Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Venezuelan opposition show signs of splitting and uselessness

And we should not be surprised.  Today well known figures have contradicted the speech that Primero Justicia has advanced so far. Meanwhile AD and related parties keep rather silent.  As it is usual in Venezuela all are sort of right and all are sort of wrong, hence the danger of a fatal split.

The problems comes from October 7 and the Capriles campaign. The campaign was based on more reconciliation, on prying away chavista vote with very similar promises than Chavez, etc...  It failed. And it failed badly in December 16. And yet Capriles insists on this approach and has nothing much to say about the constitutional coup of this week besides chavismo has now everything in hand and there is no excuses for Maduro not to start as of now solving the country's problems. As if chavismo does not have all in hand since at least 2005. Gimme a break!

I do not know whether this language reaches the chavista hoi polloi, but it certainly is neither comforting or energizing the Capriles root electorate in his persistence in a studied blandness that parcels carefully its moments of toughness. In my opinion the chavista voter has spoken: Capriles language is not strong enough for them to break with Chavez, the more so when they are blackmailed outright. If Capriles is not getting it at this point then I am starting to wonder really what is he doing in the position that he pretends to be: leader of the opposition.

But when we put Capriles blandness next to a more stern lecturing of Julio Borges we cannot blame them altogether  They are right in that chavismo is crumbling and maybe it is not time to rock the boat too hard, just wait for the final implosion.  Meanwhile, their inability to forge a more inspiring message is starting to have consequences and we saw them today.

Leopoldo Lopez launched public meetings organized by Voluntad Popular to discuss the Constitution and complain about the coup. The initiative was fast and did not attract the attendance he may have hoped for. But it attracted enough people that some opposition leaders did take the opportunity to show up and talk, such as the case of Maria Corina Machado. Even born again citizen now that she is a defenestrated  justice, Marmol de Leon, joined into the Voluntad Popular gatherings. Even tougher, Diego Arria made his own press conference with his well earned right to say "I told you so".

They certainly are right to be upset and demand action, but the Venezuelan people is demonstrated a monster of apathy unless their pay check is directly involved. Chavismo has fed on that and not only it paid off for them handsomely but it contaminated badly any moral fiber inside the opposition which last twitched when RCTV was closed and the referendum of 2007 won.  No wonder OAS's Insulza does not take the opposition seriously: after all the 2010 constitutional coup by an outgoing National Assembly against the incoming one was much worse and nobody talks about that one anymore except for your blogger who has put then the official date of the dictatorship in Venezuela, not this week.  In a year from now, be it through Capriles be it through another come flor we will be told that now, yes, now it is our opportunity to vote to unseat chavismo...... and nobody will remember 2004 stolen election, the Tascon list still active today, the 2007 RCTV closing (his main clown now rooting for Chavez), the 2010 coup, etc, etc.....

I do not know about them all, from Borges to Arria going through AD and Falcon, but if the opposition does not put its shit together soon and does not show a little bit more of backbone in at least monitoring over time constitutional and human rights violations Maduro has it all made no matter how reticent is chavismo in embracing him.


  1. I agree with your opinion somewhat. I do see the different stances taken by the different parties in the MUD. I think most of it is posturing and proding the public to see where they fit in and if their message brings out the vote on their behalf. At the end of the day, if elections are held this year, i dont think any of them can beat Capriles in a Primary. He won the primaries by a HUGE margin with those same players involved. The only one that can maybe give him a run is Leopoldo but who knows. Only time will tell i guess.

    For the record i do not agree with the come flor approach of Capriles. It is clear he and PJ are content just standing by the sidelines and HOPE it all implodes on the PSUV. But i do not think that implosion, even if were to happen soon, would benefit the opposition too much in the short term. Chavismo military wing will just muscle their way thru no matter waht happens.

    Chavismo military with brute strenght, repression, narco $$$ and the petroleum $$$ in their control can survive a while longer. Just how long remains to be seen. We are witnessing a slowly but sure move into Dictatorship in Vzla. I think Capriles is not the only one sitting on the sidelines.

    Cabello is just salivating privately and hoping the implosion, excuse to take over suspend guarantees, comes sooner rather than later. He gains the most by simply doing nothing and waiting for the inevitable to happen. And thus another chapter in the Chavismo era is in the books for History to judge.

    The Rise and Fall of Chavismo would be a great title for the History channel and/or a movie or book. The accounts will be tragic yet fascinating at the same time.

    Oliver Stone will have a Blockbuster hit and i can see Sean Penn portraing the Comandante or some other key figure in Chavismo. He seems to fit those mobster roles pretty well.

  2. Don't leave out Danny Glover.

  3. Anonymous3:46 AM

    Do you really think Capriles' strategy failed? Or do his people know how many more votes they got than chavismo and are simply waiting for it to implode? Isn't it convenient to have the strong stance of delegitimizing the government on the one hand and an attractive, moderate candidate at the ready in the other in case there are elections? In any case, this strategy is driving chavismo nuts.

    1. Capriles and the MUD failed. If the result of December 16 are not clear to you I suggest your revision of them.

      This being said there are quite a few good things to rescue in those failed campaigns. One thing is that the October 7 was brilliantly executed, another that it's target and strategies were not on spot.

    2. Anonymous2:35 PM

      Capriles won in Miranda, may I remind you. I think he knows what he is doing. He already was a political prisoner of this regime, he knows he is not useful in a cell next to Baduel. Hey, I voted for María Corina. THAT is how I think things should be done BUT, my friend, she got 103.000 votes. That is the reality of the situation.

    3. anonymous just above (can't you guys pick a handle, any handle!)

      and where do i disagree with that? do you bother reading other comments? is it forbidden to criticize any opposition leader? are we to become chavistas? did i ever wrote that if capriles is candidate again i shall not vote for him?

  4. It's just to wait and see how long this foolishness goes on. If Chavez is the people, the people are Chavez, Maduro is Chavez, etc. etc, seems like the natural progression will be to continue the last 14 years......... besides that, getting the Chavezes off the teat of the government might take a generation or more. I don't think the oppo is prepared in any way to reconcile the real needs of the country/people with the ingrained and popular populism (which must be two different things!). I genuinely can't imagine how you'd span that chasm.

  5. I'd like to see you suggest realistic alternative strategies for Capriles and the opposition, especially given the not-so-veiled threats made by the government this week and the clear capacity for extra-legal action and repression.

    The opposition at the moment has a very weak hand, dependent completely on the government for continued access to even the dwindling media availabilities. Without those, they will be even less powerful.

    There's a strange disconnect -- on the one hand, for example, an acknowledgement that the playing field is tilted, the resource imbalance for campaigning astronomical, the electoral arbiter unfair....yet you're so quick to be dismissive of the Capriles strategy, rather than acknowledge that perhaps the fact that voters were exposed to 100 Chavista messages for every 1 Capriles message was critical. Not to mention the heavy-handed turn out the vote tactics by Chavismo on Election Day.

    What exactly would you differently, with what expected result? I'm genuinely curious -- perhaps you have some very good tactical or strategic ideas. Simply reflecting the rage and of the opposition may be cathartic...but what's the end game?

    1. Lucia

      This blog is careful to have continuity in its direction. That is, some of the points that seem to bother you have been addressed in recent days. I already tend to write long posts so if I have to repeat what I wrote 72 hours ago, my posts would be endless.

      The point of this entry is not to criticize Capriles, though I do it (reminder: I did not vote for him in the primaries one year ago, so my current criticism is not "sobrevenido"). The real point of this entry is to underline that whatever line the opposition decides to take it better be decided soon before the opposition breaks apart.

      As for your concerns, in previous posts I have established clearly that Capriles right now is the only option, that we have no time to diddle around for another candidate not as well known as Capriles. For example, if we were sure that elections would not be held before December we could have the luxury to run primaries again and see if Capriles is still the opposition leader or whether Falcon has become the one. But we have no such luxury since I wrote yesterday, calendar and all, that elections should not be later than May 26. After that date chavismo odds would be unacceptable for them in elections, forcing them to 300 Maduro messages for one of the opposition, if that much.

      Which brings me to the strange concern at this late in the game of the 100 to 1 against Capriles. This is an old battle, and a lost one. Once Capriles decided to play by the anti-rules of the CNE and just complain occasionally about stuff he did not like, it ceased to be a real argument. Why, for example, did not Capriles go himself with international press coverage, stats in hand, to the CNE to complain about that unfair advantage? Granted, it would have done little but it would have made that argument a valid one, a scandalous one, one worth using again and again, BEFORE October 7. But he did not do it because he was too afraid to shock potential chavista voters and too afraid to promote abstention in his own ranks. In the end he got neither one, chavistas did not vote for him in October and opposition staid home in December. I am afraid that the lesson has not sunk in him though maybe Borges may have got a hint at least from what I heard recently.

  6. Anonymous$ has an excellent point .It could take 6 months or a year or more for Maduro to implode and the first one at bat to take advantage of that would be Diosdado , and not the opposition.

    As for Lucia's points, I might add the following:

    1.The threats of the government to apply repression cannot be taken lightly but must realistically be seen as a consequence of the wrong actions on the part of the people in electing a coup monger to start out with.The opposition is to blame( remember that many opposition voters originally voted for Chavez when he had his first landslide)If you tolerate criminality it only gets worse and the consequences that must be paid are not easy but still necessary.There is no get out of jail free card.This is the real world and the longer we wait, the worse it gets.

    At some point the opposition has to expose Chavismo, and Capriles so far does not do that.If Chavismo throws opposition leaders in jail for speaking out and eliminates the last " freeish" media outlet, the fig leaf of democracy will be torn away.

    The only fight against Chavismo is through honesty,instead of appeasement; in this way the fig leaf that hides the evil from the world will be exposed.

    Bullies do not disappear by accommodating them but by exposing and confronting them.

    The Venezuelans have to remember that the opposition is not Capriles but every single person.If they, through apathy just try to rely on others and not pay the high prices of their past voting errors they have no right expect anything but a worsening of authoritarianism.


  7. Charly10:13 AM

    The official oppo has become such a shitty lot, I feel like joining the PSUV.


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