The Table and the End

Coming soon to a table near you?

Contingency planning for the post-Chávez era is now in high gear throughout Venezuela’s political sphere. For my part, I spent the weekend writing an Obit, just to make sure we have one. The subtle and not-so-subtle jockeying inside the pro-Chávez camp is obvious. But…what about the MUD?

The opposition’s Roundtable for Democratic Unity will face novel challenges in the months following the guy’s passing. If it all happens on a Ratheresque time-scale (sooner Rather than later), it’s possible to imagine tensions that would set off: the whole adeco-UNT galaxy would find itself backing a candidate who doesn’t feel at all like one of their own. The tenuous peace between Barboza and Ramos Allup might well fray, as the Maracuchos wonder why they should continue to play second fiddle to a “machinery” that ran out of gas eons ago. Without the glue of Chávez-aversion that’s held them together for so long, the government’s long-fantasized bust-up – the Mesa de Alacranes scenario – could imaginably come to pass.

So far, MUD’s leadership has been canny about getting all agreements down on paper and then forcing people to stick by what they’ve signed up to. With Chávez gone and PSUV in factional knife-fight mode, I wonder if that’s really tenable in the medium-run.

21 thoughts on “The Table and the End

  1. Wow, maybe this is a stupid question. But if he was really dying and it would be sooner than later, would he have appeared for 15 minutes just a couple of days ago? Walking!

    I guess what I am asking is, specifically, what leads you and Juan to suddenly write posts saying that the guy is going to die real soon. I guess maybe I’m a skeptic. I believe he is sick. But I won’t believe he is actually gonna die, until he dies. But it is true that the MUD has to prepare, specially to plan for a truly united plan of action – both communicational and strategic – that a tragic unravelling of MUD parties.


    • The Bielorussians gave him a pair of binoculars? What a bunch of cheapos, really…

      Gosh, it is fodder for a thousand cruel jokes…


    • Isabela – Chávez just appeared walking and talking on live TV about half and hour ago and answered lots of questions; talked about Bolívar in Santa marta and read an extract from Gabo¿s El General en su Laberinto. He does not look as if he is about to keel over ay tyhe moment. Far from it. (Unless of course it was avideo or the Chavez wlking and talking was a robot made in Cuba with Castroesque machinations!)

      Quico (and Juan) have to write these fantasy posts to give themselves a respite from the electoral thashing staring them in the face. It is a sort of short term catharsis which obscures the fact taht Chavez does not look that bad.

      From another point of view it is speculation of the worst necrophiliac kind. Remember the investment report put out by Merrill Lynch about two weeks ago. Even if Chavez is not the candidate Capriles will not win – stated that report.

      Four months to go so as to relieve Quico of his sysptoms of imbecilic denial.


      • Oh, look! It’s the troll!!! Hey, Arturito: are you typing on your iPad? Because, you know, that’s such a capitalistic, not to mention, OLIGARCHIC thing to own, right? You know these things: anything designed or produced by ANYONE who’s not in line with your micomandante’s ideas shouldn’t be allowed to be produced and, definitely, SHOULD NOT BE USED. PERIOD. Idiot. So, who’s really in denial? You need to go to Egypt – NOW.


      • The fact that you pressume so confidently that Chávez will win this election says a great deal about the value you put to democracy: 0.

        How “bad” Chávez looks is a subjective appreciation – it is on the eyes of the beholder. Stating so confidently – just from looking a report from Merril Lynch- hat Chávez will not win this election tells me that you are also looking at the facts very subjectively.
        So in the same way as I am skeptic of opinions that say Chávez “está más allá que de acá”, I am even more skeptical of those that pressume that Chávez or his substitute already won the election.
        By the way, those who support Obama are also pretty confident… but who knows what’s gonna happen (unfortunately, I hope he wins).
        So stop trolling. Do not even think for a second that I think like you do.


  2. I’m not sure… There is a nifty precedent of such unity being kept well after the “main threat” subsided: the Junta Patriotica and Pacto de Nueva York -of late 1957, early 1958- led to Puntofijo and the Programa Mínimo in late 1958, as well as the Pacto Obrero-Patronal, the 1961 Constitution and the 1964 agreement with the Vatican (this was the much celebrated “espíritu del ’58”). This helped the sputtering Venezuelan democracy not to unravel during those years when, alas, MPJ was gone. Of course, there where many threats: Castroism (of the Fidel and the Castro León kind), the mistrust of the moneyed classes against Betancourt and his combo, and the mutual mistrust of the main leaders of the pact. Of course, URD -the second most powerful party of the union- seceded by 1961, doing irreparable cost to itself.

    In this case, the matter is more pressing, and I believe the national leadership is more up to the task (it’s been a longer time out of power than during the MPJ years, mind you): Chavez might be gone -they are not counting on it, though- but Chavismo and their internecine fights will remain, with tons of money and firepower. The moneyed classes mistrust is also there, there are true and set incetives for retaining the coalition (especially after the primaries) and the political cost seems heavier this time around (as much as it boggles my mind, really). It won’t be a neat transition, despite the elections and the transfer of (legal) power. Then again, the MUD is an offspring of the parties, and so it can be ended: I doubt the incentives to do so lie more on either of the main ideological “blocks”. There are adamant anti-MUD politicos, but they have, so far, being neutralised.

    Disclaimer: Oh, you all know it… But I’m not working for the Unity Board at all.
    Anecdote: My father used to have a book -at least during his time in Congress- titled “An Illustrated Guide to Spot Venezuelan Scorpions” (or something like that).


      • I meant to say, alas, that MPJ and Perezjimenizmo was not a threat (and that, therefore, my image had a big hole in it). A MUD government, barring an unforeseen coup or something like that, won’s have that: the PSUV will be in the AN, TSJ, Armed forces, Bureaucracy, etc. …


  3. Surely th MUD cannot be so stupid as your break-up scenario would imply. Faced by the ongoing threat of a Castroist dictatorship for the next fifty years, they can’t work together when faced with Diosdado Cabello or Madero as the head man in that dictatorship? If that is e case, they’ll probably “all hang separately”.


    • “Surely th MUD cannot be so stupid as your break-up scenario would imply. ”

      you must be new here ;)


  4. One problem with your analysis is that you are assuming that the guy will pass away anytime soon. , Aside from the fact that such article seems more like a wishful thinking, you are also assuming that Chavismo will be in disarray after Chavez disappear from the political arena one way or another.

    Far from it, they still have a lot of political muscle, money and connections all over the country, where they could incite protest, sabotage public services facilities, riots in order to create chaos. Such situation is a Coup d’état waiting to happen.

    So no, my best estimation is that, AD/UNT/COPEI they’d rather remain united in a front than going solo, because they don’t stand a chance alone. Most scenarios they will their stronghold in each region of the City, for example UNT: Zulia, PV: Carabobo, PJ: Caracas, AD: Anzoatequi and the eastern states.


    • Sorry in the last part I miss some words… for most scenarios they will try to keep their stronghold in each region of the City, for example UNT: Zulia, PV: Carabobo, PJ: Caracas, AD: Anzoatequi and the eastern states.


  5. Dear Jeff, One is well advised never to underestimate stupidity; “There is no defense against stupidity” it has rightly been said and, in the case in point, it doesn’t depend on some collective MUD-stupidity but that of whatever breakaway fraction may be in the running to win this year’s Stupidity Stakes. That said, where’s the real adversary to the MUD’s candidate, in Miraflores – or in the computer innards ensconced in the CNE? If “indepnedent thinkers” feel they’ve a chance because the Prime Candidate is no longer the Prime Candidate, overlooking the CPU adversaries already maliciously programmed, they will have won the Stakes hands down.

    As for the officialista ranks being in disarray, by all accounts, they are already but, as has been noted, they retain plenty of disrutpive capacity with ill-intentioned practitioners seeking to fish in troubled waters.

    In this connection, I was wondering why there’s been no speculation on possible backdrops to the Church-Regime summit of last week: transition scenario kite-flying with safety net for (fill in likeliest net-seekers here)?


  6. Ah, caracha. Mr. Toro ans Mr. Poleo* questioning the unity of the opposition parties at the same time? Cosas veredes…
    It’s not a secret that there are differences inside the MUD. One of the many challenges that Capriles and friends must face is keeping the MUD alive, regardless of Chavez’s demise or a victory/defeat in October. And it’s not only about old (AD) vs. new (PJ). It’s also about conservatives (MCM) vs. left radicals (Bandera Roja) living under the same roof. Deals will be done. Some of them between chavistas and opposition. Most of them will happen behind closed door. Hopefully the guys calling the shots (Capriles above them all) will be smart enough to solve the problems ahead.



  7. i really don’t see the point quico. this time why fantasize about something that could be down the road … or not. live in the here and now. we have enough to chew on in this IN-traumatic stress syndrome.. don’t you think? keep your apocaliptic horses at bay… in the present. please…


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