When the news broke, back in August, that the National Electoral Council (CNE) would finally hold long-overdue Governor’s elections, I didn’t know how to feel about it. Days earlier, CNE had conjured over a million votes out of thin air, it seemed we should maybe have a grown-up conversation about this. But then Henry Ramos Allup pre-empted the whole discussion, announcing Acción Democrática was going to take part in the vote come what may. MUD really needed to have an adult conversation about this.

Picando adelante, Ramos Allup ended the discussion before it could even begin: he grasped perfectly that if one party went to the vote, the others would be forced to follow suit. That more or less guaranteed we’ll get screwed in terms of voting conditions. It doesn’t matter how we feel about it: the decision’s been made.

In Táchira, the glorious state I call home, opposition figures signed up as candidates faster than you can say “inhabilitación”. Using stand-in candidates (planned to be substituted for the real candidates later on), MUD’s biggest parties secured a spot on the tarjetón electoral, the infamous ballot. That there would be the primaries to select the eventual nominee was clear from the get go: every candidate signed the “Agreement of Cordiality” (a wink to San Cristóbal’s “City of Cordiality” motto) pledging to abide by primary results and refrain from running as third party candidates.

So, how is the noble state of Táchira gearing up for the fiesta democrática that will be the primary?

I asked my long time super opposition friend —a public employee under current Governor Vielma Mora’s administration— and he sounded angry, saying: “I’m not going to vote, I don’t think it will be of any use.”


“I hate my job but I don’t think participating in rigged Governor’s elections will do me any good, much less voting in some primary.” Ouch.

It’s not that people don’t know who the candidates are —they do! There are some big names out there.

Every candidate signed the “Agreement of Cordiality” pledging to abide by primary results and refrain from running as third party candidates.

Primero Justicia is running none other than Juan Requesens — the Capriles Mini-Me lawmaker who actively participated in pre-ANC protests movement and got injured by colectivos at a rally, then got thrown into a gutter by the National Guard during another protest. This is a guy who likes to hang out at the spot for the best pastelitos in town. We all know him.

Then there’s Voluntad Popular’s (VP) candidate: The current Mayor of San Cristóbal, Táchira’s capital, Patricia de Ceballos. Wife to political prisoner Daniel Ceballos, she went to my high school, we all know her too.

As for Acción Democrática’s (AD) candidate? every adeco I asked knows her name: Lawmaker Laidy Gómez. It doesn’t come as a surprise, Adecos gonna Adeco.

The rest of the candidates: City of Michelena’s Mayor Fernando Andrade Roa (COPEI, UNT), former lawmaker, RCTV journalist and current president of Capitolio TV, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (AP, Causa R) and Córdoba Mayor, Virginia Vivas (IPP), who got disqualified from the process for not complying with her share of money to finance the election (as she had previously agreed on doing).

My friends’ and family’s voting intention is clear: none of the above. They feel disappointed by MUD’s leaders, and this is opposition voto duro people we’re talking about. Some of these people even ignored the plan to boycott the legislative election back in 2005 and went to vote anyway.

As for the electoral atmosphere in town? There’s a lot of campaigning going on, the old fashioned kind: trucks kitted out with speakers tour the streets blasting messages of support to their candidates, asking people for their vote. Radio slots, posters, photos with old ladies and kissed babies abound on social media. You name it, they’re doing it.

These people really want our vote, but the excitement’s just not there. The air in the city is heavy with discontent and despair.  

As far as Chavismo is concerned, MUD’s got nothing on them. The much despised incumbent, José Vielma Mora (who is up for re-election) still has the best campaign strategy: promising to actually solve some problems. He said he’s the only one who can make the usual, kilometer-long lines at gas station’s disappear. And —whaddayaknow!— those lines disappeared a week ago: gas for everyone.

Right under your nose MUD.

Everything always happens right under your nose, MUD.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. It is hard not to have a sense of betrayal. Not because any false sense that the protests will be about change of government. Whomever thought that 100 killed and two months of a stalled country would get rid of the narco-stalinist-corrupt-hunger mongering regime was drinking the wrong cool-aid. Nope, the sense of betrayal was how quick AD killed the momentum and how quick the rest followed.

    The balls dropped at an abysmal speed which (at least in my case) only reminded me of the corruption of the 4th that fostered the advent of Chavez. Pragmatism at its worst continues to be a core behavior in the MUD. Hence, the reflection of a headless opposition that only cares for themselves and that feeds the ego and presidential aspirations of a bunch of wannabes that either belong to the past or do not understand that their time has passed.

    It is a fuck up after fuck up (pardon my French) to the point that some people may righteously think that perhaps we are better with the narco-stalinist-corrupt-hunger mongering regime. It shrugs my heart just to think about it, but it seems the real patriots are two meters underground while the MUD celebrate that at least they still getting their “quince y ultimo” at the parliament, shaking hands and taking pictures with actually successful heads of government while dusting under the rug their immeasurable failure.

    • I would really like to sit down with Requesens and ask him how did he do such a switch, from one of the guys who was daily on the street to another political figure in Ramos Allup’s board. I mean, a case of beer and let’s get real, how was the talk, what did he say?

      There were people inside MUD waiting for the protest to die out, who were actively working for a return to the only way they know how to do politics. I feel it’s deeply inmoral to give them a vote, to be complicit in their attitude and belief that we are the followers and they are the “wise leaders”, and they have a right to interpret the deaths of so many young men to their advantage.

      They are doing now what they did last year, sitting down with the government to negotiate, freeze the streets and come out empty handed. If MUD isn’t punished, they will always resort to their sectarism.

      I had it.

    • “It is a fuck up after fuck up (pardon my French) to the point that some people may righteously think that perhaps we are better with the narco-stalinist-corrupt-hunger mongering regime.”

      Not even that. Is that the MUD is PART of said regime, so why should we do something for them? Let them beg to the ANC for scraps, everybody else is fighting for survival, for political change without them or for leaving. That’s it, those are the options.

  2. MUD pissed on the graves of every person that lost their lives in an attempt to free Venezuela from this criminal regime.
    There is a very large difference between a politician and a patriot. It is not mutually exclusive, no matter how the MUD makes it appear. Any politician that participates in the upcoming elections is a disgrace.

  3. The MUD really needs to step up their game to get out the opposition base vote, or they can kiss their 18-21 governors goodbye. Needless to say, Táchira is one of THE state where the MUD should put on their best shot, seeing as it is the most pro-opposition state in the country.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here