The perfect campaign

As good as it gets

Last Friday, I was honored to be mentioned (twice, no less) in the Op-Ed pages of El Universal, one of Caracas’ main newspapers. I thank Miguel Ángel Santos and Maruja Tarre, both of whom found my little rant on this blog (my post “Other Voices) worthy of further comment.

Upon reading their articles, I think my position needs to be clarified somewhat.

My suggestions for the opposition – some, not all – pertain to the future. They are not an attempt to Monday-morning-quarterback the Capriles campaign.

As I have said before, I believe Capriles and his team ran a near-perfect campaign. Even though there were some things I should have spoken up about, I understand the logic that drove them. Capriles wasn’t going to win any votes by promising to change the Misiones or downsize the government, even if he believed in these things – which, admiteddly, he may well not. I certainly think Capriles and his team were being honest in their core message, and in their rejection of the “paquetazo oculto,” a document so screwed-up I didn’t even bother considering seriously.

The campaign itself was fine, but that’s in the past. They did their best, but it didn’t work.

My main point is that, moving forward, we need to accept our own un-electability, and embrace truth-telling as political strategy, damn the torpedoes. That involves imagining the day our side obtains power and the day of Venezuela’s financial meltdown as one and the same.

Obviously, this need for honesty doesn’t apply to everyone in the opposition. As Miguel Ángel correctly notes, not everyone shares my zeal for privatization or my belief that the Misiones need to be corrected. My call was basically a plea for dissenting voices to rise up from the ashes of our defeat, for the diversity of ideas within the opposition to make itself present once again.

Many times we have heard that too much dissent within the opposition creates “disunity.” That may be true, but unity is not that important now that we know we are unelectable. If we are to unite the country some day, we need to show tolerance to other voices within our midst, even voices such as mine that go against the prevailing “wisdom” in the opposition. That was the main point in Maruja’s article, one that I fully share.

Finally, underlying both articles  is a belief that I think the Misiones are somehow bad for the country or that my recipe calls for a reduced role of the State in solving Venezuela’s numerous social problems. I will address this misconception later, in a separate post.

But I want to thank both, once again, for their props.

114 thoughts on “The perfect campaign

  1. You are right that Capriles ran a near-perfect campaign. Yet he lost resoundingly. You say this proves the “unelectability” of the Opposition, absent an outside shock like the collapse of oil prices. But are there not many other circumstances which could alter the electability equation? What if technology brings opposition voices into the hinterland, what if the Army refuses to work as bring-out-the-vote campaigners for Chavez? What if Chavez is succeeded by Venezuelan Gorbatchev? To me, it is important to be open to unforseen changes which act below the “shock” line, but may lead the next campaign to success. “Unelectability” is dependent on a precise context, which changes rapidly.

  2. My call was basically a plea for dissenting voices to rise up from the ashes of our defeat, for the diversity of ideas within the opposition to make itself present once again.

    Good luck with that…

    Many times we have heard that too much dissent within the opposition creates “disunity.” That may be true, but unity is not that important now that we know we are unelectable.

    Now that we know? Are you being serious Juan?

  3. As a proscription for the opposition, to me this sounds like fatalism, something Venezuela has had, prior to this recent campaign, in huge abundance. The Capriles campaign is, at its heart, a democracy movement. If you want to move forward with whatever policies you feel are necessary, you first need to restore the institutions that are necessary to a democracy. No system just improved spontaneously from the ruins of the old system. There has to be a viable opposition, and one element of viability is the capacity to unite disparate points of view. The world is full of examples of successful opposition movements that grew under authoritarian regimes. They hastened the demise of those regimes, and they ensured, in many instances, that what followed was something better.

  4. Is the opposition really unelectable? I thought everyone here was more or less claiming that the elections were lost because of operacion remate. That is, an extrinsic factor to the Capriles campaign. As others have mentioned, things like that can change. Second, whose truth are we to tell? As you say, not everyone agrees with your own position. More important, when the economy collapses and the shit hits the fan, no amount of nuanced, wonky and informed position will make any difference to the electorate. Whatever will happen will happen. I am sorry, I just think that you are still thinking of the electorate as a bunch of professors at a faculty meeting–your position is principled and debatable, but guaranteed to keep the opposition unelectable.

    • The primaries is what define whose ‘truth’ is voiced loudly. That does not mean that the others need to shut up. They can continue with their own positions but clarifying why they still support the winning option despite their differences.

  5. (Knowing full well that in these quarters I have been cast with the radical lot…)

    Juan,

    I find your position unbelievable, for I would have thought the comeflor around here was FT. My bad. It is quite difficult to read, from you, things such as “now that we know we are unelectable.” Honestly. You have been to Venezuela, more often than me, in the last few years. Same goes for FT. This I know from your writings.

    I shall attribute to naivete your belief that Capriles stood any real chance. What could possibly have led you to that conclusion? Being inside the echo chamber, no doubt, is as damaging to one’s objectivity as the strongest form of ideological blinkers. But, and this is crucial, beyond the dealings with blinkered people, such as that Maria Alejandra Lopez who asked you whether you were trustworthy or not, we had seen the movie before, hadn’t we? All of us. And here is where I started to “poner tierra de por medio” with the generalised wishful thinking that went that now, this time, we really stood a chance, hay un camino and all that crap, for I kept thinking: “but nothing has changed, Chavez continues to exert absolute control of money, politics, power, goons, guns, electoral minions, etc., how could we possibly stand a chance?”

    And I said this to Daniel, and to Miguel, and to my father in law, and in my blog, and to my wife, friends, and anyone who cared to listen. Needless to say that everyone thought that I was in the wrong, that I was a radical, that I was too cynical. The assumption of the mistaken common wisdom I attribute to hope, a generalised state of denial.

    But where I will continue to take issue, is with the more damaging belief that “unity” will take us somewhere, when neither you, nor I, nor anyone I know, was invited to participate in the crafting of the “unity” message / platform / proposal. Where I will continue to take issue, is with the manichaean view that those who depart from the imposed -and unconsulted- dogma are radicals proposing wholesale abandonment of the electoral road. I have nothing but contempt for people that after having decided -among themselves- what is the collective way forward have the nerve of describing dissenting voices as radical. As I asked, since when claiming what’s written in current laws is radical? Who elected Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, BTW? Where, how and by whom were those “sufficient audits to the electoral system” take place? Secret they must have been, as no one could give a precise indication as to place, time, methodology, results, etc. Who decided that the same team of losers of 2006 were the appropriate representatives in 2012? Who was consulted, for instance, at the time of appointing Enrique Marquez; was it a democratic process, a dedazo, or an arreglo entre gallos y medianoche? Mind you, how could we possibly expect differently, when the first time round, the same caudillo in very similar conditions, trounced the same opposition team? O were you really convinced that one man, Capriles, was going to make the difference?

    The questions, IMO, are: how do we get to form an altogether different opposition leadership? Is it possible? Who will finance it? Who will take part in it? What message will this movement put forth, and how will it be crafted?

    The oppo discourse continues to be shaped by a few -bear repeating- unelected voices that are as willing to accommodate dissenting views as Chavez is. It was like that in 2006, and it is like that today. For that opposition, as for the lady, you’re either unconditional, or you’re out, a radical, etc.

    Well, fuck that. I know that Chavez will keep trouncing them. The problem is that they’re so removed, so disconnected, that they had the gall to even say “aqui el que perdio fui yo.” Fuck that amoral way of thinking too, for aqui perdimos todos, all 29 million of us, due to their utter uselessness. Group think will lead us nowhere. Is but a mirror image of the other side. Aren’t we supposed to be the democratic ones, the thinking ones, sharing an ideology that embraces dissent, freedom of expression, free and fair elections, and the discussion of ideas?

    • That’s funny Mr. Boyd, I must be so deep in the echo chamber I didn’t learn of your winning a primary or something!

      Actually, if we could find of a team within the opposition who say won a national primary vote in recent times… hmmm then yeah, that team would have some moral authority to say they speak on behalf of a majority of the opposition…. Does anyone know of such a team? I can’t think of one, but we are known to have short memories.

      • Nestor, Capriles, won a primary. Capriles.

        Now, if you could, please, do enlighten me -news didn’t reach my echo chamber- as to which primary Enrique Marquez and Felix Arroyo won. And which primary did the Barbozas won. While you’re at it, add details of the primary that Ramon Guillermo Aveledo won. And, si no es mucha molestia, do explain as well, in which primary discussions where the strategies -in which that of repeating that without-having-audited-it Venezuela has the world’s-best-electoral-system won the day- took place.

        I will, sincerely, appreciate your information.

        PS: thanks for proving so quickly the ever so open-to-discuss-new-ideas nature of the “official” opposition. Inspiringly democratic.

        • Well, you are suggesting I am somehow against your right to have an opinion, or that I put you in the radical lot (I do actually, but thats not necessarily a negative term, funny how almost nobody who holds fringe views admits they are being radical), which I am certainly not. But if by misinterpreting the nature of my comment facilitates your now years-old role playing as the unappreciated Venezuelan Cassandra, then you are most welcome.

          It is true the opposition needs to have a discussion about its leadership and its ideas, Juan has advanced that discussion with his recent posts more than you will ever have with your electoral brooding, and I am saying this as someone who has many disagreements with Juan. However, I have a lot of respect and admiration for him and even his first rant enjoyed intellectual honesty and a desire to find a way moving forward.

          • So, I guess I will remain none the wiser as per which elections all the mentioned people won, will I Nestor? Again, thank you, for proving my point.

            But hey, don’t let a radical voice stand in your way forward brother. Onwards and upwards with your infallible leaders!

        • Alek,
          Rather than asking rhetorical questions for which you already know the answers, you should point out, in your opinion, what structure should the opposition have and what positions within that structure should be subject to elections and who should conduct those elections and how is financing going to be obtained for those elections and who is going to be in charge of obtaining said finance and so on and so on.

          I think you are aware not everything can be decided through an election, some of the players need to be decided by consensus between the big players themselves, which is a type of election of sorts. The big players are the existing parties: PJ, UNT, AD, Copei, PV, MAS, … That’s how people like Barboza, Marquez, Aveledo, and others came to form part of the team. I understand you don’t like their choices but if you’re not part of the big players you don’t get a say. That’s just reality.

          • Do you know who you are talking to? Boyd wishes himself to be Genghis Kahn, who believes “advocating for violence… is the only solution left for dealing with Chavez”.

          • Amieres, IMO, the first thing the oppo should have done is condition its participation on two aspects: 1) full transparency, by that I mean full, open audits of all aspects related to voting (Smartmatics, source codes, REP, captahuellas, communication protocols, servers, etc, etc.). To the best of my knowledge that has not happened. Worse, we heard oppo honchos saying that all that was done, when it wasn’t. Enrique Marquez said to foreign correspondents -in private meeting- that Venezuela had the most trustworthy electoral system in the world. Why would he say that, to those people, neither of whom could cast a vote? I understand that the oppo had to try to get the largest possible amount of folks to vote. But why the lying? Perhaps I am wrong, but I think that telling the truth about the situation could have been a better option. The reason for this is that I believe people in general always empathise with the underdog. Saying that we had everything under control, that we had audited every last aspect, when it was in fact untrue, made me, at least, doubt about the leadership, it made me think “this people aren’t sincere.”

            2) The oppo should have demanded presence of international observers, and media, and it should have negotiated a say in which international bodies were to be invited, how, when, etc. Going back to point 1, we heard everyone say that Venezuela has the best electoral system, and yet, no one is allowed to verify it, no one is allowed to roam around freely, checking whatever takes one’s fancy. Only Chavez apologists were invited.

            So I guess my concern is why the oppo keeps accepting that? To gain what? To prove what, other than providing Hugo with the democratic credentials he so desperately needs? What kind of opposition accepts without question every last imposition from its political opponent? If the game is totally stacked against us, which it is, why accept participation without even making minimum of demands that would condition our participation?

            In 06 we had no time, the campaign was short. But this time round we had plenty. And yet, we demanded nothing. We did nothing differently. We actually fared worse.

            As per how to better organize the opposition, I believe primaries, at the local, regional and national level are the way. In that way, the ones reaching the final step in the ladder have already gone through a series of processes in which voters have approved of them. A primary in which we lumped together democratically elected governors in office, with Pablo Medina like figures, isn’t the way forward IMO.

            Manual vote, all over, papel, lapiz y cajas de carton. We don’t need the CNE, Plan Republica or billions to organize that. There are public schools everywhere in Venezuela. The students can help out. Donations should be requested, and the participating parties should do their bit in contributing to raise the necessary funds.

            Then, nominations to leading positions should also have a vetting system of sorts, were concerned parties could publicly voice their support or disagreement with nominees. Enrique Marquez, for instance, was there in 06, he repeated. Who has vetted this man’s credentials? Has he got credentials for the job he is meant to do? Same goes for the rest of the team.

            Look, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. There are examples, recent ones, where opposition parties have ousted caudillos in similarly powerful positions (Toledo vs Fujimori). What can we learn from that? How did they do it? If they did, why can’t we?

            Juan has raised very important issues that need, that must be answered. But the system, our system, doesn’t allow for any criticism to prosper. And that’s wrong. If we don’t change the team, and the strategy, we will continue to get trounced forevermore. Chavez wants a democratic leaf? Let’s negotiate, he needs it more than us.

          • Alek
            I don’t believe, as you do, that the opposition has much negotiating power with the CNE. I don’t think they can condition their participation. Chavismo would be more than happy to run against Maria Bolívar and Reina Sequera. I agree they should publicly put pressure on the CNE for those conditions that you mention, but I don’t know how much success they would have.

            Regarding the audits the only information I have comes from Miguel’s blog where he mentions an audit of the REP. This information should have been more public. I do question that the MUD kept quiet about these and other audits they may have made.

            For the primaries my understanding is that the candidates needed to present a certain amount of signatures and raise some money (I believe Pablo Medina got a pass on this). I think those are good enough conditions.

            Again the thing about vetting the team members is that the ‘big’ parties are the ones that decide how to do this and they, as usual, decided to do it by concialiabulus. It’s not transparent. The problem is I don’t see how to bypass this, I mean, the parties have the power in this area and all we can do it is criticize, propose, bitch and moan. In other words, we have to live with what they decide and pray they get it right the next time.

            What I do criticize the MUD (in hindsight) is that they should be more transparent in their discussions (I’m not sure about disclosing their finances though) and they shouldn’t try to present themselves as a monolith without dissenting opinions because is not what they are and I think it detracts from their credibility. I believe if they present themselves as a coalition with very different ideological bends that all oppose Chavez, each one of them for their own different and valid reasons, they will be able to reach much more people than if they present just one face and one message.

            • Amieres, the REP has not being audited by the oppo. Period. What has taken place is internal audits, done by the CNE, which are then signed by MUD’s reps. The MUD has nothing to do with methodology of audit, it simply tells the MUD “such and such are dead… such as such registered and don’t appear… such and such were moved to a different district…” and the CNE then “solves” those issues. The MUD does not have a current copy of the REP, ergo it has no way of checking, if it wanted, a random sample of voters, addresses, etc. No audit has been made to the Smartmatics, since 2005, and to the other aspects of the process. They kept quiet about it, simply because those audits have not been made. As FT says, en el pais de los chismosos, se realizaron auditorias, y nadie vio, oyo, grabo, sapeo, nada? Nonsense.

              As per Chavez running against Reina and Maria, let him do that, and see the international reaction.

              The MUD *must* condition its participation along what would amount to a “radical” stance for chavismo: let the law be observed. The law. Incredible that we must accept illegal stuff in order to be seen as democratic, don’t you think?

              • Alek
                Anyone can download and audit the current REP from the cne web site:
                http://cne.gob.ve/web/registro_electoral_descarga/abril2012/nacional.php

                Miguel’s post talks about a study made by the UCAB that found it to be consistent, although there are no many details:
                http://es.scribd.com/doc/102648470/Evolucion-del-Registro-Electoral

                The international reaction if Chavez runs against Maria Bolivar would be the same as when in 2005 they ran unopposed. They’ll say the opposition denounced fraud and declined to run. End of story. It doesn’t help us.

                We have to accept illegal stuff because we’re in a dictatorship. Yes is appalling, there’s not much we can do. Not running is worst than running in rigged elections.

              • Amieres, quick question: have you actually download the REP from the CNE link you have provided? I ask this because what the CNE puts there for download is of little use. Me explico: nacionalidad; cedula ;primer_apellido; segundo_apellido; primer_nombre; segundo_nombre; cod_centro. That’s all the data you’re getting from them.

                Now let me ask you this: how could interested parties doublecheck what appears on the REP? You will notice that there’s no address data. In 2005, when CAPEL was invited to audit the REP, they selected a random sample of voters (some 12,000 if memory serves well), and requested the CNE to produce the addresses of those voters, so that they could check whether or not those voters existed, lived in the parish associated with the voting center, etc. The CNE never released the requested data.

                Now you bring up the UCAB study. As far as I am aware, please do correct me if I’m wrong, what the UCAB did was merely a study of demographic consistency, between REP numbers and population growth, using INE data. I think they found that in a number of states, there were more voters than people. But that’s not here nor there.

                What is crucial is that a meaningful audit, which would be along the lines described above, has not been done, either by UCAB, MUD or anyone we know. If you have evidence to prove otherwise, please do correct me.

                I don’t agree with your argument about having to accept illegal stuff. For then, what are we? Complices… We must run, that’s beyond the question, but we *must* condition our participation. If there was unity around that, we could give Chavez a run for his money.

              • I guess you’re right. I haven’t downloaded the data recently. I had a recollection of a previous database that used to include addresses and phone numbers.
                You’re also right about the UCAB study.

                Running with imposed illegal conditions doesn’t make us accomplices but victims.

    • No, no, Alek Boyd is no radical. He is, in fact, a terrorist, or a supporter of terrorism. In March 2005, Boyd wrote: “Re: advocating for violence yes I have mentioned in many occasions that in my view that is the only solution left for dealing with Chávez.”

      Boyd has even fantasied about the sort of violence that he feels is “the only solution”. In March 2004, he wrote: “I wish I was Genghis Khan, I wish I had eaten my half-brother … I wish I was the Khan an order my hordes to capture them [Hugo Chávez and followers] and pour melted silver into their eyes … I wish I could decapitate in public plazas Lina Ron and Diosdado Cabello. I wish I could torture for the rest of his remaining existence Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel … I wish I could fly over Caracas slums throwing the dead bodies of the criminals that have destroyed my country … Only barbaric practices will neutralize them, much the same way the Khan did. I wish I was him.”

      More here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/sep/01/friendsinlowplaces

      Yes, yes, who wants to give Boyd a more influential role within the opposiiton?

      • So tiresome hung up for years on the one slip you can find on Boyd: a fantasy rant.

        But do you ever find fault on Hugo Chavez? the person who masterminded a real bloody attack that cost multiple lives. Do you?

        • I am sorry but the vast majority of journalists, commentators, bloggers, and whatever you call Francisco Toro, writing on the Venezuelan politics, have never fantasized anything so sick and disturbing as *decapitating* adherents of the opposing side.

          Yes! Honestly, I do! That is what frustrates me about the people on this site, that it is not more welcoming to someone like me who does find fault with the ‘Chavernment’ on important issues but still has major reservations about lining up with the opposition and the barely concealed neoliberal agenda which so many of you wish to impose.

          • Ok, you say you do but I’ve never read any post by you ever mentioning the many lives that Chavez ended with his coup attempt. They seem of no importance to you. Your harshest criticism to Chavez is that the PSUV is not democratic enough. By contrast a fantasy rant by an individual many years ago still seems to hurt your sensibilities so much so that you can’t let go. It seems disingenuous to me.

            • “I’ve never read any post by you ever mentioning the many lives that Chavez ended with his coup attempt.”

              I haven’t avoided the fact that Chavez led a coup in 1992. If I haven’t mentioned the “many lives that Chavez ended with his coup attempt” it is because, quite honestly, not something that is mentioned in news coverage of the event.
              It is, in fact, of great importance to me–I have looked for this information everywhere, I am being 100% honest. In all that I have read about the event, I can recall only once coming across a mention of the number of casualities: I cannot find the source, but I believe 14 soldiers died. (If this figure is not accurate, or if you have a source for this information, could you please share it?) I mourn these deaths, and certainly hold Chavez responsible.

              “Your harshest criticism to Chavez is that the PSUV is not democratic enough. ”

              This is not true. I said earlier today that I agree with nearly everything Capriles has criticized about Chavez. (Alas, I questioned the extent to which Capriles would have been able to make good on his center-left promises.)

              In regards to the PSUV, my criticism is far more extensive. I agree with nearly everything Henri Falcón said about the problems not only in the party but in chavismo generally (in his letter announcing his resignation from the PSUV).

              Again, one can only write so much. And I have probably written only 10 comments on the site, so don’t pretend like you’ve heard the entirety of my political perspective.

              Honestly….

              “By contrast a fantasy rant by an individual many years ago still seems to hurt your sensibilities so much so that you can’t let go”

              I am not so much disturbed by his ‘fantasies’ as I am with his explicit statement that “advocating for violence… is the only solution left for dealing with Chavez. I am not aware that Alek Boyd has ever rescinded these views, and I cannot believe you are not equally disgusted by them.

            • I just googled “muertos 4 febrero 1992″.

              31 deaths including 5 civilians, 6 police and 20 military. I would also add to Chavez’ account the 19 people that died on April 11th 2002.

              Alek is an individual, he is no president, he holds no public office, and he has his opinions and I disagree with many of them and I’ll say it: advocating for violence is wrong. Many people see violence as a ‘solution’ but they never go past the words. Alek wrote about it years ago and you’ll never let it go. For you is an obsession or a personal mission. You said it yourself, you can only write so much, but if it is to remind everyone what Alek wrote years ago, then there are not enough words.

              But there is no possible measure of comparison between someone that wrote about violence and someone who ordered people to their deaths for his personal ambitions. Chavez has never apologized or regretted having directed that bloody coup. Yet you rarely bring it up.

              • Ah, the moral horse. The article that pcv links to, to prove that I am a “terrorist”, was written by someone who famously said, among other truly inspiring stuff:

                My point is that the Caracazo and the political disenfranchisement of most Venezuelans was sufficient moral justification for the insurrection of 1992…. By contrast, I proclaim my support for the attempt to overthrow by force in 1992 the corrupt government of Carlos Andres Perez, which had lost all claims to democratic legitimacy…

                And yes, I would kick your ass. I grew up in a LONDON barrio, mate, so I know how to look after myself. The last guy who tried it on with me, left for hospital in an ambulance and required reconstructive surgery to his face. And no, I’m not kidding.

                The second quote, old time readers of this very site will remember, as it was made among this very crowd.

                So an individual who a) boasts about having given such a severe beating to somebody -in his own proud words the poor sod required reconstructive surgery to his face- and b) proclaim his support for Chavez’s coup -which left, how many real deaths?- is held by pcv as the voice who claims that I am a “terrorist”? And I won’t even mention Mr Tucker issues with the police in London, for participating in violent rallies against perfectly legitimate business decisions.

                Truly a moral beacon, innit?

          • What the hell is a “neoliberal agenda”? I mean, really. Or is that just regurgitated pap by leftists who need to invent demons (so as to accompany those they already have)?

            • “Neo-liberal Agenda” is simply rational planning/economic measures, necessary, in a country like Venezuela, for the politicians to implement in order to dig themselves out of the economic hole that they dug for themselves in the first place (…coming soon to Chavista Venezuela, but with some pseudo-Commie name, “con AMOR”.

    • Alek,
      Thanks for the comment. You were right, I was wrong … For now I’m more focused on moving the discussion forward in more technical terms. I want to forget about the political, what-do-we-need-to-say to-get-an-edge stuff because, frankly, none of us have a clue about that.

      • Verga que jodido es comunicarse… Juan this is not about whether either one of us was right or wrong, or whether I am a closeted Cassandra. Trust me, is not point scoring that moves me, and I have no dreams or desires of becoming a prophet.

        It is about *knowing* that with the current leadership, which is the same than in 2006, we will not get anywhere. We will not move forward. I don’t think is about making *them* accept criticism and other voices in order to move forward, but rather *getting rid* of them in order to move forward. They have failed. Twice now.

        So how would you propose, in technical terms, to move forward? Let’s talk about that, by all means, for I want to move forward as much as you. That requires, IMO, a new, radical, way of thinking though, for the current leadership is not about to let you, or anyone else for that matter, start dictating policy.

        • I don’t think the leadership is the problem. Or more to the point – the current leadership is not going anywhere, and it could be a lot worse. I think the problem is that not many people out there are saying the things that need to be said. I wouldn’t put it past the current crop of leaders to pick up on some of these ideas. It’s more the discourse than the people that I worry about, but perhaps I’m being … there’s that word again … naive about the possibility of the current crop to adopt modern positions.

          • The leadership is the problem. And their discourse is the problem.

            And I will borrow from FT’s other post: what’s the point of repeating, hasta la saciedad, of preaching to the deaf and/or the unwilling to listen?

            I guessed you encapsulated the situation in one word: unelectable. Problem is, as long as that leadership, and its discourse is unelectable, we will all continue wandering in the dessert.

              • You’ve been well taught. I remember the 5th grade teacher saying, dessert has two ‘s’s because you always want more than one.

              • “Wandering in the dessert”–Absentmindedly spooning one’s mousse, with a cognac in the other hand, while contemplating the intractable Venezuelan political situation….

  6. I think my issue is semantic: “we are unelectable” is a hideous way to phrase what you’re trying to get at. “Unelectability” as usually used is a characteristic attaching to a candidate or a party – which is considered unelectable due to some position they take or some discourse they espouse.

    That’s clearly not what you mean. What you’re getting at is a characteristic not of the opposition, but of the political system. The problem isn’t that we’re unelectable, it’s that the political system builds in massive structural advantages to the incumbent, advantages that render contestability highly problematic.

    I actually think on some substantive level we kind of agree. I just think you picked a really unfortunate and confusing way to communicate it.

      • Quico means that the incumbent has created a political-electoral system which contains huge advantages for him and his allies: State’s resources at his disposal for campaign purposes, an unaccountable use of the petro-checkbook and the limitation of the public sphere (comunicational hegemony, climate of fear, etc.) so adversaries will face not only very narrow chances to win or even make inroads, but makes difficult to any alternative political message to get thorugh into the population.

      • Means that no matter how good an opposition campaign is there are key factors built into the system that stack elections in favor of the guy already in office. It’s a curse of the petrostate and it explains why democracy doesn’t really come to countries awash in oil. When you have that many resources at your disposal it’s very hard not to get reelected over and over again.

      • Thanks, guys. I guess I’m the one that needs to rephrase. I understood what Quico was saying, but was commenting on the need for him to simplify the language, especially the second part of his sentence (“renders contestability highly problematic”), or in the alternative, to provide an example. I was thinking about readers, years from now, who’ll be scratching their heads on that phrase. Sorry for all the trouble.

        • The way I have put it to foreign friends is: would you play a game of football where the pitch is tilted, your goal is bigger than theirs, four of the five referees are appointed by the other team, the federation can ban some of your players and the federation’s money is used by the other team to recruit players and build training facilities. The only thing is that during the actual game itself the goals scored by you and them will be counted fairly. Does that sound like a winnable game?

    • ““Unelectability” as usually used is a characteristic attaching to a candidate or a party – which is considered unelectable due to some position they take or some discourse they espouse.”

      I think “unelectability” is precisely the right term. The reason we are unelectable is because we take a position, a discourse, to “not be Hugo Chávez.”

      • “The reason we are unelectable …”

        If you truly believe that there is a better form of government than the form being sold by chavez, then you should stand for your beliefs and sell that better form. If it’s better, then it is precisely what will make you electable. Pretending to believe in anything else, is what would make one unelectable.

        Perhaps we need a pride parade for zero poverty capitalism; that’s my belief.

        • Oh, I’m not selling anything. Not a politician, sorry. But yes, zero poverty capitalism is the way to go.

  7. I think the problem is arising from a clash between our high expectations and reality. The opposition set its goal of having witnesses in all voting centers, and it seems we achieved this but for a few exceptions. Now we need to bring voters.

  8. Btw, I think it would be healthy for the MUD to have internal elections to select the direction. I would still vote for Aveledo as I think he has done an outstanding job, but going through the process would be worthwhile, particularly if it prompts a debate about the strategy for the future.

    Also, another scenario where the opposition could have a chance is if Chavismo divides. There are internal faults within their movement, particularly from those that are not happy about the lack of internal democracy.

    I know it is easy to be discouraged, but we need to take in how much we have improved, assess our lessons learned, and continue our path.

  9. “If we are to unite the country some day, we need to show tolerance to other voices within our midst…”
    Couldn’t agree more Juan!

  10. Another way of looking at the infelicitously phrased unelectability assertion would be to ask, “under present conditions in the country, with what the Powers That Be have at stake, is anybody electable at all?” Little by little, it seems to becoming apparent apparent that nobody is electable – neither was the “we” in this last episode. Endless intelligent and nuanced discussion of putative real-world electoral solutions plays entirely into the government’s hands: those thus engaged can be no cause for them to lose sleep.

    • Neddie,

      It behooves Chavez to hold elections every so often in order to create the democratic fig leaf ; and then it behooves him to make sure the opposition does not win.Making sure it doesn’t is not as difficult as one might think given the lack of honest dialogue going on.Because of that, right we are in a position where even if we call fraud the opposition itself will condemn us…just imagine! We are exactly where Chavez wants us to be.It is as though the opposition were working full time for Chavez himself and doesn’t know it.

  11. Juan, I’ll write in Spanish, because my English is clumsier.

    El problema con tu premisa es que consideras que no somos elegibles (“we are unelectable”). Éso, no es cierto. Ahí estás confundiendo tu percepción de intelectual que acaba de perder las elecciones que pensaba ganar, con la realidad. De hecho, no hay absolutamente nada que pruebe que no somos elegibles, todo lo contrario.

    Las cifras prueban que con unos pocos meses de campaña, una oposición unida y un candidato dinámico pudimos hacerle frente al abuso de poder más espectacular que ha existido en Venezuela.

    Perdimos, si, pero ganamos adeptos, el porcentaje que nos separa del chavismo es menor hoy que hace 6 años.

    La respuesta para ganarle a Chávez es enfrentársele en bloque, es no darle tregua, es recuperar cada espacio, por nimio que parezca. Si la oposición hubiese tenido esa estrategia desde hace años, habríamos ganado esta elección.

    El problema es que cuando tu declaras “no somos elegibles” y punto, estás jugando el juego de los abstencionistas que, desde el mismo 1998, fueron los que nos hicieron caer en esta espiral sin salida. Estás dándole cuerda al juego de los cogollos, que quieren conservar su cuota de poder a toda costa, así Venezuela se caiga a pedazos.

    Yo soy de los que cree que el problema no es Chávez, Chávez es la consecuencia. La consecuencia de muchas cosas, entre otras, de una oposición sin foco y sin comprensión de su papel histórico.

    El papel histórico es el de darle una alternativa factible a esos millones de personas que han sido abandonadas a una autocracia con la que no comulgan durante demasiados años. Y, para eso, la única manera es no dar tregua al chavismo, en bloque y con la única herramienta que queda, que es la del voto.

    • Como dije en mi post original, Bruni, si crees que podemos ganarla una elección a Hugo Chávez y su caudal de petro-dólares, entonces mi diagnóstico no te va a servir. El supuesto del que parto es que eso no es posible…

      • by the way, Juan, the read no further if you don’t agree with my premise stance is counter to the pro different opinions in a true democracy stance.

        • Well, it’s a way of framing the debate. Obviously, people who believe we can win with the right messaging will disagree with what I have to say. Es un rayado de cancha no más.

  12. “My call was basically a plea for dissenting voices to rise up from the ashes of our defeat, for the diversity of ideas within the opposition to make itself present once again.”

    Uh, excuse me, but this already happened. Their names were Ojeda, Cermeno, Escarra, Da Lima, etc. They were “dissenting voices” that chose to “rise up” yet the Capriles campaign simply attacked them, and accused them of being paid by the government.

    This whole notion that the opposition could actually be influenced by a “diversity of ideas” is pure nonsense. Even if there were a huge diversity of ideas within the opposition, the economic interests behind the opposition are pushing for a clear neoliberal agenda, and will inevitably make sure the opposition follows their agenda. Sad, but true.

    • It’s precisely because dissent was disavowed that dissent from Ojeda & De Lima became so notorious. The opposition, by trying to falsely present themselves as a monolithic unit with one line of thinking, only helped the polarization game of Chávez. Then a dissent from Ojeda seems like a big crack in the unity when it is not.

      The reality is anyone can have their own opinions on the government program of Capriles. They may even disagree completely with it and still say so. They may even agree with all of Chavez’ policies and yet be part of the opposition. Why? Because the main reasons to oppose Chavez is his total disregard for the rule of law, his abuses of power, his government’s gross ineptitude, his fomenting of division and hatred among Venezuelans and the incredibly high levels of corruption and moral decay of his government that seeps into society.

  13. I don’t think the election proves a damn thing about the unelectability of the opposition. But it says a lot about the power of fear as a tool of persuasion. It’s a move straight of chapter 6 of the Dictator’s Handbook.

  14. Excellent post Juan!

    This is golden:
    “My call was basically a plea for dissenting voices to rise up from the ashes of our defeat, for the diversity of ideas within the opposition to make itself present once again.”

    I recall when Petkoff very astutely remarked that in Venezuela only the opposition people had freedom of expression and within chavismo there was no freedom of expression because they were not allowed to dissent in any way from Chavez. If dissent is also not allowed in the opposition then there is no freedom expression there either.

    “If we are to unite the country some day, we need to show tolerance to other voices within our midst”

    Very good and I would add let’s show tolerance to voices from chavismo as well.

    We all know that polarization helps Chavez, so to defeat him polarization needs to be defeated first. To have only two bands with two monolithic opinions about everything is the definition of polarization. The only way to defeat polarization is by having great diversity of voices expressing their opinions and reasons why they support or not certain policies. As long as the public dialog/debate is conducted with civility and is not hateful, demeaning or insulting it enriches the scene and reduces polarization. It also negates the dichotomy of us vs them.

    Support for a unified electoral platform even with great diversity and dissent is possible when there are clear rules and mutual respect and that is what the MUD strives for.

    • Juan
      You know I disagree completely with the “we are unelectable” lament. But then again it all depends on what you define as “we”. To be clear I would say Chavez is defeatable.

  15. I am aware that your post in the Chronicles was not against Capriles. It voiced a very interesting opinion that we need to take into account. I am looking forward for your thoughts on the misiones because I have very mixed feelings about them. Perhaps Chavez is right when he says ” if the misiones are so good, why do they want to replace me? After all, I am the guy who invented them”

    • Capriles made it abundantly clear, repeated it again and again: The misiones are pernicious if used as a tool to blackmail. They should not create dependency, but procure safe haven in an emergency situation.
      I would venture to say that the grotesque abuse of the mission databases for electoral purposes this last election has made it a lot easier for Capriles to convey this particular message to the “beneficiaries”.

  16. I so wanted to pop back to see how the defeat was being discussed. I was called a troll last time. That was so mean. Anyway, my glances lead me to conclude that you must resist the temptation to go all nihilistic about this and well…speaking frankly …fascist. Try and look through a democratic lens. Chavez has his weaknesses. Capriles just failed to exploit them. Capriles had not moved far enough to the centre, the MUD was a liability for him (who wants AD? Aveledo blah blah blah), he had little time in the public mind as a presidential figure (only selected in Feb??) – 8 months in the public eye as a leader to challenge the behemoth of 14 years. It was never going to happen. Its psephology not conspiracy. Consider that many people genuinely do adore Chavez. I do. It aint Orwellian, he is just genuinely adorable. Maybe not to you. This makes you sad. But dont look back in anger. Just try and make yourselves more likeable. And no more of this sulky ‘the opposition can nenver win, lets destroy the planet’ thinking, it is such a negative vibe. Share the love.

    • I guess it’s a matter of perspective, that you feel that most of us who believe we are centrist are somehow fascists.

      Chavez certainly has his weaknesses, he is after all, human. However, he also manipulated an electoral system in a very unfair way, harnessing the resources of a petro state, illegal BTW, to eke out a victory.

      You are certainly free to “adore” Chavez, but in my book leaders should no be adored, they should be held accountable to us, the people they lead.

      I adore my wife and kids, I do not adore my leaders or my boss, that is simply sick thinking.

      Since you’re giving advice, I hope you are into receiving some.

      Stop adoring leaders and start demanding they account for their positions.

      Start by asking him to fulfill half his promises and to be responsible for his actions and for those he names to positions of power.

      Do that, and we can talk.

      Continue as you are, don’t be surprised that people think you are missing a few screws.

      • Tallulah made a genuine attempt to reach out to the opposition-aligned people on this blog, exhibiting a clear willingness to meet you guys more than halfway. It is really no surprise at all that he encountered hostile name-calling the last time he was here. It is a sign of progress, however, that Roberto chooses only to insult Tallulah indirectly (don’t be surprised that people think you are missing a few screws). I’m impressed.

        Look, Chavez may have foreclosed discussion the two sides, but not all of his followers agree with him that dialogue with the opposition can’t result in benefits for everyone. Time and again people who are somewhat sympathetic to Chavez, or at the very least, share his ideological commitments whilst retaining a critical perspective with regard to failed government policies, etc. come to this site and are subsequently chased out. Sometimes by Francisco Toro himself.

        Tallulah offered advice (that was honest, and, in my view, fair) that had to do with the discussion at hand. To dismiss his advice, then expect that he might follow yours–and to make this a requirement for further discusion (Do that, and we can talk)–is a good way to preclude the ‘diversity of ideas’ that some in the opposition are now seeking.

        • You go right ahead and reach out to Tallulah, hon. The two of you can share vibes and marbles, outside Venezuela.

        • Let’s get a few things clear, here, pcv.

          1 Calling people fascist is reaching out………………….. to slap.
          2 “Adoring” a leader is a sign of mental instability, in my humble opinion. The leaders of North Korea, that shining beacon of freedom, get “adored”.
          3 There is nothing genuine about “coming to see how you are taking the defeat” that speaks to “reaching out to the opposition”.

          And if she, I presume with that moniker it is a she, does not want to understand this, then too bad. There are plenty other people across the aisle I would rather talk to.

          • You do make good points. Tallulah could have been more diplomatic. I guess her ending her post with “share the love” gave me the impression that she was not exactly hostile.

            I am pleased to hear “There are plenty other people across the aisle I would rather talk to”, but, pardon me (and I don’t know you personally) I’ll believe it when I see it.

      • JC,

        With much respect I ask you :

        Why respond to her?
        Can’t you tell by her message that she is lying just to provoke?

        Even if she is not lying( though I sense she is), answering someone that deluded( Chavez sows hatred not love), and someone who comes to an opposition site to make them feel bad about ” losing” is not someone with good intentions.

        Attention is energy, energy is power.

        • It’s an honest question… I’m curious as to what someone who adores him thinks his weaknesses are.

        • This is exactly what I mean. “Why respond to her?” Maybe she is “lying just to provoke”, and that would be unfortunate. But this person is clearly doing more than just making the opposition feel bad about losing. Heck, isn’t that all JC has been doing post-election?

      • Tallullah might not respond, for whatever reason. But I don’t want you then to use this to say there aren’t people who support Chavez that are also aware of his weaknesses.

        (For instance, I am strongly in favor of democratización en el PSUV.)

        I can’t speak for Tallullah myself, especially since I don’t necessarily agree that Capriles lost because “he failed to exploit” Chavez’s weaknesses. I actually *agree* with you, JC, that “Capriles and his team ran a near-perfect campaign”. The weaknesses of the ‘Chavernment’ that Capriles pointed to are, for the most part, the appropriate ones. The problem, in my view, likely laid more with Capriles’s own ‘weaknesses’, the trouble the masses had identifying him as one of their own, their distrust of the opposition, etc.

        I think if its own ‘weaknesses’ (far less serious, but still a problem) were addressed, the ‘near-perfect campaign’ that I agree Capriles et al ran would have been more effective.

        • In other words, the criticism of Chavez was dead on, the problem had to do more with who was making it (of course, there are other reasons too, like ventajismo, etc.)

  17. So, Tallulah: please explain just why you believe/think that the views expressed here are, as you say, “fascist”? Please give clear and exact examples for why you believe that. At the same time (since you brought it up), please explain why you “adore” Chávez (again, in clear and exact examples). You have a right to think and believe the way you do; perhaps the rest of us just don’t get where you’re coming from. Can you get that? Also, tell us just how much better off you are than, say, 14 years ago. How many promises has he fulfilled FOR YOU? How much more income do you receive? Do you have electricity and running water every day? Do you live in an environment that hasn’t been damaged or polluted, and where you can trust the water you drink?
    Waiting for your reply.

    • Since I am someone who bitches and moans about the commenters on the site chasing Chavez sympathizers out of here, not being willing to engage in actual conversation, I should say that I find nothing offense about your reply, at all. I do hope Tallulah replies.

      • Don’t hesitate to jump in and respond to The Cat’s specific questions, pcv. Even if you live far from Venezuela. Your pal, *Tallulah*, normally flits in and out in a flash, after *her* infrequent, if not flakey denigrations. But you know that, surely. Now let’s have your answers.

          • Maybe the reason you confuse us/think we’re the same person is that you have rarely been willing to engage (very far) in actual conversation with us (I don’t know how willing the others are, so excuse me if they are unwilling, but I certainly am). If you had, I am pretty sure the differences between our respective positions would become obvious.

            • PCV: I asked you to respond to The Cat’s questions. You keep dancing around them and my request. Like you don’t know how to answer specifics. Which of course, makes you look flakey. But you know that.

              • PCV:
                1. Since you readily interject, even though comments are not meant for you, your first sentence/excuse is bogus.
                2. Your dance around *Tallulah’s* fascist comment was, well, a dance. Obviously, neither you nor *Tallulah* (what a coincidence) can be counted on for directness. But isn’t that the way of romantics with an idol fixation. Oh, and by the way, *T’s* little repartee was, if we strip the curlicues, as follows: “you must resist the temptation to go all …fascist.”
                3. Your invention that I called you names is, well, an invention.
                4. Now how about answering, directly, The Cat’s questions. Many of us are eager to find out how much you actually know about or form a part of the Venezuelan reality. Please prove us wrong when we consider you and your alter egos might be nothing more than disturbers from abroad, whose hum-drum lives need to invent a romantic engagement with the politics of another country.

          • Don’t I know it. Another member from the no-credibility brigade of foreigners romancing the revolution.

        • “please explain just why you believe/think that the views expressed here are, as you say, ‘fascist'”

          Obviously I did not say that “the views expressed here are… ‘fascist'”, nor do I believe/think this–well, with the possible exception of Alek Boyd (who, prior to Pinochet’s 2006 death, expressed the questionable view that “Pinochet should come out of retirement and become a diactator [sic] of Venezuela until they [sic] get their [sic] act together”–clearly at odds with the views he claims to hold.)

          However, if one were to re-read the comment in question, one would see that Tallulah does not say this either (that “the views expressed here are… ‘fascist'”). She says that, based on her “glances” (rather than a close study) of the site, she has concluded that “you must resist the temptation to go all nihilistic about this and well… speaking frankly… fascist”. In other words, Tallulah is not saying that the views expressed here are ‘fascist’, but that they nevertheless betray a “temptation” in that direction, and that this is a temptation that must be avoided.

          Considering the fact that the authors of the site, and of the post at the top (JC) are saying things like ‘the oppostion cannot expect to be able to win elections’ (and the fact that Alek Boyd is making a play–on this very page–trying to persuade others to re-consider his dissenting views as possibly non-radical), I would say that, definitely, I do feel, while reading the posts but mostly the comments of late, that this “temptation” exists, and that you should avoid it. Let me quickly saw that I have very little doubt that it will be avoided.

          I’m still at work, so I have to stop here. If time permits, I’ll answer the rest later.

          • Anyway, my point is that I do not think that Tallulah’s remark was as offensive as The Cat reads it to be–although I personally would not have chosen to use the word ‘fascist’, lest it be mis-interpreted by others as a form of hyperbolic name-calling, as it was here.

            I do not expect many people here to share the sense that Tallulah and I (apparently) have that there is a (low risk, in my opinion) ‘danger’ (the word I would have used, as opposed to ‘temptation’) of sliding into a (let’s just say) ‘dangerous’ direction. Look, understand that, as a general rule, this ‘danger’ usually does exist when you have a political minority debating the value of competing for power electorally (yes, my description may be off but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say). So it’s not necessarily a dig at anyone personally (with the exception mentioned above).

            I do not expect people in the opposition to share this perspective, but, this is how a dialogue works: we’ve been reading your perspective, so we share our perspective, and…. actually I’m not sure what comes next. I’m pretty sure it’s not what usually happens at this step (insults, etc.) the few times anyone has gotten this far.

            • “we’ve been reading your perspective, so we share our perspective,”

              We’re still waiting PCV for your perspective. A good place to start would be by answering The Cat’s questions. Unless you’re BSing your way through this blog.

              • “We’re still waiting PCV for your perspective. ”

                Please search all my comments on this page. There are several.

                “A good place to start would be by answering The Cat’s questions. ”

                I started with The Cat’s very first question, and provided a lengthy answer.

                The fact that you will not even recognize this (much less read it or provide a substantive response)–and my suspicion that there’s little chance of anything productive coming out of this exchange–makes me reluctant to spend my time answering the other questions (which weren’t even directed at me). As I explained, it will take time to answer The Cat’s other questions, but I am willing (and, in fact, very happy) to answer them, provided that you give me reason to believe it is worth it (by say, being respectful in your next response).

          • “Alek Boyd (who, prior to Pinochet’s 2006 death, expressed the questionable view that “Pinochet should come out of retirement and become a diactator [sic] of Venezuela until they [sic] get their [sic] act together”–clearly at odds with the views he claims to hold.)”

            Tsk, tsk. That is not an Alek Boyd quote. It was something said by one of his commenters.

            • You’re right! I misread the metadata and I apologize to anyone who was/is misled by my comment (which I cannot now edit), and, of course, to Alek Boyd.

              I do believe the other quotes, like those exerpted here are accurate, but please correct me if I am wrong, or if Boyd has written anywhere renouncing his position “with respect to what I [Boyd] consider to be the solution to deal with criminals such as Hugo Chávez, ie violence”.

              I would be happy to hear it!

  18. Chavez to Maduro: I told you, starting monday morning they will all be fighting each other and will say that NO VUELVO A VOTAR, and the Dec 16th election will be a cinch!!

    Quien dijo que era fácil ??????????? A ponerse de pie y a seguir luchando. Our generation had the unique privilege of seeing history in the making! Did we not witness the fall of the Berlin wall almost overnight(historically speaking) and the fall of the Soviet Union??? No totalitarian regime has ever survived, sooner or later, tarde o temprano! A TRABAJAR CARAJO!!!

  19. Juan, I think you’re right on the “near-perfect campaign”. But, what wasn’t near-perfect was the mechanics of voting on election day. As per Enrique Weill of Esdata (“El Nacional”, 10/22/2012, Nacion, P. 4): 1) Of a national sample of 400 Oppo witnesses, 23% were PSUV militants!; 2)2,334 voting tables registered only 0-20 votes for Capriles, and some as many as 400+ for Chavez!; 3) Once again, the fingerprint/Cedula ID machines should not have been allowed next to/visibly- connected to the voting machines; and 4) The Registro Electoral has millions of non-existent registered voters who can vote (a “Capel” study of a RE sample some years ago found that, of the sampled registered voters, only 50% had a registered Venezuelan birth certificate, which is the pre-requisite for registration/voting in the vast majority of cases!) With this background, plus the massive illegal use of State propaganda/personnel/resources/money, the Oppo is really unelectable until things may change in Presidential elections, and, watch out for coming key Governorship elections!

    • Enrique Weill has some nerve. So, let me get this straight: in some tables, the votes are not what he would have liked, and this leads him to conclude that … there were no witnesses!? What a hack…

      • No, he implied that in a certain small minority of tables there may have been no witnesses in a hundreds-for-Chavez/0-for-Capriles result. The really damning comments are the others made, such as the Esdata Survey of 400 witnesses finding 23% PSUV Chavista militants. The basic problem is, in which I concur with Alek Boyd, that the Oppo does not want to face up to/criticize fraudulent/illegal/unfair voting system elements/mechanics/processes, for fear of scaring away potential Oppo voters, and this, in turn, makes the Oppo unelectable, barring some game-changing exogenous occurrence (such as a plunge in the price of oil/something happening to PCV’s idol Comandante-God forbid a coup or similar attempt!-etc.).

  20. I posted this in another thread, but I believe it could work here (I added some more information, though)…

    There currently is a committee set up on MUD reform, and for the revision of its national electoral strategy. It is not ideologically slanted to any of the sides within the MUD (Pedro Benitez (AD), Carlos Guillermo Arocha (PJ), Eduaro Gómez Sigala (pro-market independent), Gabriel Puerta Aponte (MDP-BR), Colette Capriles, Andrés Stambouli and Leonardo Padrón). The general idea is to ponder how to make it a viable platform for both reform, and social and political action. And of course, to check the campaign shortcomings and further evaluate the implementation of assigned tasks.

    Thisis all up and running parallel to the the great and difficult effort aiming at the Regionales, which is already in place, even in view of the doubts regarding the electoral system (which I lack the information to counter, besides what has officially being declared).

    As for the MUD’s democratization -which I find laudable and necessary- how could it be implemented? It was set up by the parties… Should the parties prop up their leaders first? Should it be open to Civil Society? Which sectors or allies within Civil Society? Could it be that some sages and notables would come in? How could those wise men and women be any more legitimate? How can you do that -and you HAVE to do that- while tending to the other pressing matters at hand?

    I ask this with no intention to protect anyone’s position. Political positions are changeable, and politicians know this. Moreover, I support the MUD (duh!), and naturally I have personal solidarity for its leadership (double duh!), without any personal gain on the matter.

    • I would propose that the process of selecting/confirming the direction of the MUD be done in a way that also builds the machinery that we are lacking. Each electoral center could be a cell of the MUD.  Perhaps each “micro mud” could elect a delegate that has voting power in a convention. 

      • That might be a way… But we have to remember two things: parties comprise the MUD, and the MUD itself has no members other than the parties (that is, professional politicians).

        Civil society, alone, has not made a sustained effort to build a sustainable party (PJ might be the only exception). Nor have, historically, conservative or liberal leaning movements (again, PJ is the closest thing you have there, and I know Copei is dinosaur-green for most). A right-wing movement, with all that it comprises in the West (nativism, religious zeal, anti-minority feeling) is either out of the question (or, in any case, we have our own version: the PSUV).

        • “parties comprise the MUD, and the MUD itself has no members other than the parties”
          Probably there lies the problem… I am not asking to turn the clock back to 2002 and bring back to life the failed CTV-Fedecamaras-ONG-media monster. My concern is about how connected are the MUD parties to the base. Are PJ, Cope, AD, UNT and the others doing their work in the communities? Are they trying to profit from the disatisfaction among low income families? What about those intellectuals and chavista dissidents that you mentioned in some other post? Are the MUD parties building bridges to them? Or did the MUD parties also fall in the polarization “they-are-not-like-us” trap?

  21. sorry but this post is silly. Imagine the reverse situation and Chavez had lost with 45% of the vote ( 6+ something million votes). Do you think chavistas would be so stupid to think they are “unelectable” and give up and throw the towel?

  22. Dear me, what a kerfuffle this all is. Look at Europe. Governments voted into opposition are usually out of office for about a decade – a decade to redefine, reconnect with voters, blood a new generation no longer connected to the past. The Venezuelan opposition wasted six years being stupid and doing stupid things as they gorged on the largesse of the NED. Why rebuild your connections to the grassroots when you can go to a buffet at the US Embassy? So about another six years before the opposition have a serious chance of election victory. Bingo!! next presidential election…but betcha they just do something dumb rather than building on the great strides Capriles made. 44% of the votes. Jeez, you would think they would be celebrating. But no :-(

    And that tragic perception of a Divine Right to power is beautifully elucidated in most of the above. The revanchist unelectablistas, ever ready to disrespect democracy and then bleet that Chavez is authoritarian. And thats why the majority of Venezuelans dont trust the opposition and its why Chavez wins. Loop ad nauseam.

  23. Tallulah, you Silly Billy, you:”Bleet, Bleet (sic)”, “Loop ad nauseum”, Chavez wins by fraudulent Cuban-inspired electoral practices, with Venezuelan naive/indolent/corrupt acceptance

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