Sunday, February 28, 2021

The sysiphean Venezuelan opposition

 Now that we covered in last post the real problem in Venezuela, the economy, and that we have examined the situation of the opposition since December 2020, we can finally look at what can the Venezuelan opposition do. If you are busy and do not want to read it all, here is the executive summary: precious little.

What is that previous little, which as we shall see is already quite herculean?

The first thing is that the opposition needs to find a way to get some real unity of command. This has become an issue as more hints are coming from its major backers, USA and EU, whose patience may run thin. The message is that without a minimum of unity there is nothing they can do to help. And beware: the hidden message is that if the opposition is useless and helpless these countries might accept to try to find some sort of arrangement with Maduro.

How can such a reunification of the opposition be reached? The good news is that of the three branches of the opposition 2 are on their way to extinction. The collaborationist side of the opposition has managed in a short month to lose whatever credibility they may have enjoyed. Not only they got trounced in December 2020, but their representatives receiving this week the precious few Sputnik vaccines available BEFORE medical personnel and risk groups, has shown that they are just a small appendage of the regime. Unity can ignore them.

Another that counts little now is the radical wing that awaited for years for Trump to send the Marines. It did not happen and its main spokesperson, Maria Corina Machado, has grown rather silent these days. We cannot ignore here completely as the radical cohort can do some damage on media. Yet there is still a need to find a way to take into account MCM, though not under her terms, if she has any sense of reality left.

This leaves us with the third leg, the in/famous G4, the group of major parties that were the core of the opposition and who created Guaido. Why this experiment failed is not the point here, too late to even cry about it. Furthermore, the historic of its failures is not very helpful to define a new strategy in the current context. But the G4 is not the G4 anymore. Of the four parties, UNT, AD, PJ and VP one would be hard pressed to decide which one has still some real support across the country. I think that AD fares the best, which is not saying much. VP has gone from high to low with the failed antics of Leopoldo Lopez and the tied hands of Guaido. PJ? Does it still exist? UNT? Did it ever exist?

The problem of the G4 is not really which G is real. The problem of the G4 is that too many want to be the head honcho without the merits or the persuasion. There is a war still going on between Capriles and Lopez, with misplaced ambition by Rosales and Ramos Allup, not forgetting that Guaido may have his own plans now. Some other nereids would like very much to be on second position for the president's job. And certainly there is MCM lurking. As long as this cohort of characters do not find a way to check their individual ambitions and rally behind a single voice, no unity will be possible. 

How can this happen? I suggest two things. One is for the international allies to push and go as far as designating, discreetly of course, one voice. Another one is to organize a primary of sorts. We do not need to name a leader outright but electing a representation of the opposition in some sort of opposition assembly could help. But all of these folks are too afraid to count themselves least they are revealed for the non entities that some have become.

There is also an obvious way: to name a leader that promises to accept not to run when elections finally come. Such a leader will of course have an inherent weakness: who would be the interest in following a leader with an expiration date? But on the other hand it would be a ready made leader for an eventual transition while the opposition sorts out how to select the candidate for the first post Chavez full presidential term.

The opposition has not failed at getting together behind a leader. It happened with Capriles in 2013. With Rosales 6 years earlier. With Guaido 2 years ago. But the opposition was also prompt in destroying these leaders once problems arose. It should try once again. Are there other options?

If we assume that the opposition can find a single leadership, or at least a responsive structure, it needs also to decide on a crucial thing: go for the regional elections. But that is matter for a full post, coming soon.

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