On June 15 I was writing the following:
In this group [willing to negotiate with the regime] 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 [a relative term, it means more support than the others but not necessarily a lot of it].
Thus readers of this blog should not be surprised about that rupture. At least since March 2017. Just saying...
What does this mean?
The opposition alliance was already a corpse. Whether AD leaves makes no difference. Any useful division of the MUD should have happened much earlier to have positive effects alongside the negative ones. Now there are neither.
Keep one thing in mind: Accion Democratica, the oldest democratic party of Venezuela, nearly died in 1998 when the bulk of its electorate went to Chavez. That is right, a very large chunk of chavismo used to be AD. Or do you think that chavistas came out from nowhere, through spontaneous generation? It has been always the goal for Ramos Allup since it took over AD to try to recover as many of these voters he could. His only problem is that 20 years later he still think that those who left AD will return as if nothing. Too much time, it is over. They may leave chavismo but for new options, the old AD inside chavismo are now a minority.
The break with AD is analyzed by some who see it as just a happenstance. It is not. It is the natural outcome fo the personal ambitions of Ramos Allup to become president of Venezuela when AD recovered some life between 2015 and 2017. But when time came to negotiate with the rest of political parties he realized that they would not give him a blank check. And then the massive protests of 2017 demanded a leadership that would not hesitate to put itself on the front lines. Ramos Allup did get gassed, but the ones that are in exile or in jail are not from AD. Just saying...
Ramos Allup has a long career of "political mistakes". But I am genuinely thinking now that his ambiguity on certain things were from personal interests, as early perhaps as 2004. Do note that AD did not participate in the last "negotiation" run in 2017 on the claim that there was nothing to negotiate. And now, today, AD is hinting that they are ready to negotiate directly, forgetting about the rest of the noisy hen house. The explanation is actually simpler: after the failed election of October 2017 AD is the lone party with state seats. Certainly few, certainly under the foot of the regime, but they are there and they are AD. Negotiating anything with the regime then was risking losing these governors and AD was certainly not going to take that chance. Bludgeoning its former allies is certainly a way to find grace with the regime. Fool....
Allegations come that AD left because agreements were no taken, because this and that. It is all bullshit. Agreement were not respected and/or taken because AD would sign up only if it benefited Ramos Allup. True, he yielded on certain things with great show, but if you see what he yielded on, it was not essential for AD. Another reason advanced was that AD is unhappy with foreign pressure, meaning that Almagro and others are getting tired of not seeing a unity leadership established. How can international pressure line up behind a leader to spear point anything from outright revolt to pointed negotiation if there is nobody at home? The fact of the matter is that foreign countries are putting today infinitely more pressure on Venezuela than what the opposition does, and it is not getting better. If there is no leader it is not the fault of Almagro, Trump or the EU, it is the pettiness of the opposition leadership, now out in the open.
I would remind you that Almagro (and others) chided the opposition for running in October: either you are or you are not in a democracy, be coherent!. At the very least if you run do it under protest/s. Ramos Allup was one the offended parties of that call to order, along as many Venezuelan "intellectuals" and nationalists. Yes, that is right, they criticized the person that has been the most outspoken defender of Venezuelan democracy. We know now where that led Ramos Allup and Co. (hint: it is deep underground of the shit scale).
Let's make a note that the anointment of Maria Corina Machado at the Colombian border a few weeks ago could only have pushed further Ramos Allup. Not that she is a danger: she has been unable to articulate a way out of this mess, but it certainly was vexing the ill placed pride of Ramos Allup and AD: they always, historically, tried to nip off any serious opposition, just like chavismo did but less blatantly and in more "civilized" ways that did not always work.
I do not mean to make AD the lone responsible party in the opposition debacle: there are plenty of people to throw stones at: Henri Falcon, Manuel Rosales, Henrique Capriles and to a lesser extent Leopoldo Lopez and Julio Borges who. by the way, are the only ones in jail or in exile. Just saying...
The great fault of the MUD (and I will pass on the still born Frente Amplio) is that it never held primaries. In fact, it never held any type of popular consultation so that the people could chose the leader or the bureau to lead the fight. None of them was certain to win, none wanted to be counted just in case of lesser results than their braggadocio. And in particular, we must say it, Ramos Allup could not have wished it since he would have lost, without a doubt, against Capriles or Lopez. If Lopez is now mute under house arrest, Capriles does not care any more for primaries since he failed to fight for his election fraud in 2013. Now Ramos Allup has a few governors, and breaking with the MUD he will be able to run for municipal council elections in December. With 4 governors and a few councils, Ramos Allup could win an eventual primary now. If there is still somebody left to run against him.
In the end what does it mean? The division now official in three groups (four?) means that the opposition needs to start rebuilding from scratch at a time where the dictatorship has secured all levers in a way Chavez never had, with a constitutional assembly that will release anytime soon a new constitution that will be pretty damn close to establish a one party state for all practical purposes. Truly, the opposition self destructed and as far as I am concerned, in the end the largest share of the blame is to Ramos Allup.
We are thoroughly screwed.