The missing debate

Fewer speeches, more strategy
Fewer speeches, more strategy

It’s been a while since we talked about Venezuela’s opposition on the blog. This is the result of a combination of things: uninteresting stories concerning opposition figureheads (the tussles between chavismo and Juan Carlos Caldera or Carlos Ocariz are not worth writing about); a stasis of the situation of our main leaders (Leopoldo, Maria Corina, and Capriles all seem stuck in time, unable to drive the agenda – in Leopoldo’s case, he is literally stuck in time); and frankly, the realization that whatever happens in Venezuela is out of the opposition’s hands (that is why we’ve spent more time talking about Wall Street than Chúo Torrealba).

In spite of this, there is one issue that is both crucially important and completely absent from our national debate: the way we are going to choose candidates for the National Assembly elections due in 2015.

Everyone in the opposition agrees that next year’s legislative elections are crucial. We don’t know when they will be held, but we do know two things: they have to be held, and chavismo is in really bad shape to win them.

The irony is that our own coalition has never been weaker. Choosing unity candidates in an environment such as this one is a proverbial minefield. That is why the MUD needs to begin the process of deciding how this will happen, and deciding it soon.

Last time around, a combination of opinion polls, primaries, and smoke-filled rooms left us with a roster of legislators that have been, to put it mildly, underwhelming. Are we going to copy-paste the same folks as last time? What about the new actors that have emerged in the last five years – the students and the civic activists, the journalists and the political prisoners? How will we bring them into the fold?

The time to start debating this and coming up with a practical solution … was yesterday.

So, let me be blunt: unless the opposition starts focusing on the issues that really matter, we will do our best to continue ignoring them in this little corner of the inter-world. Shape up and be serious, folks.