There is a new crisis of "to vote or not to vote". And the opposition is falling into the same self destructive behaviors, opening the way for the final political push of chavismo. Which does not mean that Maduro will last, the economy is tanking. What I am talking about is a new self destruction episode of the opposition leaving no other option than a chavista replacing Maduro. Maybe.
Yet this time around the reasons are not the same, nor are the stakes as they happened in the last three elections. The worse of the current mess is that we are already tearing each other over an election that not only has not been convoked but may never be. Let's review the situation in this first installment, letting for the next one a possible opposition strategy that shall not happen.
In July 2017 the regime "elected" through a rigged system, illegally, a constituent assembly boycotted by ALL opposition. Needless to say that not only the results to the ANC were clearly inflated but the new assembly had ZERO dissenter. Since then the ANC has seldom gathered, only to vote the occasional decree to bypass the constitutional role of the National Assembly. That is, the regime has been ruling as a dictatorship, pure and simple. But that is not all, we have had no wind of the "debate" for a new constitution. The discussions have been led in secretive groups, with an occasional leak or statement to test the opinion reaction. The only thing we "know" is that a constitutional draft will be ready by December. The ratification has been hinted to take place through a referendum but the ANC may decide otherwise. Who would stop them? International opinion, for one, seems to slide easy over these guys.
And yet the regime has not been making any progress on the international front. We can add now a formal request for investigation for crimes against humanity perpetrated by the regime, at the ICC. The time lapse is irrelevant here: no serious country can make business with a government under such an accusation until it is either exonerated or condemned.
Why the regime is pursuing that charade, besides the desire to annul the opposition once and for all? If a new constitution is voted by the people, then all the "illegality" of the past two years is sort of erased. The regime's hope is that some of the international critics will start wavering in their condemnation. In the end it will not work for the regime since they seem not to understand that they are considered to be criminals and that no constitution will wash that away. But the regime has a strong survival will and only cares about having enough recognition to survive another day.
The regime may take the risk to hold a referendum (that they could well win with minor cheating) because that is the only way to make it more palatable for some to support Maduro again. In an era of Orbans and Savinis, all is possible, though the apparently definite loss of Brasil is kind of a nasty wrench thrown in for Maduro mechanics.
Considering that the strategy of the opposition should be a no brainier. The election is not about personalities, it is about a simple yes or no and a united opposition could muster the electoral force to win and control the validity of the results. But it seems it will not happen.
First, the regime has called for district council elections for December. Many parties decided not to participate, or where simply barred from doing so. What should have been normal for the allowed parties was to lend their labels to other parties and establish joint planks. This is important because local elections are the most difficult to cheat at. Every council candidate has a bevy of supporters that can be used to monitor all polling stations. A united opposition, THIS TIME, has a much better chance to overcome the rigged system than for governor or presidential elections.
But if the opposition keeps its infighting on that matter disaster will happen. AD among others will run in the election even though through indirect support of certain candidates. But the banned parties are not running nor negotiating with AD who does not want to negotiate anyway. And the Maria Corina Machado crowd keeps chanting NEVER vote. (1)
And certainly if the opposition mess continues the regime could schedule a surprise referendum on that election day or within weeks of that new opposition rout. Heck! The regime could even pospone council elections until January to match a constitutional referendum when the country has its post holidays stupor.
So, what to do?
1- Let me announce my final break with the positions of Maria Corina Machado and Ledezma and some others that want abstention at EVERY contest. True, abstention did demonstrate the failings of the regime as they were exposed in making votes they did not have. But that strategy has borne its results, from now on it is sterile unless combined with other actions. Unfortunately I see NO proposal from that crowd about what to do. Further more I am getting real tired fo their chants that Maduro is about to fall, that we are in the last days of this regime. The only problem with those chants are that over the last two years Maduro has tightened his grip, even though the economy is circling down the drain.
In other words, what I admired as coherence in Maria Corina positions has become a very worrisome mark of lack of new ideas. And worse, an stumbling block toward building any viable solution to our problem.
Time to sit down with at least somebody Maria or risk oblivion.