Friday, January 31, 2014

I am the true oppo, you are a fake one, he has no idea what h's doing, we will all sink, aren't they lucky

This week we have Henrique Capriles bitching like a spoiled brat on Twitter contrasting with a Maria Corina Machado muscling in, while Leopoldo Lopez plucks the socialdemocrat daisy.  And yet it all makes perfect sense as Diego Arria Twittergloats.

The thing is that the Venezuelan opposition animal seems to be the only one to stumble on the same stone over and over again. Right now we are paying the consequences of the failed strategy of Capriles and MUD chair Aveledo last April, a failure that they do not seem to assimilate and that is creating a direct challenge to the opposition unity. Before any chavista that may still be reading these lines starts being happy about a possible break up of the opposition unity I would strongly caution them to sell the bear skin while the beast is still alive. See, Capriles is not going to risk dividing the opposition unity because he is even contested inside his natural follower group. Sotto voce for sure but there are those in Primero Justicia that would not mind having Borges and Capriles a little bit more pro active in their opposition. After last December PJ may be able to claim to be the largest group but it is far, very far from the magical 50+1.

In short, what we are witnessing is the natural process in which after a political defeat the leadership of the opposition needs to either validate its position or let another guy take over.

I use the term political defeat rather than electoral defeat because April 2013 is at the very least the second time the opposition was able to transform an electoral victory into a defeat.  In 2005 AD preached the abstention and forced everyone in the opposition to follow their lead. I thought at the time it was a valid option hoping that it was the beginning of a political offensive Bangkok style. But no. The regime only managed a meager 15 something per cent to go and vote and it got as expected 100% of the parliamentarian seats. AD had absolutely no idea what to do next. But it preserved for a few more months the myth that it was still the main opposition party.

All proportions guarded April 2013 has turned out to be the same scenario. The opposition led by Capriles did win the election but those were stolen. In the end nothing happened, Capriles was unable to organize a proper defense of the vote, but for a few month the myth that PJ was in the ascent was preserved. In December we got a due electoral defeat (as we got in 2006 after the 2005 fiasco) and now we are back to square 1. Well, not, we are in slightly better shape but considering the moral and financial degradation of the regime we should be in much, much better shape.

The Kiev wing?
We cannot thus be surprised that MCM today in a Tal Cual interview repeats again that the MUD needs to evolve and that we cannot sit down and wait for two years the next election. She is the Bangkok wing of the opposition. There is no place for amazement when Lopez decides to counter attack the silly PJ attempt at hegemony in co-opting some in the democratic left by going for the Social-democrat jugular. Meanwhile Capriles bitches like a spoiled brat on Twitter only helping Diego Arria's cause.

But Capriles is on the losing end here, at least if he wants to keep the opposition leadership. The point he fails to note is that his "conciliation" and "chavista voter seduction" strategy has gone as far as it will go. He should take a cue on the December vote instead of bitching that the result was not his fault, implying that people that did not follow his lead are wrong. Well, they are wrong as abstention in Venezuela should never be an excuse, but we would hope a little bit more modesty from Capriles for failing to make his case last April. Why should I go and vote for his line when he clearly showed that he will not do more than put a lawsuit to defend the vote of his followers? His studied ambiguity is not helping him at all and makes people like me question very seriously if he is the man of the hour. I think not, that his time has passed.

What we have here is a normal process of the opposition redefining its options for which we should not be afraid and for which chavistas should not already be trying to take cheap points from an apparent lucky circumstance for them. In fact chavismo should be worrying much more about increasing signs that they are losing control of the country such as in the Ocumare truant revolt or the bikers procession today in Caracas where they demand the right to keep the anarchy the regime has allowed them to install.


  1. Seems like Capriles is helping the Maduro government. I think Capriles is trying to gain Chavistas votes, but in that process he is betraying the opposition. His time is over.

  2. Anonymous4:39 AM

    Capriles had his moment. He should have gone for the coup the day after the elections. Venezuela can't wait for another election it will be too late.

  3. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Sorry to hijack this thread Daniel but I wonder if you could explain something that I just don't understand: what is the nature of the debt the government has with the airlines? the way I see it it should be the other way around the airlines buy gas in Vz or have to pay fees for the use of the airport etc. Are any airlines currently flying to Vz these days? Can you expand also on how the situation affects people in general?

    1. Very simple.

      I buy an airplane ticket at 1000 USD to go to Podunck.
      I pay it in VEB at the official exchange rate of 6.3.
      So I give the airline company 6,300 VEB
      The airline goes with the 6,300 VEB and a copy of my tickets and a receipt that I did indeed traveled (in theory I traveled, many did not and use the excuse to "raspar cupo" but that is entirely another story)
      At some point the government will accept to cash in the 6,300 and transfer the 1000 USD to the airline account (this is the only way the airline can legally get its 1000 USD).

      But it does not. For weeks. For months. And even if the airline buys gas and food and what not eventually the debt starts piling up higher and higher and voila, there are airlines that are owed around half a billion USD over the last two years.

      Note, they do have the VEB in the bank but there is nothing they can do with it because they cannot exchange them into USD at 6.3, and if they exchange it at the black market they can be accused of illegal trading and fined for the amount of the money they exchanged and even more. In other words, the VEB banknotes they own in the bank is only good enough to wipe out certain parts of the anatomy if the government does not pay fulfill its obligations.

    2. Anonymous1:59 PM

      Thanks Daniel now it all makes sense.

  4. My friend in Caracas reports overseas airlines withdrawing services and this, of course makes it harder for people to leave Venezuela and also reduces the competition with a possible effect on pricing. Like Anonymous above, I'm mystified as to what it is the Government owes the airlines.


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