Monday, November 19, 2012
Resetting the political counters
One thing that is becoming a pressing issue for me is to settle my accounts with the opposition leadership. In fact, I feel that as long as I do not make a clean break and explain clearly where I stand I will not be able to write again properly, not even if by January I decide what is the future of this blog. It looks like the lack of integrity in others is forcing me to review my own ethical parameters, I suppose.
I suspect that many of us either writing blogs or staying at home or participating in political activities have this similar indecision about what to do next, at a personal level. Nationally the objective remains clear for all of us: as long as Chavez is president of Venezuela there is no hope for either side. We will be vexed at every point, when not prosecuted, but the chavistas will not fare much better as the abject submission demanded on them will carry in the end a bigger price tag.
Today I have to write that I am breaking up with the current opposition platform, that I will support no one in particular and that I will wait for a modern right wing movement to emerge until I decide to participate again. Accounting for these words will take a while to write up and this long post will not be enough.
The first thing I need to stress is that I will continue to vote. Not for me the ridiculous attitude, confined mostly to Eastern Caracas navel gazers of toying with abstention as a way to fight chavismo. They are idiots, true idiots, as idiotic as those who worship Chavez. I can assure you that whatever yellow dog will be sent my way I will vote for that person as long as it is against Chavez. And I am already doing that because the opposition candidate in Yaracuy is a loser that should have never got the nod. But he won the primary on the emotion of being a victim of Chavez although he has no quality of an administrator or even of a semi functional politician. He was a failure as mayor of Chivacoa, he got even less votes when he tried a come back after his first loss. Had Biagio Pilieri not be jailed by Chavez no one would talk about him today. Thus my first yellow dog, and a big one that brays.
Thus, if any one in the political apparatus still reads this blog, which I doubt since they seem not to read whatever they do not like, I will keep voting for your candidates. However do not expect me to rave unless at least a certain amount of things in the platform and attitude of the candidate match. And heck, if the candidate is really too bad I may even vote for a third party idiot, but vote to make sure that whatever chavista does not cross the 50% even when winning. Small comfort of course.
The essential reason that I am breaking with the MUD et al., is that their populism light theory has failed and they are unwilling to admit it. Or even worse, unable because it means they are clueless.
But the worse came afterwards, with the dismally easy recognition of Chavez victory, the idiotic reply to the phone call from Chavez and the brushing off of too many things that that should not have been dismissed. Today I am angrier at certain politicians than I was the week after October 7 because their nincompoop attitude has now created further major problems for the opposition and we stand at the abyss of a clean chavista sweep of state houses in spite of its slate of lousy candidates. There is still one month left of campaign and I may be dead wrong, but I consider that we may lose Tachira and Zulia, and gain Merida at best, keeping Carabobo and Lara but, God forbid, losing Miranda because simply people will not waste a single holiday day to remain in Caracas and vote for Capriles. In my mind, this would be the result had we voted today. Least someone tells me real poll in hand how wrong I am.
The light hearted acceptance of defeat on the week following October 7 was irresponsible for Capriles, Aveledo, and Lopez who are to wear most of that blame.
True, the victory of Chavez had to be accepted but it could have waited a few more hours, it could have been accompanied by many "yes, but...", hints of abuse that made it a dirty victory a little bit like the "victoria de mierda" of Chavez in 2007. Even at its press conference after the vote Capriles was only too eager to let people believe we were a democracy when in fact we are not. He knew already then that at least half a million of Chavez votes were all but coerced. For someone who pretended to be president of Venezuela, glossing over this is simply unacceptable. His announced return to Miranda state is good, if he wins, because clearly the man needs to learn a lot more before he can become president. As far as I am concerned he is back in the rank and file, he is not the leader of the opposition anymore, he needs to prove himself again, almost from square one. We would be in more trouble today if he had forfeited Miranda to pretend to remain the leader of the opposition.
But Aveledo and Lopez also screwed up. First, their delay to analyze their electoral performance was too long for people that supposedly controlled everything to the tee. Opposition voter disarray grew unnecessarily and is not abating fast enough. This may cost us Miranda (at least in the hinterlands we are more serious than in Caracas though the dampening effect is also real). We knew they did not control it all, that with the means of the opposition they did the best they could. But why not admit it earlier? Why not tell the voters that they need to assume more their role and that they could not rely on them for all? Still, that would have been forgiven if I had not detected a certain smugness in them, wanting us to accept that the rules imposed by the CNE for the presidential election were acceptable The consequences of that wishy washy speech were immediate: the CNE started making things even more difficult for the opposition and violating all sorts of laws to favor chavista candidates. I lay that responsibility at the feet of Aveledo and Lopez mainly, for their tardiness and cluelessness.
But it would be unfair to put it all on the back of this trio alone. After all they worked their butts off and the recognition I had for them and their effort remains the same. Who I have in mind to share a lot of the blame is Primero Justicia which attitude has been dismal since October 7. They just went on to campaign for state houses as if they were the top dog in town when in fact they grew only by 1% since 2006. That is, they pretended that they had nothing to do with Capriles loss, now conveniently the unity candidate when in fact we all know it was mostly a P.J. campaign and a P.J. theme to be the efficient populist while Chavez was portrayed merely as the inefficient populist. Capriles was not alone, he is the product of that party. For me Primero Justicia is a party that is already failing and I am even more disgusted by them today as I have grown to be in recent years.
UNT is now a regional party so there is no point in wasting time with them as they look about to lose their lone asset, Zulia. Never mind that we are still waiting for a real explanation of a surprising defeat by significant numbers at that. As for the old parties, they are not free of blame because it is too easy to accuse the Capriles camp as the sole guilty culprit of the October loss. If Primero Justicia boys around Capriles were sectarian that should have never stopped other movements to speak up their minds and advance original proposals that Capriles was reluctant to advance. If anything to force P.J. toward a more reality based campaign. As such, the fear to "appear divided" made things worse by dooming the campaign. It is an hindsight view now, I admit it, but it should be acknowledged if we want to avoid a repetition in the future.
Voluntad Popular, long time readers would know that, was my favored. But after Leopoldo Lopez dismal post disaster attitude I have my doubts. Yet at this point they are the lone movement I see with a possibility to change for the best, not as tainted as the other ones by the October surprise. They embrace populism light but they are at least law and order which is a step in the right direction. So, for the time being my yellow dog votes will be through their colors though as a disclaimer I have had no contact with them since October 7 and do not expect any, certainly not after today's words.
So, what is it I look for?
I have written above that I want a modern right wing party. The reason is very simple: the populism we have suffered since the 70ies, 40 years, has altered the political culture of the country, perhaps irremediably We need to get out of populism and that can only happen through a honest right wing movement where individuality is respected and cherished. Capriles presented himself as Lula and he failed. Not only he failed but that has doomed the Brazilian model as it may exist for future elections; and in addition he got nothing from Brazil. Thus the fake social democracy in place since 1958 that became in fact populist under Caldera I will not be, cannot be cured by an intelligent left like the Northern European Social democrats. They missed their chance.
What I am looking for is a political movement that accepts the below single tenets which in my opinion guarantee the rule of law, civil liberty and economic recovery. They are basic and allow for all sorts of other things as long as they are respected.
The basic thing I demand is that a spade is called a spade. The blame is on Chavez and the corrupt that surround him. Softening criticism of chavismo, I hope it is clear now, will not help at all. It is time to let people know that they support a rotten system and that they must bear that responsibility. Chavismo treacheries should now be attacked mercilessly even if we risk increased repression and closing of media. In an age of Internet slowly but surely people will come to read us, or do you think that the situation in the Arabic countries was better than in Venezuela before the Arab Spring?
With this in mind I can now advance some items.
On civil issues we need law an order for sure, something that chavismo has deliberately ignored to create the current anarchy that his drug dealer generals thrive on. Along that the current judicial system should be accused of corrupt and in need of complete overhaul, just as Chavez did in 1999. Wages for security personnel should be the higher of the public administration and justice work with them, not against them as it is the case now. Real jails, real redemption systems promised.
To soften that law and order approach there are plenty of civilian issues that would have great appeal. It would be easy to propose gay rights and decriminalize abortion once and for all. Today in the newspaper there was yet another extensive description of hate crime. Abuses of spouses are now only reported when they are particularly gruesome.
Private property should become without any doubt the leitmotiv The discourse of the opposition has been too bland on that and as such people now think that expropriation is OK as long as they are not part of it. The perfect example on how totalitarian regimes develop selfishness in the masses to their profit. For example we could propose that whatever has been handed out by Chavez be questioned as if it were now a double property; then an amiable agreement is sought to decide who is the right owner now with appropriate state compensation to the other side. That includes handing all the property titles that the regime refuses to give to its Mision beneficiaries. There are other moralizing options. For example ADN testing should be made mandatory to enforce that parents take care of their children. Has anyone observed that under chavismo deadbeats parents are out as if nothing? You screw, you pay should be the new social policy.
Social missions should be cut down because they are now useless and a mere source of dependency. This ought to be told forcefully to people, that the way things are with chavismo they will always remain dependent of a Mision. Like a life sentence to mediocrity. People are actually aware of that and maybe offering social services organized for active reinsertion could work better for them and at lower costs. I am tired to hear pollster stating that it is wrong to criticize misiones, that it loses votes. To criticize, for example, the "college degrees" the regime is handing as if they were from a laundry detergent packet make our side lose the votes of the graduate's family because for them a degree is a degree. And what are we going to do with them when they have no jobs, when they refuse menial ones, because they have a bolivarian crappy degree? Remedial courses through real universities should be bluntly offered for free to these victims explaining to them that soon not even the state will be able to hire such graduates. They know it is the right thing because not a single one of them is hired by the private sector, unless bolibourgeois business hire a quota to please some "contacts". We can apply similar reasoning to many of these Misiones of debilitating consequences.
Budget should be balanced. Period. That is the only way to lower inflation to acceptable levels because as long as oil will be our number 1 product we will be always an inflationary economy. And anyone who makes more that two minimal wage should be subjected to small, even nominal, flat tax without deductible. The reason is to create understanding in the population that you can only claim rights when you pay for them. Paradoxically the notion grows when you pay taxes, even if symbolic. This does not mean that the rich will have the same tax rate, no: they will be taxed as they are now and maybe more, to force the middle class and upper one to get interested in how the polis works. What needs less taxes is business which are dying under the chavista burden. The culture that business pay for all, coming from PDVSA as the nation's milk cow, should be put to rest.
This all may sound right wing for many but it is not. I suggest that you look really into Venezuela's history in the last 50 years, and realize that we never had any government that was right wing. All were populists. The only one that attempted a mild escape was Carlos Andres Perez II in the late 80ies. For all the chavista propaganda there was never a neo liberal government in Venezuela and maybe it is time to try one, with the caveats included above. Whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant the point is that as long as we do not try to cure the Venezuelan voter from its belief that all must come from the state (and that applies to many, many inside the opposition) we will never have a chance to become a real country. Period. We need to substitute a culture of rights by a culture of duties and this is a decades long process. The sooner we start the faster the results.
I am afraid to tell you that I see NO ONE inside the opposition coming even close on a couple of these items. They actually think that having a mayoral seat here and there is the best way to unseat chavismo someday.
I predict that I am entering a long and lonely period. But that is OK because I will constantly be proven right. Call me Cassandra Duquenal if you wish, probably with a similar fate in the end.