As I was putting together the previous post over the week end the PSUV held its internal elections. Or so we are asked to believe.
The first thing to know, of course, is that no matter what the results of these "elections" will be, nothing will happen without the approval of Chavez. To ensure that this is the case, that no surprise will arise, Chavez is himself the grand elector of 200 of the 772 delegates to the party congress to be held in a few weeks. And just in case he will also be the one setting the "debate" agenda. If to this you add that supposedly there are three tendencies within the PSUV fighting it out today it is safe to assume that Chavez will enjoy a very sycophantic majority in the coming congress as he will be playing whomever he wants against whomever he pleases.
Of course, no matter how flawed that internal PSUV election is (note, this is NOT about primaries for 2010, it is party internal election) it is still good enough for chavismo to try to use it as a propaganda tool. It even reaches the routine hysterical paroxysms of Celia Flores, Nazional Assembly chair, whose lovely disheveled study in red is worth illustrating this red day post. After all, believe it or not, the only opposition party that has held internal "elections" is AD. PJ had some kind of layered elections and UNT is trying to put its act together on that.
But the barbs are really not directed at the opposition internal processes: all parties in Venezuela have had always a significant amount of vertical Leninism. Besides, the PSUV has no moral ground in criticizing the opposition inner democracy since the PSUV does not even respect formal democracy as we saw what happened after the 2008 regional elections. Any opposition leader can quickly refresh people's memory on that and deflect this cheap criticism. No, the barbs have two targets: make the PSUV feel better about itself and discredit any primary process within the opposition before this one takes place. After all, we all know that the PSUV 2010 primaries will be a sham since no candidate will be allowed to run unless accepted as safe enough by Chavez. The more the reason to have at least a third of the nomination processes for 2010 settled through real primaries. Chavismo is afraid, really afraid of that.
The fun note, to discredit further the PSUV efforts at discrediting others. We have been told that the PSUV has more than 7 million members but only a little bit shy of 2,5 millions were allowed to vote today. Funny, no? What explanation? Are there first class PSUV members? Or was that 7 million a fantasy number from the start.
Anyway, Chavez and his PSUV are giving a golden opportunity for the opposition leadership to show how internal elections or primaries should be held and organized. Will they rise to the occasion?