Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Post mortems from other people

I want to accuse that we have been for months
without water, electricity, security, hospitals...
BUT WE WON!!!!!!!!
Yesterday and Sunday there were a few OpEd on what went wrong in the Capriles campaign. Some go as far as putting some of the blame on Capriles which I think is somewhat unfair since the organization asked him to campaign while they took care of everything else. As far as I am concerned, even though I did not agree with some of the improvisations Capriles did, I will say that he did the best he could, which is more than what can be said for a lot of people inside the Unidad.  Two of these pieces are going to be enough to show you that the aggiornamento of the opposition ain't gonna happen any time soon.

I do not have major quips with Carlos Blanco Sunday piece. However there is a part that raised my eyebrows.

A deeper issue which has reared in the post electoral hangover is the profoundly reactionary and misguided notion that chavistas are assholes who sell for three thousand bolivars. It is not noticed that the politicization of the poor, the creation of a new elite, even the existence of a chavismo of suit and tie, are part of a new social and political reality. Insulting Nicolas Maduro because he was Metrobus driver and then became Foreign Minister is to fail to understand that in a real democracy, it is to be wished for that drivers of whatever can reach the highest positions. That's what AD did in its time and, say, a humble cobbler such as Augusto Malave Villalba, not gifted for oratory, who became a major union leader and politician, was teased likewise.

I think that there is major mistake on his part. True, the bulk of chavismo did not vote for a direct cash advance, but a boat load of them did. Are we to excuse them under "social considerations"? How can we develop a democracy if direct vote buying is normal? Also, somebody like Carlos Blanco should know much better than to equate the AD integration model with the chavista one: they are not comparable, period.

Chavista integration is in fact very limited. If indeed Maduro rose to the vice presidency from his bus driving days, it is also true that he was already a major support for Chavez in 1998 and thus his career had already taken him away from the driver's seat under the old system. He was elected to the last congress of 1998 in case folks forgot, the last Congress of the ill named 4th Republic.

But that is not the worst offense of Mr. Blanco.  The Chavez entourage of power has been basically the same since 2004. That is, for the last 8 years people have been rotating in his governmental game of musical chairs and new blood has been exceedingly scarce.  At least in the old AD system there was a significant change of personnel every 5 years, and a no less significant evolution within the 5 years term. Like Augusto Malave Villaba there were dozens of people in the AD/COPEI era whereas in the Chavez era since 2006 the rise to power has been static, Chavez more interested in pruning than furbishing.

And yet there is a third offense of Mr. Blanco. The sine qua non condition for rising to power in chavismo is absolute subservience to Chavez. It is true that loyalty was appreciated greatly under AD and COPEI years but never to the extremes we see today. The story of people defecting from AD or  COPEI and yet being able to trace their own political career, and even return to the fold (Ramon Escovar Salom, to name a luminary) to occupy positions of real autonomy and even power has yet to happen under chavismo.

And I will spare you a rant on granting democratic label to chavismo just because Maduro got promoted....

At any rate, what is Carlos Blanco offering? That we stop saying that selling your vote is bad? Does he not realize that if they feel offended it also means that they are aware at some level that what they did is wrong?  Certainly insulting them outright is not good, but at least qualifying such an action of sinvergüenzeria is, I think, not only valid but necessary.  I think that if Carlos Blanco keeps sprouting such nonsense and historical distortions he may delay his entry into the much needed group that will update the opposition platform.

Which brings us to the second piece, an extensive, for Tal Cual, piece on why we lost the election. Here we have several political experts commenting on why Capriles lost.  I have my objections too....

An interesting point was made by a certain Fraija. For him it was a mistake for Capriles to imitate Chavez with the promise of becoming a better Chavez himself. His headquarters made the wrong reading of chavismo as solely an emotional and financial deal. In other words they failed to understand that in 14 years there was a new ideological factor in the society, something that I understand better after reevaluating the infamous Monagas speech of Chavez where he convinced the population that hardships were OK because what mattered was Chavez. I sort of agree with that, depending on how we describe that "ideological bond".

Another guy, a certain Rios, echoes the words of Carlos Blanco as to not offend those who accept to sell their vote. Unfortunately he is not very helpful in saying that we should go to them and explain them that they were manipulated.  Huh? How does he proposes to do that?  There is enough witnesses that say that these people were very, very willing to trade their vote for cash. I am the one offended.

The most interesting thing was one item I admit I never thought of: Capriles should have assumed his silver spoon in the mouth upbringing. They both agree that Capriles failure to state that he may have been born rich but that has not stopped him from staying in Venezuela and working for the people eventually blocked him from responding to some of the Chavez insult that took root in some of his electorate.

Another good one was for the Capriles headquarters to forget that chavistas today used to be AD or COPEI 14 years ago. That is, putting AD and COPEI at arm length eventually cost him because it unmotivated the remaining folks of this groups (though the Andes result seem to invalidate that).

Finally there was a part that worried me the most because it simply sacrifices the future of the country for the sake of political expediency. If Capriles did not do it, they think that many in the opposition criticizing the degrees offered in the bolivarian universities was a mistake. Let's look at this for a second.

The fact is that most of these degrees suck. Period. There are theoretical degrees at best, all imbued with a certain amount of indoctrination. These people get bachelors degrees that are probably not even worth a 2 year community college certificate. No private employer is going to hire them and the only jobs available for them are in public administration, bloated under Chavez orders. A public administration  need I remind the reader, that is already highly inefficient.  And I am not going to write about "medicos integrales" which has got to be one of the biggest medical scams in history.

I agree that it is a very delicate matter, that these people are victims and that insulting their degree deprives us of the vote of their families. But we cannot remain silent on this because it will cause too much damage on the nation. Again, these consultants do not offer ways to deal with it. But I do: offer to create remedial classes on accredited universities at state expense. Why Capriles and the MUD were not clearer on that is not for me to discuss.

What worries me in all of this is that for political expediency it is more and more acceptable to settle for a truly mediocre country. Trading your vote is fair, integrity is overrated, knowledge unnecessary as long as you are a revolutionary.  While Chavez graduates pseudo MDs,  "medicos integrales" that would not be hired as nurse practitioners in rough areas, the rest of the world pushes along. It is high time that we start explaining to the country the chavista fraud in full, even if it costs us future elections. Winning under these conditions, my friends, can only make things worse in the end.


  1. Venezuela sure is an strange country. People ask the opposition to be politicly correct when the Government is nothing but the opposite. Either we have it wrong, or almost all other democracies in the world have it wrong. Is not the opposition supposed to cry out the problems they see, being "sinverguenzas" one of them?

  2. Anonymous11:11 PM

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  3. Only one way, create a party of young people where anyone who was a somebody in the old 4th republic parties is ostracized. Cut the rot at the root.

    As for this "certain Fraija", he is a sycophant of the regime whose political analyses appear regularly in Noticias24. I suspect he is Nicmer Evans intellectual twin.

    1. Bless you for haunting such dives for us so we can dismiss that article of Tal Cual. Goes to tell you that is written in Tal Cual.

  4. Truly the alleged 'experts' of Tal Cual didn't impress me at all. Very superficial analysis.

    I liked Carlos Blanco's article and I agree with most of his points. To me a big problem of Capriles offer to maintain and expand the misione, is expressed very well by Blanco:

    "...el hecho de que ofrecer mejorar lo de Chávez era reafirmar lo que Chávez ha hecho; mal, pero ha hecho..."

    "...the fact that to offer to improve what Chavez has done was reaffirmation of what he has done; badly but he has done it..."


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