Saturday, June 16, 2018

A way out for Venezuela: it will not be coming from the opposition

At least not as it stands right now.

The disarray of the opposition is simply breathtaking.  And if you read Twitter varied time lines, you will find out that some inside the opposition spend time attacking each other in more virulent ways than they ever attacked chavismo. Though I suspect that chavismo having long stopped reading their own incendiary Twitter replies these oppo radicals had to turn their anger elsewhere. But I digress.

Two oppositions

To simplify the description of what ails the opposition we should start by describing what is the opposition today.

For the first time in eons it is united, from Falcon to Maria Corinna Machado all agree on one thing:  with the regime in place you can do nothing. They need to go, and the only thing negotiable is the speed at which they go.  And yet we have two groups (and shades within these groups).

The first group are those that want an immediate exit, period. It may be delayed by a few months if there are true elections to be held for a new government, but anything else is anathema.  Never mind that a new government should be set while we hold the say elections.  This is basically the burnt earth position of Maria Corina Machado, Ledezma and the Miami exiles. They are right of course, but they offer no way to reach that result besides looking a forward foreign intervention or the assumption that there are still good parts of the army that will do the democratic coup. There are none such folks in the army, but that is my blasé point of view.

That group also includes those who want a speedy exit for the regime but who are willing to temporize on the modality. For example the government could be kept in place during the electoral campaign.  Or a deadline for elections set. Or something of the sort. But the objective is that come January 5th, a new government will be in place. Then again those do not explain to us how to reach that goal.  In that group we can include Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, though this last one, currently submerged in a profound crisis, would almost fit better with Machado and Co.

If that first group is clear that the regime must be ousted, with no amnesty for its crimes, the second group is more ambiguous about the best way to get rid of Maduro and Co. Not that they offer a better path out since even that group is now aware that a real negotiation with the narko kleptokracy  is wishful thinking at best. Let's just say that this group would consider longer delays for the elections, would consider an amnesty law so that the regime criminals could remain and live in Venezuela now that dozens of them are facing The Hague court, etc...

In this group we have AD and the rest. AD would be stricter in its negotiations with the regime but since it has lost tremendous credibility after the errors of its leader Ramos Allup last October, it is probably facing serious doubts inside and seems paralyzed.  The rest goes from nearly dead UNT to Falcon's failed bid (could it have been otherwise?  Geez...). The problem with these remnants is that they actually think that they represent a large chunk of the opposition. They do not. Only AD still has support.

The psychological problems of the opposition

So many of them. A short list.

Some claim that indeed less than 20 % went to vote on May 20. They do not budge from that even though serious observes put it around 30%.  But the consequence of that is that they assume that 80+% are AGAINST the regime, forgetting that in Venezuela there is a chronic 30% that never vote.  Bringing this note to collation on twitter will get you insults and even blocks.  I got that from a professor at the Universidad Metropolitana, a radicalism from a faculty that did surprise me.  For me the problem is not whether the regime has so few supporters, it is the assumption that 80% of the country is ready to follow Maria Corina. This blindness to the fact that the regime still has some support, and that too many cannot get bothered either way is, for me, dumbfounding.

Another problem is semantics. There are still alleged thoughtful gurus that refuse to call this a dictatorship. They take refuge behind brainy wordings including the words authoritarian. Or they simply refuse to use the D word for the implication that comes with it: a dictatorship has to be removed by force, and "am I willing to pay the price". They are not willing. They just pontificate from their desks just as I type from mine except that I have no desire to be a trend setter, and they get paid for it.

General denial also runs big. I read a piece about real estate in Caracas and words like "laundering" "fear of expropriation" "rentals killed by law" were not used. The writer simply tried to pretend that this was a price drop in office space and what was the best advice if you needed to buy or sell. As if anyone needed to expand office space in the middle of the crisis....  I am mentioning that example but I can mention others such as producers waiting for the regime to import supplies and speculating on what they should plant, nevermind the disastrous conditions outside of Caracas. That their eventual crop should be bluntly stolen as it is already happening right now is ignored.

What the opposition can do at this point

The first thing to do is to put its mind and speech in order. That is, all should sing in perfect unison "this is a dictatorship and our only goal is to get rid of it". Only them the price to pay nay not be as much on the opposition and it may become so big that the regime may balk at repression and even break down. As long as this is not established the regime will have plenty of ways to keep the opposition divided, such as it is doing right now with a targeted political prisoner release program for some activists and not others. Never mind the wild rumors of Luis Florido stealing from the National Assembly (the regime has cut all funds to it, including pay check, in 2 yeas). Or that Julio Borges revealed the hide out of adventurer Oscar Perez as if he had the means to own that information, or Oscar the inclination to share it with Borges. It does not matter, the regime burps that out and Twitterzuela performs the human sacrifice on the highest verbal pyre.

Assuming that we get clarity of mind and goals, beyond any other political outlook, the next thing to do is to establish a true mechanism to oppose the regime.  Ideally we would have some form of primary election that would yield some sort of political real representation who hand in hand with the National Assembly could present a coherent front, a front that the rest of the world would come to see as a true alternative.  But I am skeptic on this ever happening since too many parties think that they represent so many more people than they think that it makes them too afraid to test that. If there were primaries tomorrow 90% of the vote would fall on AD, VP, PJ and MCM.

The fact of the matter is that the opposition alliance MUD has lost credibility, that twitterzuela is more concerned in destroying Borges or Florido than in removing from office Maduro. The "frente amplio" conceived to enlarge the MUD and solve opposition contradictions is, well, dead still born.

The logical position would be to organize, like what was done last July, an election of sorts, say of a 25 member bureau that would proportionally represent all the opposition and that would be its singing voice.  It would also name a presidential candidate when the time is right, not now so as not to give the regime a chance to destroy him or her prematurely.

Needless to say that I am not holding my breath waiting for a sensible solution.

What can the opposition do to unseat Maduro

Nothing as long as it does not put some order inside. Period.


  1. Elections without the illegitimate CNE may be difficult unless you are talking about a straw vote in the legitimate AN. I honestly don’t know why the internationally recognized AN has not established an interim government structure already.

    1. Because countries do not like two governments. They prefer to have only one no matter what sanctions they can put on it.

  2. Hablo en español por simple comodidad. Yo quisiera saber cuál es tu base para decir que Ramos Allup aún tiene apoyo, excepto tal vez en las zonas rurales (que son las que más dependen del régimen y las más chavistas). Y mal que bien, nosotros no necesitamos de esos adecos, pues si aquí llega a haber un nuevo movimiento de protesta o algo por el estilo, no importará para nada lo que pase en Guanare, San Carlos o Trujillo.

    Sobre el quiebre militar, yo soy de los que opina que hace falta obligar al ejército a escoger entre la gran masacre a lo Tiananmen o derrocar a Maduro. Ese fue el error del año pasado, no se los obligó a hacer eso, la MUD no tuvo los pantalones de hacerlo. Claro está, eso requiere una marcha de gente dispuesta a morir ahí mismo, pero en las circunstancias actuales, somos muchos los dispuestos a desafiar al ejército en su cara. Y eso es lo que precisamente lo que proponen María Corina, Juliococo et alia.

    En mi opinión, ahora mismo el 80-90% de opositores respaldan al trío Primero Justicia-Voluntad Popular-Soy Venezuela. Creo que infravaloras demasiado a María Corina y al resto de movimientos parte de SV.

    1. Es posible que no le dé el valor suficiente a lo que hace Maria Corina Machado. Ella es mi preferida por lo que dice, pero sus capacidades organizativas en política son, bueno, cuestionables. En eso Leopoldo ha sido un exitazo lo que le valió la carcel y la destrucción de su partido sin que la oposición lo defienda como tenia que hacerlo. Pero ya les tocarà a ellos.

      Dicho esto es imposible salir de esto si la oposición tiene tres bloques, no importa cual sea su tamaño relativo. AD tendrá muchos o pocos apoyos, pero los tiene. Aquí la oposición tiene que decantarse en dos toletes; los negociadores/guabinosos o los de principios (ojo, que no son necesariamente incompatibles, es todo una cuestión de determinar el objetivo final para ambos).

      Pero mientras tengamos los guabinosos de UNT Falcon, los semi ultrosos de AD y PJ o los ultrosos de Vente y MCM no vamos a salir de esto. Ad y/o PJ tienen que ponerse de acuerdo con los ultrosos pero estos tienen que entender que en algún momento habrá que negociar (de verdad) una salida porque si no lo que viene es dictadura arrecha o guerra civil. Personalmente prefiero que se les de pase libre a Maduro y unos cuantos para que se vayan de exilio con (parte) de sus millones. Eso sera mas económico que no negociar nada.

      I am just saying.


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