What kind of political leadership declares the country’s constitution order has been broken just to take it back a week after? That’s the question opposition activists have been asking themselves all week, as MUD’s public relations machine — iffy at the best of times — has turned straight up ridiculous this week.

The president was summoned to the National Assembly for an impeachment(ish) trial, even though “political trial” doesn’t exactly turn up in the Constitution.

A week ago, the whole of the Venezuelan opposition, from doves like Julio Borges to hyperhawks like Maricori, were signed up for institutional/popular revolt against Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorial abuse.

The president was summoned to the National Assembly for an impeachment(ish) trial, even though “political trial” doesn’t exactly turn up in the Constitution.

And you know what? Opposition public opinion had reached the point where we were totally ok with that. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

This bold attitude led to a country-wide journey of protests on October 26th, hundreds of thousands of people went out on the streets and rallied through pretty much every major Venezuelan city, being brutally repressed in some places like Mérida or Maracay.

Right before that, all major voices in Venezuelan opposition dismissed the dialogue scenario, taking Chúo Torrealba’s credibility to underground levels. Preconditions just hadn’t been met, right?

There was a different kind of vibe in the air those days. We thought maybe we had finally reached the llegadero.

Apparently not.

Yesterday’s session will be remembered as a particularly strange one. It was lame before it even started: at 2:00 pm the required quorum to begin had not been achieved, even though some GPP diputados were in their seats. How do you expect your electorate to feel represented when its legislators don’t turn up for what had been promoted as the most important AN session of the year?

Half an hour later, when quorum was finally met, the session got going.

First Julio Borges and then Henry Ramos gave brief speeches to announce what they hoped for from the newly installed, Vatican-sponsored dialogue. Surprisingly the measure was supported by the vast majority of the oppo parliamentary faction, with the sole exception of Voluntad Popular, whose Freddy Guevara explained his reasons.

Needless to say the march to Miraflores, which was perceived as a breaking point for those who have been walking at MUD’s call these last weeks, is not to be.

Just like on September 1st, MUD arrugó.

I know dialogue is important, that it’s the only way how things can be solved in a civilized way. I even understand how embarrassing it would have been to dismiss the Pope’s envoy after you specifically asked for him to be sent.

It’s not Vatican diplomats who are dying in the hospitals, starving in jails or being murdered on the streets, and it’s definitely not Vatican diplomats who are your biggest political asset

But the way this late, late dialogue is being rolled out threatens to drive a deep wedge between the oppo’s leaders and their most committed activists. It’s not Vatican diplomats who are dying in the hospitals, starving in jails or being murdered on the streets, and it’s definitely not Vatican diplomats who are your biggest political asset.

You cannot say you will formally accuse the President for the destruction of the country one day and then unsay it. You can’t play with people’s expectations the way MUD has been doing these last two months.

In Henry Ramos’s words, MUD is ready to absorb the political cost implied by sitting across the table with a government whose only olive-branch has been the liberation of three of the more than 100 political prisoners it holds. And numerically, he might be right: in sheer demographic terms the activist base that is now apoplectic at this half-baked dialogue are probably not that numerous.

You cannot say you will formally accuse the President for the destruction of the country one day and then unsay it. You can’t play with people’s expectations the way MUD has been doing these last two months.

But they are the people they need the most: they knock on the doors, they hand out the flyers, they turn out to the protests and organize volunteers and drive people on election day and rally their neighbours and their friends and their families to support them. They’re the ones who man the phone banks and hand out phone cards and get thrown in jail now and then. If MUD’s leaders think they can do without the people who work at this…well, good luck with that.

I want to believe the dialogue is going somewhere, that our leaders have strong convictions they are prepared to defend. I want to believe that they truly think the change they’re selling us is possible.

But once bitten twice shy: this whole situation looks just way too much like the cadena we watched in 2014 with Maduro and every single opposition leader sitting around a table, promising goodwill and unicorns and rainbows. Two years on, over a hundred political prisoners, a murdered RR and a humanitarian disaster later; we all know how that ended up.

I want to believe the dialogue is going somewhere, that our leaders have strong convictions they are prepared to defend. I want to believe that they truly think the change they’re selling us is possible.

MUD, please. Just don’t fuck it up.

Not this time.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. It’s always been a taboo to call chavismo a dictatorship, because that crashes directly against the main “strategy” that the opposition leaders have to “convert the dissatisfied chavistas”, which is: “CHÁVEZ IS A SACRED, UNTOUCHABLE AND INFALLIBLE GOD, AND THUS IS FORBIDDEN TO SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT HIM BECAUSE THAT’LL HURT THE POOR FEELINGS OF THE OPPRESSED”

    The opposition politicians, being all really far in the idiocy that’s the left of the political spectrum, always swallowed almost every single lie puked by chavista propaganda since 1999.

  2. The only theory plausible possible now is that MUD has given up on Venezuela, labeling it as ‘hopeless’, and is focusing now on individual Nobel peace prizes, on how their leaders defused a “major civil war that would have brought the whole continent to its knees”. The people behind the Nobel, UN and the current Vatican like that sort of narrative, it’s also suiting to cover up the mistakes in the region by the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of ‘decisive’ elections that the Dems are not going to win very easily. No one wants to see Obama’s and Hillary’s chaotic legacy screaming FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! before such crucial elections. No, no one wants that. Not even Caracas Chronicles wants something like that.

    As some have already said, they all want ‘stability’, Mustafa Mond’s sort of stability. They want the situation simmering, not boiling.

    The forsaken Venezuelans without EU passports and US green cards can only keep going to other countries in the region, as the situation is not likely to improve with the PSUV maniacs there until 2019. Good luck to us all.

  3. Maduro called VP a terrorist group and said that Capriles is a “periquero”… Chuo says that they are all for one and one for all…. MCM says that she is going to Miraflores tomorrow…

    We are having a “normal dialogue” by Chavista Venezuela standards.

    Great work Vatican, Shannon and combo!

  4. The Mud and the government have been playing a game of chicken and an important fraction within the MUD lost it’s cool and swerved into this so called “dialogue” or negotiation.

    Never in my wildest imagination would I have imagined I was ever going to paraphrase and adapt a Ronald Reagan statement, but here it goes:

    “Our adversaries, the Maduro & co — we know from painful experience — respect only those that negotiate from a position of strength. The opposition power is the indispensable element of a democratic Venezuela; it is the MUDs last, best hope of negotiating real reversal of the undemocratic measures of the present administration. Just as the MUD is sitting down at the bargaining table with the Soviet Union, let’s not throw MUD’s trump card away.”

    I have a feeling it is too late for that.

  5. Is it really a dictatorship if all the people that oppose it are stupid to begin with?
    MUD is making it easy for people to forget how evil Chavez and maduro are… By showing how silly the MUD are!!!

    I wish you all the best. Here is hoping Trump comes to your rescue. Nobody else will even try to lift a finger.

  6. Human history shows that in wars you have truces , periods in which the pursuit of active warfare is temporarily suspended while the contending parties seek to advance certain agreements to either put an end to the war or simply to regularize the rules of engagement . this is normal , people who do it arent stupid, specially if the chances of a succesful outcome is not guaranteed by the pure use of force , be it institutional or physical , chances of an agreement may be slim but maybe they can lead to some improvement …….specially if the mediator in such process of discussion is some one who is usually one can trust and has some record of past successes ……!!, engaging in such talks doenst mean giving up on your positions …….just putting the acts of a regular war in temporary abeyance………..!! , Maintaining unity is important , for a putrid regime like that we face to favour the use of trolls to foster oppo disunity is to be expected , to prey on the natural suspicion of the righteous an on their self proud purity of principles something they will promote to further their interests ………, lets not fall into their game……!!

  7. There is an aire of hipocrisy with the MUD’s statements….Miraflores March had huge symbolic value..People saw a way to finally vent their frustrations in the “forbidden zone” only to have them tabled along with the RR. Dialogue should only have happened with what may be the most important person sitting at that table. Leopoldo. That would have been the precondition. A free Leopoldo. Had that happened the rest would have crumbled. The Regime would have looked like the failure that it is.

  8. […] As we warned back in the day, MUD was taking a dangerous bet, and they seemed to underestimate the impact it might have on its own support. MUD tried to buck itself up telling itself “dialogue” always polls well. They never stopped to realize that engaging in such a process without any guarantees (or even good will) from the oppressor’s side could create irreconcilable differences with the activists base its whole mobilization strategy depends on. […]

  9. […] As we warned back in the day, MUD was taking a dangerous bet, and they seemed to underestimate the impact it might have on its own support. MUD tried to buck itself up telling itself “dialogue” always polls well. They never stopped to realize that engaging in such a process without any guarantees (or even good will) from the oppressor’s side could create irreconcilable differences with the activists base its whole mobilization strategy depends on. […]

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