|Today's press conference at Voluntad Popular|
These past 4 years I have written about their growth, their initiatives, at least when these could be of interest for people living overseas such as the Venezuelans trying to vote in embassies and the help VP tried to bring them. Never mind writing often on the epic battle of Lopez against the regime attempt to block his political career, a battle he won in international courts even though the regime keeps playing a deaf ear to its international obligations. Then again, when has fascism paid heed to legality?
|The true trilogy of evil: empty |
wallets (slang), high crime and
scarcity of all, including toilet paper
The headquarters of Voluntad Popular are bristling with activity, full of energy. And not only because in one month we have elections, I already had that impression a few months ago when they had just moved in and there were half of the folks I saw today.
What welcomes you when waiting for your host to fetch you is an exhibition hall. A long hallway that can also be used for other purposes is decorated this month with a selection of political cartoons from Zapata, Rayma and Edo. It is called "La Ventana", the window, as a place where prosecuted folks are welcome to expose, and other to come and look over and see what the regime would like to disappear.
|Defending freedom of expression.|
This is, in short, the tone of the visit: the rather young and dynamic team working for Voluntad Popular leaves no stone unturned, from mere electoral activities to more intellectual pursuits, even if in a hurry. But we are a country in a hurry, in a hurry to leave behind chavismo, so I can relate. Contemplation must be brief and purposeful.
|The call center|
The electoral campaign is monitored from several rooms. In the one below there are young designers trying to come up with all the necessary material.
|Campaign creation room|
Last but not least, Voluntad Popular is finishing up its program and political concepts. The Orange book will be published soon and I saw the provisional cover. Well, they are still working on the set up but the good thing is that after months and years of discussion across the country with the many grassroots groups they are finally getting there. It is not useless to remind folks that VP was the first political party since 1998 to hold an internal primary. Chavismo had some but they forgot about the whole thing as soon as they observed that some dared criticize Chavez proposals. And the others are content in their pyramidal set up, if there is indeed a pyramid to be found for them.
To finish this post, let's talk about the press conference system of VP. I receive on my mail regularly, at least once a week, a press communique of the weekly agenda. It is about the response of VP to a particular situation. It may be held in the press room of the headquarters or somewhere else, in particular if it is locally related to a given campaign. But the most salient feature if you ask me is that the official position of VP is not always announced by Leopoldo Lopez. In fact, there is great care taken to promote as many voices from VP as possible and many spokespeople are formed by giving these press conferences and holding the questions. VP may be the creation of Leopoldo Lopez when he left his original associates but he has had the wisdom to make the party a real political group, a confluence of ideas and interests.
|Presenting the poster.|
The highlight of the presentation I would say was to once again ridicule Maduro. For him being so worried about Twitter removing 6000 fake accounts out of his 1 million plus followers is equivalent to a teenage girl tantrum, according to Lopez. Again, more evidence that Maduro is located between pusillanimous and ridiculous. The ever repeated leitmotiv that no matter what corruption is denounced, there is NEVER a big fish toppled by it was not forgotten.
The communication machinery, a concern from the very start by Lopez and Voluntad Popular, is smooth and quick to respond. When I was starting to put together this post I received already the summary of Lopez intervention and this video which is quite chilling if you understand Spanish. There is a clear expose of what is the real "evil trilogy" of Venezuela, shortages, corruption, violence, etc...
The web site of Voluntad Popular, a work always in progress in real web sites, is full of news, videos and how to join it. But you can also follow or visit @VoluntadPopular to see pictures of all the constant activities of the group across Venezuela, some impressive considering the small locales they visit. They also report with pictures on the nasty stuff they find around. You can also follow @leopoldolopez who happens to have 100,000 more followers than @nicolasmaduro, interestingly. Real followers I would bet as Twitter does not seem in the need to clean up fake accounts with Lopez as it did with Maduro....
I am no political expert to judge how successful Voluntad Popular is, we will need to see if they get at least 15-20 town-halls next December. However after this visit I have a sense that whatever it is that VP is doing, it seems to be doing it right. And certainly the constant harassment the regime has against VP is proof that these young activists are having an effect.
|Lopez has read VN&V|
To conclude, a picture I took during a short meeting I had with Lopez's team at the end of the visit, where he posed along the VN&V web page screen to greet readers of this blog.