Capriles Salidista.

Sound familiar???

Sources confirm that opposition leader Henrique Capriles will be announcing the activation of a recall referendum today at an event in Parque Miranda, Caracas. Apparently, the initiative is led by Capriles’ party, Primero Justicia, as a unilateral proposal.

The Constitution states that in order to activate a recall referendum, we need valid signatures of 20% of registered voters, that’s around 3.900.000 of 19,5 million.

Once the referendum is approved, there must be a voter turnout of at least 25% of the voting population, that is, around 4,8 million Venezuelans. The option to revoke Maduro’s mandate must receive at least the same number of votes that Maduro got when he was first elected, meaning, 7.587.579 or more. (Henrique Capriles got 7.363.980 in 2013, and on 6D, the opposition received 250 thousand more votes than Maduro, so this sounds pretty doable).Henrique Capriles

So I guess los tiempos de Dios are finally right?

Well, it depends whom you ask, because the law states that if the President’s mandate gets revoked before the 4th year of his 6-year term, new elections must be announced within a month. After the President’s 4th year in office, the Vice President, meaning Aristóbulo, for now, would finish out the term.

The thing is, there’s a technical debate over when exactly Maduro’s term began, since some say it started on January 10, 2013 (when a dying Chávez swore him in from Cuba), and some argue for April 19, 2013, the day he got sworn into office. Ultimately, the TSJ or the CNE would decide at which point Maduro’s mandate is halfway through, and when the referendum would trigger new elections.

One could argue that this is Capriles’ bid for staying relevant, especially since tomorrow marks exactly 2 years since Leopoldo López was jailed, and meanwhile Henry Ramos Allup just keeps killing it every time he speaks.

The process of activating a referendum is long and tedious, and involves going against the CNE every step of the way. Let’s hope Capriles works alongside MUD and treads with strategic caution so this doesn’t backfire.

Stay tuned.

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Emi is a cook, a lover of animals, politics, expletives, and Venezuela. She is the co-founder of Caracas Chronicles LLC and Managing Editor if the site until December 2017.


  1. The Venezuelan opposition makes Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and the GOP look brilliantin comparison. Keep up the good work of ensuring the survival of Chavismo and the continuing rape of Venezuela by your friends the bolichicos and PSUV.

  2. Firstly, I disagree with kernel_panic. I think collecting the signatures will be easy. The level of discontent with Maduro and lack of confidence in the government is off the charts. It will be easy to convince people to express that by signing the petition. At this point, there are not so many who have something to lose: “What are they going to do? Take away my CADIVI dollars? Hah!” If the campaign is handled correctly, once you get the ball rolling, you could even get a plurality of the registered voters just in signatures alone.

    However, it worries me that this might be spearheaded by Capriles instead of the MUD. I don’t think that I am alone in feeling that Capriles betrayed the public by surrendering instead of fighting after the election of 2012. He is not the guy that people want to follow “into the breach”. Of course, that is why Leopoldo Lopez is in jail and Capriles isn’t.

  3. This might not be Capriles going rogue within MUD, but rather him being out of sync with his own party. Lately, he has been the only top figure of PJ talking in specific terms about the need for the exit of Maduro, and how to do it. Remember January of 2015, when he called for a new “La Salida” of sorts? He did so, alone, without anyone else from PJ supporting him. This could be his play to force Borges and others into action.

    As for the “stay relevant” argument, I think many people are underestimating his support among opposition voters. He has certainly lost a lot of ground among the most informed and active opposition voters, and especially among the Cafetal-like voter. But in a country-wide primary, with low-info voters playing a large role, he could be very tough to beat.

    • Pero creo que tienes razon, mucha gente apoya a Capriles por su mensaje parecido al del chavismo: “no trabaje, el estado esta para darselo todo, no sea responsible! el petroleo pagara su irresposabilidad; la renta petrolera alcanza! lo qu pasa es que la han administrado mal!”

      Seguro llegara a presidente con ese discurso

  4. This is a proposal, no different than Causa R’s amendment idea; and actually both options can run simultaneously, as Henrique himself has stated. Nobody (except those who have always longing for a MUD breakup) thinks PJ will entirely pull this out on its own… Weren’t you always complaining for lack of initiative? This is an initiative with constitutional grounds, precedents, a logic timeline and vastly proven popular backing.

    What does concern me, however, is that the resign scenario now seems at least a bit posible (hinted yesterday by Henry Ramos Allup), and rumors spread left and right that Maduro is seeking asylum in a neighbor country (tweeted by two congressmen of that nation). Is the MUD ready for another impromptu Presidential Election? Who would the candidate be?

  5. The process of activating a referendum is long and tedious, and involves going against the CNE every step of the way. Let’s hope Capriles works alongside MUD and treads with strategic caution so this doesn’t backfire.

    Muy bien el cierre del artículo. Let’s hope doesn’t backfire. Especially if he is doing this action without MUD’s support

  6. Capriles is not trustworthy. Aniway, his proposal seems too difficult and unrealistic. Maybe we can actually get the signatures and votes, but that is not the only factor to consider. I think we should rather use the AN to effect real change first(there are some options). Capriles and PJ represent the best chance of survival for the actual system, they are populist and demagogic and they think, like Chavez did, that politics is only about making people vote for you. That’ s why they keep that absurd offensive distinction between an elitist opossition and a popular opposition. I don’ t think Capriles is closer to el pueblo than LL or MCM, he just tries very hard to sell himself that way, just like any mediocre populist would do. He is dishonest and condescending, meaning that he will always prefer to keep people ignorant for his own benefit.

  7. When most of the MUD is talking about changing the Constitution, because is the most convenient way for several reasons, Capriles is suddenly talking about a referendum. It seems to me that he wants to take advantage of the “elections in 30 days” bit to try to be a Presidential candidate again.

    Fuck you Henrique, you had your chance, you blew it and now all of us are paying the price for your cowardice.

  8. No road is exempt from risks. Both the amendment the recall referendum have a rocky road ahead and put us well inside chavista hands at the CNE and TSJ. But my point is that -I´m sure that you are aware of- there is a perfectly legitimate debate on how to proceed, I mean, besides implying that the “reason” is Capriles being an attention whore.

    At the end, everybody agrees (PJ, VP, AD and UNT) that there will be a debate inside the MUD and there will be a united political front to push for the transition mechanism. I only hope others doesn’t arrive first.

  9. As Roy pointed out above, what is there to lose in terms of a Tascon List. V-2?

    The thing is is that if I recall correctly the signatures to get the ball rolling have to be taken in 3 days, and we’re talking 4 million signatures and thumbprints. Imagine the Bolivarian Circles hovering around collection points!

    Then there’s the CNE and the TSJ to deal with (Firmazo and Re-Afirmazo 2016 anyone?)

    If this is part of a strategy to put pressure on from different sides it makes sense, but as a standalone option I don’t think that dog will hunt effectively.

    Let’s see what Capriles says………

    On another note, the Consulate in Washington DC reports that the REP is closed “por fallas en el sistema” and are at this time not accepting new voters.

  10. Can we start like a tumblr or blog of Ramos Allup’s ‘zings?

    “Hay abogados que son penalistas porque dan pena.”

    “Tu, de inteligencia no te vas a morir!”

  11. Why not both? Why not a recall referendum and a legislative push from the AN to shorten terms? These are not in conflict. As Americans like to say throw shit at a wall to see what sticks.

  12. I don’t see how calling for a revocatorium compares to La Salida.
    Capriles is not advocating for anything even remotely similar to La Salida.

    The final objective may be the same but they are completely different mechanisms. A referendum is basically an electoral process and is already included in the constitution. La Salida was an attempt at open ended protests to pressure Maduro into resigning.

    Both strategies are fraught with risks and personally I believe both are probably going to be necessary in the end. The problem with La Salida version 1 (Feb 2014) is that it was terribly, incredibly, mistimed. A gross strategic miscalculation. It was like directing a frontal assault against an enemy force at its strongest moment. The other problem (apart from dividing the opposition) was it being open ended (#ElQueSeCansaPierde) which doomed it to fail from the beginning.

    • The point of Salidismo is simple: “we need a change of government, as soon as possible, to prevent further death and misery.” Thats pretty much it.
      It is the antithesis of “lets wait until this implodes,” the morally bankrupt theory that favored political calculation over human cost.

      • I agree that we needed a change of government to prevent further misery when La Salida was launched in 2014. That’s the diagnosis. Then comes the prescription. That’s the part that La Salida got wrong: the strategy, the execution. The fact that La Salida got the diagnosis right shouldn’t preclude us from judging its prescribed course of action. Their cause was worthy, and then executed a plan that had no chance of succeeding.

        • Es una lástima que la Salida no haya tenido éxito. Nos hubiéramos ahorrado mucho sufrimiento. Quizás si hubiéramos puesto todo de nuestra parte en ese momento, hubiéramos podido cambiar la historia del país… Ahora estamos arruinados y comprometimos y no tenemos el destino en nuestras manos. ¿No lo ven? Había que intentarlo en ese entonces. Había que hacer todo lo posible para evitar lo que está ocurriendo ahora mismo y lo que falta. No hay que pensar en el presente. Hay que pensar en el futuro. ¡Cada mes que pasa retrasa el resurgimiento de Venezuela décadas!

          A mí no me gustaría pasar a la historia como el tipo que se tomó una foto con Viela Mora después de lo que pasó en Táchira en el 2014. Si Leopoldo López algún día llega a ser Presidente, eso será lo que se recordará de Capriles. Algunos han intentado lavarse la cara, como Ramos Allup, que quizás, por su edad, tiene cierta angustia por su legado como político.

      • I could not ascertain whether Capriles belongs to the morally corrupt category or not.

        But it seems to me that Capriles objective has always been the same as anyone else’s in the opposition.
        End this regime “as soon as possible”. Caveat: but not by “any” means.

        – Some believe that this is possible just by taking the streets. Eventually it may be so.

        – Some others believe in building up an opposition that is strong enough to do the task.

        The former is appealing to the desperate and impatient and to the hopeful.
        The latter, I would say, has better chances of success (although no guarantees).

        While the former looks more proactive, the latter is not simply “waiting” but actively working in that building process. Not as flashy but possibly more effective. Like many of the now AN deputies did in the run up to the 6D elections or Capriles himself in his three electoral campaigns and afterward. Like the MUD has been doing and hopefully keep on ding.

        If La Salida is defined as working towards ending the regime, “as soon as possible”, then Capriles has been Salidista from day 1. He just does not believe in the same shortcuts as others.

        A point that Petkoff has been trying to convey for more than a decade and a half:
        Going for the shortcuts like the oil strike of 2002-3, the congress boycott of 2005, in fact takes longer than the political way of building the opposition into a political force.

        So “as soon as possible” depends on what you think is possible.

        Last caveat: “calculation” seems like a bad word but every strategist and every leader
        better be damn good at calculating odds and consequences before deciding what to do,
        for the sake of his followers.

        Many, many times we, in the opposition, have miscalculated the situation
        and have paid, an keep paying, a steep price that includes human lives.

        • Amieres,

          A thoughtful commentary. Thanks.

          I confess to being one of the impatient. I have thought the “right moment” was here several times before. Apparently cooler heads thought different. Part of my impatience comes from wanting personally to be able to make plans for the future once again. But, another part comes from watching the infrastructure of the country deteriorate, knowing what is required to restore it. Nevertheless, there is validity to the argument that it was politically necessary to wait for Chavismo to be discredited completely in order for Venezuela to have a better future in the long-term.

          Since I don’t really get a vote in this, I guess I will just have to trust the powers that be. But, dammit, I am not getting any younger while I wait!

      • Open-ended protests and THEN WHAT? That was always the problem with La Salida. What happened (deaths, imprisonments, government stays in power) was ALWAYS the most likely outcome. What is moral about that? The “best case” scenario brought about by La Salida would have been what? Protests which led to a coup that did not have majority support?

      • But the strategy WAS all that La Salida was in 2014, they had not expressed any clear execution whatsoever, not anything beyond protest till you drop a la “el que se cansa pierde”…the diagnosis of needing a cambio de gobierno asap has existed since earlier than 2 years ago but the HOW is the issue here, and where it concerns La Salida it was clearly fraught, as we all seem to agree here. But what other strategy could have been used at that moment? Wasn’t the moment per se just the wrong one? It had to be constitutional, THAT is the moral road here tbh

        & also to say that the other route was just to “wait” is frankly plain disingenuous

        • “to say that the other route was just to “wait” is frankly plain disingenuous”

          I was very disappointed with that Manichean argument from Emiliana.
          If you are not Salidista then you can only be with the antithesis.
          And morally corrupt to boot.

          The world in black & white.
          Chavez’s legacy.

  13. ¿Qué hizo cambiar de opinión, de modalidad comeflor a “lunático salidista hiper rrrrrradical”?

    Imagino que habrá sido el encantador de pájaros decretando su última habilitante porque le salió del forro de las esféricas, o la privatización de todos los minerales e hidrocarburos del país para 6 milicos, o el continuo armamento de los futuros terroristas rojos listos para masacrar al pueblo cuando el rojismo deje de ser gobierno…

    No sé, escojan una ahí.

    Además, ¿Qué mariquera es esa de que todo lo que no sea “esperar sentados hasta 2019, votar y cuando se pierda decir ‘tranquilos que para 2025 sí lo logramos’ mientras le país se sigue cayendo a pedazos” es considerado de inmediato como “rrrrrrrrradicalismo golpizta guarrrrrimberrrrrro burrrrrrguézzz”?

  14. The problem with believing in Capriles again is so many people fought so hard for him to defend his win, according to him, and the election fraud of 14A…Then after he did not get the traction he expected via the elections that December 8th I believe it was for Governors y Alcaldes he abandoned his stance on 14A and the fraudulent results, as least publicly he did. It makes it appear as a trick he tried that, oh well, did not dethrone Nicolas so on to plan B..But many, many people, especially the students kept up their public defense to their own peril. He just doesn’t appear to be able to stay the course when it doesn’t happen according to his time frame. I still have hope for the country via Capriles, but not sure as to what role he should play. I put my cards with Lopez now. And it was exactly his abandonment of his stance on 14A that put me there.


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