Thursday, January 13, 2005

The opposition "leadership" is not seeing the light

Tonight I was listening to Alo Ciudano and Julio Borges, leader of Primero Justicia, PJ, was on.

Primero Justicia has been making significant work on trying to reach out and build a party. The effort has been serious and has shown some positive results as its percentile results are improving. For a party who does not have a charismatic dirt cheap populist leader, it is not an easy way. Historically a strong and solid political party takes at least one decade to build. Constructs that are based upon a single leader usually disappear with the leader, the notable exception, unfortunately for Argentina, is Peron's movement. But I digress.

Borges was going on with his litany of building organization, justice, etc, themes that I can only agree with. Perhaps trying to educate us into accepting the fact that Chavez was in for a while and that the only option left was the long road.

However the format of the show implies that calls are taken without screening, a main reason why chavista pols avoid that show in spite of the continuous invitations of the host.

Some woman called and asked for what happened on the week that followed August 15, why the opposition had such a weak claim, why did Ukraine (she said Romania) succeed where Venezuela failed. Well, I was rather disappointed by Borges reply. It was something along the lines of "when the history of that moment will be written we will know that different currents where going through the opposition, some wanted to wait, some wanted to go to the streets, some wanted to wait for Carter" and then moved on, quickly, again on what PJ was doing to organize, etc, etc...

There are two things wrong with that at the first glance. First, it does not correspond to the time frame as the infamous Carter declaration was at midday on the 16. By say 3PM, it was clear that some strong action was needed and NONE came. Second, division within the opposition are not an exemption from at least declaring, and even threatening to act. In all fairness PJ was about alone in declaring, but as void of action as the other guys.

But if we examine further, Borges is not being candid. Again, he fails to take a stand on the possible fraud, tries to dodge the issue. Does he not know by now the damage that this does to his cause? How long until he realizes that the opposition electorate, at least 40% according to the dubious chavista figures, is unmotivated because at this point the opposition leadership has not been able to say at the very least "well, there was fraud but we cannot prove it so we will move on and next time demand a better electoral system". After all Granda, the recently arrested FARC terrorist, did vote on August 15, a perfect evidence of at least one fraudulent vote for the chavista side, and a perfect opportunity to start a campaign to that effect. But we did not even get that tonight. Just pious words of a political party thought about being the most creative of the lot and showing that it might not be so. (1)

The issue is very simple. Whether there was fraud in August, Chavez has won anyway, even if by fiat. The responsible thing is to either accept it and move to a different strategy, even claiming fraud. Or hit the streets with protests. But not that limbo in which the opposition leadership, or what is left of it, has entrapped itself. The Venezuelan opposition DOES want to know what happened the week of August 15, no matter what did happen. Political parties cannot hope to rally their troops until they come clear with the tale. Dodging an old lady genuine question like tonight does nothing to help their cause.

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(1) Unfortunately today's criticism falls on PJ as the other parties are even more reticent in going to TV. AD leader Ramos Allup was reported in November to be negotiating to try to improve the retirement plan of National Assembly representatives, a confession of part if I have ever seen one. If PJ seems weak, well the other political groups are dead.

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