Let’s put the cards on the table, Henri, because on the morning of May 21, I don’t want you, or anyone on your team, to blame your defeat on us voters.
From what we know, your presidential campaign is an actual thing. You’re actually running to reach the throne and play the transition, which is fantastic. You’ve traveled, you’re campaigning, you’re getting support from recognizable faces and names and you have an economic plan. You’re aware that chavismo won’t release its hold on power without an attractive proposal. Fine, reading that scenario and playing with those cards is politics. Wanna know why public support eludes you then?
Because you’re treating us, voters, like idiots.
Dude, we know.
We know this election won’t be settled by ballots. We know it will all come down to what groups in the status quo accede to give up, we know Nicolás Maduro is doing his best to draw people to the voting stations to justify and legitimate his rule. We know the mere call for an election like this breaks the law. We know chavismo will play its game and we know you don’t have enough people to watch all the voting stations in the country.
But, more than anything, we know that if the past predicts the future, then you’ll accept whatever the politburo decides. So don’t blame your political shortcomings on us, because your job is to convince us to vote.
Just because most of us never got a college degree, it doesn’t mean we can’t see what’s going on.
When you stand in that podium being more of an asshole to Luis Almagro than you’re to the PSUV, we know it’s because you’re telling chavistas that, with you in power, they’ll be safe (that’s why you say shit that voters perceive as horrendous), and we know that’s why you’re a presidential candidate in the first place. Everyone who posed a threat to the government is either jailed, barred from running or in exile, so stop acting like you reached your current status because you’re the only sensible voice in the septic pit that MUD turned the political opposition into. You’re there because chavismo chose you as their rival.
We know the economy must be liberalized, the exchange controls must be taken down and foreign investments must be attracted. Stop, you and your crew, being pedantic about knowing this and tell Francisco Rodríguez to get off that elitist high horse; just because most of us never got a college degree, it doesn’t mean we can’t see what’s going on.
You know who’s really great at being pedantic? Henry Ramos Allup. Last year, he advocated for a shutdown of the protest in the face of those leaders who wanted to radicalize (we know this too, Ramos), saying the MUD would run in governor’s elections “and people would have to vote” because it was the only option. Welcome to planet Earth: voters won’t support you just because you’re opposing chavismo. Politics in this country have never been decided by who’s more qualified, they’re decided by who tells the best jokes. And if the people perceive you as a two-faced lizard in human skin, it doesn’t matter if you truly have holy water inside your veins: tu pasado de perverso te condena.
Don’t blame your political shortcomings on us, because your job is to convince us to vote.
What was our electoral 2017 like in Venezuela? The government pulled eight million votes out of its ass in the election for the National Constituent Assembly and nobody in the oppo said a thing. Smartmatic, the company in charge of the voting technology, was so appalled by the results that it refused to validate them. And where is Andrés Velásquez today, why isn’t he a governor despite the ample evidence of being cheated out of office?
Do you know what happens if we jump on your train and the reds do this again? Besides the legitimacy thing, we’ll be demoralized as a society, which is precisely what they want. The problem with your speech, Henri, is that you’ve molded it so much to please chavismo that people are convinced you’re in league with them and, regardless of the actual truth, in politics perception is reality. Say it out loud: “Guys, we know these elections are a humongous trap, but we’re aiming at a transition where we will be better than we’re now, because it’s almost impossible to make it worse. We know they won’t concede easily and we know that on the 21st, we’ll probably have to fight for our win. We’re gonna need you all for that struggle, because the government won’t fall without internal pressure. Believe in me this once, because I swear to y’all I won’t disappoint.”
If we were living in a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to say that because everyone would see how breaking chavismo is good for us all. But that’s not the country we have, so you need to work with this reality. Reinhold Niebuhr said: “The art of politics consists of directing rationally the irrationalities of men.”
And tell Carlos Raúl Hernández to stop saying electoral conditions don’t matter because, for voters, they mean the world.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.