It is time to write that dreaded post, the funeral eulogy of the Venezuelan opposition as we knew it. Something else will come someday for sure but at this point in my life I wonder whether I should care, to tell you the truth.
Going through the catalogue of all of its failures is rather useless: the political conditions of the country have so changed that there are few lessons we could gain from spreading the blame around. Instead let's focus on the losers (there are no winners, before you ask).
The first loser, the obvious one for me anyway, is Maria Corina Machado. Her stand was simple, based on her "moral high ground" it implied to forbid any negotiation with the regime. Maybe she was right, but the only result of that was the creation of a cohort of fanatics that devastated social media with various forms of character assassination. Her position was untenable since it relied exclusively on some form of foreign intervention. But Trump is gone; the Marines did not come, nor will they come in the foreseeable future. Now what for her and her cohort? There are signs that she may want to talk again to some other people inside the opposition but as we say in Venezuela chivo que se devuelve se desnuca (loosely: a goat that turns her head back will break her neck). Whatever it is, the damage she did is there to stay.
The next loser, in my view, is la mesita, that hodgepodge of political nullities who believed that breaking away from the opposition to negotiate with the regime would bring dividends (1). Nothing of the sort happened. In the end, for all their self-humiliation they got only a few seats in the nNA (2), and some of those on dubious ways since the regime needs to keep some useful fools on board. In short, if anyone followed them it was a scant few disgusted chavistas with Maduro and some opposition that do not agree with the real majority one but not necessarily with la mesita. Unfortunately they are not learning their lesson and instead they are getting closer to the regime! An example is from Avanzada Progresista who berated the European Parliament decision to support Guaido. Maybe, but the language used is to sink Guaido. No word on their dismal score on December 2020 in spite of all of their compromissions...
Then we reach Guaido, the G4, Capriles and Leopoldo. Quite a snake pit that became over the years since every one had its own agenda and the only thing they could agree on was what not to do. About what to do, we heard little. Let's go by parts.
Guaido was the unexpected hero. He did what he could but was hampered along by his inexperience and the blockade of the G4. He did his best but never managed to be his own man and now I feel sorry for him as they are going to make him the scapegoat. These days, from social media you even read oppo crazies that hate him more than Maduro and would love this one to send Guaido to jail......
The G4 was the group of the 4 major opposition parties. They decided to lead the opposition actions because one of the obvious problems of previous attempts was the atomization of this one (which caused the tinies to form la mesita, offended that they were not considered equal to, say, AD). But it did not work out anyway as each of the 4 only approved actions that did not hurt their interests. The result was missed opportunities, contradictory positions, etc.... but the main fault for me is that they never quite knew what to do when they scored a point, but worse, they never had a plan B for when the point was lost.
Capriles and Lopez can be discussed together because their main responsibility was an ego war. Such an ego pushed Capriles to start negotiating last year with the regime just to pull back and lose whatever credibility he had left. Lopez ego trip was assuming that since one of his men, Guaido, was put into preeminence that gave him license to run the opposition. It did not and paralyzed it further.
There are more that can be finger pointed, in particular the abstention strategy which had served its purpose long ago and was NEVER accompanied by a "what next?" once people stayed at home.
I am really pessimistic. I am afraid the game is over. The regime has all what it needs to survive. And the ruthlessness to do what it takes. Five years of social crisis have only resulted in more repression, more control, and a blanket bombing of the opposition leadership. What could at this point push people to riot and overthrow the regime? What will bring the army to a breaking point? Meanwhile the international view seems unsurprisingly to move away from the opposition current leadership. For example Guaido is being dropped by the EU who sees him now just as one of the opposition leaders. The US keep recognizing him because, well, Biden has bigger fish to fry right now. That the "Lima group" recognizes X or Y is irrelevant as the group itself has become irrelevant. If the opposition does not pull its act together soon the other countries will decide to deal on their own directly with the regime, demanding stability more than anything else; though with the regime they'll never get it.
It it all over? Maybe not quite but that will be for a future text.
1) la mesita is a reunion of tiny parties and failed political agendas that decided they were not properly heard inside the opposition and went their own way. To naught. They pretended to retake on negotiations at la mesa de negociacion, hence mesita, an appellation that enrages them but verified every single day.
2) nNA = novel National Assembly, for that thing elected on December 6 2020 that serves as parliament rubber stamp for the regime.