A Trapiche Viejo, Caña Nueva

The ruling PSUV party did what the united political opposition is incapable of doing.

About 38% of the PSUV’s registered members voted in the party’s 2 May primaries, choosing 110 candidates for the 26 September National Assembly elections in which 165 seats are in play.

President Hugo Chavez, also the PSUV’s president, will meet with senior party leaders (i.e. his closest confidants) to select the other 55 candidates who will complete the PSUV’s roster of 165 candidates.

Almost 100 of the candidates chosen by PSUV voters on 2 May are fresh faces.

Chavez regime propagandists already are spinning the results as proof that Bolivarian socialism is more democratic, inclusive and participatory than the opposition’s style of democracy.

In contrast, less than three-dozen of the 165 legislative candidates fielded by the “united” opposition are new faces. Moreover, only 22 of these candidates were chosen in primaries; the rest being nominated by “consensus” within the Unitary Democratic Table (MUD).

Our conclusion: MUD’s masters – Accion Democratica, Primero Justicia and Unete – have screwed the pooch again.

The Chavez regime has a focused strategy, which is to retain control of at least two-thirds of the National Assembly in September’s elections.

The 55 candidates that Chavez will choose in coming weeks certainly will include his closest associates, the true hardcore revolutionaries whose loyalty he can count on.

However, the almost 100 new PSUV faces do, arguably, represent the popular will of the PSUV members who participated in the party’s primaries. This group of candidates also legitimizes the regime’s claim that the revolution is open to all true socialists.

The PSUV’s 165 candidates also have an insurmountable advantage over the opposition in terms of financial, logistics and material resources available to their campaigns.

The Chavez regime will see to it that the PSUV’s campaign “message” is seen and heard everywhere in Venezuela.

But MUD doesn’t have squat.

The opposition has no perceptible vision or message, except perhaps “quitate tu pa’ ponerme yo.”

The opposition also has no financial resources to mount effective multi-media campaigns. This is not necessarily insurmountable.

Financial constraints probably can be overcome significantly if the candidates go out in person to pound the pavements in their respective districts. Go out and meet voters, engage voters in discussions, listen to what voters say.

However, most of the same old tired faces in MUD’s consensus slate of candidates have never been politicians who burn shoe leather for votes. They feel entitled, but they’re not street politicians and most have never represented or had any real contact with their pueblo.

MUD’s dominant parties – led by exclusionary dinosaurs like Henry Ramos Allup, Omar Barboza, Manuel Rosales and Julio Borges – don’t really appeal to anyone outside their own clannish groups.

In fact, polls consistently show very high levels of voter rejection of traditional opposition party leaders.

Venezuelans are increasingly fed up with President Chavez, but they don’t want to see the opposition dinosaurs back in power – ever.

However, try telling that to the dinosaurs. Come 26 September, the Chavez regime may not have to rig the results in its favor, thanks to MUD.


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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3 Responses to A Trapiche Viejo, Caña Nueva

  1. Lazarus says:

    Frank, I would like to agree, but as Gringo points out it is the same old dinosaurs making the decisions, the same one’s who called for the boycott. Another part of the problem is people will again have to stick their necks out to vote opposition, with repercussions from the government if they are found out. So, the next question is, who will take the chance? Less than necessary to take back a majority of the seats. The opposition NEEDS a strategy to take a significant majority, with fresh ideas and the marbles to take a stand against an increasingly desperate minority in power.


  2. Frank says:

    Gringo. Good article as always. You are heavy on criticism to the MUD leaders but they seem to be the only ones with a plan, a poor plan but a plan nonetheless to take away some seats. So in my view I think we need to support those guys. The hope is that if they retain some power they will be more democratic than the incumbent. The alternative would only make it easier for Chavez to advance his agenda. The worst mistake made was boycotting the AN election last time. For the same reason, I believe we need to support the opposition with all its faults. Just my 2 cents. I haven’t lived in Vzla for 15 years but follow it closely so apologies if too disconnected from reality.


    • anonymous says:

      @Frank The worst mistake made was boycotting the AN election last time.

      Many of those advocating this rather atypical boycott strongly suspected that given free reign, Hugo Chávez would probably greatly harm his image as all triumphant supreme leader and as a viable candidate to win elections and continue in power in and after 2012. Conjoined to this contention is that, had the opposition been able to conserve its niche in the National Assembly, the chavistas would’ve found a “slick” way to rout them any which way, as they had done so many times in the recent past. For evidence, you have only to look at the plethora of ways the Reglamento Interior y de Debates had been modified to circumvent the limitations posed by opposition representatives.

      In light of this, it can most likely be considered as a conceded battle, but not a mistake.

      Sun Tzu would say that “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.”


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