We have learned nothing [UPDATE]

we have learned nothing, not in 12,000 thousand years"

“we have learned nothing, not in 12,000 thousand years”

As Venezuela slides deeper into the dictatorial morass, the protest movement is setting off a major political crisis. It just happens that that crisis isn’t inside the government, it’s inside the opposition. Don’t believe me? Then let me tell you about the the epic PJ/VP tantrum of last Saturday.

It came in two three parts, both of them off-script.

First, a group of so-called-students managed to get around the tarima’s security set-up, take the stage, grab the mic and launch into an sad, embarrassing rant featuring lines like “With this glove we take the tear gas canisters and throw’em back”.

Secondly, Lilian Tintori hustled her way through the crowd and within her Voluntad Popular’s entourage, no other than, the “fugitive” Carlos Vecchio.

[UPDATE] Third, for some reason Capriles didn’t follow any of the pre-established plans and instead of leaving from the original location, he left from his headquarters in Bello Monte, much later.

The rumor mill has it that Vecchio’s presence upset Capriles. Legal implications and what not, or maybe just too much thunder stealing. Others speculated it was the guarimstudents that ticked him off. The guy felt ambushed or he simply didn’t want to be there after all.

Surprises are great. Who doesn’t love a surprise? People loved to see Vecchio on stage. Nothing like flipping off the government. But in the very delicate situation in which we are at surprises are dangerous. PJ should have been informed of what was planned. Tintori may be hurt that Capriles didn’t call. Well, boohoo. LL has way more chances to be freed if HCR gets on that bandwagon. Why are the guys on the orange platform such performers? Why put on such a show?

One issue here is that the MUD is not a party. It is a coalition. One created for electoral purposes. A space in which competing forces would pact and let the better person compete, and then muster the resources to win. The MUD though seems lost in its ability to round people up to put their differences behind when there isn’t an election.

Part of it is lazy politicking. Caracas-centrist party are spending all their energy and resources trying to poach oppo voters from one other in El Hatillo instead of trying to win over supporters from the mass ranks of the lower-middle class and politically orphaned. When you’re fighting for the 5% oppo radical fringe, no amount of anti-government posturing is too much. But if you’re thinking about the 35% of people who hate the government but don’t trust the sifrino elite, that’s a dead end.

You’d think we’d have learned that lesson by now. As PSUV advances towards absolute political control, now with what it seems like a much more viable economy, Venezuela is on its way to become some sort of petro-tropicalized-religious-cursi chinese mock up. Resisting this onslaught would tax the political resources and maturity of the most talented of politicians. Certainly, now is no time for atavisms, for going back to the bad old days of posture-driven Coordinadora Democrática style amateur hour politics.

Let’s just remind ourselves where we were some nine years ago. Here’s Ibsen Martinez writing about the 2005 National Assembly election boycott (as translated by Quico),

This is a country where, in just one recent day, Chávez can hold a friendly meeting with Felipe González, prince of the modern European social democrats, at the same time as the police raids and closes down the newspaper El Impulso on a flimsy tax pretext. A country whose Public Prosecutors openly intimidate opponents, and whose head of government, at the same time, spends his time designing continental integration strategies based on oil diplomacy; where the prison overcrowding crisis and extrajudicial executions, which today have reached their highest level in decades, coincide with acts revindicating the human rights of afrovenezuelans and indigenous peoples; where the electoral registry has been used to call almost a dozen elections in the last seven years and to institute, in parallel, a political apartheid that violates the right to work…To combat this diabolical complexity we will need a politics that is more realistic and assertive than the sifrino hissyfit of staying home on election day ‘because Jorge Rodriguez sold out’.

We are deep into the trap of competitive autocracy. While we fight for crumbs, the other is grabbing the cake.

89 thoughts on “We have learned nothing [UPDATE]

      • I can’t speak for GTA but I understand that the idea of trying to topple the goverment throught election by buiding a majority is very hard and years long path to pursue, one that even if it obtains the objective would have to deal in the long run with deeply corrupted institutions (tsj, an, governors…), whereas some people favour the presumably short way of a military coup to reset institutions Carmonazo style, hopefully restoring democracy by force, something that in my oppinion is very unlikely to happen. But it is also unlikely that the opposition can win an election against the goverment in such extreme disadvantageus conditions

        We dont know what kind of scenario we’ll face in 1, 2, 3…. years but the goverment will continue to use obsene petropopulism that has worked for them seemingly always, all while they continue to cook us at a slow fire, I have been infected by Quico’s pessimism it seems.

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  1. PJ’s cautious approach is leading them to be labeled as “traitors” by some, as evidenced when Julio Borges’s made a statement about not protesting during March 5 “out of respect” of the late President Chávez. While I frankly think VP’s approach is kinda suicidal, PJ’s “tolerance” sometimes pisses me off.

    ” Caracas-centrist party are spending all their energy and resources trying to poach oppo voters from one other in El Hatillo instead of trying to win over supporters from the mass ranks of the lower-middle class and politically orphaned.”

    You mean VP? But didn’t they win Guasdualito in Apure?

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    • It wasn’t “VP” in El Hatillo. It was PJ, VP and AD. Or at least those are the factions I recall… GEHA had a proper writeup on that race…

      On the other hand, VP brought home Maturin, Guasdualito and Barinas.

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      • You mean when he started to fix the streets as part of his campaign? (Or so I vaguely recall). Because when I visited El Hatillo during the campaign Smolansky surely had a superior propaganda. My apologies if this is not really the case, I’m not from there.

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      • I’ve read serious criticism from ADecos because the party spent almost all budget for 8D on El Hatillo campaign. See @DLaraF for reference

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  2. I’m happy that you wrote about this.

    Since LL’s incarceration I have been feeling that Tintori and VP are trying a little too hard in positioning LL as THE leader of the opposition. This morning I read an interview with LL’s cousin for fox news, and that is how they called him.

    All this has been reminding me all the discussions we had here just before the primaries in 2012 about LL being very egocentric, the “it’s all about me” kind of guy.

    I have said it before and I will say it again: “leader” is a concept created by chavismo, where a bunch of people uncapable of thinking by themsleves need somebody to tell them what to do. In the case of the opposition, there are several “dirigentes”, all of them important and with something valuable to chip into the mix.

    Also, the next presidential candidate must once again, be so after going through another process of primaries, so all this dispute for the spotlight is absolutely futile at this point.

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    • Well, voter recognition is a strong asset in winning a primary election (or any election), so I wouldn’t say it is futile for now.

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    • “Also, the next presidential candidate must once again, be so after going through another process of primaries, so all this dispute for the spotlight is absolutely futile at this point.”

      Does it really matter at that point? Chavismo has no attention of allowing themselves to lose power through elections. Even close election like last April will not be allowed; the necessary corrections to the “greatest electoral system in the world” will be made.

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      • I was thinking elections after restoring democracy and the institutions, via constituyente or junta de gobierno. I suppose that the PSUV will still exist.
        Or maybe not?

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          • Of course. So whatever happens with this government, I’m thinking the PSUV will stay as a political party. It would be way too risky for the opposition to dismember in branches again.

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            • Exactly. It would have to be like the Chilean Concertación, outlasting the dictatorship by about four elections, until Pinochetismo as they had known it was unlikely to come back.

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    • “I have said it before and I will say it again: “leader” is a concept created by chavismo, where a bunch of people uncapable of thinking by themsleves need somebody to tell them what to do. In the case of the opposition, there are several “dirigentes”, all of them important and with something valuable to chip into the mix.”

      I don’t think leader is a concept created by chavismo. Visibility and unity are both extremely valuable political assets and even in parliamentary/coalition politics, a clear leadership figure is often necessary (just look at the struggles in forming governments in Italy).

      Regardless of whether we think HCR or LL are best equipped to lead the opposition. I think MUD needs to figure this out soon — as they unified behind HCR last year. Otherwise, I’m in complete agreement with Rodrigo and we will just be destroyed from within.

      As a matter of fact, this is an area where there’s a lot to learn from the chavistas. Despite many predictions of in-fighting between the Maduro and Diosdado camps. The PSUV has continued to deliver a unified front against the opposition.

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    • What bothers me is that both PJ’s and VP’s attitudes can complement beautifully. VP’s approach to protest is great, combined with what Capriles summed like activism can lead to a very powerful force. Only if they leave their petty differences on the side.

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      • Not true.

        On one hand you have VP pushing away the chavez lover – maduro is not the right guy with the protests by catiritos, and on the other hand you have the Ocariz “let’s get into the barrios and convince people that we can give you a better government.”

        They are fundamentally opposed.

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        • “the protests by catiritos”

          So what about catiritos? they are less venezuelan than the “negritos” then?, what a way to reinforce the idiotic class struggle and racial segregation stereotype coined by Hugo.

          End shit altogether, ban “catiritos” and “musius” from voting and problem solved, you can enjoy your “mestizo” hegemony like a standard barriologo can only dream of.

          Typical idiotic nonsense from stockholm syndrome oppo people.

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  3. “We despise and abhor the bully, the brawler, the oppressor, whether in private or public life, but we despise no less the coward and the voluptuary. No man is worth calling a man who will not fight rather than submit to infamy or see those that are dear to him suffer wrong.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt

    The problem with PJ, is a certain lack of strength and consistency…A byzantine attitude towards politics, reminiscent of the Court of Henry the Eighth.Sometimes people might gain some advantage at times by compromising their values, but if you don’t take a strong stance, you end up just like those you are trying to replace.

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  4. “Why are the guys on the orange platform such performers? Why put on such a show?”

    I agree with the article overall, but I did find it a bit biased. Sure VP has been “showy”, but it has also taken the largest toll while showing a strong commitment with the cause (LL in jail, Vecchio wanted, Ceballos stripped from office, VP’s HQ raided, etc). I think VP’s actions have been consistent with their “radical” belief that we can’t afford to wait until 2015, that we have to act now before it’s too late.

    You’d be hard pressed to find VP members bashing other Oppo politicians, except, perhaps Tintori answering, when asked directly, that HCR hadn’t called her after LL’s arrest.

    On the other hand, PJ’s actions have been consistent with their “moderate” belief that we just have to do some groundwork and in 2015 it’ll pay off. But even as #LaSalida didn’t bash them, you’d be hard pressed to find a PJ politican who didn’t bash LL and MCM for being irresponsible, counterproductive, childish, etc ahead of 12F.

    If LL can be accused of trying to be to much at the forefront, HCR can be accused of being there too little. He has taken #LaSalida way too personally, like an affront instead of a disagreement. He only agreed to join the 12F march a couple of days before it happened, which made him a less legitimate leader in the eyes of the protesters than LL or MCM. His 22F speech rejecting barricades was awesome, but it was almost a week too late, when Tachira was already a war zone.

    Those are my 2c

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    • Agree with all of it (except the bias, hehe). My point here is that these fellas, and all the others need to sit down and talk constantly. Not just when there is an election.

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      • Then we agree. (Especially since it’s more balanced now, jajaja).

        Sometimes I get the feeling that MUD doesn’t know whet it wants to be.

        On the one hand, they want to speak with a single voice and row in a single direction, yet they resist any effort to make it more like a “grand party”, because it’s a plural thing.

        On the other hand, when one faction like LL+MCM+AL try something on their own, without bashing anyone, all hell breaks loose because their actions are too unilateral, and they didn’t get enough say in it.

        Hardly anyone delves in this monolithic-distributed tension at the heart of MUD.

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        • Couldn’t agree more. I don’t think anyone could really explain what MUD is or wants to be other than “a group of parties that dislike Chavismo more than they dislike each other”.

          I think the benefits of moving towards becoming a “grand party” with more heft to compete against the PSUV would greatly outweigh the negatives. Nonetheless, I think getting there, particularly given the current divisions, is a herculean task. HCR really needs to engage directly with the leaders of the other camps (LL, MCM, etc.) and come to a Bolivar-Jose de san Martin agreement soon.

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    • Waiting for 2015 is too much of a gamble for them. If the situation of the country isn’t bad, then we might as well expect losses. Many oppo deputies are in districts that not even Capriles was able to carry them.

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  5. The movement was doomed the second someone coined the term #LaSalida. Even after weeks of escalation, which have probably made scarcity worse than it should be, it isn’t clear that a large enough part of the population from the critical sectors is ready to take to the street and cause enough violence for the military to intervene. Expecting Maduro to resign, as LL suggested in his letter from prison, is silly beyond belief.

    Sadly, Quico’s prediction rings truer every day.

    I think the opposition still has a chance to use the dictatorial turn of Maduro’s government to their advantage in a recall next year. More likely, the more radical among them will keep demanding a resignation and celebrating every victim of the protest in a macabre spectacle, inching little by little toward Carmonazo redux.

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    • In a recall? That’s a fiction.

      Collecting signatures in tents guarded by the Militia and Chavista paramilitary groups, so the government can carry out targeted harassment and discrimination, while the paramilitary groups threaten, maim and kill people on the list.

      The second Maisanta List would be way worst than the first Maisanta List or the Tascon List.

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    • The notion of a recall is also silly beyond belief. Do you think people are going to risk another Maisanta List? With probably worse consequences than the last.

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    • Xio does not remember what happened to people who signed the last recall petition, lost by fraud btw. And also he does not remember what maduro said weeks ago about how a recall was supposed to get summoned:

      You have to sign, stand for a photo and put fingerprints, “Because you should show your face clearly if you want to -overthrow- a government who -won- a thousand rigged elections”.

      Paraphrasing you: inching litlle by little to Lista Tascon redux

      The guys have absolute control over elections, due to outright fraud or unfair unbalances like assisted voting, dead people who “show up” to vote and other shenanigans, and we still can consider a recall !.

      Amazing

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  6. Let’s see:

    The breach between VP and PJ isn’t new. Is the result of the aftermath of April 14. Capriles decided to not follow through the weeks after the elections and a sector of the opposition (a relatively large sector, BTW) never forgave him for that. Full disclosure: Myself included.

    “Since LL’s incarceration I have been feeling that Tintori and VP are trying a little too hard in positioning LL as THE leader of the opposition. ”

    Well, duh. That was the *point* of LL’s incarceration. While it was a brave and courageous act, and the regime acted on a completely illegal way (as usual), it was also a calculated political maneuver designed to make Capriles, Borges and Aveledo irrelevant on the context of this conflict. It worked. And not only because LL wants to be president, also because waiting until 2019 is simply unbereable. Probably won’t have a country by then.

    I don’t see it as a petty difference, is basically the decision of the oppo on where to go now. While #LaSalida itself is a minority, the idea of a non-electoral and specially non-CNE way to deal with the situation won a lot of steam. VP and specifically LL went through a lot of “barrios”*, so they deserve a shot at the bat.

    *It offends me that doing that seems like THE MOST important thing for winning elections, beyond any plan on how actually, you know, rule. Call me sifrino if you want.

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    • You know what’s interesting here? The idea that if only Capriles had allowed his supporters to take to the streets, his victory could have been successfully defended…

      Why would the armed forces or the international community have intervened in a closely divided nation, especially in the emotional weeks following Chavez’s death?

      The protests would have been even less likely to lead to real change than they are now — Maduro hadn’t even had the opportunity to prove his incompetence yet.

      I think Rodrigo Linares is smart about a lot of things — but maybe the differences between Lopez and Capriles aren’t petty at all.

      I think they see Venezuela differently. I think Capriles sees the country clearly — understands that there are millions of people who still identify as chavistas…and that those people are protected by multiple layers of guns and nets of privilege and subsidies. That’s the clear-eyed look.

      Lopez rarely addresses even the existence of these people — and THAT’s the real naivete…

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      • I think that, if April 2013 had reached merely 60% of the tide of the current wave of protests, Capriles would be president today.

        Maduro had way less legitimacy then than he has today, and the audit UNASUR requested, would have had to be performed by MUD standards.

        But since the protest was demobilized, CNE was free to neuter the audit without consequences.

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        • “But since the protest was demobilized, CNE was free to neuter the audit without consequences.”

          2014: Estas protestas no las para nadie porque no las dirige nadie!

          2013: Capriles vino a mi casa y me amarró para que no pudiera salir a protestar!

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          • Capriles back then had much more support from the opposition than he has right now. People did stay, but many got pissed and that’s why some say things like what you put in 2014.

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            • “Capriles back then had much more support from the opposition than he has right now.”

              Why yes, I remember how less than a year ago, Capriles had this Svengali-like power over the majority of the country. They would not move an inch unless he gave the word. It was a thing to behold, such discipline!

              “People did stay, but many got pissed”

              Oh, so they stayed home against their will. Capriles pulled a Santa Claus and locked everyone in their homes after the election.

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              • Oh please. Capriles was THE leader back then.

                He told people, not to worry, to go back home, because we had already achieved the CNE audit, and people trusted him. I mean, he was the leader and he was setting the strategy, the tactics and the agenda.

                When HCR told the people to demobilize, it was his blunder.

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          • En Abril 2013 las protestas eran dirigidas. Y Capriles salió con el infame salserolazo.

            Desde el final del año pasado, la MUD empezó a perder la capacidad de dirigir protestas. No recuerdas los autoconvocados? Nagel había escrito un artículo de una activista si mal no recuerdo.

            Las protestas universitarias que arrancaron en enero tampoco fueron dirigidas por la MUD. Hay una entrevista a Ledezma en enero, en la cual el mismo expresa que si la oposición no se monta en esta protesta su liderazgo va a ser desplazado (http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140127/ledezma-maduro-ofrece-descuento-de-80-en-boletos-para-la-luna).

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  7. My view from reading most the comments before, is that there remains among the commenter of this post a paradigm in which electoral politics are alive and that there should be strategies to gain central voters preferences, room to improve alliances and messaging and opportunities to trigger constitutional recall processes, etc. etc. etc.

    Todo luce como un clavo si solo tines un martillo…. (como es que dice eldicho)

    For politicians and for political commenter, and poilitologos, etc. .. there needs to be a strong attraction for holding this paradigm dear. This is waht they do, this is their business.

    I share a different paradigm: venezuela is in failed state territory, not competitive authoritarian, but in its fast descent into somalia type scenarios. Lets wait to see how the hungry and desperate (heart broken) hordes are channelled by state media messaging and street handlers when they all realize there is no food, an no food on its way.
    Let’s review though out lent, how the MUd, CC and all kinds of establishment political groups’ discourse addresses the middle classes realization their salries are worth salt and water, and even worst, even if they had any purchasing power, there is no staples to be purchased at any cost.

    Lets wait until semana santa and tally the cumulative dead toll from protestas in the country: how many more shoot in the head students we have, how many generals are presos, how many diputados and alcaldes have been stripped of their posts, and how.

    IMO this post shows the titanic’s band playing on a tilted deck, as the frigid waters of the north Atlantic rush in.

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    • Luis, I agree 100% with you, but I think that the opposition and some commenters being totally delusional and naive about how AWFUL/HORRIBLE/FUBAR is the current state of the Venezuelan democracy might be a great strengh for the opposition, because if they only knew how deep down in the hole they actually are, they would enter learned helplessness mode and not even bother about fighting anymore. If those students wearing cool clothes knew that they are fighting Mussolini, they would run to the hills right now! So THANK GOD they didn’t read much about Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Zimbabwe. And I will make a bet with you now: in 6 months or less Capriles and Machado will be living inside a prison or in exile. And we are witnessing just the tip of the iceberg, it will get much much worse!!!

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    • “Much more viable economy”– (as in this Post text )–NOT. The street massacre of unarmed students by Govt. death suads (WSJ 3/24 Mary Anastasia O’Grady dixit.) has its limits, as evidenced by the 3 AF generals detained (no, I don’t think it’s a ruse); the continued (and it will continue) illegal jailing of Oppo politicians has lts limits; the economy in continued/increasing shambles has lits limits, as do continuing high inflation/scarcity/business bankruptcies-higher real gainful unemployment. The fact that a few in the orchestra are not completely in tune with the others is irrelevant–the ship is sinking because it isn’t viable. Those currently protesting heroically at risk of life and limb are more likely to effect change while at least some lifeboats are still available, than will those awaiting some ideal political timing which a repressive Castro-Cuban Communist regime will stop at nothing to avoid.

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  8. Ugh. Some *have* learned…

    “the idea of a non-electoral and specially non-CNE way to deal with the situation won a lot of steam”

    … and, alas, some refuse to.

    “I think they see Venezuela differently. I think Capriles sees the country clearly — understands that there are millions of people who still identify as chavistas…and that those people are protected by multiple layers of guns and nets of privilege and subsidies. That’s the clear-eyed look.

    Lopez rarely addresses even the existence of these people — and THAT’s the real naivete…”

    This. Their differences are clear. But how they handle them is certainly petty. Witness LL’s unnecessary dig at Capriles in his NYTimes OpEd.

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  9. I hope this is just inside baseball from an astute observer. People are getting gassed and shot and if that is not enough for people to forge a common and enduring purpose the whole situation is going the way of full on military rule by a bunch of major assholes.

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      • Precisely, I don’t see mentions of any political platforms. To chavismo believers, everything Capriles, LL and MCM stand for is something that they reject. To the chavismo opposers, everything Maduro stands for is something we reject. Given only those two options, the only alternative is submission by one side, and domination by the other. Given who has more weapons and fewer scruples, guess which side we’re on.

        The key for a peaceful future is to have a platform that meets the requirements of economic sense of the opposition, while meeting the requirements of social support of the chavismo supporters.

        Picking a single voice for the opposition does not cut it. That voice would still need to have something to say to which the *other* side would listen.

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        • Based o his press statements, I’d put Capriles in the 51%, instead of the 14%.

          In the case of Ramos Allup, taking into account his infamous analysis of the Dakazo, I’d put him on the 30%.

          LL, I could put in the 14%.

          Right now the little we hear, that can’t possibly amount to a program, comes from the 51% and then looks to 30% to convince them (because the 14% is smaller and taken for granted).

          We definetely need a Program that comes from the 14% and is palatable to the 51%, to counter Chavismo coming from the 30% and granting concessions to the 51%.

          And yes. UCT is one such proposal. it’s hurdle is, the 14% doesn’t know they like it.

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    • I think there is a terminology problem here. You probably meant PROGRAMME, right?

      In Venezuela, in my opinion, caudillos or proto-caudillos use parties as “platforms” (trampolines in the language of God) to power. They do not have a programme, they do not have a plan for development of the nation.

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      • they do not have a plan for development of the nation.

        Precisamente. And that’s why incessant promotion of the unconditional cash transfer idea, for an immature economic base, managed by the unscrupulous, even before Chávez, is absurd. That is, at this point in Venezuela’s neanderthal development, and for at least another generation, assuming that the current and previous messes, can be cleaned up.

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        • syd, I’m surprised to see you mention unconditional cash transfer! That would be the ultimate platform for mining chavista supporters! Thank you for that example.

          Do you have any other examples of platforms that are based on sound economics that would also mine chavista support?

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          • extorres, you need to take a course on reading comprehension so that you can understand the difference between platform and programme, and know that one is infinitely more preferable for its broader and deeper-based application, rather than its contingency strictly on politics. Helping, too, would be your ability to cite more accurately than “(google)”. No wonder you haven’t reached the stage, if ever, of addressing your theory to peer review, outside of fanciful dreams to the similarly inclined on this blog!

            While you gain more solid citation skills, even in the lightweight world of google (as an example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platform > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_platform), you’ll find this generally understood definition *, assuming you read enough to gain that understanding.

            In the meantime, I suggest you take your latest little mantra of ‘platform’ out of that cabecita of yours, for it’s narrow, darlin’, and doesn’t fit your needs — either for over-arching or getting others to mine information for you.

            * A political party platform or platform is a list of the values and actions which are supported by a political party or individual candidate, in order to appeal to the general public, for the ultimate purpose of garnering the general public’s support and votes about complicated topics or issues. “

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            • syd, I love how you are always exemplifying irony.

              As to my citation, my only mistake was not capitalizing the name, Google, because the definition I listed in another comment was obtained by typing “define platform” in a google search field. The response from that search is a definition by Google, no other source listed. This, you would have discovered had you done some of the very mining you suggest I do.

              The definition you provide of platform is, however quite exactly to what I was referring. Thank, you for confirming my correct use of it. If you disagree, maybe an explanation from you as to why UCT does not meet the criteria of the definition of platform would be useful.

              Most ironic, however, is that your reply to my comment did not answer the single question:
              Do you have any other examples of platforms that are based on sound economics that would also mine chavista support?

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              • Extorres: Keep spinning your attention-needy exercises on this blog, and your flim-flam rationales for voter-centric platforms, guaranteed to fail in the long run, given their superficial and unrealistic underpinnings. I suggest you answer your own question, before deviating — your favourite pastime — and attempting to mine others who have absolutely no interest in your attempts at pseudo-economics.

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            • Oh, syd, the irony. It’s so thick all around you, you’re in the dark and can’t see it. Allow me to shine a light:

              My original comment was about the post pointing to the opposition still focusing on the players rather than on their platforms. Your comments have exemplified that very same failing mentality that focuses on the proposer rather than on the proposal! Delicious irony.

              By the way, you brought up UCT, not me. I even gave you an exit by asking you to point to a different platform, *other* than UCT. But you didn’t. It’s fine by me if you wish to keep supporting platforms that will not garner chavismo votes, but don’t be upset, then, if the post is about you, among others who have learned nothing…

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      • Platform: the declared policy of a political party or group.
        “seeking election on a platform of low taxes” [google]

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  10. Some historians claim that the greatest achievement of Bolivar was not the battles or the campaigns or the effort at launching a Republic but his talent for keeping the patriots more or less united arround a common goal despite the many squables and petty personal animosities that divided them .

    Sometimes he used rousing speeches , sometimes quiet persuasive words , other times he used the firing squad or extravagant praise and generous military promotions. There is a tendency alive in most latin america and specially in Venezuela for disunity , for inner struggles , for political cannibalism .

    The fight is hard and difficult , nothing is clear or final , things can get pretty bad or even worse for the country , and it is precisely when things arent going that well that the challenges to leadership become more pronounced .

    Had a colleague long time ago who said that leading an army in retreat required the greatest gifts of leadership (although he was referring to a company that was facing difficult times) .

    Confronting a full fledge dictatorship that barely conceals its character behind a cosmetic fachade of g string legalism is a vile hard task , which is bound to result in mistakes and blunders and every so often in some advances, There are no black and white winning strategies , just some bets and gaming ploys which yield some benefits and also some heart ache . Thats natural , the thing is to improvize, change tactics when needed , not get demoralized by ocasional drawbacks , and dampen the personal animosities . its all part of the challenge of the long term struggle to get the country back on its tracks !! .

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    • nicely said, though my hopefulness for a “long-term struggle to get the country back on its tracks” is overshadowed by Canucklehead’s soothsaying: the whole situation is going the way of full on military rule by a bunch of major assholes.

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      • Syd: One thing that history teaches us is that when you least expect it , things can change drastically ,at a turn of a dime , that small causes can have big consequences , It may take long , it may take short , but in the end what appears as long shot is actually very often closer than one thinks .!! Look at China , Look at the Grand Soviet Regime, those were for decades very repressive totalitarian regimes . Now they still are authoritarian but much of their original virulence is gone . Maybe at the end what we get isnt exactly the paradise we dreamt of , but just something more sane and rational !! It is very sad when a country goes done not having even given a good fight for the sake of its dignity . I am totally hopeful of Venezuela having a fair chance to become a better country than the one we live in now .!!

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  11. A nice example of why the Venezuelan economy is in shambles:

    ‘Igual tendencia se observó al consultar sobre la política del control de precios, pues más de la mitad (50,8%) considera que “el Estado debe negociar los precios de los productos con las empresas privadas”. Otro 30% cree que “el Gobierno debería aplicar más controles de precios”, mientras que apenas 14% opina que estos deben liberarse.’

    ‘The same tendency was observed when asking about the price control policy, since over half of the people (50,8%) think that “the State must negotiate prices with private companies”. Another 30% believes “the Government should apply more price control measures”, while barely 14% thinks prices ought to be freed.

    http://www.elmundo.com.ve/noticias/economia/politicas-publicas/datanalisis–51–de-la-gente-prefiere-que-el-gobie.aspx

    14%! 14%! What the hell?!

    The good news is that Chavista hardcore price control policy is only supported by 30% of the population (at least 29% too high, though).

    The bad news is that Chavismo is swiftly and quietly moving to the a peace process with business that is desirable by 50,8% of the population, which will make “social discontent” harder to ignite in the medium term (say a year from now).

    The worst news is that the road that would lead to a strong, healthy economy is barely supported by 14% of the population. And based on press statements, I think I can count with my fingers how many oppo politicians actively support it (MCM, OAP,… anyone else?).

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        • J. Navarro, we need to be careful with the interpretation of those percentages.

          For example, people may be replying that they don’t want freed prices merely based on the interpretation that nothing else would be done. If someone asked me, I would reply very cautiously that yes, the prices should be freed, but only if other things are done simultaneously, or even before they are freed. So, I can see why someone may answer that no, not unless other things are done as well.

          For example, would you like to see gas subsidies lifted, most people will say no. Would they exchange gas subsidies for cash, my guess is they would tend to say yes as soon as they realize how much cash we’re talking about.

          Back to the platform, I can see only one way of selling a free market… You know it.

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          • I see where you’re coming from.

            What I mean is that I someone asked me point-blank:

            “Which statement do you agree with the most?
            a) The government should apply stricter price control measures on privately supplied goods and services
            b) The government should negotiate the price of goods and services with private companies
            c) The government should lift price control measures on privately supplied goods and services”

            I’d go with c, in a heartbeat. I knew I was in the minority, I just didn’t know only 14% were with me.

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            • Me too, but most people, especially in Venezuela, may not realize that the question is talking about a theoretical/ideal government, or talking about lifting price controls as a component of a group of measures that attenuate the effects of control lifting.

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  12. Competition is healthy! Leopoldo saw an opening, a void in leadership, and went for it. He orchestrated the surrender with the eye of an epic Hollywood movie and came up with pictures that will probably fill the history books in the future. He is not my cup of tea, but he deserves his chance and has been working hard, hormiguita style, creating his network throughout the country with his party. The big winner in December’s elections was VP. His strategy is working. He has taken the lead in the opposition, for whatever that’s worth. Will this pay off? I don’t know,but everyday he stays in prison is added to his political capital.

    In the meantime, Capriles is correct in sitting this one out. He is betting on a longer term strategy, and it may pay off. He is a Governor and his political capital will depend on his track record, accomplishments, and results. He has to focus on those objectives and should let LL and company rock the boat.

    It bothers me that everyone is longing for the MUD to be something it is not. It is a coalition of competitors. It is not a political party, and Aveledo is not its leader.

    No le pidan peras al horno… Lol

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    • JotaE, I like your comments a lot. Very equilibrated and reasonable. I also advocate fro competition. Each party (persons and organization) should play the games they think is best, after all they are in for the purpose of GAINING power.

      Now, my concern is this, is there even a political game available or is this an illusion we have been forced upon.

      Is there real political competitiveness in Venezuela, or not?

      I see it as being the opium we are feed, through endless election cycles, induced polarization, and by the existence of selected posts available for an “opposition” to keep its hopes.

      Follow the Money some say.

      What % of the National treasury is audited?
      How many separate secret national budgets are there?
      How much situado goes to these opposition conclaves? , as opposed to being managed (mismanaged) by the regime?

      Please!!!! ….borrachitos peleandose por la botella vacia, y nadie engfilandole los canones al elefante en el cuarto.

      The regime is totally in control of Trillions and is not accountable to anyone for its use.
      Todo lo demas is smoke and mirrors

      amanecera y veran!

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