One of the elemental aspects of the government’s political strategy is the establishment of a “new opposition” tailored to its needs, a process started a few years ago, but sculpted with care in the last couple of months.
Jailing Leopoldo López and barring Henrique Capriles from public office were the first steps — they were the opposition leaders with better chances of winning an election against Maduro. Conveniently removed from the political gameboard, they were joined by the MUD, Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, in rulings that forbade them from running in electoral races again. Court proceedings against leaders like María Corina Machado, Freddy Guevara and Tomás Guanipa neutered them politically, and the mere threat of being on that list has made others, like Julio Borges, flee the country.
A process started a few years ago, but sculpted with care in the last couple of months.
But it’s been around the May 20th electoral process that this design has been made clear. The picked candidate to run against Maduro was Henri Falcón, a man embraced by a team of people who provoke distrust in the opposition’s electoral universe, like Francisco Rodríguez, Carlos Raúl Hernández, Claudio Fermín and Eduardo Semtei, none of them particularly popular or charismatic. Of course, the voto opositor didn’t join, and Maduro “won.”
And then, right after the election, chavismo used leaders like Pedro Pablo Fernández and the governors from Acción Democrática as spokesmen to back the political prisoners’ “release.” It was the synthesis of the strategy, an attempt to legitimize a policy of, quote-unquote, “peacekeeping and dialogue.”
It was the synthesis of the strategy, an attempt to legitimize a policy of, quote-unquote, “peacekeeping and dialogue.”
The goal to weaken political parties and leaders under the MUD umbrella (whatever name it decides to stand by) has been reached. Today, the mainstream opposition is more disoriented than ever, partly because of their internal strifes to define and settle on a common, coherent plan. And with base and mid-range leaders leaving the country, future looks somber.
It’s too late perhaps for a new organization derived from the MUD as we know it, and chavismo will only deal with its tailor-made opposition, to which it’ll concede some victories to legitimize the whole charade. An Opposition Ministry integrated by those who don’t represent a real threat, those who are accommodating, naive or corrupt enough to play pretend.
A Vichy Venezuela, with a docile, puppet opposition, that will only exist if we allow it.