After the regionales outcome, the CNE will hold presidential elections within the next two years, and Henry Ramos Allup – the grizzled old perma-Secretary General of Acción Democrática – will be on the ballot. The question is: what will you do? What will the MUD (sans AD) do?
It’s safe to assume two things right now: Dictator Nicolás Maduro will run for the PSUV and Ramos Allup for AD.
Regarding Maduro, even if he seems limited on charisma and political touch, the PSUV-Castro alliance has spent too much time branding this troglodyte to take a risk with a change of course.
Ramos Allup will be on the ballot. All of his shady historical and current political moves point to his ultimate goal, the presidency. More importantly, the recent submission and betrayal of the regionales buys him a ticket to the show.
The colossal issue for the MUD? Ramos Allup has the leverage to either run as Alfaro 2.0 (dividing the anti-government vote), or to be the one candidate running against Maduro.
The second problem? Even if they decide to run parallel to Ramos Allup, what candidate would be allowed to run by the CNE and have the political composure for the challenge ahead?
Abstentionism? Reasonable, after 19 years of untrustworthy elections, but it has to go in conjunction with other strategies. At this time, no one has a realistic proposal, nor a tangible change of direction.
If the MUD doesn’t expel Ramos Allup, he is the presidential candidate.
Now, there’s an extra layer to Henry Ramos intentions. He is a rancid adeco with the malice of Frank Underwood. He ordered AD to run in the regionales because he knew the CNE would give them some states. He was campaigning when the rest of the country was protesting (for months!). He’s more than willing to offer a pardoned emergency exit and safe haven to the PSUV nest of snakes. He doesn’t want his legacy to be Alfaro’s, so he’ll only run if he can actually be president.
Summarizing, we are in a world of trouble. If the MUD doesn’t expel Ramos Allup, he is the presidential candidate; if he’s out, they’ll need to come up with a sort of abstentionism + street protest + New CNE + all-in strike, because the election outcomes are:
- Maduro for the PSUV, HRA for AD, X for the MUD: CNE declares Maduro the winner, the votes are divided and the fraud is even easier.
- Maduro for the PSUV, HRA for AD, the MUD doesn’t participates: CNE declares Maduro the winner, perhaps without fraud.
- Maduro for the PSUV, HRA for MUD: hyperinflation hits, MUD-led protests are stronger, the PSUV needs an exit window with the promise of pardon and sharing power, CNE negotiates and names HRA president. In exchange, the PSUV keeps the states, the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente and the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia.
Sadly, number 3 is by far the best outcome.
The MUD will need to make a very important decision in the next few hours, and for once they’ll need to be ready with a Plan B.
Due to malice and lack of alternatives, we may be forced to answer a gruesome question: would you rather stay under Maduro, or have a 21st Century Lusinchi as president sharing power with the PSUV?Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.