Henry’s Week

Love him or loathe him - and, deep down, we know you loathe him - Henry Ramos Allup gave a master-class in politics this week. Imagine what he could do as AN Chair.

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This has been the week of Henry. The sharp tongued Secretary General for Acción Democrática, Henry Ramos Allup, is perhaps the most polarizing figure the New Majority has to offer.

HRA has the uncanny ability to make you laugh even if you despise him and what he stands for. He specializes in voicing thoughts you consider barrabasadas, even though you’ve probably thought them yourself at some point or another. Henry Ramos Allup is the guy you love to hate, but also the guy you hate to (secretly) love.

He led us down the despeñadero of boycotting in 2005 National Assembly Elections, which led to an all-chavista parliament, and all that implied. Imagine that: the same party that nowadays criticises heavily #LaSalida boycotted elections a mere decade ago. He has since rebranded AD as adamant moderates and constant critics of Voluntad Popular and Vente Venezuela’s more militant agenda.

Henry Ramos Allup is the guy preaching saber administrar la victoria but he’s not so interested in really putting that into practice. He’s been the prototype that Chávez sold to his followers of what the opositor is: a cynical, arrogant, elitist that most likely brokers deals with the enemy and sells his soul for a buck.

He’s so repulsive to so many that the look on your average MUD voter’s face when they found out he was going to be running in a shoo-in circuit for this election was that of a mother that catches his son smoking pot…again.

Yet, with his recent rant regarding ANTV, he did stir strong emotions on both sides of the aisle. For once, the man was voicing a consensus within the opposition nobody ever expresses. We’ve all thought of it, we all want it to happen, he just happened to say it: time to put an end the constant stream brazen, extreme propagandist nonsense on state media!

He took a beating for saying that ANTV was the “sewage drain of Miraflores”, the worst of the worst. Soon, chavismo was trying to emulate what RCTV did back on its final night on the air. All State-owned channels had their entire staff on set, while one of them read a declaration of solidarity to the workers of ANTV.

The President and the soon-to-be-former Speaker of the National Assembly teamed up and focused their fury on this miniscule topic, ignoring the fact that they got their asses whooped in an epic fashion, on a national scale.

Ramos Allup has also caught a lot of flak from the MUD, saying his timing was awful, and that this wasn’t the sort of National Assembly we’d have: one of revanchismo.

But instead of giving in to pressure, he doubled down, standing by his comments. And for standing firm on something that is, in fact, right makes for a refreshing change in itself. This guy hasn’t even been sworn in and barely 24 hours into the post-6D frenzy that has started, he’s manage to put chavismo on the defensive and under pressure.

“This isn’t an offense to any individual in particular. ANTV and the National Public Media System are embarrassing, a disgrace from a communicational point of view” he said completely unrelated to what reporters were asking. Yet it was enough to set the tone of both Contacto con Maduro and Con el Mazo Dando.

Freedom of speech has always been a priority for the MUD, and it seems rather unnecessary to even be having this discussion. It all seems to boil down to who said this, not what was said. Had it been Capriles, Leopoldo or even María Corina for that matter, we would’ve nodded and agreed.

But it wasn’t Capriles or LL or MCM, it was Ramos Allup who said it. His attack did something the opposition hasn’t really done effectively in a while: it seized control of the media agenda for a few days. And that’s exactly what we need: chavismo on their toes, reactive and even more prone to screwing up. That’s the next five years of the National Assembly right there, if he’s the one to preside it.

On the other hand, whatever we receive from any other possible National Assembly President will be centered mainly on reconciliation and, likely, on pisar conchas de mango chavistas will have prepared. Not to say they will be collaborationists or will sigh in defeat at the first sign of turmoil, but I cannot imagine Julio Borges, for instance, standing up to make sure the discussions that ought to be held are carried out properly under his command.

So we have two very different possible futures, depending on who’s in charge as of January 5th. Maybe Ramos Allup could be the gallo de pelea that could send a rotund siéntate Cilia to Diputada Flores, for instance, and make sure that real accountability and oversight come out of this assembly. 

The only way for chavismo to become a part of the discussion is apparently to force them to. Thus far the only things they’ve said is that they won’t, and I’m pretty sure sweet talk won’t  bring them around. The facts are in and they’re in total denial, or maybe just frightened of setting foot in a parliament they no longer control. To get them to face up to uncomfortable truths, heck, to get them to listen at all, we’ll have to twist some arms. And perhaps that’s what good old Ramos Allup was born to do.

66 COMMENTS

  1. He is a disgrace for us. In balance, even though I agree with you he had said a couple of things that are right, most of his comments were clumsy at best and highly stupid from a strategic point of view for Venezuela as a whole. They might have been good for him as a politico, but that is about it.

    I wish we had had primaries to filter him out.

    It is telling this guy blokes anyone on Twitter who criticizes him. He is just like Diosdado. I’d rather have other politician, preferably under 50 years old, preferably woman, preferably a little bit more representative of the average Venezuelan, represent us…like that young lady from PJ.

  2. He is no moral paragon for sure , but he CAN BE an adroit pol , not bothered with too many scruples , but effective in the kind of behind the curtains infighting thats always part of political life. He knows how to express what we all want to express but never find the words (or guts) to express , he is a very efective communicator, moreso he is a sharp debater hitting hard with punches that land square in the other guys nose. Cant count on him to be the leader most of us would want to follow but certainly someone whose long and wily experience as a practical and professional poitician can be of use having arround parlaiment when things get rough. The thing is that the oppos current challenges are difficult and he must learn to play with the team and not go overboard with statements that can hurt its cause.

    He is the head of the second most voted Mud coalition party and cant be left out , but he isnt the guy to appear as head of the oppo representation in parlaiment , he carries to much baggage from the past ( as does his party) , but having him close for when the opportunity comes to be ‘foxy’ may turn out to be a good thing.!!

  3. I’m divided about it. On one side he could help us bring more reds to our side by increasing our tv ratings, or he could permanently alienate them because they hate his existence. In any case he will make these 5 years funnier to watch

  4. Great post Danni. I’m still not sold on Ramos Allup’s wisdom when it comes to really serious matters (the economy mostly).

    It’s easy to criticize the public media because it is so clearly crappy.. But does he got what it takes to properly dismiss the government’s policies, while also setting up the stage for an agenda that’s both good for MUD and the Venezuelan society alike? Or will he get stuck in barrabasadas?

  5. Henry probably shouldn’t be the President of the AN, but there’s a need for someone to attack to keep chavismo on their toes. What is more likely is that he’s going to be on the Directive Board at least.

    As long as the MUD manages to keep the discussion in closed doors aka no petty sniping before and SPECIALLY after the Directive Board is selected, then we can face January.

    • There are 111 other deputies among the MUD. Aren’t there at least a dozen with much better rhetorical skills than this bloke?
      If not: what does that say of Venezuela’s education, even among the most privileged?

      • Sure there are, but I’m not sure what they are doing to become more notorious… I think most of them are new and don’t have the same experience that HRA has.

        Henry Ramus Allup is poised to be the new president of the National Assembly, not bad at all, since he could become second in the presidential line of succession. So HRA strikes me as someone who wouldn’t let go his leadership position in the new National Assembly so easily.

  6. Nobody says anything about how grossly biased is the interviewer?

    Asking to an elected official, whose coalition had won with a whopping 2/3, wether or not they are planning a Coup d’etat to the government. Seriously? is he an idiot or what?

    • Perhaps the wording was off, invoking a recall referendum would be the correct terminology, nonetheless it was a valid, albeit loaded, question.

      As to his impartiality, c’mon let’s not ponder on the obvious.

    • You know that the only authorized and legal hatred in Venezuela is against the non-chaviztas.

      Even disagreeing with any chavizta is considered a hate crime punishable with several years in prison.

  7. I’m not too knowledgable about the internal politics of the MUD, so maybe I’m wrong, but Ramos Allup strikes me as a figure from the past. The new AN needs leadership which cannot be tied to the Quarta Republica or the old ways.

    It’s new hope, not old guys, who will bring the victory of 6D to reality.

    That seems to me to be a complete reason why this fellow should stand back for newer faces.

      • Nothing has happened to him; he is just talking to the other part of the country we seems to forget. It is true, something changed in our countrymen last Sunday, but it is too early to know what. We need the HCR who can connect to those people still at the fence, and unfortunately the Henrys that still talk like the people do.

  8. I really cannot understand the distaste some people have with him. Yes, he symbolizes a “figure from the past”, but his special blend of rhetoric skills for delivering an agreed agenda is ideal for a president of the AN.

  9. The worst message the new majority can send is to name HRA as a National Assembly president. It is needed a figure that can create some consensous, he is not. He is not only from the past , but also he is responsible for the terrible forfait that the opposition made attacking CNE and looking for a black swan that never happened.

    HRA could fit well in a comission, maybe economics or some politics related comission. forget anything else

    • There’s not possible consensus with chavista government and the sooner that some people in the opposition ‘se bajen de esa nube’ mejor. It’s much better ‘un zorro viejo’ como HRA que un ‘culicagado’ como Julio Borges.

  10. Henry’s comments about ANTV, while true, where clumsy at best and were done with awful timing. It allowed chavistas to set the rhetoric to something convenient (and they know how to do that very well) instead of focusing on the beating they took in the polls.

    Needless to say, it’s incidents like this that will be used by PJ to argue the man is not fit to be President of the AN, and to promote Julio Borges instead.

    • Agree with you Jose. to me it’s like telling a war enemy that you’re going to bomb on such an address, on such a date, at such a time to destroy their weapons. Now the enemy has time to react.

      At this time people are more concerned about the economy and crime rate (including the crime of corruption). Talk about how these could/should be solved and you’ll gain more political points. Everything else is the cherry on top. We don’t need a “Diosdado” on our side.

      Remember; one can catch more flies with honey than with s#!t.

      • Julio Borges is the national coordinator for Primero Justicia, which is the party from the opposition that got the most seats. He was also beaten physically by the thugs so it adds some symbolism to the thing. It seems like the right fit to me.

    • Cabello lo que hizo fue poner la torta reaccionando a las declaraciones de HRA, pa’ muestra las declaraciones de los trabajadores de ANT ahora preocupados con la terciarización . Mejor que le adeco siga hablando que tiene locas a los chavistas

  11. I have been out of Venezuela too long and I don’t have a pulse on people’s perceptions. But I like the guy, he makes a stand, he is folksy and would definitely increase ratings for the oppo.

  12. Venezuela does need a sharp-tongued, corrupt, veteran politician like Ramos Allup. He has experience fighting the Chavista alligators. He’s no Winston Churchill, he’s no Leopoldo Lopez, and we all know he’s highly corruptible. But at this point, who cares if he eventually steals a few more millions?

    As long as he keeps working, and fighting against Chavismo, he is a valuable asset for Venezuela right now.

      • Perhaps is better if we let the transition process evolve. Eventually,we will be able to choose a Speaker at the level we believe our country deserves, but right now we also need somebody who could connect with the people, I think. Adecos, for reasons I cannot understand, seem to know how to do that, at least with old generations. Hopefully as the transition progresses we as a nation will do it too, for better.

      • Nice article. It illustrates the political challenges we as country will have on securing a continuation of the power transition it just started. I would like to remember you that even though the elections’ results are overwhelming, there are still 2 countries (politically) eager to identify their opportunities. We still do not have , I think, a political leader who can effectively talk and engage those 2 parts with his/her rhetoric (sorry Chuo, nothing against you who have done so much). Hopefully the story to tell is thatof our people changing their political and social mindsets for better, but in any case ithose changes will take time.

      • Correct. Not as a Cabello replacement in the Parliament. Apparently that will be Julio Borges.

        But Ramos Allup, as this post relates, needs to keep running his mouth against Chavismo. He has an audience. He’s no Einstein, or Harvard educated, but he’s just what the doctor ordered to counteract the TV cadenas from the Chavista Regime. Let the dude run his mouth, endlessly, it can’t hurt at this point.

        We’ll be here to remind him about his Derwick Associates bolichicos connections in the future, though.

  13. I would not disagree with you strongly if HRA were not the one opp leader that most represents the loathed 4th republic.
    is that really who we want to be the face of the opp going forward? an emblematic Adeco from the 80s?

  14. The Opposition needs to select and name the President of the new Assembly now, and start speaking to the public with one official voice. That voice should NOT be Ramos Allup. He is far too closely associated with the past (el Cuarto).

    • I absolutely agree Roy. This man is a boor and an embarrassment. He should not be the president of the AN.

      Did no one see the photos of him making the rude and inappropriate gestures after the win? He reminds me of Donald Trump.

  15. Very good article, I agree with you in some of the things you say but I think that deep down HRA is a patán, I hated voting for him but I know I had to if we wanted to get rid of the chavistas, so I wasn’t voting for him, I was voting against them, even though when I was in front of the tarjetón I wanted to choose somebody else, but I wasn’t going to vote for the bicha or Pablo Medina or the chavistas so what the heck, I had to hide my face of disgust when I pressed down his name, the same face I make when I find onions in my food, which I absolutely hate and vote for him.

    Maybe you are right and he is the only one that can deal with the chavistas, specially because he is just like them except he is with us, so, let’s see what happens. One thing is true, next year’s AN meetings are going to be fun to watch.

    And in response to Kepler, you are right, he is just like Diosdado, HRA also blocked me on twitter, I mean, if you are a public figure you should man up and take the criticism and work on it.

  16. Please, STOP looking for a Messiah! A Messiah without a PROJECT will be as bad as Chavez was. Put together a well thought and doable proposal about how Venezuela will move forward and solve the crisis, then look for a consensus of all the forces that want change and a future. THEN and only THEN look for someone who will be the “face” that will commit to carry this proposal in practice to the end. With a good proposal, whoever is the “leader” moving it forward will be secondary and if the guy/gal strays from the course, well, “a Rey muerto, Rey puesto” and nothing happens.

      • I only hope that they will learn from the mistakes that were made before Chavez and were what made him an option. I would say that most people who voted by Chavez back in 1999 didn’t do it for ideological reasons, but pretty much for the same reasons that now they voted against Maduro. They were fed up with the nepotism (from Caldera’s family these days), corruption, broken promises (that couldn’t have been fulfilled anyway) and a lot of vices that back in the day were associated to the “traditional” politicians and the PSUV also ended having. Granted that not too many people back in the day would have foreseen the disaster that Chavez was (this video is well known, but I think that is a good idea bringing it back)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2IVRy8uIsw

        Messianism has been the “cancer” of Venezuelan politics since…don’t know, their whole Republican life?

        Venezuela at this point is at a crossroad, what better time that not simply come with WHAT the MUD political project will do to get Venezuela on track, but more so HOW it will be done. If that is clearly outlined you don’t need to bring another Messiah, just someone willing to push things forward for as long as it is needed

  17. HRA is an old Adeco, and many of the Chavistas are old Adecos==they talk the same language and understand each other, good for building consensus and promoting saltos de talanquera.

  18. I read all comments, personally I don’t like HRA as a politician but he have a good record on standing again this government, so within the MUD alliance that give him enough point to be deputy.

    However we must never lost the sight of the goal, that is democratic end of this regime, with that goal HRA is a poorly choose, you se however MUD select will be hated by PSUV but sure there are othe figures who can be more appalling to general people not just opposition, people vote change and bring back an Adeco to this higher office will be in some level (some level ok) contrary to this.

  19. He’s no wimp and expresses himself real well. During these times of conflict, definitely a man to have as ally. Oh, and he fervently believes in democracy, a good quality nowadays that Venezuelans are being reminded of its virtues.

  20. He’s the only one with enough “burdel” político to sit as chair to deal with the reconcomiado tricky reds and I’m not one of his fans but I admire his chops!

  21. Perhaps we need a carrot and stick approach in the election of the speaker of the National Assembly. A formula should be considered to elect both Borges and Ramos. They would alternate as speaker on a monthly basis or as different situations arose. Keeping the options flexible, Julio Borges would play the carrot, being conciliatory and civilized as a speaker should be; Henry Ramos Allup would play the stick, a mirror image of the present speaker. For Venezuela’s well-being let’s hope the PSUV responds creatively to the Borges model.

  22. Imagine how are you going to argue in an Assembly with Pedro Carreño. With Iris Varela, Diosdado Cabello, Tania Diaz.

    You need a man to tell them, straight up, “You are not scaring me with your shouting”. More than that, you need a man to retort with the knowledge and the eloquence.

    You may not like him, but Ramos is a man we need right now. Not THE man, A man.

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