Julio Borges is now in charge of the Legislative branch. It’s sure going to be different.

Henry Ramos Allup was a machine gun, rapid fire without too much thought about who got hit. Julio Borges is more of a sniper: cool, poised, calculated.

His first speech as boss was aimed at specific parts of MUD and chavismo. The most memorable part was addressed directly at the Armed Forces and to those who want to forestall elections.

Borges would love for the Assembly to be what it ought to have been all along: the no B.S. space for real dialogue, minus the priests.

Elections loom especially large in Borges’s mind. He wants to win, but to win at the ballot box. Street protests, rallies and the mobilization agenda in general are clearly of secondary importance to the most important opositor in the country.

To get what he wants, he must ensure two things: que no se embochinche la cosa — that relative calm prevail — and that chavismo restore at least some of the National Assembly’s powers. Borges would love for the Assembly to be what it ought to have been all along: the no B.S. space for real dialogue, minus the priests. That’s what the constitution sets out, right?

His vision is just as ambitious as it is unlikely.

His inaugural speech was more calm and measured than anything we saw from Henry Ramos. He was trying to reach specific audiences, not “el pais nacional”, and he was out to put out fires, not kindle them. To many of us, this looks like Mission Impossible, but it’s what he’s after.

The fires he has to put out are fires Ramos Allup started.  It’s easy to remember now, but a year ago the big concern was that he would cut a deal with Aristóbulo. He wanted to dispel this notion, so as soon as he was sworn in he started trolling the government, trying to establish his opositor rajao bona fides and make sure people stopped wondering whether he was the guy MUD needed. He needed to position himself as a serious threat. It was about cojones.

Borges thinks differently: if he has presidential ambitions, they’re way off in the 2020s or 2030s. He’s not thinking about his approval rating, his work right now is backstage.

But now that he’s under the spotlight —and a bright one at that— his ability to lurk and maneuver behind closed doors will be put to the test.

And Borges has to worry about his right flank too: reining in the radicals is going to prove tricky for someone like Borges.

But he’s in a confounding situation: at the same time vowing to declare the president has abandoned his post and trying to bailar pegao enough to overcome the Assembly’s “contempt” measure and actually legislate. Can you really do both? If you want to use the National Assembly as a power-brokering center, can you really be calling on the army to disobey the president? Can that crazy balancing act work? In the end, chavismo has the answers to those questions, we don’t.

And Borges has to worry about his right flank too: reining in the radicals is going to prove tricky for someone like Borges. I’m not just talking about fellow crazies in VP: key leaders in his own party like Henrique Capriles have spoken out against concessions. And of course Voluntad Popular, as well as people in Vente, ABP and even bits of AD will blanche at any sign of excess friendliness with power. It promises to make 2017 a bumpy ride for the new AN speaker.

Borges, who’s built a career on his sang froide, knows what any good sniper knows, it takes patience, precision and, of course, the perfect conditions for a clear shot. My doubt is whether the country is in the mood for snipers right now. Seems to me we’re facing more of a typhoon than a calm breeze and with the economy continuing to sink deeper into chaos there’s little hope of a respite. I bid El Cejudo the best of luck, because he’ll sure as hell need it.

Que nos agarren confesados.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Time in Venezuela is measured not in days, but in corpses.

    Big-brows is a fatter capriles, whose speech at the most crucial time in recent years (the 2013 elections) was “God’s time’s perfect” and “street = death”, because it’s better that thousands die in Venezuela WITHOUT NO ONE KNOWING IT.

    Also, this disgraceful individual was the one who backstabbed the military that was about to move to oust maduro during the 2014 protests.

  2. OT: With your permission I’m linking a 1080p HD video taken last summer that replicates the route aboard the exact same helicopter that went down. This will give you an idea of the aircraft, the flight and the terrain.

    • I was wondering why this Mi-17 might have gone down. Then I remembered the Tu-154 that went down over the Black Sea in December, seems that russian aircraft don’t like to stay airborne. This is not even counting the venezuelan Sukhoi-30 that was apparently flown into the ground on a dark night in Apure in September 2015.

  3. Borges is a disgrace, and we can expect nothing from him. He is worse than Capriles, if that is even possible As I said in some other comment, he is the perfect man to rule an institution that can’t do anything. He is perfect for the job because he will be happy with that, It is his golden dream: free publicity with no accountability I wouldn’ t call him a sniper, but rather a backstaber. He belongs to that category of men that we used to call cowards and unremarkable, and that now we call “smart”. If he is a bad speaker, people will say “he is not a show-man, he is a master strategist!. If he doesn’ t take responsability for any of his actions and faliures, people will say “he is so patient, he is just waiting for the right moment”. Pure crap. We all know he is a worthless coward, just like Capriles. They say he is a “hard-worker, and not a show-man”. That’ s funny, considering he started his career as a showman. I will tell you the name of his current show: “Pretending the NA is good for anything”: “Look at Tamara Adrian, look how populists we are, look, look”,all that while chavismo kills us and thrive.

  4. The AN is a complete waste of time.
    The government holds all the power cards.
    There will be no national elections while they stand a chance of losing.
    They will not be removed by votes no matter how bad things get.
    2017 will be just another 2016.
    The TSJ will annul any moves made by the oppos.

    • And the oppo “leadership” will smother any initiative to protest because that’ll disrupt any chances for elections and worse, it won’t even do any propaganda against chavismo because that’ll “hurt the little snowflake sensitive hearts of discontent chavistas”

    • Understand that the regime has recently issued 5 billion dollars in bonds using a private Chinese Bank for the operation , the bonds have ended up deposited or registered as owned by the Central Bank of Venezuela …..its not clear whether this is a bona fide loan operation or some accounting gimmick used by the regime to make believe that the countrys finances are in better shape than they actually are …….. An article was published at Prodavinci on the financially ambiguous nature of this weird operation !!

      Probably another example of the regime resorting to smoke and mirror tactics in an attmept to hide their dire financial situation …!!

      • I was thinking that it was likely some sort of shenanigan to allow a small group of insiders at the top to convert Bs. to $ at “favorable” rates.

  5. The opposition taking to the streets is what this government fears the most because they lose control of the outcome, certainly from the perspective of how it will be viewed internationally. Therefore, I doubt it will happen.

    And I’ve long said that elections won’t be held this year. They’ll make an excuse if one isn’t handed to them. They can’t risk elections.

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