Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Open letter to the Coordinadora Democratica Leadership

Dear folks

I feel a certain urgency in writing this post. I am adressing you through this blog as I know some of your helpers might read it, investigating what "dice la calle" (is said in the streets).

Let me start by reminding you that often these pages have been defending you, even though sometimes I had serious doubts about your leadership, or even when wondering if you knew what was really going on within the CNE. I did support your call for unity, your conciliating style, even your lack of program until it was too late to communicate it to the masses. Indeed, like you I thought that Chavez and chavismo had demonstrated well enough how incompetent and corrupt they were so that a simple negative campaign would suffice to ensure the Referendum Revocatorio victory for our side.

But we have failed. Or rather you have failed, because I did write a lot of pages in your behalf, I did argue with people around me a lot to defend some of your inconsistencies believing that you had a complete strategy that could not be revealed just “right now”, I went to as many marches as I could, here and in Caracas, I even did amateur investigative journalism to uncover undue chavista pressure, and I did stand for 4 and half hours to vote (I was one of the lucky ones). I did what I could.

Now, that the presumption of electoral fraud seems here to stay, I think your leadership is even less effective than before. We had to wait for Tulio Alvarez to finally get at least an articulate voice for the opposition, a voice not only that explained us how the fraud took place, but a voice who last night with Cesar Miguel Rondon was gently but firmly warning you to watch out for the Regional Election, stopping short of major words of criticism for some of you.

Instead, what do I see? I see AD celebrating yet another anniversary behind closed doors, while Claudio Fermin continues its divisive campaign for the Alcaldia Mayor, pretending that August 15 was just fine and that we should be confident that the Caracas vote will be fine. I get Juan Jose Caldera sending me a limp letter in the mail asking me to join Convergencia in Yaracuy as if that would be enough to protect Lapi from electoral fraud. I see a silly article in El Nacional taking at face value the results of August 15 as a predictor of the states that could go to Chavez or away of him (not to mention the faulty historical knowledge of the journalist who wrote that garbage). These and more while the CNE throws a self congratulatory bash with "madrina" election included.

Are we in the same country? Did you smell the coffee? Are you aware of what people are talking in the street?

Let me tell you what I am going to do. If you do not come up with a more energetic plan to force the CNE to clear up the election system, I am staying home. Even better, if there are no lines I might even go and vote for the Chavez candidate to finally force you to wake up. I know, I know, it is like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. But this is what I am feeling right now, and trust me, most people I talk to seem to be on the same wave length. We have not done all of that effort for you so that you can just bargain with chavismo a miserable handful of town halls and state houses. If this is all that you are able to do, then let Chavez take it all and purge this country once and for all of its populist streak, with ultimate populism until people starve. Because they will starve and they will learn the hard way. And you guys, the present leadership, will not get the benefit of newly irked voters because they will blame you to have left them sink into such an opprobrious state. You will never come back if you do not react now.

Yes, if the CNE refuses to budge but you offer us a plan to pressure them, I will be there. If we have to take the streets on election day to create mayhem, I will be there. If we have to make a parallel election I will vote there. If we have to surround our state house and shield our governor, I will be there. Heck, if we have to sign to call a referendum to force manual balloting through the country, I will be there. By the way, that would be quite a wrench in the CNE gears, if in three days 30% of the people sign up for that,don't you think so? "democracia participativa" for real! Be creative and do not wait for Tulio, Asdrubal and Timoteo to do the job for you!

But if you are not standing next to me, or ahead of me at the march, I will not be there next or behind you. If you do not fight nails and claws against the CNE, I will stay home and watch cable TV.

If people do not sense a good support for Tulio Alvarez, a dynamic electoral campaign entrusted to the local guys, a hint of new blood in the fossilized Caracas apparatchiks, and I am not talking of Pompeyo, a transfer of more responsibilities to us in the provinces who know better what is going on in the country than a Prados del Este garden party, we will stay home on voting day. And this page will become one of your fiercest critics.

You have been warned. I am small fish, but there is a lot of us in our ocean of discontent, with or without a blog.

Sincerely and hoping for the best

Daniel Duquenal

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