What happened today in Venezuela is truly momentous, better than the wildest hopes the opposition could have ever had a year ago. In the last 3-4 months the objective of a nice victory was getting clearer, but tonight the preliminary result announcing a 2 to 1 victory in seats? No way, Jose!
As I type this I am half drunk with the bottle I drowned on my own over the excruciating long wait of the night. No, I am no lush, I did the pilgrimage for a last vote to San Felipe now that I live mostly in Caracas. I have not gotten around to change my district (next in Petare to help Ocariz). But I had kept that semi cheap Chilean champagne that I did not drink in 2009 keeping it for when chavismo would be ousted. It had to wait 5 years in my fridge and me alone but willing. My stupor is accompanied by the streets which are suddenly awake with caravans of opposition supporters in this very chavista state which may be getting back to old former governor Lapi days.
They are right to celebrate as this election marks the end of an era, at last. Chavismo cannot recover from such as stunning disaster that not even Cuban "expertise" could avoid. There are still 17 seats to be decided, too close to call, but the opposition already has secured the 3/5 supernumerary majority and by getting a few of the 17 it may not reach the fabled 2/3 majority needed for certain laws but it will be strong enough to offer a credible resistance against a desperate regime. The future of chavismo is bleak, and it certainly does not pass through its current structure and mood. Implosion is in the future and speedy internal reform is a must if it does not want to disappear, if it wants to remain a leftist option in Venezuela. Appealing crassly to Chavez memory was a mistake, they killed the idol. Now they are on their own.
There is no need to inquire deeply in the causes of the rout. Empty shelves and 200% inflation say it all. As I wrote often, in the last two years the regime has had the chance to take some economic measures that would not have avoided the crisis but made it less politically damaging. But it did not. The regime was hostage to utmost currency exchange arbitration abuse and drug trafficking, all protected by the upper army cadres. What happened in the end was that the populist government lost contact with the populi. And that was that.
What comes next is an exciting page in our history and renewed blogging fervor from yours truly. Only one thing can be more interesting to blog about than the downfall of a regime: the birth of a new order.
Make no mistake, the road is still flush with ambushes. A narco regime was stunned by a defeat they truly never believed could happen. But as the international penal law starts closing in there is no telling what desperate measures they could be willing to risk. Keep in mind that in spite of the disaster, a 40% still voted for the regime. A quick renewal could mean a quick return.
Yet, the economic disaster will kill political support for whatever system comes next and even that 2/3 potential victory will require for the opposition to reach out to chavismo to avoid the worst, something that could even include an increased civil war. Yes, the daily number of violent death in the country are already the signs of a civil war waged between drug and corrupt gangs for their turf, both against the common citizen.
But how to deal with that is best left for the coming days. Tonight we must celebrate one thing: el pueblo spoke and proved that freebies and promises of freebies are not enough. In the end maybe democratic values are not the decisive factors when voting, but accounting is. And demanding accounting for the rulers is where democracy starts. Let's savor that moment when Venezuelans put aside political polarization, artificially created class and race divides and went all together, from negritos to catires, from tierruos to sifrinos, to say that enough is enough, that equality is not standing all together in line for a little bit of milk.