Over at the Transitions blog, I try and sympathize with our opposition. I try to focus on the numerous challenges they face – short on funding, locked out of the media, and with an unmanageable internal structure, it is a small miracle that they still exist and are strong in opinion polls.
Just for comparison’s sake, look at the Cuban, Iranian, Russian, or Belorussian opposition. Heck, let’s not make the comparisons too stark – our opposition is in much better shape than that of Bolivia, Ecuador, or perhaps even Argentina.
Our problem lies with the crap sandwich that is the opposition’s main task: managing impotence. For, you see, the outcome of the Venezuelan crisis is largely out of our hands.
Many people talk about how the opposition should do this or that to precipitate change, myself included. The problem is that this is a false dichotomy – there is little we could do right now to effect change, other than prepare for the Legislative elections. Yes, protesting is important, and I think pressure on the streets could help, but protests will not bring chavismo down, at least not in kosher ways. And yes, we all want Maduro to resign and pave the way for a transition, but that’s not going to happen because of something that we do.
So, yes, we need to pressure and exert the few rights we still have, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves about the amount of real power we hold.
It is that impotence that the opposition finds so difficult to manage. That is why you meet so many people who say “it has to be that the opposition is being bought.”
People see the opposition, they see the entrenched government, they see the rage in the streets and the dismal opinion poll numbers … and they conclude that the opposition doesn’t want to unseat Maduro.
The truth is that they can’t. Understanding that is important for the coming months.
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