My gripe with Capriles and the MUD is that their strategy from the start had for me serious limitations. You can find plenty of echoes from several posts BEFORE the primaries of February 2011, including explanations why I did not trust Capriles then. I still do not, I think his time has expired but once the primaries were held I was a dutiful soldier and praised him for his hard work and self sacrifice as needed. That does not mean that the opposition/MUD (duality intended) should toss him outright, it just means that Capriles needs to prove that he has the right ideas for the months to come if he wants to lead with credibility the opposition. Right now it is my opinion he does not, but that also has been stated in other posts, no point ranting again here.
I have always thought that it is essential for any presidential timber to have principles and clear ideas and never to be afraid to lose an election on principles. This is the price to pay if you truly want to get someday a mandate to change your world. Ask Reagan, Churchill, de Gaulle, Thatcher, Mitterrand, and even Chavez to name a few famous ones, just from democratic countries (resistance leaders á la Aung Sang have other additional requirements). I happen to think that in the case of Venezuela this was even truer considering the extensive brain washing of a substantial part of the population, and the conscience buying for pennies of another large chunk. Today, as I see how partial the judiciary and security system of the country have become, more than ever we need a principled leader. And an accommodating one like Capriles presents himself, backed with an even more accommodating alliance like the MUD, will never be able to control the gangs that have found a niche in the state system.
In front of Capriles we do have more principled leaders in Machado, Lopez and even Ledezma. But with their own limitations, the only one with a clearer sign of not being afraid to lose for principles being Machado, which probably explains in part her difficulties in forming her own political party. Note: by principles I mean clear, principled political ideas regardless of their possible unpopularity. Any of them may be a saint of a thief, that is another discussion.
To complete this already explosive cocktail there is an electoral set back from last November when Capriles wasted his rightful claim of having had his April victory stolen. Have we heard anything from the international courts they were supposed to go? Have they called on UNASUR, MERCOSUR or the OAS? they may but it does not make headlines.
The fuse for this cocktail to explode is the fast worsening economic crisis. I can tell you from my last two weeks in Caracas that if the regime does not act soon, as in tomorrow, by April we may start considering to ask for international help, just as if chavismo had been a major natural disaster wiping our crops. Well, it has been as a matter of fact, but a topic for yet more posts.
To simplify the cacophony of the opposition (which apparently since yesterday is subsidizing) we can describe it as two currents.
The first current, lead by PJ, AD, Capriles and even Aveledo to my surprise, considers that the regime is going to collapse and that it is worth to negotiate something, even if unfavorable, so that this charade may continue for X years, so as to avoid a blood bath. With the added bonus that the political parties that survive will be the official opposition who accepted the unfair terms. There is a big problem with that approach: the regime is a gang of thugs and violence will be inevitable, if anything when the own chavista supporters get tired of lack of Harina P.A.N. Fascist regimes that went softly into the sunset did it so because their economy was not in bad shape (Franco, Pinochet). The others end up badly. Venezuela will follow that rule.
The second current accepts more readily that we live under a dictatorship, that we are dealing with thugs, that violence is unavoidable and that we may as well set the time of that confrontation. Clearly the smart reader already knows that I am with that group. But that does not mean that all is valid. To confront a regime we must be right and ready, just as we were not in 2002 when Chavez fell easier than expected and when we were not ready yet to take over allowing an adventurer like Carmona to make a coup that did not last 24 hours.
Thus whether Lopez and MCM and Ledezma are right in preparing for the confrontation they are wrong in that their timing is off. Their proposal is not clear in the streets, the more so that they have neither endorsed again the MUD plan or discarded it outright. For example we had Lopez musing about social democracy. Ledezma posturing as the grand old man for Caracas. Machado unable to create a solid, if small, party behind her. Not to mention that they have not been able to sit together and create, say, a ten points something that can be easily distributed to the chavista populace that is now deprived to access to informative TV or radio. In their excuse, it is possible that they think the situation of the country is dire enough that they cannot afford the luxury of an extra couple of months preparation...
But of course after what happened yesterday, after the clear demonstration that a large portion of the country has lost patience, that inside chavismo "el pueblo" does not seem much willing to defend its revolution, all my points above may have suddenly become moot. Still, I restate them so as to be freer to comment on what is coming.
Thank you for your patience.