Believe it: in the next few hours, MUD will register candidates for governor’s elections.

Last week, Smartmatic gave us a gorgeous gift, validating Whatsapp cadenas from El Doral to El Cafetal. The system was rigged to provide and voting tallies are a sham, a confession straight from the horse’s mouth. We were on a high, man, but mere hours after the Smartmatic announcement, Henry Ramos Allup popped our bubble saying that Acción Democrática would run for governor elections.

It was only a matter of time before every other opposition party, except for María Corina’s Vente Venezuela and Ledezma’s ABP, followed suit.

And it’s not like it’s that hard to see right through the government’s vile intentions and how we’re playing right into their sinister trap: yesterday, the National Electoral Council published its final report of parties that had survived the odious “party re-legitimation” process, a supposed requirement for anyone hoping to run in governor’s elections. Even opposition parties like the defunct COPEI, which publicly announced their demise after not participating in the signature drive, made the cut. It’s almost as if… hmmm… as if the process was bullshit all along.

Yes, if the opposition abstains, the government will play its 2005 card, we all know that. But what prevents the government from using any tactic it has, Constituent Assembly included, to create parallel local governments, just like they did against Capriles? Or worse, even getting rid of governors for good? We’re won’t go into the growing list of MUD politicians barred from running, or being arrested, or the CNE prohibiting MUD to appear on the ballot for governor’s elections in seven states; just what is going to make the government desist from its agenda of total domination, the Organization of American States? Mercosur, from which we’ve been suspended? The United Nations?

Let’s get real, we know who’s invested in governor elections after we agreed that the system is broken. We know who’s afraid of being left out by the new kids on the block.

Henry Ramos Allup seems reassured that he can turn back time, ignore these past few months (years!) and act like we’re not in a full-blown dictatorship. I understand that leaning on protests is very risky and I agree that having the opposition reach a consensus on all possible scenarios, including what to do about governor’s elections, is necessary. Hell, I even concede that, had the government not gone forward with the Constituent Assembly, heavily-scrutinized elections would have been beneficial to the opposition.

But the truth is, there’s no way back after July. Borders have been redrawn and we’re at a point of no return, with no compass and a very dim sense of direction. This is not the game of Julio Borges, career politicians overwhelmed outside their comfort zone. To pretend this is normalcy is not wishful thinking. It’s sick denial.

Come on, Henry. You can be like Betancourt, quietly retire from politics, content in having fulfilled your duty. Teenagers will still take selfies with you and a new generation will take on the mantle, thanking you and praising your graciousness.

Because the other option is turning into Alfaro. One day you may be driving to the Acción Democrática bunker, only to find out that those who yesterday cheered you, today changed the locks, leaving you an old lonely man, with broken dreams of presidency.

Do you remember Alfaro, Henry?

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Freelance journalist, speculative fiction writer, college professor, political junkie, lover of books and movies and, semi-professional dilettante. José has written for NPR's Latino USA, Americas Quarterly, Into and ViceVersa Magazine.