No more divisions among Venezuelans; the alternative for democratic Venezuelans is unity.
So sayeth Copei leader Luis Ignacio Planas.
Representatives of up to ten opposition political parties gathered today at Copei’s headquarters in Caracas to create what Planas calls the “Table of Unity.”
Representatives of Podemos, which is led by National Assembly Deputy Ismael Garcia, also attended.
A bit of history: Podemos is the formerly pro-Hugo Chavez faction of Movement to Socialism (MAS) which quit the MAS in 2001 when Garcia and other radical MAS members were battling the late Hector Mujica for control of MAS.
Garcia (and Podemos) was rabidly aligned with President Chavez right up to, during and long after the lethal political violence of 11 April, 2002.
In fact, though Garcia vigorously denies it nowadays, when President Chavez met in Miraflores on 7 April 2002 with the senior military command and top civilian chavistas who conformed (or controlled) the Bolivarian Circles, it was Garcia who made the “presentation” about the street actions which the president’s armed civilian supporters planned to launch against opposition protests.
But in the black years since 11 April, 2002 Garcia (and Podemos) were pushed to the furthest margins as Chavez created his Only Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), handpicked his gubernatorial and municipal candidates, placed only the most trusted (and pliable) chavistas in the Cabinet, etc.
What’s a betrayed turncoat to do? Join a political opposition which has a ten-year track record of chronic failure to find its collective derriere repeatedly, even when equipped with a flashlight, map, written directions and GPS coordinates.
The “Table of Unity” announced by Chavez consists of 11 working tables (mesas de trabajo) on areas like relations with civil society, strategy, program, organization and mobilization, youth, human rights and justice, social issues, international issues, electoral issues and anti-corruption.
Only ten categories here, but maybe the 11th “mesa de trabajo” is tasked with piecing together whatever the other ten mesas de trabajo come up with.
Planas said the participants of the “Table of Unity” will work together to develop a vision of the future for Venezuela (après Chavez).
What the hell have these bozos been doing for the past ten years?
“Trying to survive individually,” says a friend who is married to a longtime Copei activist.
Planas says the political parties represented at the “Table of Unity” will make a “great effort to achieve a consensus, dialogue and discussion to organize ourselves and construct a permanent instance of participation where all the political parties, civil organizatios and guilds can meet together.”
Big Tent bullshit.
The only shared interest the opposition has shown for the past decade is in getting rid of Chavez.
After that, unity is just another dirty word much abused by the oppo.
Besides not having a message, vision or program for the future of Venezuela, the political opposition for a decade has collectively been without even one leader with true national appeal capable of attracting sufficient popular support to challenge Chavez.
International admirers of Chavez – particularly the supremely stupid radical Marxists (oops, progressives) of the US and UK – think he’s some kind of grand global revolutionary leader marching the oppressed poor masses towards the creation of a “new man.”
Pause. Listen. Are Vladimir Lenin, Joe Stalin, Adolf Hitler rolling in their graves unanimously?
But Chavez, to a significant degree, owes his longevity to the fact he’s a one-eyed man in the land of the blind.
Chavez reaches the pueblo, the poor masses, in a direct way that NO other political figures in Venezuela are capable of achieving.
It also helps Chavez that he controls the information flow (ie propaganda) almost completely. When he shuts down Globovision soon the national information blackout will be complete.
Science and Technology Minister Jesse Chacon boasted recently that 70% of Venezuelans have access to the Internet. However, seven out of ten Venezuelans don’t surf the Internet daily looking for news about Venezuela.
Mostly the “pueblo” users of the Internet are into IM chats, e-mails, personal ads looking for hookups, etc.
The “pueblo” still gets its daily dose of printed news from Ultimas Noticias, El Mundo, 2001…and these media are definitely batting for Chavez.
What does the political opposition have?
Planas declared the parties represented at the “Table of Unity” will unanimously support Globovision (and RCTV which still broadcasts by cable).
But Globovision already has one foot in its political grave.
And Public Works Minister Diosdado Cabello, the kingpin of the corrupt narco-terrorist-political network that really runs the show inside the Chavez regime, has declared the Telecommunications Law will be reformed soon to tighten the state’s control over the cable providers.
This means two things: 1) Freedom of information is being garroted in Venezuela, and 2) Cabello likely plans to acquire a big stake in the local cable TV business.
Meanwhile, the “pueblo” has no time to waste listening to a passel of opposition politicos talking about finding a consensus and a new vision for Venezuela.
The “pueblo” is too busy simply trying to survive in the here and now, in a country where real jobs are disappearing as the oil- and non-oil economies implode thanks to Chavez, and where the homicide rate is projected at almost 20,000 for all of 2009 compared with over 14,400 in 2008.
The “political opposition” has wasted ten years, and most of any political capital it may have possessed among voters, engaged in activities analogous to shoving each other to see who wins the right to move the deck chairs around on the Titanic.
But some people survived the Titanic’s plunge into the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps there is also hope that Venezuela’s political opposition will finally find a way to refloat itself.