I am not only a little preoccupied about personal matters but to tell you the truth from the start I lost any possible interest in the "dialogue" attempt last night at Miraflores. See, the regime is so predictable, such a permanent rehash of old grievances that one could have easily guessed the discourse.
Last night it was my turn to stay over at the health center that the S.O. has been staying these days. Yes, even in functional high level health centers of Venezuela it is advised that a relative spends the night on a cot in the sick room. The S.O. having recovered somewhat from recent treatments asked me to put on the "debate" that was taking place in Miraflores. We caught it with Andres Velazquez intervention, which was passable. He was succeeded by Aristobulo Isturiz, Anzoategui current governor, and the travesty started. After a few minutes the S.O. found strength somewhere out of his apparent slumber to say "enough of this fucking idiot, turn it off".
Sponsored by UNASUR, last night was finally the first encounter on TV of spokespeople from the regime and the opposition. The regime must be feeling enough heat that it acceded to this highly dangerous show. After the absurd repression of these last two months, repression that has yielded no tangible result for the regime but nasty brutish backlash overseas, it needed desperately a picture of all smiling as if this were a normal country. With a lot of reticence the opposition agreed as long as a certain format would be respected and that could not be interpreted as the regime scoring a point. Maybe they should not have worried that much, the regime did a fine job of ridiculing itself in front of the national audience (it was a cadena) and in front of UNASUR sympathetic ears that must be having more and more second thoughts about validating further Venezuela's regime style.
I only watched Aristobulo and it was pathetic. He is said to be one of the wiliest minds of chavismo, maybe to be a tad less autocratic than his brethren. Last night he proved those wrong. He has the same mental chip as any other chavista, cannot leave behind what happened 10 years ago and, basically, thinks that not only they are perfect but what they do today is amply validated, out of all proportions, with what happened in April 2002. His worst offense, for me, was when he said that chavismo DID respect electoral results whereas the opposition did not, conveniently forgetting how elected opposition officials are deprived of as many means as possible from exerting their role. For example, Ledezma election 5 years ago for Caracas at large mayor was followed by the immediate approval of a law that gutted his office, passing most of his responsibilities, and patronage, to an appointed official. For example, Capriles difficult reelection in December 2012 was followed by the immediate appointment of the losing chavista, Jaua, at the head of a para-governing organization which has for Miranda state a budget that compares favorably with the one Capriles receives. One can only be flabbergasted in front of such cynical lies.
Another good moment must have been when Rafael Ramirez stated that the economical model of the regime was successful. With 60% inflation, humongous foreign debts, importing maybe 75% of our food, having stopped the publication of verifiable statistics, a decrease in oil production, and what not, the guy has the chutzpah to declare victory.
All of this simply reveal in a dramatic way that chavismo is a cornered system, self-locked in an series of cliches and dead ideologies. I wonder even if their speech is a monologue, seems rather a litany. How can you reach with them a basic vocabulary and grammar to attempt a dialogue?
From what I read the presentation of the opposition envoys were over all much better than the regime's one, if anything by showing that apparently the opposition is more knowledgeable on dossiers and country's problem than the regime trapped in a frozen mind set. It is amazing that people that have been 15 years in office seem way outpaced in delivery by an opposition that is constantly harassed and denied access to real data.
But that is not really the point. The point is that the regime pretends to have a dialogue without conditions. Whereas the opposition offers very reasonable conditions, things that in normal countries are not considered "conditions". For example it wants political prisoners to be released. The opposition does not mind them being sent to trial but wants them to be judged in liberty until a sentence comes, like it happens to the very few corrupt and abusive chavistas that have to be sent to trial. Another request is that the constitution is followed. That means in practical term that it is not possible that the high court of 32 members has never a dissent opinion. That means that the offices of comptroller of the nation is given to someone that actually will control the expenses of ALL elected officials, be them chavista or opposition. And other such examples.
What does chavismo want? That opposition ceases all type of protests, recognize the primacy and mandatory line for Venezuela organization even if last April 2013 there was a an electoral fraud to hide that chavismo had lost a majority of the vote. The government has all and wants things to stay that way. Is dialogue, any type of dialogue and agreement a possibility?
In the face of the stubbornness of the regime, of its inability to find solutions to the problems of Venezuela what is left to do? Little but not hopeless.
We must participate in the discussion tables that the UNASUR wants to set but we should be firm as we have been in this first round. And the protest must continue non stop, even if violent barricades, guarimbas, are a nasty byproduct. After all, that the regime has been forced to accept such a pantomime is a success for guarimbas, no matter how these have been criticized, even by Capriles. In fact, if Capriles last night was able to present a reasonable survey of the situation in a cadena, it is because guarimbas allowed for it, with the inherent contradictions that not only he could not control them, but he criticized them.
Last night we had a guarimbalogue, we had a mandatory cadena where for the first time in a decade it was possible for some chavistas to discover that the opposition existed, that it was not a figment of their imagination, that it was more articulated than their own leaders, that it went beyond guarimbas and that it had forced the regime in that admission. Just by itself it vindicated two months of protests and sufferings.
If you do not understand or agree with what I just wrote in the last paragraph let me give you the following image. We are always told never to pull a thread from a hand knitted sweater because the whole thing may just fall apart. This is exactly what may have happened last night to chavismo. This one is a monstrous knitted coalition that includes narco traffickers, big time corrupts, incompetent people that have a job only because they are chavistas, resentful leftists, taliban ones, pro Cuba agents, ambitious military and what not. It is sort of a sweater with horrifying patterns. Last night may have been the thread that if pulled adequately, for long enough, may end up unraveling the whole thing.
But I am not holding my breath.
Reading the press this Saturday morning as to last Thursday night show I find a certain contentment within the opposition OpEdistia. I would not be so sanguine.
True, it was a major achievement for the opposition and that presentation maybe the beginning of something. But there is one thing that we should not forget: chavismo mind dose not work like hers and for them the "failure" may actually be a good thing. Let me explain.
Chavismo is that ugly sweater described above, and as such it is composed of mostly failures led by mediocrities. What allowed them so much power was a demagogic language, their willingness to waste the country's wealth instead of investing it, and a hateful leader who unfortunately knew how to reach for the heart and fears of an uneducated mass. It is/was an historical accident made possible by self sufficiency of a decadent political class.
The failure Thursday night of the chavista representative to go out of the written script of resentment and ideology may actually be good for the regime. You need to understand that dictatorship are by definition the rule of a minority over a majority through the use of brute force. As such, the regime reminded the minority that supports them that they need to stick with them otherwise in a post chavista world that would value again education, skills, competence, effort, social restraint, rule of law, they will be relegated again to the bottom of the scale as long as they refuse to play by the rules of civilized society. The contrast between the representatives of the regime and those of the opposition crudely reminded them that only by supporting vile mediocrities like Diosdado Cabello will the chavismo core retain its privileges.
Through this comment I do not mean to state that dialogue is worthy or a waste of time, that the opposition will gain more or less than the regime, just point out that sitting at a table for a few hours is only the beginning of a process of unpredictable consequences.....