans are terrified from protesting or even raising their voice when they’re abused, something that was coldly calculated by chavismo and demonstrated by their hatred-filled speech and belligerent attitude; it’s what bullies do, and chavismo has encouraged bullying to stupid levels.

      “Wrong comparison.
      Cuba is a country prostrated economically where the opposition (is there a strong opposition?) has no resources whatsoever as there is not even a private economy. Certainly the plan of chavismo/madurismo is to take Venezuela there, but we are not there yet. The “wait” was not going to be one of years until Venezuela was like Cuba but of months when the crisis was felt deep by the people. He could not wait.”

      Cubans have never known any sort of life besides a dictatorship, when castro got a hold of the power, he inmediately went to slaughter as much dissidents as possible while the ones who could flee did so, leaving the country without any power for the dissidence at all.

      It’s a recipe that’s been slowly been applied here in Venezuela, the deliberate economic ruin, the hate-filled speeches ordering “escuacas” to leave if they don’t like the “new Venezuela” (disociado cabello dixit) coupled with rampant impunity for all criminals (as long as they pledge themselves to the regime they’re free to do as they please, look for example at the guy who murdered Monica Spear, he’s going to get away from that only because he’s a hardcore chavista) those are measures aimed to get a secure grip into power so castro can happily steal our oil.

      Yeah, you can claim “hey, let’s wait because this will fall for itself”, but I think that’s a failure as a strategy (And it’s the true easy way out of this mess), because there’re many people who’re not willing to waste half of their lives trying to survive in a shithole while the regime eats itself to death.

      • I hope you are not referring to me when you say: [Yeah, you can claim “hey, let’s wait because this will fall for itself”] because I’ve never claimed anything like that.

        The strategy has never been to “wait” for the regime to self destroy, or to “wait” for the next elections, or to “wait” for anything. No. It is to construct a big majority with which the opposition can defeat the regime. There is nothing easy about that, but it is the only way, there are no shortcuts. The way to construct that majority is not by waiting but by using the tools of politics which includes activism, communication, street protests, strikes, acts of civil resistance.

        Whether it is because of a miscalculation of the balance of forces, blinding optimism or lack of strategic vision, LL and many only see a direct confrontation right now as the solution. “At least they are doing something” others say. But like in war mounting a final attack should not be attempted until you have the strength to defeat the opponent. Rushing to attack when unprepared is disastrous for obvious reasons.

  8. BTW, it also seems as if there is an inability in the other politicians to convince LL and MCM of the “wisdom” of their point of view. It goes both ways.

    • Amieres, you are on fire! Have not had much chance to comment recently and was behind on my reading, but your comments really provide great analysis to an already great summary of the interview… When saw Juan’s piece (funny!) my first thought was, “please not another capriles in La Carraca (sorry, Miranda en la carraca, one gets confused among imprisoned heroes) Then I thought how I always loved the stories of Bolivar dodging several attempts on his life, including the tale of Manuela saving him… There you have two opposing hero narratives… We know how the bolivarian cult has turned something unifying (foundational myth) into something divisive, will Venezuelans feel it’s time for a different type of hero (more Miranda style) el héroe incomprendido que medita en prisión? Honestly I don’t think so, I think not only his timing is off, his hero style doesn’t fit either… but that’s totally a personal opinion.

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