The Opposition is Divided (and that's ok)

124

imagesOver the last three years, divisions within the Venezuelan opposition have gone from taboo to in-your-face, from elephant in the room to full-blown suppurating eyesore. And everyone seems to admit this, except for the opposition leadership.

I understand Chavismo’s need to resort to denial of dissent as a defense mechanism for unresolved daddy issues, but for the opposition, this cover-up ranks next to Ricardo Sánchez in the lameness scale. Especially since we’ve had a 15-year grace period to mature and prepare for this shit.

It has not always been so. The Venezuelan opposition did enjoy moments of genuine collaboration.

Remember 2010 parliamentary elections? Perfect unity, everyone worked together, it was sweet.

But then came elections in 2013, when after claiming fraud, then-Presidential candidate-cum-rockstar Henrique Capriles Radonski, anointed by a very united Mesa de Unidad’s primary election, went back on his calls for mass protests all around the country due to safety concerns. Critics claimed that a golden opportunity was squandered. But most remained loyal to Capriles and the MUD’s rally to vindicate national sentiment through regional elections later that year. These were an epic failure for the opposition, and some believed a gamechanger was just around the corner.

This led to La Salida in early 2014: an opposition faction led by María Corina Machado, Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, several political parties and civil society groups called for street protests and town-hall meetings, which coincided with student-led demonstrations, based on the premise that a dictatorial government would never cede power based on elections alone, citing the urgency of regime change.

This “unilateral” initiative rattled the MUD (that is, Capriles’s Primero Justicia, Acción Democrática, Copei, Un Nuevo Tiempo, and other parties), which had set forth a clear electoral agenda for the next 5 years as a means of dealing with a “defective democracy.“ Per the MUD, a dialogue with the government, rather than street protests, was the way to go. So a televised dialogue was staged, Leopoldo López was in prison, María Corina wasn’t invited, and a whole bunch of students were jailed and tortured.

Thus began the Great Opposition Rift.

Which is fine. Really, it’s fine: people in public life disagree. The rift in itself isn’t a problem.

It’s the catatonic denial of the rift that is absolutely corrosive.

For over a year, we in the opposition rank-and-file have been subjected to ludicrous public claims of “unidad” and “alternativa democrática,” while witnessing infantile, petty, and sometimes downright cruel pokes and jabs within the opposition coalition. Those of us close to the fire are told to keep our mouths shut, while Diosdado Cabello airs our dirty laundry on State TV every Wednesday night. Any sane person who criticizes this puerile behavior is deemed a traitor, a divisive radical.

And what most pisses me off is the glib smugness with which this is all handled.

When the U.S. State Department initiated proceedings to sanction individual Venezuelan officials who violated Human Rights during La Salida, Ramón Guillermo Aveledo confused the country and strengthened the government by describing the sanctions were universal. When Voluntad Popular had the initiative to start a signature drive for a Constituent Assembly, the MUD discarded it as a “unilateral initiative.” When María Corina along with 17 opposition parties started a movement called “El Congreso Ciudadano,” Capriles made a point to publicly state that he would not attend. When three notable former presidents came to Venezuela in support of the opposition cause, the MUD boycotted the event.

Backstabbing, discrediting, sabotaging. Yet every week MUD Secretary General Chuo Torrealba comes out to say publicly that Unity is as strong as ever.

And all the while, Venezuelans are forced to pretend to care about this useless back-and-forth when trying to make very-dire-ends meet, Every. Godforsaken. Day.

The most recent Mesa de Unidad communiqué, in response to Leopoldo López’s call for a street protest last Saturday, is the latest iteration of this farce. In it, the MUD pays requisite lip-service to political prisoners, fair electoral conditions and all that other stupid but necessary bullshit, before stating that they will, unfortunately, not participate in said event, due to “adverse circumstances” surrounding López’s unilateral initiative.

This, even though López recorded the video several days prior to its leak, hoping to get it sent to the MUD for consideration. The government seized his phone and published the video without his knowledge in order to preempt him. But they still need us to vote for them – God forbid them not getting their congressional seats!!

It’s the simultaneous disunity and catastrophic inability to acknowledge disunity and deal with it like adults that’s eating the opposition. If I enjoyed self-censorship, I’d have signed a PSUV card long ago. I happen to believe that a robust and energetic public debate is one of the tenets of a democracy, one of the things that we as an opposition supposedly fight for.

We, the oppo core voters, see right through your thinly veiled public feud, and would be better off if each political party within the MUD stopped bullshitting us, and treated us with a little more respect. If you would be forthcoming about your structural and completely legitimate political differences, you’d do much more to attract undecided, who would see the MUD as a beacon of moderated debate instead of the disingenuous, stifled, insecure, power-hungry pricks that you are acting like.

One way Chávez undermined our public sphere was through his brilliant simplification of our political culture. It’s up to us as citizens to revert his legacy through the conscious elevation of our debate.

Electoral unity and political differences are not mutually exclusive. As long as the opposition continues to hold on to this obnoxious ideal of fake harmony, we will continue to show we’re not ready for primetime, and stay a blip in the radar of a crumbling, weakened, failed regime.

124 COMMENTS

  1. No suelo leer noticias de política venezolana, solo las económicas porque muestran un nivel de absurdo difícil de igualar en cualquier otro país pero está bien ponerse al día también en este campo para así poder ver “the whole picture”. Leyendo este post creo que se consigue. Se agradece entonces que le ahorren a uno leer otros muchos artículos. Por lo demás, cualquier persona con sentido común que defienda la democracia a pesar de sus imperfecciones tiene que estar de acuerdo con lo dicho aquí.

    Saludos y ánimos desde España

  2. Emiliana, great summary, excellent as usual. Key is to achieve a “…brilliant simplification of our popular culture”, as Chavez did, but unfortunately is still out of the Oppo’s grasp. I believe MUD internal bickering will affect negatively the Parliamentary (as in the Regional) elections, if held, but that the MUD will come together for the next Presidentials, if Venezuela by that time has not yet become Cuba 2 (it’s already partially there).

  3. Emi, i like your passion and your article as well, however I want to make a point, yes Chavez influenced the policial discurse to become binary and simple, but because of this, it was so effective.

    In our society, people like you, looking for debate and confrontation of complex political ideas, are a tiny minority. In electoral politics (lets assume free and fair elections) the simpler the message the better, us against them, bueno/ malo, blanco/ negro, etc. home I make my point.

    The level for debate and statemanship, is a different one from the one of mass consumer marketing (propaganda) and the good polititian needs to work on both.

    So, I guess what I want to say is that the fetiche of unidad is not IMO the worst offender, the one that affects us the most is failing to recognize the regime for waht it is and denouce it publicly and explicitlly as a dictatorship and an occupation. Teh fetiche of bussiness as ussual, its a democracy.

    Democracy struggles must be rebtranded as freedom struggles and the fight must be brought to the resistence discourse, and action!

    The whole elctroal gamemanship is IMO a great controls and distraction mechanism.

  4. Emiliana, this line jumped out at me:

    “..López recorded the video weeks ago, hoping to get it sent to the MUD for consideration. The government seized his phone and published the video without his knowledge in order to preempt him…”

    Recorded which video “weeks ago”? Because the one we’ve all seen was recorded on Sunday, 24 May. And that was also the one broadcast on “La Hojilla”. We know that because he says he and Ceballos have just started their hunger-strike.

    If López was keen for the MUD to convene a demonstration supportive of his demands and of the hunger-strike, why did he convene it himself (naming a date less than a week away and pre-empting any discussion), instead of publicly calling on the MUD to do so?

    • López´s video from Ramo Verde was recorded before Saturday 23rd. Knowing full well about the MUD´s horrid inability to settle internal differences, the government broadcast it on La Hojilla, and then sat back and watched in satisfaction as both sides went at it. Mission Accomplished.

          • Forgive my insistence, but these are not minor points. Why did the MUD need to see the video? A verbal message, passed via LL’s lawyer or his wife would have sufficed.

          • Well, Leopoldo told his wife of his intention, explicitly instructing her NOT TO TELL anyone (which, of course, includes the MUD). So, it seems obvious he DIDN’T think the MUD needed to see it. Rather, he wanted to take the MUD by surprise, and boy, he did.

            Leopoldo seems to use the MUD as a kind of convenient umbrella (talk about lip service), and then he tries to dump it down the road, repeatedly failing to do so, and repeatedly failing in his intention of stealing its thunder. If Emiliana thinks this is OK, well, that’s fine.

            Let’s see what he cooks up for the next thunder-stealing moment, next year at the Revocatorio.

          • Just guessing here, philgunson, but it shows that VP and LL do want to at least observe certain “form” by sending it to the MUD so that at least they’re not caught off base by his call for a protest.

          • Only problem with that argument is that it seems they didn’t send it to the MUD. Nor did they mention their plan to the MUD. The argument that López is in jail and therefore couldn’t discuss the matter does not seem to me to hold water. One plausible version of events is that López wasn’t interested in putting it to the MUD, perhaps because he thought it would not be approved. So he acted unilaterally, sparking a row. The MUD responded badly and the opposition ended up with egg on its face. But the notion, promoted vigorously by Emiliana, that all the fault is on the side of the opposition leadership seems one-sided.

          • Most likely the MUD used the “not sufficient pre-announcement” as a specious excuse to accomodate PJ’s/other Oppo parties’ lack of desire to attend. Remember, Capriles didn’t really attend, either, but went to Guarico to protest DC’s/”others’ ” political imprisonment. And, best of all, Falcon in Lara held a Mega-Mercal with the Govt.!

          • Phil, I cannot speak to LL´s specific intentions nor to what the exact timing strategy was. All I know is that he was originally hoping to get the MUD on board before going public with the video, and that the government preempted him. Which is why the video came out on La Hojilla first instead of López´ twitter account. Interesting that it got such heavy airplay on VTV.

  5. Yes, to have differences is legitime, but to backstab, discredit and sabotage is a different ball game completely. The question is: do they do it out of stupidity? Or ill-intentions (“power hunger”, self-promotion)?

    To be against LL in that peaceful march supported by all democratic countries in the continent was both cruel and stupid. Some ‘sorry’ must be said.

    “Those of us close to the fire are told to keep our mouths shut, while Diosdado Cabello airs our dirty laundry on State TV every Wednesday night. Any sane person who criticizes this puerile behavior is deemed a traitor, a radical, a nuisance.”

    Because Cabello is not radical at all, hehe, nonsense…

    • Borges may have 300 million reasons.
      Capriles 200 million reasons.
      Aveledo was in charge of administer the payroll “Boves” while he was in charge. It depend of how good or bad boy he was.
      Ramos Allup, well… To infinity and beyond.

  6. “Ramón Guillermo Aveledo confused the country and strengthened the government by describing the sanctions were universal.”

    This is absolutely inexcusable. With friends like these…..

    • That’s because the MUD has been trying to appeal at the ridiculous “fatherland-love” to be likeable to “repentant chavistas”

  7. Why is it so hard for the MUD to come up with an umbrella message everyone can get behind? Yes, it is all right to disagree on the details of an operation, but never, ever on the purpose of the mission. The petty squabbling diminishes not only demonstrates the lack of political maturity within the actors of the MUD, but also the failure to produce effective leadership that you know, actually LEADS.

    The purpose of the MUD and the opposition (or oppositions) is defeated by the lack in both. No results oriented organization in the world, be it Microsoft, los Magallanes or the MUD can achieve its goals without a comprehensive coherent strategy and an agreement on how to achieve them. That is why the MUD fails at what it does, and that is why it will continue to fail.

    Furthermore, the MUD cannot possibly present an actual alternative that people can follow unless it agrees in what it believes in, and how to get there. You can’t win hearts and minds if you’re too busy looking out fo someone to stab you in the back.

    Electoral unity and political differences might not be mutually exclusive, but they sure as hell don’t help create what the MUD needs: an umbrella message *everyone* can get behind.

  8. Many times I despair over the opposition. There seems at times to be a greater need to fight other members of the opposition than keeping their eyes on the goal.

    From my point of view, one of the greatest problems and one of the biggest faults in Venezuela seems to be this inordinate need for every politico to be the petty Fuhrer of his own little third reich. You have Ramos Allup with his fiefdom, and the idiots in Carabobo with theirs and PJ and UNT and Copei, etc., etc., etc. Each at times more intent and happier to fight the other opposition, because, god forbid some one else in the opposition might unseat Chavismo and restore democracy and get their hands on PDVSA and the riches that come with that.

    As Kepler keeps saying, Venezuela is a feudal society and the politics in the opposition do a great deal to confirm that. As long as this is the case, and Chavismo remains more united, kiss democracy in Venezuela goodbye for many, many years to come.

    • From a distance at least, it is easy to see this as bickering between elites. If I were one of the millions of people whose trust the opposition needs to win over right now, that is how I might see it. Fiefdoms, petty interests, improvisation, the personalization of problems. I wonder if the underlying issue with the opposition, as with chavismo, is an essentially transactional relationship between leaders and supporters. If everybody is positioning themselves to get their piece of the pie when the regime falls, the regime will never fall. As the opposition has no goodies to dole out now, on a national scale at least, unity is a problem. A disaster can focus peoples’ priorities, or it can leave people scattered.

  9. Nailed it. And it’s specially dangerous since the elections are close, and rifts within the opposition is going to negatively affect their performance in the election.

  10. “Ramón Guillermo Aveledo confused the country and strengthened the government by describing the sanctions were universal.” This begs, calls, screams for a quote, a footnote, a link…

      • I thought so. Aveledo does not say ” the sanctions were universal.” At least not in that link. He says that the MUD would not approve general sanctions against Venezuela. Would you?

          • No, Emiliana. It’s what lawyers call “circumstantial evidence”. It becomes “fact or hard evidence” after it is analyzed or interpreted by somebody, BUT since it can be analyzed or interpreted by many others who can thereby reach different conclusions then it can not be considered “totally a fact”… You yourself state it: “That you CHOOSE not to see it…”. If a piece of evidence can lead to different results depending on choice and prerogatives, then it can not be considered a fact. And that it always a FACT in a court of law. Your reasoning is just as good as Santiago’s or mine, so none of us is right if we do not agree on the conclusion!!

          • Ok… So the US decides to go for individual sanctions, and then Aveledo goes publicly opposing universal sanctions.

            Can you see how his intervention lent support to the government propaganda of sanctions being universal?

            If you see this, are you then telling us that he did it out of incompetence instead of malice?

          • He did it because he, like too much politicians inside the MUD, want to keep using the populist speech of fake nationalism to try to appeal at “repentant chavistas”, so they end using the same fallacies the regime itself does.

  11. Very well written.

    I disagree on a few points.

    “La Salida” was a failure. A premature, half-baked strategy that could never work. It was doomed from the start. Its promoters thought they could ignite massive protests against the government. They didn’t, and not because of “backstabbing” (a word with strong right-wing, self-delusionary flavour, by the way) but because people living in slums do not care about students being shot in El Cafetal. They just don’t.

    And to ignore that is to show an unforgivable unawareness about Venezuela.

    They put lives at risk for nothing. A lot of suffering resulted. Thugs from the government are guilty, but playing into their hands was very stupid and callous.

    I don’t see the need to follow MCM or LL if they have bad ideas. I mean, if the opposition believes in Western values, then answerability is a Western value. MCM and LL should stop trying to lead after such dismal failure.

    At this rate, and with his instinct for politics LL will never get out of prison.

    True: HCR failed to cash on his victory, but he did it to avoid more violence between Venezuelans. That is more respectable, in my eyes, than throwing kids under the bus because I (LL) think more of myself than there really is.

    The US sanctions were another diplomatic mistake. The US needs to shut up, imprison people without saying anything (like with FIFA) if they see fit and stop handling lifesavers to the regime.

    And yes, congressional seats are important and someone has to sit in them. Boycotting parliamentary election was beyond stupid, and failing to win because these seats are below your moral horizon is pathetic.

    As you say, you are a hard core opposition voter. In that sense, an opposition politician pandering to the likes of you is just thick. Obviously you will vote for the opposition no matter what.

    So they have to focus on winning new voters.

    Not organising self-love fests in Chacao.

    • “people living in slums do not care about students being shot in El Cafetal. They just don’t.”

      Who in a barrio? Are you saying that barrio folks don’t know injustice when they see it? Where do you get that idea?

      • I get this idea from the fact that, to this day, no marches coming out of Catia, Petare or El Valle, protesting for the murder of innocent students have happened.

        • well, there is another fact which is that people from catia and petare do participate in many opposition marches, even though they are outside Petare and Catia.

          Do they organize one in their communities? Maybe not, but that has to do more with empowerment than caring.

          • Would you say a majority in those places take the deaths of innocent middle-class people as one of their priorities?

            Was Maduro less, or more popular after “La Salida”?

          • Jesus you’re toxic.

            Have you stopped to think through the fact that the vast, vast majority of murder victims live in barrios? Have you stopped to wonder how many middle class people see *that* as a priority?

          • I am not toxic, I disagree with you, which is different.

            You easily recur to insult. Didn’t your family tell you that is actually impolite?

            Yes, I have thought about that quite a lot actually. Why do Venezuelans lack empathy.

            As all suffer from crime, that should be an issue to find agreement, to act together. Yet, that doesn’t happen.

            My guess is that, as Father Moreno said, middle and lower class live in different universes. To bridge that gap you need leaders that can show everyone is a victim, not that victims are divided by their background. Unfortunately the opposition only mobilised itself after Monica Spears’ murder. They haven’t cared for how the poor live, being busy preaching to their own flock.

            Obviously, the imprisonment of the innocent is an opportunity to close the gap and show all Venezuelans suffer injustice and danger. Yet the opposition focuses “on our guys”, not on everyone.

            In any case, and coming back to your lack of self-control, the fact that you have to react to what I say with aggression is a good example of why Venezuelans can reach an agreement.

            Chill off, read what I write, and try to rebuke me with reasons. Saying I am toxic just shows you have no arguments.

          • Ditto what Francisco said. I have yet to see “Alejandro” contribute one thing to the discussion that might be considered constructive.

          • Oh, come on, Roy and Palante, don’t be so bitter!

            The day you come up with a good, original idea I will be the first to support it.

            Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath!

            Good night boys!

          • That’s a different statement. They do care, but perhaps less than they care about the loss of their own.

            On the later question I would say yes.

            I will say it always. It is people’s right to protest peacefully. And LaSalida was exercising that right.

            But was it because lasalida was wrong? or was it because the government was able to spin it? And did factions in the MUD aided to spin it?

          • Bingo!
            What needs to be part of the narrative is that both groups (and many others) as per the discussion avobe have been robbed of hope and opportunity by the pillaging regime.

            Lower classes and middle classes could be BOTH so much better if the regime was a somewhat functioning govermernt and somewaht interested in the national interest.

            It is not. By all its acts you can see that their interes responds to keep different gorups divided and the infighting allive so they can continue on their bussiness of saqueo.

            Thatis the key message, todos sufrimos y el regimen es nuestro enemigo comun!

            no toda esa paja electorera como si en Venezuela existieran elecciones competitivas y estado de derecho!

          • Please, guys, try to be a little objective and consider other points of view. I don’t see why Alejandro’s opinions are not valid. It would be better to refute him with arguments.

            I believe La Salida fell flat on its face, be it for the spin the government put on it or because it was plain wrong; I’d rather not mull about it except for learning the lesson: protests must be timely, must be held with the most broad consent possible (including, mind you, the organization one says to be a part of), and protests are often deadly so they must be very thoughtfully considered. This latest one didn’t result in bloodshed or cancellation of elections just because the government didn’t see it fit. It was extremely precarious and just plain lucky.

            I think it’s perentorious to step out of the Altamira frame of mind. This doesn’t mean *not doing protests*, it means doing them when they’re due, not when we feel pissed up, and, most of all, it means doing them when they’re consensual and not counterproductive.

          • Rodrigo Linares,

            Actually it has more to do with the fact that Collectives live in their areas and do not permit it.

    • Agreed really… sure the oppo has been clumsy when it came to the sanctions, but it isn’t like all institutional/electoral routes have been exhausted yet. Now, I do think that the formula for change here is ‘on-the-street’ protests + electioneering, as they’re both fundamentally a part of each other, but it’s about getting the balance right. Both La Salida and Capriles post 14-A elections got it wrong.

    • “The US sanctions were another diplomatic mistake. The US needs to shut up, imprison people without saying anything (like with FIFA) if they see fit and stop handling lifesavers to the regime.”

      Wrong. The opposition was in a great position to support the sanctions against specific regime officials who were responsible for human rights violations. The fact is that the MUD fumbled this. The MUD handed the lifesaver to the regime for all the internal pissing contest that Emiliana documented

      The US can do whatever it wants and not permitting these thugs into the Magic Kingdom is their prerogative.

      The US sanctions against the coruptos will come later it they violated US laws (sorry, that Venezuela doesn’t enforce their own laws and constitution, but isn’t what this is all about?).

      I find it interesting that you bitch about the US showing interest in demonstrating morals and support for the Venezuelan people to act in a democratic manner without the threat of violence. You should stand up for yourselves, when you decide to. But surely don’t go marching.. that’s BAD!

      • I am not against sanctions. I am against trumpeting them.

        That’s different.

        The opposition obviously fumbled the chance to explain those sanctions were not against the country, but I daresay that is not a crucial mistake.

        And obviously I am for penal sanctions against the corrupt.

        Marching is not bad. What is bad is to believe marches are cause, not consequence, or political action.

        the day the opposition assembles a narrative the people believe is worth fighting for, then the marches will just happen, and come from the places the government fear.

        • Alejandro, you’re curiously accusing Quico of being rude and impolite by “insulting” you… A mi, de modo agresivo e insultante me mandaste a digerir excremento por no estar de acuerdo contigo en el tema homeopático. What goes around comes around, Or as my brit husband would say “this pot is calling the kettle black?”

          • Syd, en los colegios siempre hay un carajito a quien todo el mundo le cae a coñazos simplemente por que el tipo cae mal, sin ninguna razón lógica. Alejandrito fue este carajito. Por eso el pajúo se tuvo que ir de Venezuela con el rabo entre las piernas y ahora desde su torre de marfil intenta de dársela de “pundit” experto en lo que está pasando en Vzla.

    • Alejandro: “The US sanctions were another diplomatic mistake.”… I’m not sure it was a mistake (I think…). My belief is that the US has prepared a very documented dossier concerning all the abuses and felonies of this regime that have international influence (narcotics trafficking, money laundering, human rights violations, abuse of police physical power, torture, etc.) and is playing a step-by-step, cook-them-in-their-own-juices strategy. The US government has enforced a number of lawful sentences on individuals who have commited important crimes in the financal scene. Unfortunately, many of them are silenced in our media. [Read Casto Ocando’s book on chavistas’ felonies in the US]. The US’s aim with these calculated measures is to “send messages” and get the targeted felons on the move. A typical police strategy to make the prey “nervous” and thus make mistakes that will lead to their aprehension.To that effect, planned leakage of information is part of the plan. The WSJ and ABC.es published notes that forced the targets (cabello in the first place) to move their asses and become very concerned as to what the enemy’s intentions are and how much info it really has… I’m sure those “leaks ” were planted by the DEA, the enforcement agency behind this part of the game. BTW, I don’t see much of a chance of winning in cabello’s potential legal action against the WSJ and ABC.es: neither of them ACCUSED cabello, they simply reported on what their sources told them. I’m sure those papers have the supporting material that led to those publications. The whole deal reminded me of Watergate and the Washington Post affair. Remember?

  12. I think there is an irresoluble tension between things here.

    A truly open, democratic opposition… has to allow for this. For some saying this is the plan and others not following. Ok, in an ideal world they would rise above that, but what if people sincerely disagree on the path forward?

    On the other hand, the MUD … come on guys. People need LEADERSHIP. That mean, YOU put the PRESSURE on the goverment and LEAD the people against the abuses it commits daily. Yet at every point they just refuse to acknowledge that this is a conflict. Oh, they cry a lot, but again, come on, move your asses, put pressure, organize protests, be shown as active leadership of a change.

    Venezuela is NOT a normal country. You cant just say you are waiting for the elections as if things were a normal democracy. There is no time to waste. That doesnt mean anything undemocratic – but for God’s sake, SHOW THE PEOPLE that you are READY to be LEADERS of the CHANGE that is URGENTLY NEEDED. The country is bleeding money AND blood daily, the situation is incresingly hopeless, and you basically want to “pasar agachao” ???!?!?!

    • A truly “open democratic organization” would have more than 35 primaries for the 160+ seats they are running for when (if) the parliamentary election occurs.

    • Agreed. Explaining to anyone who will listen why you weren’t able to participate Saturday, is not the action of someone who has the fire-in-the-belly needed to save Venezuela.

  13. The opposition organises a march with 1/5 of the people it had in 2002, after months of hyperinflation and food rationing, and you focus on Aveledo’s take on the US dept.

    You see the problem?

  14. Emiliana,

    You just nailed. I see the conundrum of the MUD and their lack of ownership on a historical opportunity.

    I tend to think that Maduro and Co. do not believe in the renewal of leadership much less through a democratic process. Now, a violent change of government is quite a risky business with ramifications that may not be fully counted on. On to of that you have the ones looking for political rofit after years of investement, read Capriles.

    I think, and bear with me, the Oppo (not the MUD) ought to learn from Chavez. Yes, he did exactly what we are trying to do today. His coup helped to amalgamte the people under the flag of discontent against the traditional parties. And he managed to force the 4th republic to accept a democratic process. That basically Worked for him at least during the first 2-3 years of government before the strike.
    Mr. Capriles shows an incredible amount of lack of leadership by staunchly hold up on his position of “oposition leader” which he is not, as he has become damaged goods.
    Leopoldo is likely or not, the true bearer of change as he understands that the democratic credentials of this regimen are long gone.
    Whether or not LL tends to be individualistic or unpredictable is an argument for the undecided, the pragmatic and the opportinistics. I think we are quite tired of thise kind of people.

  15. Im sitting this one out of the ring , it pains me to see this petty squable play itself out when there is so much at stake. This reminds me of two things noted by those who read history, one that the party wins that makes the least mistakes ( corollary: in a lenghty difficult struggle its inevitable for there to be mistakes , errors in judgment) , and two that Bolivars greatest achievement was not the military campaigns that lead to the Spanish monarchs defeat, but his ability at mantaining the fiercely intercine factions united for enough time for independence to be accomplished . For us tropical – mediterraneans the capacity to function together in pursuit of a common objective is the greatest of challenges , the taste for enthropical squabbling is too great. !! I repeat what I wrote before , whatever their human failings and ocassional mistakes I have the greatest respect for Chuo Torrealba , Capriles , LL , MCM and Ledezma. I understand that for the time being the main strategy is go work at creating an electoral mayority so large that regime fraud will not be able to supress its impact in the forthcoming elections , that protests also have their place in the struggle against the govt but for the time being they play second fiddle to the main strategic thrust . I am not scandalized by people being imperfect moral beings , or making errors of judgment , thats to be expected , the important thing is for them to remain resolved in their efforts to destroy the gangster regime that now threatens to destroy the country we love. Differences arise natural in any group facing a difficult and complex challenge, that should not prevent it from acting in collaboration to achieve the sought goal in whatever way it presents itself. If after parliamentary elections are held the regime nullifis its effect then may be a change to more drastic strategies will be in order . !! But we are not there yet !! so lets keep our cool patch those silly differences at least enogh so that where it counts ( voting the parliamentary elections) the end is met.

    .

    • Totalmente de acuerdo contigo Bill. Tenemos un enemigo en comun y la meta es derrotarlo. Eso es imposible si no hay union, aun con diferencias…

  16. Excellent inside info. on this post. The MUD is clearly a mess, divided by Egos, with some good leaders but also Chavistas Light, semi-corrupted piranhas on the look-out, in “quitate-tu-pa-poneme-yo” mode.

    Still Caprilito, MCM and even Leopoldo think that they have to hide their internal conflicts, in order to have a chance against the Chavismo Beast. I would think that if Leopoldo was free, he would have separated from the MUDcrap to some extent, admitting these differences, and calling people to the streets, as he did, even behind bars. But for now, he does all he can.

    If the Dictatorship does not free LL, the MUD will probably remain just that, Barro dividido, with Capriles calling for unidad y dialogo… while the Heroic Ladies do their thing.

    Until the next elections Fraud in December, where the Regime will fake a small “defeat” which will mean absolutely nothing in practice, in a country without separation of powers or a real parliament. Next year, then, people will be even more pissed off, after another bogus “election”, more escasez, inflacion, crimen,,, y no hay luz. Expect more and more Protests of course, more violence and repression too. Who knows what can happen then in the streets or with a few military renegades.

    Anyway, next year, the MUD should eventually split up, at least in 2 pieces. Hopefully with a free Leopoldo/Ceballos/Ledezma and their brave Ladies in front of the real opposition leadership. Hopefully with Capriles. No AD clowns, Chavistas Light and other salivating hyenas on the prowl. Purge the MUDcrap, good riddance.

  17. C’mon Emiliana, you have to agree that the MUD must focus its efforts not in convincing right wing radicals like you and me – we will vote for anybody running against the regime. The goal is to capture the undecided, mainly traditional chavistas who are fed up with this Government. Calling for another lasalida scares them, and will most likely keep them home when voting day comes. I believe Chuo Torrealba and team deserve credit.

    • “MUD must focus its efforts not in convincing right wing radicals like you and me – we will vote for anybody running against the regime.”

      Wrong. People might just vote out of MUD. And then they cry a river over losing an election because of a spoiler candidate.

      MUD ignored the “radicals” and then they got pissed off. That lead to autoconvocados, and to #LaSalida, which had an element of insurrection to them. The cure isn’t to ignore the “radicals”, is to engage them, to convince them. They’ll need them soon enough to man the electoral centers, to campaign, to volunteer, etc.

      I, for one, am sick of hearing oppo politicians expresing that Maduro squandered Chavez legacy, or that targeted sanctions against human rights violators equate universal sanctions on the whole country, or that Cadivi/Sundee/Cencoex/etc are not the problem because the problem are just the people running them, etc.

      They think they are closer to getting Chavista votes, but they may be closer to lose a vote from the base to a rival or to abstention.

  18. What annoys me is the whole “LL has to ask for permission to the MUD to do stuff” attitude. It is strikingly petty.

  19. I think it is important to point out what really motivated La Salida. La Salida was not motivated by a simple disagreement regarding the aftermath of the 2013 elections. La Salida was an attempt by a new player (Voluntad Popular) to gain momentum and support (which definitely worked), but as a consequence (deliberate or not) hindered the situation of the overall opposition from that point onwards.

    In short, what Voluntad Popular did was simply taking advantage of a minority of the opposition, who was desperate for solutions and was not being taken care by the MUD, in order to gain some followers.

    • So VP put lives in danger to gain political momentum?

      A lot of people were imprisoned, tortured, raped or killed as a result of “la Salida”.

      • I seriously doubt they though it would end like that… it is not as if they had a signed that read “Protest now, and get killed later”

        It was simply an unintended byproduct of their quest for popularity

        • I am not blaming the victims. Governmental paramilitaries and security agents are guilty.

          “La Salida” however, played into the hands of these people. It had no hope of success, yet VP called for it?

          At the very least they were irresponsible. At worst, cynical.

          • ” It had no hope of success, yet VP called for it?”

            Does it cost you so much to believe that those that called La Salida did believed on it’s success?

            Christ, this whole incapacity to take people at face value isn’t productive. I mean, I believe that you are wrong, but I don’t believe that you are secretly pushing a hopeless strategy on purpouse.

          • I struggle to believe VP thought they had a chance on the street against and armed, lawless government backed by paramilitary gangs.

          • And I do not believe that said lawless goverment is going to deliver power through an election without strong street pressure before, during and after said election.

            You can believe that people are wrong without insulting their character.

  20. Chavismo is not going to leave quietly, peacefully or electorally. The road out will be violently and full of danger.

    • I am sorry but, can you predict the future? Many delinquential regimes fell without violence:

      Francoism, Perez Jimenez, Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe (Romania and Yugoslavia excepted), Salazarism, Priism, Sandinism (its previous incarnation), Pinochetism, just to name a few.

      Sure, Chavismo is particular, but you shouldn’t give up hope.

      • I am not giving up hope. I just think it is somewhat naive to think that you will get rid of Chavismo without risking something. La Salida may have put people in danger, but I think that for Chavismo to exit, Venezuelans are going to have to take some risks, collective and personal ones. And yes, put themselves in some danger. Chavismo has no scruples.

        • Miguel,

          I agree with you and add the following thoughts:

          1. We are already in danger. Every day.

          2. In every instance of peaceful revolution I can think of, it happened because the army made a conscious decision not to fire on their fellow citizens. In Venezuela, where the Cubans are extensively embedded in the security apparatus, this is far less likely to occur. The Cubans will be far less apprehensive about using violence on Venezuelans.

          • Of course we are, but to bet the whole thing on elections, when the Government does what it wants (ask Maria Corina, Ceballos, the Guasdalito Mayor, etc) is silly. People think La Salida was the wrong strategy. To me it made some headway and we need more like it.

          • Miguel, I wasn’t disagreeing with you. The protests are needed. With elections (which will be a fraud) or without, this government will only fall in the face of an overwhelmingly popular uprising against them. The protests remind people that they ARE the majority, so that when the right moment comes, they feel the needed moral certitude needed to take power.

    • Of course. More marches will be needed, and unfortunately, they usually aren’t as peaceful as the one on Saturday. But hey, it’s that or more Cubazuela for 50 years, unless you believe in “fair elections” and tooth fairies.

  21. Bill Clinton’s theory of governance when he was the US president was triangulation which seems like what you folks in Venezuela are experiencing. He let the Conf
    greasing Republicans fight with their Democrat counterparts and then he would tell the voters they were both wrong and then propose solutions which sounded like compromises between the two parties. In Venezuela it looks like MUD figures that street demonstrations will be unsuccessful because the Chavistas will suppress them but that the voters will end up despising the demonstrators and the government and then will prefer MUD. You can’t say that is implausible but you can fault MUD for being naive. It just does not seem that the government will honor any unfavorable election result. The Chavistas cannot safely give up their power.

    • Right. They can’t even veer to the “Center” as Brazil still can, because of of the H.Rights accusations and Drug indictments. Many top Chavistas would end up in jail if Int’l justice were to prevail.

      But the MUD has a fine line to walk. Those who favor more peaceful, “conversational” ways like Capriles have lots of popular support. Those with Leopoldo know that hitting the streets is indispensable at this point, and the know any “elections” would always be stolen.

      They know they need each other, even the AD and Chuo’s of that MUDcrap. They need all the numbers they can get if only to have “safety in numbers” out in the streets. Chavismo has become such a monster that a divided opposition can hardly knock off.

      And that’s perhaps the aspect this great post by Emiliana fails to include. Of course the MUD is full if imperfections and is truly divided. And it’s a shame that they deny it and take us for fools. But if they start to admit their differences and struggles, you know how the under-educated masses would react to that, and to any signs of weakness.

      Unfortunately the MUDcrap may have to continue to lie, and work on their differences. To that extent Caprility might be right in emphasizing this fake “Unidad” so much lately. MCM, for one, has declared several times she understands that: she knows they all need each other know to knock-off the Dictatorship. She has said many times that “Capriles does his thing” and everything helps.. even hugged Chavista periodistas during this march, talking about “forgiveness” all the time.

      Later on, yes, the MUD should divide, and they should show their true colors. Right now, for these massive protests, and those to come………, the more, the merrier.

  22. OT: A Russian journalist is exposing the Kremlin’s extensive internet trolling operation. Should we expect that Cubazuela has done any less? We all all suspect (but don’t have proof) that many of the trolls we see here are paid to undermine productive discussion and sow discord. How long can it be before the first whistle blower emerges from the Chavista propaganda factory?

    http://news.yahoo.com/ex-pro-putin-internet-troll-seeks-expose-kremlin-152004105.html

    • http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html?_r=0

      I’m sure you are right, but it wasn’t too long ago that Chavez did have a lot of enthusiastic people who were willing to defend him/the regime for free in comments, wikipedia,etc. People who still try to defend him and/or the regime in comments or forums are much smaller these days (I haven’t really touched Venezuela wikipedia articles in a few years, maybe Kepler can speak on that…however it only takes several dedicated folks to focus on a few pages to really make getting the truth out difficult).

      With the attention paid to his international image, I’m sure he had a team devoted to tasks like these, just like he had several disguised propaganda outlets aimed at Western audiences and various mouthpieces like Weisbrot and others.

      • Rory,

        You are right, under Chavez, he and his “Revolution” were defended by any number of “fellow travelers”. However, in the wake of political repression and massive economic incompetence, it is becoming much harder for anyone to defend the Regime. Even organizations and persons that the regime once supported financially are now forced to distance themselves, because Venezuela’s regime has become toxic. Note that even Noam Chomsky finally broke with Chavez over the Judge Afuini case.

        So, the free propaganda has to be replaced by the “paid for” variety. I would very much like to know exactly where is the Chavista propaganda mill. I heard a hint that it could be in in the Telesur offices in Quito. I would also like to know if there are coordination links with Putin’s factory in St. Petersburg.

        Note to some enterprising and intrepid reporter: There is a story out there. Go get it! And I would suggest that you start by talking to Marina Korenava (AFP) in Kiev. She has been working on this story from the Russian angle for several months.

  23. Awesome post, well worth the wait jajaja

    One more horrid example of pettynes: Ramon Jose Medina (then second in charge) expressing that MUD had no plan to get LL out of jail, because that’s something he got himself into.

    There’s also Ramos Allup pinning the deaths of protesters in 2014 on #LaSalida, as opposed to the paramilitary colectivos or the National Guard or the police (who did the actual shooting of innocent people).

    http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140707/ramos-allup-la-salida-no-produjo-resultados-positivos

  24. The opposition should live by this statement
    “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
    quote from Benjamin Franklin 1776

    I think Maduro and his people understand this better than the MUD.

  25. The problem with the MUD is that they dont understand that, to show leadership, you have to show you have the initiative. LL understands that – for whatever reason you want, personal probably, and maybe not knowing how to connect that to a wider % of the population.

    But he understand that only by showing that he has initiative he can be a leader. The MUD just reacts to whatever the government throws at them.

  26. Ortega y Gasset once wrote a celebrated essay on the archetype of the politician taking as a sample the french revolutionary leader Mirabeau , whose premature death prevented the french revolution from avoiding the Terror and who was intent on inducing France to evolve into a Constitutional Monarchy , he almost succeeded . At the same time he was no moral parangon , after his premature death he was discovered to have been corrupt and cunningly wily . Ortega distinguished between archetypes , men who having special talents or gifts that can change the political life of their times for the good and their often less than exemplary personal morals. This later made me understand the figure of LBJ an genius politician (as I read the several volumes that make up Cantors splendidly researched biography of this man ) , who was both corrupt and unscrupulous but who changed the life of the US by making possible pieces of legislation like the Civil Rights Bill . We in Venezuela want our politicians to be morally beautiful , pure heroic models , we cant bear it that their are human beings blemished with flaws and capable of fallible morally warped decisions . We hate the ambivalence that great talents and characters exhibit in their lives , how their life includes acts and deeds and gestures worthy of our admiration and at the same time deeds and ambition lacking in heroically moral polish. Sometimes we take too much morally arrogant pleasure on shrillingly pointing out their all too human flaws and transforming them into monsters . We are also dismissive of how difficult challenging circumstances make it easy for even well intentioned and highly talented people to make mistakes because there is so much uncertaintly and complexity in the conditions they face that there is not way they can bat 1000. All difficult enterprises like the fight againts this gangster retime are bound to include inevitble failures and set backs. but also the chance of being mature and balanced in taking a pragmatical approach to learn from our mistakes and next time arround improve on our past performance. The oppo is in the best condition ever to reach its goals , not at one strike but by advancing carefully along a path of cummulative gains that ultimately allow the regime to implode and fall . The tone in which these discussion are held is important , some of us relish too much in crassly and chidishly offending those that think or act different from what they would like , more mature moderation is in order .

  27. “The opposition is divided, and that’s ok”. Well, only to a certain extent.

    On any mature, healthy democracy, with a somewhat educated populace, that would be just fine: differences withing the opposing parties, public debate, contrasting ideas and opinions, answering people’s concerns: Fantastic ingredients of a healthy democratic melee, preparing for fair elections.

    But you have a Totalitarian Regime like Guisozuela. A full-blow Neo-Dictatorship, or as I prefer to call it, a ‘PetroNarco Cleptocracy’ of sorts. A gigantic Communist Machine, with over 3 Million people of the Regime’s direct payroll, 32 “Ministerios”, and Millions more of enchufados, or dependent people who rely on the system’s freebies one way or another. Plus the thousands of Cuban spies and other “sapos”. Plus all of the “viviendas”, bribes, regalitos y tigritos… A metastasized Cancer deeply encrusted in every city and every small town, a formidable Monster to vanquish with no democratic intentions whatsoever, willing to do anything, including murder, antes de soltar el coroto. (before relinquishing power?).

    And on top of all that, a ravaged country where the all-important Media is vastly controlled by the neo-dictatorship, where 60% don’t have internet, with Censorship everywhere, plus the huge Propaganda Machines only this Narco State can afford.

    All of that against the Opposition, who is also bombarded with threats, bribes,forced exiles, firing of publicly elected officials, as we saw again yesterday, leaders in jail or constantly pursued.

    In this lopsided, unfair, terrible scenario, you do need to have a Somewhat United Opposition. In this scenario, you do need to Veil many “divisions” and weaknesses within the opposition. Remember, your ultimate goal is to defeat a huge monster that has all the tools, money, media, employees.. plus a vastly unfair and totalitarian system. And you are trying to win the Support of the Masses, especially the Chavista, popular masses, precisely those under-educated, bribed, government- dependent, clueless people who are inclined to go for Populist bullshit, before intellectualoid, political discourses about the benefits of Free Enterprise.. Not after 40 years of being ignored by AD/Copey..

    So I only agree with Emiliana’s post here to some extent: Sure, you could admit that within ANY healthy political movement, there are certain differences of opinion, that’s democracy.

    But given the circumstances I just described, and the type of popular support you are trying to enlist, I agree with Caprilito at this point. An strong need for Unity is required to vanquish this formidable Totalitarian Chavismo foe with all of its deep roots, after 16 years in place.

    Whether that “Unity” is real, or faked, to some degree, is less important. An excessive show of weakness is not exactly what the doctor ordered right now, and that’s how many less-informed pueblo-people would perceive a transparent admission of divisions within the already vulnerable MUD.

  28. The problem with the oppo is that it lacks an identifiable political message. It needs simple talking points or even at least one core idea that most common citizens can identify and rally behind. To me this idea needs to center around reducing crime in the country, but whatever it is, it has to be a universal concern and effectively communicated. I mean, can anyone describe what the core message of the Venezuelan opposition is today?? Their agenda, other than to get rid of the current government?? Sure there are documents, plans, statements, but can the common Venezuelan identify what the opposition stands for?
    It is sad the one core message or idea that has been the most identifiable and high-profile in the past few years has been “Las Salida”, which is not only vague and empty idea but also one that has proven over and over to not have the support of the majority of the population. However, because people are so desperate to rally behind a cause and there is a dearth of ideas or consistent message within the opposition, there is no choice but to get behind this movement or a variation thereof (there have been many over the past 15 years) which has shown time and time again to lack popular support.

  29. “It’s the catatonic denial of the rift that is absolutely corrosive.”

    Not sure how “corrosive” this concerted denial really is. Detrimental for whom exactly? The opposition politicians themselves, or the “voting” public? Or just us, frustrated Int’l observers and analysts.

    Clearly, the Opposition, i.e. Capriles, LL, MCM, AD, Copey and all are Political animals. Heck, even Tintori has turned into a fine Political specimen. Surely, they have sat down many times and overtly agreed to present, if asked in public, a fake facade: “mesa de Unidad” . Que no es ni mesa, ni esta unida, claro. But they probably concluded it’s the best PR Strategy to achieve the first common objective : knock off Chavismo. Stick together somehow, and certainly avoid publicizing weaknesses. The “together we stand, divided we fall” hymn applies in Vzla today. Together against the neo-Dictatorship, whatever difference we may have.

    This is nothing new in Politics: they are used to playing the game. It’s not really “corrosive” to them. Changing the subject, using half-truths, drilling popular mottoes.. It’s not like they will feel like hypocrites, lose sleep at night and get discouraged, just for not publicizing their obvious internal weaknesses and divisions. All Political animals are immunized against such ailments early on in their careers.. Tienen piel de caiman.

    The ‘corrosion’ effect mentioned here might only be in public opinion, especially the intellectuals, educated people who are able to discern such disguises, see through all that, and may feel deceived or frustrated. Still, above all, you want Masburrismo gone, anyway. Anything would be better. Hell, bring Lusinchi back.. And most of the 80% of discontents, el pueblo, also don’t care too much about MUDcrap, they don’t like them all, but they are against Chavismo and the status-quo more than anything else.

    Most people left in Cubazuela hardly understand the most basic political nuances and ideological trends today, anyway. They have no idea what differences there may be between VP, AD or Causa R at this point. Zero clue. Heck do they even know themselves? So the simpler, the better. It’s like the Terrorist gig here in the USA: “Either you’re with us, or you’re with the Chavismo Terrorists.” Plain and simple, at this point. Plenty of time to fine-tune democratic political parties in decades to come.

    Chavez’s “brilliant simplification of our political culture. It’s up to us as citizens to revert his legacy through the conscious elevation of our debate.” That requires a certain degree of 1/ information (blocked by the Regime’s censored Media) and 2/ education (can’t “elevate” the debate in Guisozuela, can we..)

    The Dictatorship’s Propaganda Machine spews enough venom though their controlled media to torpedo and undermine the Opposition every day. The recent MUD history, as explained in this post, shows enough cracks in the MUD, evident ones. Admitting further weakness and divisions out loud would not help. Working on them would, they have to overcome, or at least Tolerate their differences, behind closed doors, to a large extent at this point in the game. It probably is frustrating and “corrosive” for guys like LL or Capriles and others, but a strong drive towards a shared goal is much more important right now.

    So no, I don’t see much “corrosion” there. It would be worse if they kept talking about their obvious differences. I generally disagree with Capriles’ populist/pacifist approach, but he’s doing the right thing now constantly calling for Unity. Real, or perceived. Perceptions often are temporary realities, anyway.

  30. I ve always wondered what that magical message that may attract the sympathies of the former chavista followers migh be. The problem of course is that the more educated middle classes have priorities and concerns that dont exactly overlap with those of the typical (now dissapointed) chavista flock.

    Where do they differ ? Middle classes are more concerned with the preservation of civic , civil, economic and property rights and decent efffective public management , with the Rule of Law , and a government that doesnt try to control the life of everyone in a way that destroys their standard of living .

    Other classes are more concerned with bread and butter issues , with having a paternalistic government that .allows them generous populist benefits that makes their life easier and not burdened with hardships that ordinarly afflict the life of the very poor .and also with Government leaders who project with their looks , gestures , speech an image they can strongly emotionally identify with and who makes them feel empowered and special and heoric and manly and mighty . That caters to their agonal self inflating passions.by making them feel moral supermen engaged in a melodramatic epic struggle against a loathed enemy ( including the middle class)

    Where do they share common concerns and priorities , their desire for govt that is efffective , and performs well in providing for those public services and benefits that we all expect from government , one that will protect them from shortages and inflation and electrical blackouts or rationing .

    How does the opposition articulate a message that appeals to the traditional oppo middle class supporters and those disaffected chavista followers is quite a challenge because their priorities and concern are for the most part different.

    .

    • Crime has had a disproportionate affect on the lower classes. Surely, that should be an issue that resonates with them.

    • Good articulation of the Third Way: Common concerns and priorities.
      I’d agree with you: the opposition is not doing enough to articulate that message, but rather, the more immediate one that enlists/perpetuates their representatives in the National Assembly.

    • I’d go with the bread&butter issues.

      The opposition message should focus on what hurts people the most: their own Pockets.

      Sure, the average Venezuelans like to hear about lovely things like Libertad, Patria, Justicia.. in the end,”it’s the Economy, stupid”. Middle class or lower class, what they hate the most and hurt them the most is the Escasez, Inflacion and then, distant third, Inseguridad. Even the failures in basic services, Electricity (apagones) and Water.

      I would drill on that everyday, before people continue to get used to the colas, etc. That’s what really pisses everyone off.

    • Show people that both things are one and the same.

      Crime soars because of the incompentence of a goverment that prefers to be heavy handed in their management of political dissent and media dissent and turn a blind eye, when not direct collaboration, to criminal gangs

      Inflation soars and scarcity comes due to a series of stupid “for the people” policies that are only for the people in name – they are for the creation of guisos, and the result of “pan para hoy, hambre para mañana” thinking about how to placate them – you remember the years of bread? Now is the year of hunger – is the direct result.

      And instead of insulting them as freeloaders and parasites that bla bla bla… as it is sometimes seen in comments here, treat them as important. It is VERY important that they realize the revolution is a fraud. And that whatever come next has to REALLY end up being better for them. You dont win that by calling millions of people idiots, thieves, etc. You need to get to their side and tell them that what they suffer now is due to the revolution, and that a different future with jobs, dignity, and public services that work is possible, if we all make sacrifices.

      Because thats the other thing. Nobody tells people that the situation is going to get worse before getting better, even if the chavistas disappear overnight without any conflict.

      Venezuela is like somebody in hospital after being run over by a car. The fault may be on the driver. The pain, the surgery, the struggle for recovery is on the patient.

      Just in this case, the current doctor IS the driver.

      • There are some good ideas about what the message should be , but one worrying issue is the way Chavez innnoculated many of the poor with a particularly virulent form of ‘Identity’ Politics , where they saw the govt as representing them , as being the living embodiment of their political ’empowerement’ , and as the mesianic avenger of their unjust mistreatment by the traditional Pols and their middle class supporters . They get a kick from hating the middle class and their values as a means of proudly self aserting their own heroic revolutionary class identity . Hatred of a class enemy is intoxicating to these poor so abandoning the revolution to take sides with their demonized abusers is not something they find easy or comfortable .

        Of course many of them without ceasing to be Chavistas at heart feel betrayed because the govt has let them down by becoming as corrupt as anyone before them and causing ( a they see it ) the ruin of the country. Their hatred of the Maduro betrayers and thieves can be very strong , but not all of them because of that feel instantly identified with those whom Chavez proclaimed his enemies.

        So among those which the oppo needs to target to draw to their side are : Former Chavistas who now realize their error and see the need to try something else to free themselves from their current miseries . those who dont feel comfortable abandoning their Chavista core identity but are deeply dissppointed by the Maduro betrayal and might either vote for the opposition while plugging their noises or abstain from voting all together .

        Then there is the large segment of gut anti chavistas who hate anything remotely resembling what Chavez sincerely or falsely may have stood for. The message has so many different angles that its difficult to articulate.

  31. Está perfectamente OK y es por eso mismo que he sentido últimamente que a Caracas Chronicles le hace falta un balance editorial. Ya no somos una oposición, somos dos.

  32. Nice recap!! Amazing that I have witnessed all of this and it just seems like a swirl. You put it in context. Thanks.

  33. I have followed Caracas Chronicles for years – and Venezuela for over a decade. I’ve always appreciated the refreshing viewpoints offered and in particular, viewing the exchange of opinions from the side of the opposition. However, as an outsider, my view is that the opposition needs to be careful not to lose sight of what your ultimate objective. If it is to oust Chavismo, you will need Chavistas to do so. Frankly, comments from Alejandro have been the few that have shed light on the larger picture. Yes, it is about what Petare, El Valle Catia think… and no, they are not thinking about political prisoners and heftier democratic/academic discussions, they are thinking about their socioeconomic wellbeing and being respected. Over the years, the traditional Venezuelan opposition has failed in addressing these most fundamental concerns – dignity and respect for those that don’t think like them and empathy. HRC has made efforts to reach to them on that front, but I have not seen this replicated across the board. You may not agree with Alejandro’s opinions, but if you don’t take them into account, you are increasingly narrowing your thought pool and losing out on growing your base to become a viable opposition. I hope Alejandro has the patience to stick with you.

    • >… I have not seen this replicated across the board.

      Uh, my main problem with this whole argument is that, the above is not true. The initiative of citizen assemblies, a way that VP and the like put forward to approach the people…..was shouted down by the MUD as nearly treasonous. The big protest centers last year were on Táchira, an entire state that the MUD let to rot under Vielma Mora, and pretty much deal with the nastiest side of the economic distortions of the country at being on a border with Colombia. The “dialogue” was a complete disconnection of their own bases and an emasculating show of weakness that didn’t accomplished anything.

      Is not 2012 anymore, let’s stop pretending that it is. And by all the flak that LL gets, at least VP communicates with the grassroots protest movements that surged on their own, unlike PP.

  34. Apologies – meant HCR. He has made efforts to reach out beyond the traditional base – similiar to what Juan Manuel Santos has done in Colombia. It’s tough, but it is a way forward and it’s critical. Also, Bill Bass eloquently touched on the importance of reaching out to the disillusioned Chavistas at heart.

  35. I’d have to check with you here. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

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