OK, we have been defeated in October 7 and trashed last Sunday. That those defeats are incomprehensible when one considers the state of the country makes the whole thing harder to stomach. Thus, the first thing the opposition needs to do is to try to understand why is it that the blackmail of the regime was so effective in coaxing people to vote again for them in spite of crime, inflation, constant power outages, lack of real jobs, etc, etc... It is crystal clear, I hope, that satisfying ourselves by saying we will be more efficient than Chavez is not going to work out, ever. Well, not before the country collapses but do we want to be in charge then? Can anyone even be in charge then when we return to African like political "culture" which is where chavismo is taking us. Guinea Equatorial anyone? Or Guinea Bissau if you prefer? Congo will do if you go for bigger countries.
Unfortunately we do not have much time to craft a new message that combines the few successful themes of the campaign that ended in October with a more assertive language where we start putting it down clearly that voting voting for Chavez is voting for your doom. Still, there is quite a few things that should be done ASAP.
No hallacas for nobody
First, I heard that the MUD was proudly announcing that they were leaving in place a "commission" to reply to the power abuses if needed during the holidays. Nicolas Maduro and his combo are going to work full time during the holidays and their hallacas will be eaten fast, though I am sure washed down with abundant 18 years old scotch (1). AGAIN, the opposition leadership is not going to give up its annual monthly break, just as it did in 2006 when Chavez announced the closing of RCTV, or in 2008 where grudgingly a few accepted to start a lousy campaign against the eternal election referendum.
If the MUD wants to prove that it means business it should close shop only from Saturday 29/12 until Tuesday 02/13. And the rest will be business as usual. You have a campaign to prepare guys!!!!!!!!!!!
The MUD should take advantage of the post Christmas week to make any painful internal decision it can do so that by next January some of the pain will have passed. The results are in, some parties did better than expected some not as good. It is time to review the composition of the main bureau. But it is also time for Primero Justicia in particular who as main party has to assimilate that it is failing to grow as expected and maybe it should focus its interest on post Chavez more than satisfying itself of a worthless primus inter pares title. As for AD it is high time that they stop being offended because their historical status is not recognized. Their campaign advertisement as to "come back home" had not much success with chavista, at best saving AD of its ultimate demise like it happened to COPEI last Sunday. In fact, AD and UNT and ABP should fast unite if they do not want to become irrelevant later this year, but that is another story.
I take the opportunity to write my heartfelt congratulations to the MUD. Yes, I did criticize it often but I always praised its achievements. There is no other substitute right now and we should be happy that the MUD has not collapsed yet. What we all need to do is to reinforce it, make it look provisionally like a single political party, at least until the next presidential elections. So people, stop bitching and start supporting them BECAUSE there is simply NO TIME for a replacement. That does not mean that the MUD should remain autistic as explained in the previous paragraph. Whether the MUD fails to grow up is not an excuse for us to stay home and bitch at it.
If we knew already that elections would be held, say, next June, we could plan a primary for next February But the only thing we know, and only 98% certain, is that there will be an election next year for president. The PSUV has demonstrated its willingness to use Chavez health and corpse for any electoral advantage and if they need to have Chavez sworn in at the Venezuelan embassyi n Havana, tubes poking from everywhere, they will do it and the high court will find ten ways to make it suddenly constitutional After all, is there anyone left in Venezuela that believes the Constitution applies to all?
Whether we like Capriles or not, whether he lost in October and won barely last Sunday is really not the point anymore. He is our best known figure and it is up to the MUD to become his political party, to pry away him from PJ and for PJ to let him go while supporting his actions unconditionally.
If for X reason it is not Capriles then the MUD has to decide NOW who is it going to be by consensus There is only a very short list of names: Falcon of Lara, Aveledo as the MUD architect and more remotely Lopez and Ledezma. Period. The debate should be short. Any other option is a waste of time that the MUD should have the guts to resist.
A note before anyone cries foul. Lara and Miranda will be impossible to rule because chavismo will make its utmost to sabotage Falcon and Capriles. They are already maneuvering to make sure that even if they got a majority of the vote they will not have a majority in the state assembly, courtesy of obscene gerrymandering. So "preserving those states" is not an option. Which leads me to my second point on the candidate. If in pre October conditions it would have been foolish for Capriles to announce his vice president choice this time around I think it is a good move: the ticket is obvious Capriles and Falcon, with, if necessary, a notary promise of Capriles to keep Falcon Veep for at least a year after he is sworn in.
The campaign will not require to present a program. Capriles presented one extensively and little good did it do to him when blackmail and washers for free arrived. It is time to take a stand and tell the country that Maduro or Cabello are a piece of shit, they they are unable to fess up to the economic mess they helped create. At least if we lose once again the country will not be able to claim "I did not know" and when collapse arrives then they will know finally who to turn to. Because if you think that with three sates we should still talk softly and preserve our "space for action" for better days, wake up! This is not 2004 anymore and with the "comunas" we will be dust in a few months. So we may as well explain to the people what is in store for them so they will vote in full knowledge.
Confront the CNE
The CNE shenanigans in Bolivar this week are the perfect opportunity to call them on their partisanship and threaten already that we reserve our right to recognize any future electoral results as long as the CNE keeps acting as it is. In other words, start saying that the CNE is a piece of shit but that we have to vote and organize ourselves AGAINST the CNE by flooding every voting stations, either to protest and sabotage the election or to make sure that voting proceeds as it should. Remember one thing: the regime, the more so that Chavez is on his way out, needs international recognition. If there is a time to confront, this is the one. Demand NOW that there is a real international observation, called at least two months before the election, demand now that the CNE facilitates access to witness in every center and give them a right to talk as the election go, etc, etc... Not forgetting to protest more forcefully cadenas and other government abuses. IF we do not become militant this time around, we are screwed forever.
As for the parties in the MUD that refuse to confront the CNE, they can be politely asked to leave for the oblivion that awaits them. What do we have to lose at this point?
And this is only what needs to be done by, say, January 15, in addition of having Lopez reactivate his witness protection program, and creating a contributing scheme where the people can anonymously give money for the campaign. I offer to start right now a lottery!!!!!!!!!
Then again, I am certainly not going to hold my breath as no one in the MUD pays attention to such proposals. I know better, if it does not arises spontaneously from someone inside the high circles it will not happen no matter how many people like me write the obvious.
1) Hallacas: national traditional Christmas dish of Venezuela. The glory of our cuisine with the arepa.