Photo: Caraota Digital retrieved

The conversation about the implications of January 10 is taking place in a Tower of Babel of sorts. The 16-J fraction of the National Assembly (AN) says there won’t be a president come January 10, and that the AN has to designate a new president. The Supreme Court in exile concurred. The Group of Lima even asked Maduro to resign and let the AN establish a new  government and the European Union demanded a new presidential election. In turn, the AN stated that there will be a president come January 10, but he will be an usurper.

What will most likely happen on January 10? Maduro will go to the TSJ to be sworn in and the National Assembly’s deputies will make yet another strong stance to denounce the violation of the Constitution.

And then nothing.

By this time next month, the entire episode will be a distant memory.

If all this sounds weirdly familiar, it’s because it is. We had virtually the same debate, exactly one year ago. On January 9, 2017, the National Assembly declared the dereliction of duty of President Maduro. That call was later ratified in August in 2018. On May 2018, the National Assembly declared Maduro’s election non-existent.

We had virtually the same debate, exactly one year ago. On January 9, 2017, the National Assembly declared the dereliction of duty of President Maduro.

Actually, we seem to do this year after year. In May 2017, the National Assembly decided to create a commission to lead a political transition, but yesterday the National Assembly decided to promote a bill about, yet again, a political transition.

These decisions are a product of the pressure that national deputies receive in different ways: from some political parties and political leaders in the country, sometimes from former and current heads of state from other countries, and sometimes from people who have an influential role in public opinion.

The results are always purely symbolic, and lack any impact on the political situation because chavismo decided it would pay no attention to the National Assembly’s decisions.

The government has been fully successful in neutering the opposition, but some still fantasize about what the opposition could do if it really put its back into it. That’s why we get stuck in this cycle of hype, symbolism, frustration and despair… time and time again.

The results are always purely symbolic, and lack any impact on the political situation because chavismo decided it would pay no attention to the National Assembly’s decisions.

The opposition has never figured out what to do with a National Assembly turned into an empty husk by government power plays. Nothing will happen on or after January 10, it doesn’t matter how much some may want it to, because the National Assembly exists in the realm of the undead: perambulatory, but devoid of life.

The time has come to ask ourselves some really hard questions: is it good for the country to try to build upon expectations the opposition can’t achieve? What’s preventing the opposition from frankly accepting its powerlessness? Is it wise to expect a leadership that can’t grasp the reality of its own weakness to draft a credibly strategy to defeat the regime?

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