Once in a while, a Venezuelan opposition leader screws up so badly that even those of us minded to give them the benefit of the doubt simply lose it and start screaming at our screens. Yesterday, Maracaibo mayor Eveling Trejo de Rosales put herself on the receiving end of a rage volcano with a move so craven, it’s hard to describe without an air sickness bag nearby.
Last week, in an unprecedented what-the-fuck moment even for this regime, the Supreme Tribunal said it was ok for Nicolás Maduro to approve the National Budget for 2017 without submitting it to the National Assembly as the Constitution ever-so-explicitly demands. Maduro did so two days later in an event at El Cuartel de la Montaña, of all places.
But Maduro went even further, threatening opposition governors and mayors with denying them funding if they refused to endorse the budget’s approval with their signature. Most dissident authorities simply ignored the threats, but Eveling decided to organize a get-together at her house yesterday with the rest of Zulia state’s opposition mayors to comply with Maduro’s demands and sign their support for the budget, merely a day after her husband, former governor and Un Nuevo Tiempo founder Manuel Rosales, was put under house arrest.
This isn’t the first time a UNT member sidesteps the MUD to back the government’s actions. In September, lawmaker Timoteo Zambrano, MUD’s former Foreign Affairs coordinator, shocked everyone by condemning Venezuela’s suspension from Mercosur. He was immediately removed from his post after his statements.
Today, Acción Democrática expelled mayors Ender Pino, Nidia de Atencio and Fernando Loaiza for joining Eveling’s little romp. UNT’s yet to issue any statements on the matter, but hopefully they’ll follow suit, because this undermines MUD’s authority to confront the government; it’s a disrespect not only to the people, whose lives will be razed by this budget, but also to members of other parties, especially those who have experienced chavismo’s violations firsthand, just like her husband.
Eveling and the other mayors mocked the electorate who voted them into office, openly supporting one of the government’s worst constitutional aberrations.
Unity’s a necessity in times as terrible as these, and we can’t afford to have elected authorities who are so willing to ditch their responsibility to voters and the Constitution in order to satisfy personal needs or political ambitions.
UNT and MUD should publicly condemn this decision, and so should we. This is the worst moment for our leadership to fail us.