Today was supposed to start the same way the last few Días de la Resistencia Indígena have: happy, hungover, and glad to sleep in. Instead, Venezuelans begin today driven by a cause…or at least we want to be.

I believe in Democracy, and even though MUD is far from perfect I still put my trust in them for their commitment to pursue a Democratic and peaceful way out of this government. Even so, like so many opposition supporters, I’m more than a little frustrated with them.


Somehow, though, the momentum has dissipated.

On the morning of September 1st, I posted on the strong emotion me and my friends felt in anticipation of what felt like a historic protest. The feeling stayed with me throughout the day and as I watched pictures of around a million people filling the streets of Caracas. Chills. That collective feeling of victory. And the road ahead seemed clear.

Somehow, though, the momentum has dissipated. The feeling of empowerment has waned, and opposition supporters everywhere are feeling, well…nothing.

Which brings me to today.

We know there was supposed to be a protest of some sort today, but until just recently, nobody was sure what precisely that meant. Would it be a march? Are we going to the CNE? Are we doing many local marches nationally? What, exactly, is happening?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that MUD’s communicational apparatus seems to be breaking down. We’re not hearing what we need to hear, and I think there’s a reason.

For one thing, not all MUD parties are convinced that the Recall will become a reality. High up in Acción Democrática and Primero Justicia, people are almost convinced that the government will not allow a recall this year. In those circles, talk of exit strategies and alternate routes is greeted with alarm. On the other hand, the Powers-That-Be at Voluntad Popular and Vente —if that’s even relevant— are ready to go all in to get rid of the government this year.


The point is that we are well short of a consensus. Again.

(This is all somewhat simplified, of course: there are players within PJ that are more salidista than some bits of VP. And there are bits of VP that display a startling closeness of AD. But as a general rule.)

The point is that we are well short of a consensus. Again.

To that we can add the many ways the government’s been trying to find to kill the RR. They argue that there are no resources from CNE to hold that —or any— election. There’s the many measures they’ve been taking to divert attention from the RR (and to generally break our spirits) like the absurd resolution threatening to force people to work in food production part of the year. And, of course, the threat the government’s been making that, should anything “go wrong”, the Recall can always be killed via TSJ sentence.

(This is the one that really seems to be scaring MUD into apparent inaction.)

We know TSJ hasn’t handed down a properly reasoned, logical, or fully legal decision in years now. And the MUD wants to tread lightly so as to not poke an already angry bear.

But do they grasp they come across as completely inactive?


The time has come for us to do that which we often find hardest: unglamorous, patient work.

I don’t want to soft-ball the enormously challenging environment they’re working in. The strategy they’re putting out is to try and empower the largest number of community leaders possible, to enable a major effort to get their 20% signature collection drive a success, against all odds. It’s a big ask.

What does this mean for us? Well, it does not mean we need to fall into blind obedience. But it also doesn’t mean time to despair and rebellion. It means the time has come for us to do that which we often find hardest: unglamorous, patient work.

Maybe that means going to our voting center and just being there. Maybe it’s helping the viejitas learn how to work the machines. Maybe it’s standing by a phone, texting and calling people or receiving claims. Whatever this trabajo de hormiguita needs to be, somebody has to do it. And it seems like as good a chance as any to channel all the frustration and impatience.

Venezuela’s largest political problem has to do with overgrown egos: people who’d rather be important than useful. The time to start solving that problem is now.

So I won’t ask you to silence your opinion or to trust the MUD blindly. But I do ask that you have a talk with the keyboard-jockey-tirapiedra that we all have inside of us and ask him to hold on for a second and ask: what can I do to help?

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Carlos is a Law and Liberal Arts student at Universidad Metropolitana, and a teacher of Philosophy, Entrepreneurship, and Public Speaking at Instituto Cumbres de Caracas. MetroMUNer (@MetroMUN) and VOXista (@voxistas). But really, he's just an overcompensating, failed singer-songwriter.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Guys!!!! At what point are you going to UNDERSTAND that you WILL NOT vote this government out??? At what point are you going to UNDERSTAND that you WILL NOT outsmart them??? The only language they understand is force. So, shut down the country until change happens or just go about life without acting like a bunch of teenagers.

      • You’ll be sighing in 3 years when…Surprise-Surprise…general elections are cancelled because there is no money or [whatever excuse they can come up with].

      • Even your latest NYT article hints that we have reached a dead end. It even hints a military exit as a plausible next escalation point.

        I share that violence is the worst thing that could happen to Venezuela. But I am no blind to the truth that our people is being assassinated by malnourishment, lack of medicine, crime and (why not) extrajudicial executions. Violence is already here and it is not going anywhere…and guess what, it is not going to get any better (you know that).

        The people that believed in a lawful exit to the crisis are now defeated by the juggernaut. We have to acknowledge that they believed that Maduro & Co. would honor the constitution and even the legacy of Chavez. Just to realize one more time that we are dealing with thugs and they will sell their moms to stay in power.

        The constitutionalists got their chance and now hope has all but vanished. It is time to get more assertive and give a chance to other ways of civil confrontation. No one will accuse us of not trying he legal and pacific way. But no one would deny the fact that Maduro won this round too.

        I am not advocating to go out and torch the country or expose our people to one more danger beyond the ones they face everyday. Civil disobedience is another way of non-violent confrontation. If we don’t do that, I am not sure what leverage we will have to end this nightmare before 2018.

        Talking about 2018, oil prices will recover and the government will get breathing space. Further to that, they have been successful in isolating the AN and dodge the international community (they are laughing their ass off at the Democratic Charter and the setbacks at Mercosur because they just don’t care). Who won’t bet that they will cheat in order to stay in power by all means past 2018. They already survived this year in the very worst of their own circumstances and they still have not used up the entire repertoire of choices at hand. We just manage to dent 2 or 3 barriers of their defense and they still have few more. Ojo con eso…

    • People has to chew through enough barb wire to finally learn and accept that there’s no “pacific voting way” to oust chavismo.

      But, hey, it’s fine, at least for those who blind themselves to the fact that there are dozens dying every day that castrismo tightens its grip on Venezuela or just don’t care or blatantly enjoy it.

  2. Caught a couple of typos.
    “Venezuela’s largest political problem is has to do with overgrown egos: people who’d rather be important than useful. The time to start solving that problem is now.”

    “problem is has” something´s missing

    “hold on for a second and as: what can I do to help?”
    ask?

    • “Venezuela’s largest political problem has to do with overgrown…” or “Venezuela’s largest political problem is overgrown …” would do. The first is probably better. But I’d definitely leave the punchline unchanged: “… people who’d rather be important than useful.” Perfect grammar there.

  3. There are credible psychological studies done in the US and other places that suggest that the amount of energy/ will power we can muster at any given time to take specific actions (which are energy demanding) can be depleted the more we have to spend that energy to do other things , in our case for example to simply find and buy the things we need to keep on living , a burden which has become twice heavier than it used to be ……we have all lived thru that experience, thus the need to administer our energies and will power to concentrate its use on performing the specific action (going to marches , voting) we are intent on performing …….

    We are all getting short on the exhuberance that used to characterize Venezuelan life , we re becoming increasingly exhausted by simply getting on with the normal shores of life, not only are we de energized by the performance of all those dailyt tasks but also by the high stress that we have to experience now all our waking hours by the onslaught of negative news that visit us constantly….!!

    The opposition organizers have to take account of the above to plan with a bit of caution the movilization of masses of people in ways that dont exhaust them needlessly ……..!!

  4. RR this year will absolutely not happen. I thought it might happen next year as voters would be merely approving the candidate Maduro selected, but I’m now thinking even the risks of that are too great for it to be allowed. A huge percentage of eligible voters going to the polls to oust Maduro would be significant blow to the Chavistas.

    So, no RR. Period. Suck it say the Chavistas.

  5. To Bill Bass’ point, energy needs to be conserved and used at the right moment. We can’t expect weekly “Million Man Marches”.

    I am as frustrated as anyone else with the pace of things, but we need to realize that unless (or until) the military step in nothing is going to change.

    Whether it is putting pressure on the thugs to finally leave, or via a coup, nothing will happen without at least the tacit approval of the military high command (or their successors).

    I think the MUD is on the right path. They are not perfect, they operate under extreme pressure and for many being under 24/7 surveillance is a way of life.

    For those who advocate storming Miraflores yesterday my question is, “Y cuantos muertos vas a poner tu?”

    Do you really think that taking the Miraflores seat by force is the right approach? The calculus seems to be to break the furniture and we’ll clean up after. This is shortsighted and plays right into the governments hand.

    If you thought 2002 went badly, wait to see how 2016/17 will go down in history should we take the path to violence that they, they government has waiting for us.

    I don’t think for a minute that the RR will happen before Jan 10, 2017, if ever. But it is what we have, legally, and that needs to play out first.

    • I am so sick and tired of people over-simplifying the alternative to these silly protests as “march to Miraflores.” Civil disobedience is much more than a “march to Miraflores.”

      • Emiliana: you know perfectly well there are many folks out there who want just that, or ANYTHING, that is a shortcut.

        I’m all for civil disobedience, but I don’t see why going the RR route and civil disobedience are mutually exclusive.

        I love what Lilian Tintori did at that hospital a couple weeks ago, for example.

        What I can’t stand are the folks who are all: 350 ya!! and when you ask them “como funciona esa vaina” it’s all mumbles and “hold on, let me ask the Whatssup chat I’m in”

        I asked, a month ago, on these very pages what folks thought would be good civil disobedience moves.

        Other than Mr. ( I’d kill for a Molson) Canucklehead, the response was zero to the left.

        So, you want to go the civil disobedience route? Ok then, fire away!

        What do you think would work?

  6. Ya, entiendo. Entonces lo más razonable es dejar que un país entero se desangre, sólo porque unos cuantos “egos” no son capaces de ver más allá de sus propias narices. Yo no les pido que agarren un fusil, ni que lancen piedras, pero es obvio para todas las personas sensatas que los principales líderes son unos cobardes o unos corruptos y que su estrategia ha fracasado estrepitosamente. Cuando algunos hablan de ajedrez y de estrategia, suenan como el jodido Dr. Strangelove. Voy más allá, me recuerdan a Von Neumann, cuando sugería lanzar un ataque nuclear preventivo contra Rusia. Claro, era lo más razonable para él como genio loco, pero, afortunadamente, el presidente no le hizo caso. Los venezolanos han trabajado muy encomiablemente como hormigas en todas las instancias. Joder, desde el espacio las colas seguro se deben ver como hormigueros! Deben estar orgullosos!Si van a defender lo indefendible, por favor sean totalmente honestos con su agenda y sus limitaciones, y entiendan que no es más que una imposición y que no hay absolutamente ninguna evidencia de que estén en lo correcto ni en en el análisis ni en lo ético. Si no quieren asumir la responsabilidad de gobernar en crisis, entonces díganlo abiertamente y que la gente decida si está de acuerdo con eso. Yo no y estoy harto de la propaganda y de la hipocresía. La razón por la cual soy tan apasionado es porque me importa un montón a un nivel personal, porque soy venezolano. No siento vergüenza de mis emociones, me parece que están muy bien encaminadas. Bill Bass, que parece una persona bastante inteligente, suena sin embargo como un desquiciado y casi como un charlatán, intentando justificar lo injustificable. De verdad.Negación, se llama. Lo interesante, desde un punto de vista psicológico, es por qué comemos tanta mierda tanto del PSUV como de la MUD. Demonios, yo creo que vale la pena luchar. Fue hermoso ver cómo Lilian Tintori logró meter esas cajas en el hospital, se pueden hacer muchas cosas así.. Supongo que será ella la que meterá las firmas en el CNE, porque honestamente no veo a nadie capaz de hacerlo. Francisco Toro escribió un artículo sobre la indefensión aprendida, sin considerar que las estrategias que él recomienda son precisamente las que la causan, debido a su continuo y obvio fracaso. Cualquier cosa que no sea la realización del RR este año así salga de las nalgas del Papa mismo es una catástrofe, cuyas consecuencias son absolutamente impredecibles, incluso para las supercomputadoras de PJ. Espero que no me censuren este comentario también.

    • Muchas veces descubro que un comentario de sesgo politico muy concreto me inspira reflexiones teoricas estratosfericas ….., mis excusas !!……Mi comentario anterior en este blog esta basado en la lectura de textos parecidos al siguiente: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower-limited-resource.pdf ,

      No me precio de ser muy avezado en juzgar sobre estrategias de lucha politica, aunque si creo que segun las circumstancias posiblemente haya secuencialmente que ensayarlas todas sin descanso , no por que ninguna por si sola garantice un resultado favorable sino por que creo que el efecto acumulativo y desgastador de un asalto tras otro por varios frentes tiene mayores probabilidades con el tiempo de ofrecer un triunfo final .

      Asi como creo que hay que dosificar las energias de las masas opositoras para no derrocharlas y poder usarlas con maximo impacto en el momento mas propicio tambien creo que el regimen empieza a sentir un agotamiento que lo lleva a ser cada vez mas descoordinado y descoyuntado en sus medidas , ese agotamiento puede ser mayor cada dia y llevarnos al tipping point donde con un empujon bien dado el edificio de su resquebrajado poderio se derrumbe…….!!

      Lo que si no podemos hacer es incurrir en el suicidio politico de caer en inutiles recriminaciones y luchas intestinas ……..mantener un espiritu de unidad a pesar de los errores en los que inevitablementei incurriran uno o mas de nuestros lideres politico es un imperativo de la propia supervivencia ….!!

  7. For how long can the population stand the lack of food and medicine?

    To remove these guys is a matter of survival for most of the population — who can’t flee the country wherever they like, or have already fled, like most CC writers.

    Would you be brave enough to ask for patience to a mother who can’t buy medicine for her sick kid? I wouldn’t. What other option the people have if not total rebellion?

    “Easy to ask for a rebellion when you are not there.”

    I think it’s even more annoying and depressing to stay at home doing nothing, given the lack of food and medicine, it’s a slow (not so slow now) death.

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