Sobremesa Chronicles

PARLATINOÁngel Rodríguez. Roy Daza. Walter Gavidia. Dalia Herminia Yánez. Carolus Wimmer.

Quick – what do all these people have in common?

Well, unless you’re related to them, you probably do not know. They are four of Venezuela’s representatives to the Latin American Parliament, a useless waste of taxpayer money if I ever saw one.

Look, I get it. The government has decided that Venezuela’s representatives to the Latin American Parliament will not be popularly elected, but will rather go through the National Assembly – although apparently the CNE has yet to make a final decision.

Some people are pissed about this. Voters are being disenfranchised (particularly those of us outside of Venezuela). It’s a blunt attempt by the government to save face. It is a tantrum by chavismo in response to opposition members of the Parlatino (as it is horribly called) going to Panama to stir the pot. And it personally affects some of my friends (José Ramón Sánchez, one of our representatives, is a friend).

But is this really something we need to get ourselves worked up over?

Some people say … yes!

One reason being given is that the Parlatin elections allow for a straight-up count on chavismo vs. opposition, and by eliminating said election, chavismos seeks to muddle who got the majority of votes. Another reason is that the Parlatino election allows the opposition political parties to compete against one another, so it serves as a way of measuring strength inside the MUD.

Both reasons fall short.

If the vote tallying is unencumbered, the answer to the question “who holds the majority of votes?” is going to be known in the Parliamentary elections no matter what. We don’t need a Parlatino election – that nobody really pays attention to anyway – to tell us that. Aside from that, the relative strength of the MUD can be determined via other means – for example, using the May 17th primary.

Is it really worth taking up valuable media space to make an issue out of a non-issue?

Well aparently so, according to Delsa Solórzano, Nelson Bocaranda, Timoteo Zambrano, Ana Elisa Osorio, the entire board of Un Nuevo Tiempo, and the usually unflappable José Ignacio Hernández.

Yes, the move is a hissy fit by Diosdado Cabello. It is grossly unfair. It is a dangerous step. But you know what? It also shows they are scared of losing big time, even in the Parlatino.

In a country where El Helicoide continues to be a beacon of injustice, where hand soap is hard to find, and where eight police men are killed each week … Henry Ramos Allup’s job security just doesn’t seem all that important to me. The Parlatino may one day be important enough to deserve fighting for it. Right now, it’s not.

We all pick our battles. I, for one, am staying out of this one.