How can one explain such a stupendous change of fortunes? Hint: it is not due only to military repression.
The opposition has failed to harness its momentum.
There are two basic reasons: a failure of diagnostic and a rivalry amongst its leadership, each one selling the bear hide before killing it.
The opposition had been too tardy in calling the narco regime of Maduro a dictatorship even though all elements were there to make the accurate diagnostic. And when finally enough within the opposition became willing to call a spade a spade, then there still were enough inside the opposition to sabotage the processus.
I do not know what the opposition could have or should have done if the accurate diagnostic had been taken long ago. But one sure thing that any recently graduated doctor will tell you is that as long as you do not have a diagnostic, there is no sure treatment to deal with the sickness.
I will address some of the baltant failures of the opposition below, but the fact that there is no "diagnostic" inside the opposition can be seen with the dismal failure of the Frente Amplio, a movement created after the opposition umbrella organization MUD failed so miserably in replying to the regime electoral fraud in the later half of 2017.
One of the first things the Frente Amplio did was to announce neighborhood meetings to check out on what was ailing the population and its needs. Really? After 20 years and you still need to inquire about what is wrong in Venezuela? I lost interest right then and there. But I do observe that the Frente Amplio has been unable to deal with the division of the opposition when Henri Falcon decided to throw his electoral hat in the ring. Of all the opposition failures at coalescing into something strong, the Frente Amplio was the one that crashed the fastest.
The other major failing of the opposition has been to come up with a credible voice. The rivalry between its leaders eventually led them to commit fatal mistakes, and broke the victory points of early 2017.
I will accuse Henri Ramos Allup as the first guilty party. His intempestive decision to participate in the October governor elections without real consultation, without preparing for them long in advance has led to a general demobilization of the opposition electorate which has collapsed the MUD electorate (and the Frente Amplio of course as nobody bothered).
But he is not alone. The ambitions of Borges and Capriles did play a role. And of course the early abstention party who have yet to propose a strategy. Their abstention for the sake of it had a pernicious effect and paralyzed the MUD leadership even more than the agressive regime. I have in mind Maria Corina Machado but at least least scored a point yesterday meeting in spectacular staging with the Uribista opposition about to win Colombia's election in a few days. Click the tweet below to see the border's barriers in cheers.
Preparando el 21 de mayo https://t.co/lEJORwUfEy— daniel duquenal (@danielduquenal) May 14, 2018
Clearly someone is looking for the post May 20 situation. The Colombians are clear on several things, one of them is that the opposition leadership needs to change, even if they use Maria Corina as some kind of Trojan horse. No guarantee of success but this is the first opposition coup in weeks...
Of course the worst saboteur turns out to have been Henri Falcon who pledged to withdraw before election days if the voting conditions did not improve. Well, not only they did not improve but they are actually getting worse in the last stretch with the frontal threats and vote buying of Maduro. And yet Henri is still there. I can tell you that for example my S.O. and his mother will vote because they are under supervision and we are only debating which one of the token candidates they shall vote for to make sure neither Maduro of Falcon gets it. Falcon has been so lousy, so unconvincing, that even the opposition that will be dragged into voting will not do it for his ticket, guessing appropriately that one of his secret motives to be crowned as official opposition by the regime.
My take, for what it is worth
We hold a very moderate optimism. The opposition has finally divided and that is not a bad thing. We can worry about further divisions but now that a more hard core and coherent opposition can form without the ballast of double faced politicians we may finally reach a true diagnostic on the narco regime and perhaps a real strategy to confront it. The disastrous situation awaiting us will help us.