We in the opposition have a tendency to overestimate the government’s power. We see the institutional rot, we see chavismo‘s evident contempt for the rules of the game and we conclude that they basically face no constraints: they do what they want when they want, with nothing hemming them in.

 
Keeping the ruling coalition together is much trickier than we tend to realize, especially in the middle of an economic cataclysm.

It’s an understandable point of view, but it’s a mistake. The clique in power faces risks and constraints just like anyone else. Until you’ve understood that, you haven’t understood what makes Tibisay Lucena’s announcement yesterday quite as risky for the government as I think it is.

And, in a way, it’s obvious: if chavismo faced no constraints, the Recall Referendum process would’ve been killed months ago.

The constraints chavismo faces are basically internal: how do you keep all the different groups whose power you depend on rowing in the same direction and minimize defections amid an economic collapse, in an increasingly hostile public opinion climate?

We often elide this problem. But, for chavismo, this is the problem.

How do you keep the peace between narcogenerals and the rest of the military high command, between high-ranking and middle-ranking army officers, between PSUV’s left-wing pro-Cuban extremist faction in line with regional and mid-ranking officials and the grassroots? And how do you rank and file chavistas who are going hungry, who can see the CLAPs don’t work, and who never really liked Maduro in the first place from defecting en masse?

All these tensions are played out behind closed doors: they don’t turn up on our Facebook feeds or on the pages of El Nacional. So we have a hard time seeing them.

But keeping the chavista coalition from breaking up in the middle of an economic cataclysm that’s hitting many of those groups directly, and in an increasingly hostile public opinion climate, is much trickier than we realize.

Yesterday’s announcement will create serious problems for the already precarious balancing act of keeping all these different factions minimally on side. The smart way to assess its impact is to think through how it will play out on each of these fault-lines.

 
How do you keep the support of hundreds of thousands of neighborhood activists who loved Chávez but never really believed in Maduro on side if you can’t even feed them?

The DEA-indicted narcogenerals may be all too happy to see the prospect of a 2016 referendum recede, but it’s easy to see the move will generate more social discontent, more looting and disorder, and more political discord, and it will be the rest of the armed forces that will be called in to face down dissent on the streets. How do you think non-narco-tainted generals feel about having to order troops they can barely feed onto the streets to repress the political and social fallout of protecting their drug-trafficking colleagues?

At any rate, ordering soldiers out onto the streets to crack bones is easy enough if you have a bunch of suns on your epaulettes and get to watch the whole thing from an air conditioned room in Fuerte Tiuna: but do you really think the mid-ranking officers who actually have to go out there and do the bone-cracking feel the same way?

How about the hundreds of PSUV activists who depend on a state governor for their careers? They know that, in the current public opinion climate, to head into a regional election on a PSUV ticket is a kamikaze mission. If you’re in that position, or if you’ve been hoping to become a mayor or a governor in your region one day, you saw your political life flash before your eyes yesterday during Tibisay’s speech.

All those guys are going to lose, and for what? For the sake of protecting some distant Caracas elite that plainly has no idea how to run the country?

And the grass-roots? How do you keep the support of hundreds of thousands of neighborhood activists who loved Chávez but never really believed in Maduro on side if you can’t even feed them?

The key to understanding why it’s taken so long for the government to move decisively to do something they keep telling us they intend to do — punt the referendum to 2017 — is that that’s a move that creates all kinds of coalition-management problems for them. That’s the reason yesterday’s announcement was made so indirectly, so vaguely, with so much built-in wiggle room.

The government is desperately casting around for a way to kill the 2016 Recall without setting off a chain of defections from its ranks that could end up destabilizing it as much as the recall itself. No la tienen fácil. And the next few weeks, in particular, are going to be very hard for them to manage.

51 COMMENTS

  1. OK but, the non-narco generals are corrupted generals or gas-bachaqueros generals gold-mining generals or I-have-a-file-on-you generals. On the mid and lower ranks is where they have a problem, but that is why they keep on paying the Cubans.The Cubans are their eyes and ears there.

      • You actually do NOT know how relevant the Cubans are. Nobody in this blog knows. The Venezuelan government is a black box.

        They have not killed the RR yet, they just made it useless, like the AN, la alcaldia mayor, las gobernaciones, etc. Do you see a trend?

        I am not saying that they are immortal and that they have everything under control, but they are still there and they seem to be betting the house that people will quit and leave the country before they do.

        • “they seem to be betting the house that people will quit and leave the country before they do.”

          Not a bad bet, judging by the daily scenes at the airport of those leaving Venezuela for a new life abroad.

        • Jau has a point. The consolidation of power in Cuba came only as a result of a mass exodus of middle class educated Cubans. BUT… the difference in the case of Venezuela is that it has far more economic potential than Cuba ever had. Furthermore, Castro forced the mass-exodus when he could still count on the revolutionary fervor of his supporters. I believe that Chavismo missed its opportunity for this.

  2. Though I agree on the extent of internal divisions within the chavismo, I think it could be naive to think that one of those groups mentioned above might bluntly go against Maduro and somehow work for the RR to happen. After 17 years in power, the best case scenario – even for those grass roots chavistas who worship Chavez – is to hang in there and not lose the power. After January 10 is a whole different story…

  3. The rotten dome promises:

    * Complete impunity for the worst criminals (Drug-Suns, murderers and such), losing a couple of millions is nothing compared to losing everything if you get caught by the DEA.

    * More quick, easy money for the middle parasites that thrive from extortion and bribes.

    * More “Love for Chávez’s legacy” for the testicle-depilators.

    Well, the third one is the most tenuous of all, but, there’s still that bunch of people that “love Chávez and dislike Maduro” even when both are the same thing and have been doing the exact same thing too (Turning the country into a Cuban colony filled with misery to keep it controlled)

    And for the control of the rebellious masses, they’ll use the tactic they’ve used since 2002: Kill a couple of protesters, watch how the others run away, without any instigators the protests will be easily defeated and dispersed with a couple of bullets in a couple of faces and backs; and to avoid using any random rookie with a conscience, they’ll also use another chavista tactic: Giving uniforms to regular criminals and let them loose upon the population.

  4. “We in the opposition have a tendency to overestimate the government’s power.”

    Underestimate. Under. Fixed it for ya, Quico.

    Ahora de pana en serio:

    I bet on “under” just because in general sense, oppo people always resort to hackneyed phrases such as “Chavismo is afraid of us”. When they are clearly not. The only thing chavismo is afraid, right now, is to break a rib from laughing too hard on oppo powerlessness

    I fail to understand why is that hard to realize that chavismo works in a pavlovian sort of way. Chavismo NEVER quells opposition ideas or movements right away, de sopetón. They always follow an approach of soft erosion over time. AN is a great example, rather than going full Daniel Ortega and jailing deputies, they packed TSJ and degraded AN over time, nullifying it.

    They don’t bury the RR straight because allowing oppo to participate in a crippled RR is politically more efficient. Hell, guvmint can even WIN such RR with the right ammount of money just before ballot day.

    So, Tibisay took the very best route. Decimate RR and keep the bastards hopeful. Maam’s an evil genius, after all.

    Chavismo doesn’t kill. It never kills. Chavismo maims you just enough to keep you alive, as well as the false shroud of democracy they cover themselves in.

    • Quico wrote “Overstimate” deliberately. there was nothing to correct. As for Chavismo never killing, tell that to the hundreds of families who have lost their relatives to crime and desease. I think you need to revise your conceptions about chavismo.

      • Chavismo has slaughtered the population, but they have done it in the communist way: By using non-formal enforcers to do their dirty work.

        If you examine their method, you will see that that way, they avoid being made responsible for the killings.

        When we talk about “chavismo killing”, it could be understood as “enough corpses to make a pile on the street, caracazo-style”, such as 300-500 kills after a couple of days of protests.

        The most people chavismo has openly ordered to murder was during the 2014 protests, where 43 people were offed by the colectives and sebin thugs, it’s still a high count and an atrocity worthy of being a reason to inmediatly strike a coup against Maduro the next day.

        Still, because colectives and malandros aren’t a formal structure that could be traced to the goverment (Oppossed as the military and police whose men killed the people in the caracazo days), said murders can’t be attributed easily to Maduro’s regime.

      • Javier.

        I know, of course, chavismo kills individuals. But it doesn’t kill their foes right away. Chavismo reduces them to subhuman beings subjected to horrendous treatment.

        Look at Leopoldo, inesita, all the others.

    • You’re back to referring to “chavismo” as a mystical unitary player, a single brain acting in accordance to a calculated, strategic plan. Maybe you didn’t get the memo, but Chávez died. The actual government is nothing like that anymore: it’s a saco-de-gatos under a weak leader with very limited capacity for strategic action, mostly just trying to survive in an atmosphere where even most of the party members want him out.

      The funny thing is that you imagine yourself to be the most radical anti-government voice here without even realizing that in buying into the myth of the Chavista master plan you play directly into one of the few narratives still sustaining them.

      • The chavista master plan doesn’t have to be a set in stone plan at all. It’s ingrained in every chavista in a hive minded fashion. It doesn’t even depend on a strong leader anymore.

        I find it brilliant on the evil scheme of things.

        That is why i think chavismo is still going strong even with a storm raging inside. Some of them may want the full coroto for themselves but hell… they know how to align their wording in a common goal: fuck us up.

        Notice how chavismo’s defections ALWAYS happen after losing the coroto. Defectors no longer hold any cambur and their rants focus around just that.

        It would be kind of awesome to watch an Arreaza, Del Pino or Habibi Perez Abad telling maduro and co to suck it in a press conference while still being an active pawn.

        Won’t happen. -Ever-

        Toppling chavismo should require no help from “defectors”

  5. I agree with this post. And I feel horrible to think that not having the RR in 2016 is possibly the best thing that could happen to the opposition. It would mean the complete destruction of the chavista movement imo. I don’t think their current supporters can’t keep indifferent to further mismanagement and corruption for much longer.

    At the same time, I don’t want to see my country rot…

    • I agree with Anelim and Quico.

      Chavismo seems to be trying to stop a glacier flow of discontent. Moreover, a discontent they feed at an accelerated pace. It is impossible at the end.

      And as they stubbornly continue to hold on to power they poison Chavismo as a political movement, something that the likes of Nicmer Evans are trying to capitalize.

  6. An article built on hopes, dreams and wishful thinking. The government is firmly entrenched and nobody is going to defect to a weak opposition. Those who have a conscience have already left long ago. Nothing short of mass rioting or military intervention can bring down this regime. The military has been co-opted not to intervene by keeping key figures in positions of power and on the gravy train. Unless hungry civilians can take to the streets in huge numbers the future for Venezuela is bleak. Transition to a totalitarian system and mass starvation is the likely outcome.

    • Your first assumption is wrong, fortunately, so the rest of the opinion warrats revision. This is not dreams or wishful thinking, it’s the reality of a government coallitiion that has been diminishing in control, cohesion and power for quite a while. What Quico wrote here is based on actual data, not personal ideas.

    • It’d be nice if guys like Kenny could come out of the tight circle of their own certainties to look into questions like why a totalitarian movement that faces zero constraints doesn’t just, y’know, shut down parliament, lock up Capriles, Chuo, Julio, Enrique Marquez, Freddy and Ramos Allup…why it takes them four months to move against the RR, why…why…why…

      For a totalitarian movement that faces no constraints, Chavismo sure does a pretty good impression of a floundering autocracy hemmed in on all sides.

      • They face no constraints. Why don’t They lock up Capriles or the whole AN? Simple: They don’t need to. They represent no real threat for the time being. We have to face the fact that appearing to be vulnerable is part of their game. However, I have no monopoly on the truth, that’s just my opinion.

      • Chavismo is a new-style dictatorship. There have been others: Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the Ayatollahs in Iran, Putin in Russia, now perhaps Erdogan in Turkey. The innovation is that the regime does not need to be totalitarian – does not need to assert an explicit monopoly of communications and political activity. They can have elections that are not fraudulent rituals.

        They can do all this while still engaging in flagrant illegal conduct, violence against dissent or political opposition, and substantial degrees of electoral rigging. That is because they camouflage their dictatorial conduct, and because their honest allies and supporters don’t call them out, as in the past.

        When Nixon or Somoza or Marcos broke the rules, there was broad rejection and they fell from power. Even their ideological mates condemned them.

        Hitler and Mussolini and Mao and Castro all thought they had to have total control; that if they allowed any independent media, it would disclose their crimes and the people would move against them, led by the dissidents they hadn’t imprisoned.

        The new dictators have learned otherwise. They don’t silence dissenting media, they mute it, and drown it out with their controlled media. They don’t imprison all opposition politicians and organizers, they harass them with legal charges, arrest some, beat up others. They don’t abolish elections or require pro-regime votes – they disqualify most opposition candidates, harass opposition parties, swamp the opposition with state-supported campaigning, steal a chunk of “assisted” votes, steal a chunk of fraud votes, and win elections “legitimately”.

        IOW, cheat just enough to win, without being obvious enough to be called on it.

        This strategy has risks – the Sandinistas played it and lost in 1990. Chavez played it, and nearly lost in 2012.

        The chavernment is playing it now – delaying the recall, having the TSJ rule in its favor.

  7. Lots of nonsense here:

    “How do you keep the support of hundreds of thousands of neighborhood activists who loved Chávez but never really believed in Maduro on side if you can’t even feed them?”

    Governments are not supposed to “feed” the people. Just create the right atmosphere for them to feed themselves. In Vzla’s case right now it’s just that they have to get in line to find what they need. Because the messed-up system strangled local production, and massive corruption strangled legitimate imports.

    “We in the opposition have a tendency to overestimate the government’s power.”

    Well Chavismo has been in power for almost 18 YEARS now, haven’t they? And now the top, corrupt military, and the TSJ, the corrupt CNE are backing Chavismo. And if people go to protest in the streets, they get hammered or go to jail.

    It’s called a disguised neo-dictatorship, but a dictatorship nonetheless. That means repression. It means brute force, and anti-democratic principles. It means they want to stay in power forever.

    Maduro’s image is certainly on the floor, but others are standing in line. The way the regime works is by BRIBING everyone, left and right. Si pataleas, no hay guiso. At all levels. Starting with the military, the TSJ, the CNE, all Greased up with PDVSA cash. Then you hire about 4 Million bogus employees in 35 bogus “ministries” that do nothing all day.

    And if someone talks too much and becomes dangerous, he’s in jail forever, like Leopoldo, or Ledezma

    These ‘government’ thugs are more powerful than this post indicates. Because they have PDVSA money to bribe everyone, including the police, guardia, military, ministers, and any opponents.

    They’ll probably stay in power until the 2019 presidential elections, and then blend into the Muddy Mud to continue stealing in various forms. Nothing new in Vzla, if you look at the past 7 decades.

  8. I’d think regional elections would be just as important as a signature drive, can’t both be undertaken? (even if they try to take away power from regionally elected officials and appoint alt-commune leaders, there will be some elected officials in place to pick up the pieces after the eventual collapse of PSUV). The more signatures/votes cast against PSUV on the books, the better.

  9. Those who control the arms have the power and if they control the money even more power they control. The narcogenerals are in control of the armed forces and of the money. The non narco tainted generals are enjoying other juicy businesses and won’t suffer much if Maduro stays. The middle ranking officers are victims of the “prisoner’s dilema” and are not suffering as bad as the rest of the population because they have special supply schemes. The regional and mid ranking officials of the party are already enchufados. Quite the contrary, they might be fearing the coming regional elections which look definitely as a “kamikase mission”. The support of the hundred of thousand activist has already been lost and that’s why elections are not going to be held anymore if at all possible. Finally, defections among the ranks are not important any more in a election free dictatorship. Sorry! I mean really … I AM SORRY!

  10. Ríndanse! Los tenemos rodeados!

    “non-narco-tainted generals”

    Oh no, Quico. Please don’t tell me you believe in the mythical Franceschi/Peñaloza-wing of Militares Institucionalistas. The Venezuelan version of The Great Pumpkin.

    “why it takes them four months to move against the RR”

    One could argue that delaying the move results in maximizing demoralization while minimizing time to organize civil disobedience in response.

    “shut down parliament, lock up Capriles, Chuo, Julio, Enrique Marquez, Freddy and Ramos Allup”

    Give them time.

    • “Oh no, Quico. Please don’t tell me you believe in the mythical Franceschi/Peñaloza-wing of Militares Institucionalistas. The Venezuelan version of The Great Pumpkin.”

      And perhaps you believe in the same thesis of Juan / Lee Kuan Yew that claims that every or almost every venezuelan is rotten to the core and thus will keep sucking of the gangrene that chavismo has inflicted on Venezuela because “they are all impure, is in their DNA”.

      If that’s the case, honestly, you’ll be better moving out of the country then, because you believe in the invincibility of chavismo, or the impossibility of enjoying a decent life in Venezuela for the next 50 years.

      This sorta contradicts what you told me in one of the feb-27 articles, where you assured that the “people was angry” because there have been more lootings recently than in the previous year.

      “…organize civil disobedience in response.”

      As long as the only “civil disobedience” remains a nebulous entity that no one dares to define, it will remain as what it is now: A formeless and useless idea.

      “Give them time.”

      Not everybody can wait until 2021. Or 2042 if the Chigüire is to be believed:

      http://www.elchiguirebipolar.net/04-08-2016/opositor-del-2042-seguro-que-ahora-si-viene-el-revocatorio-a-robomaduronetx/

  11. One week before the Berlin wall fell , the leaders of Red Germany celebrated the anniversary of the founding of the German Communist Party by holding a gigantic parade to which they invited Gorvachev, a million people paraded before the leaders , heartily chanting party slogans , holding flags up high, fiercely raising their fists in salute , Red Germany was then a police state , where everything was controlled by the Regime : the army , the unions , the economy, the judges…….there were no opposition parties and yet only some days latter the whole thing unraveled and the regime fell when people simply ignored the police presence and marched on to the wall in masses ,until at one point the policemen themselves joined the crowd ………and it was all over . Where people are massively unhappy with a regime things happen that are surprising ………, its happened not only in Germany but again and again in many other places …….there comes a tipping point where a govts mass unpopularity triggers an event that topples it in a day ……., of course there are exceptions , places like north korea and Cuba where the police state is so grounded in coercion that people live asphyxiated by an oppressive totalitarian regime…….!! I think that a totalitarian regime is difficult to create in Venezuela , we are too relaxed, too undisciplined , too corrupt , too chaotic , too incompetent for a totalitarian regime to take hold . and besides that there is the INCREASING anger and dissatisfaction in the streets , inside army groups , even inside the core of the Chavista fold for such system to be built , specially in todays world , which can thru sanctions bring even the most rabidly fanatical regimes to their knees when they break the rules of civilized conduct……, look at iran !! If attempted it wont last .

    Also the regime has run out of money , the oil industry is in tatters and close to experiencing a breakdown , yes 18 years of mismanagement take their toll , its not easy bribing people if you haven’t got the resources to do so……!!

    • Bill Bass makes a good point. After all the decades of superpower conflict and apocalyptic predictions, in the end, the Soviet Union collapsed, “…not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

      One of the remaining possible end-game scenarios is that of Romania’s Ceausescu. One day, people had just had enough and stopped fearing him. It was all over in a couple days.

  12. Quico, no matter how you try to rationalize this new (very much expected) move, the regime is alive and will fight to the death to stay in power. Somebody called your piece a bunch of wishful thinking, and I have to agree with that person. Dream on!

    • Notice again: “the regime”. Unitary actor. The Learned Helplessness Caucus isn’t even conscious of the way the language you choose projects onto the other side a unity and coherence that’s just not there.

      “The regime” es un saco de gatos.

  13. I agree that Chavismo is a bag of cats, I don’t see who inside Chavismo is better off with a referendum in 2016 rather than in 2017.

    Seems to me like the biggest reason Chavismo didn’t kill the idea right away was to keep the oppo people sleepwalking through 2016.

    Is there a darker secret reason why some parts of Chavismo will fight for holding an election they all know they will lose?

    • They know that losing an election against the president would result in a mortal wound for chavismo as a political movement which has been based in the idea that the “supreme leader is invincible because the snob whiny rich kid full opposition is less”

      Imagine just how many folks would try to crucify Maduro and he loses an election by a crushing 80-90% margin.

      Their strategy is precisely that: To duck and cover while the problems sort out by themselves so they can continue stealing without anybody saying anything.

      • Yeah, exactly, it could be a mortal wound for all of Chavismo if it’s held in 2016 because the oppo could hold the narrative that it’s a crushing defeat against Chavismo itself.

        But if it’s done in 2017 the narrative will be that the huge numbers are there as Chavismo went out to vote and it was a crushing defeat against Maduro, because what they really really want is a more radical, more militarized version of Chavismo.

        So why wouldn’t that mixed bag of cats all agree that a 2017 referendum is what’s best for them?

        In that case what that would more likely unleash is a knife fight inside Chavismo for a better place in the musical chairs stravaganza that a 2017 referendum will be.

        But Chavismo has been actually saying all along, and pretty loudly that that’s what’s going to happen, so they don’t seem to fear that either.

  14. I agree with the article. However, I feel two important points are not addressed:

    (1) The almighty Venezuelan pragmatism

    (2) Assumes that some people are dissenting Chavism when they are actually dissenting PSUV/Maduro

    On point (1) most common Venezuelans have short term goals (i.e. getting food) and the same happens to the military. On those lines you have the fully rotten narco-generals but they do not work in a vacuum “ellos reparten”. So, in our current world of hungriness there are a lot of kickbacks fueled by drug money that is completely disassociated from the country legal income thus drug money “si hay”. Hence, even the most staunchly moral Captain or Major will be tempted by pure lack of moral fiber or strong coercion to jump into the wagon in order to feed their families or staying alive. Further to that, they may not even know who’s doing it due to a very good spider web informants, plotters, snitches and the ever present risk of being “assassinated during a robbery” (on those lines – most lowlifes will do a little of homework before attempting to rob a General/Colonel much less kill them by accident – you judge how many of the recent assassinated military are in fact botched robberies). Further to that, buying a high government official is quite cheap nowadays. The ones that may oppose the narco-bachaquero-chesse thing may either turn a blind eye, get placed in low responsibilities positions or simply get dismissed from service or bypassed in the promotions.

    Keeping on point (1) pragmatism also affect the left guys. There are a good chunk of socialist, communist, grassroots, wannabes and hatters of the 4th Republic that would rather stand Maduro to the bitter end before giving a slight chance of government change. All of them know that Maduro is a cluster fuck that will eventually kill all those dreams of social equality and tree hugging expectations. But they also know that the transition back to the right can be stretched if the miracle of better oil prices bring the money needed to quench the crisis. You also have to factor in that the illusion of Chavez has not completely gone away from a lot of people’s mind. They still see Maduro as the righteous heir to Chavez and the will not betray the party line even if it means betraying Chavez’s core values i.e.:. http://www.aporrea.org/autores/teofilo.santaella

    On Point (2) you have the recent high profile dissenters: Nicmer Evans, Hector Navarro, Barreto, Cliver Alcala and Jorge Giordani among others. They are not dissenting Chavez, on the contrary, the are convinced that Maduro is squandering Chavez legacy to the point of actually killing chavismo as a viable political force in the foreseeable future. The are all to conscious on the point of the upcoming Governor elections and the unscrupulous sale of the country’s future to keep the farce going. These “conscious Chavistas” also known as “la Izquierda trasnochada” are influential but they do not have the means to pull any meaningful strings. They might heat some hearts and souls within the Chavistas to go to the rescue of their movement as the true Chavez heirs but (see point 1) why risk the skin for a project that is dead anyway?.

    Continuing on Point (2) M aduro traded Chavez policies in order to accommodate the military and the radicals affecting the social agenda (feeding the tiger so it will eat me last) but realizing some modicum of power preservation. He could not continue with the Chavez policies first because he ran out of money and second because the reckoning that his is weak, unpopular and his government is handful on corruption, nepotism and drug trafficking to the point that some people are unashamedly saying that Venezuela is a failed state. In Maduro’s mind is the all very possible prospect that the military will dispense him and/or probably use him as scape goat or even as barging chip; and he knows that his most likely future is either death, jail or exile. So, why not stretching it as far as he can…

    • Very interesting and insightful comment. Thanks

      As for these far left ideologues you refer to here.. “They are not dissenting Chavez, on the contrary, the are convinced that Maduro is squandering Chavez legacy to the point of actually killing chavismo as a viable political force in the foreseeable future.” …….I wonder what kind of mental gymnastics they go through in order not to understand that the disaster of the country is the direct result, the LEGACY, of Chavez and his policies. Maduro has not deviated one bit.

  15. A ningún factor de poder dentro del gobierno le conviene que el RR se haga este año. Cualquier lucha interna dentro del PSUV será sólo eso: una lucha interna, en la cual no tenemos voz ni voto, y nos enteraremos del resultado cuando anuncien el vicepresidente en su momento. Algunos factores de poder, dentro de la oposición, sobrevaloran su influencia y siempre quieren hablar de una “transición”. Es como cuando Ramos Allup decía que estaba en contacto telefónico con Istúriz! Así que la respuesta al título del artículo es: “jajajaja,no”. A nadie dentro del chavismo le conviene unas elecciones ahora. Y como en realidad les ha resultado increíblemente fácil mantener el orden y no hay ninguna amenaza seria en la calle más allá de algunos saqueos esporádicos que ni siquiera son noticia, pues no veo que realmente tengan que cederle nada a la oposición incluso si pierden el RR. El RR en el 2017 va a generar tantos cambios en la sociedad como la victoria de la AN en el 2016. El chavismo ganó en el momento en que en la oposición decidió seguir el camino que está siguiendo. Supongo que eso fue en diciembre del 2013. No hay absolutamente ninguna esperanza para el país hasta que otras personas tomen el liderazg de la oposición. Del resto, no importa nada, si ganamos o si somos.una mayoría del 100 por ciento.

  16. There are a lot of interesting and thoughtful perspectives in this article AND in the comments. Occasionally, we see a thoughtful post ruined by knee-jerk reaction comments. So far, so good.

    Personally, I think that Francisco makes an important point. We tend to see our enemies as monolithic, forgetting that we ourselves are divided. Perhaps this is the point at which the MUD could quietly start offering immunity to selected Chavista turncoats…

    • Francisco does have a point but think that it is not relevant. They may be divided, we may be divided but They have a common place and that is The presidency. They know that losing it would be their end. And that’s The main reason why They can overcome whatever disagreement between them. In our case, we are divided but one leader could do well without other leaders if they can be a decisive force in overthrowing this goverment. My two cents

  17. Arguing that bad news is really good news is often just woshful thinking. Absent world wide condemnation, delay of the refetendum to 2017 is bad news.

  18. Las transiciones pacificas dependen siempre de la existencia de elementos moderados dentro del régimen dictatorial dispuestos a ceder el gobierno a la oposición democrática. Sin embargo, cuando uno observa a la “disidencia” chavista, encontramos elementos tan radicales como los que gobiernan. No hay elementos moderados que deseen facilitar un cambio de régimen. Si bien el chavismo no es monolítico por ahora no se ven elementos moderados proclives a una transición democrática.

    • Es porque son todos unos ladrones, y no saben pa’ donde escaparse. Saben podrian ir presos, y perder todo lo que robaron, incluyendo casas, partamentos, y cuentas en el exterior. Por eso quieren quedarse en el poder el mas tiempo posible, hasta que vean como desaparecer y esconder todo eso.

  19. We fail because they understand us better than we understand them. Our plans will not work until we understand who they are and what they want. We make too many wrong assumptions and they beat us because of that. If I were in their possition, I would certainly not call the RR this year either. Why? Well, they don’ t really have to, they can survive easily just as it is. They understand us pretty well. They know we will not put a fight. If you think yoy can bargain with them just because the economy is collapsing or they are losing popular support, you are wrong. That is not who they are, that will not make them surrender. They don’ t care about that as much as you think. They still have too much power and too much to lose. That’s their bet and it is as solid one if you ask me. They are not playing that game you think they are playing. So you sit with them again and again and you get nothing in return because you are not making any threats, you are brining nothing to the table. They can predict every move you make This will not change. It is a dead-end. It’`s been eight months since we won the last elections. We are now the majority but we are more constrained than ever. Our leaders don’ t ever dare to say publicly that this is a dictatorship. We think the country is in such abad shape that they HAVE to listen to us, to recognize us. That is simply a wrong assumption. The so called transition is just a dream, we are not even close to meeting the conditions for a transition. Is it completely true that they are not monolithic, but that doesn’`t mean anything at all . Whatever dissent there may be, it will be dealt with as easily as we are dealt with. As I said, it is a wrong assumption to think they care too much about being the bad guys even if it means hurting their own popular base. Didn’ t they make that point clear already? They have doing that for months, now, and with not adverse results. I mean, if they chose to be a dictatorship, that is, to ignore public opinion completely, well, what will you do? For them it is just a matter of being in control., of mantaining control.

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