Anti-Chavismo goes to elections: keys to understand the move of the counter-revolution

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Source: Misión Verdad / The Dawn News / August 8, 2017

Photo credit: Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information

The main parties of the anti-chavista coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) have announced, slowly and with reluctancy, their potential participation in the regional elections coming December this year.

The most notable and recent of these announcements came from Freddy Guevara, leader of the Popular Will party, who is a member of the leadership that has actively promoted the violence we’ve seen in Venezuela over the last few months. He has pointed towards the “electoral path” as an alternative to achieve the goals of the counter-revolution in Venezuela. But we need to revise these announcements in the light of a broader perspective:

  • Many of the opposition’s parties (Justice First, A New Time, Progressivist Advance and Democratic Action), whom Freddy Guevara now joined with his announcement, will participate in the elections, after discrete conversations between opposition leaders and the Chavista state. Paradoxically, Nicolás Maduro’s so-called “dictatorship” had to actively  persuade these “political organizations” to participate in legal politics. This is an unprecedented fact that dismantles the incongruencies in the anti-Chavista narrative.
  • Now, the opposition will use, as usual, their facade as a political-electoral force. Usually, their practices are on the outskirts of legal politics, and pursue goals of destabilization and overthrowing of the government. Eventually, they turn to political mediation in search for money and power. Them going to urns doesn’t mean we must regard them as separate from their usual activities.
  • They heeded the call of governor elections once their strategy of violent ousting of Chavism and preventing the elections to form a National Constituent Assembly failed dismally. Their mobilizations, blockades, strikes, sit-downs, guarimbas and coordinated and paramilitary violence have caused over 100 deaths. They didn’t manage to meet their highest aspirations. On the contrary, they were left out of the game when the Constituent Assembly was chosen without them participating as candidates, on their own accord.
  • The deaths caused by the violence of the MUD could have been avoided by keeping these actors in legal politics. Now that they’re going to the urns, they will present themselves as political representatives with legitimacy and moral integrity, by trying to hide their record of chaos, violence, death and destruction throughout the national territory. They pray the electorate has no memory.
  • Now, the MUD will have to deal with the disillusionment of their grassroots. This has made them look like Chavismo has them on a leash, and has forced them to participate in regional elections after having affirmed they wouldn’t participate. Those who are more involved in anti-Chavista organized violence will reject those who participate in the elections. But we have to see beyond those violent minorities, which are negligible statistically speaking. We have to look at those that make up the majority among the opposition, who were led to believe that the strategy of violence would be successful.
    Now, disappointed, they no longer believe the MUD to be a true representative of the opposition. They think the MUD helps Chavismo to a certain extent and that the results of deaths and material destruction have been disseminated. They are fluctuating between disappointment and apathy towards their organization.
  • By participating in elections, Anti-chavismo annuls their huge bet on propaganda to delegitimize (at the national and especially at the international level) the National Electoral Council and the elections for the National Constituent  Assembly. After this big effort their decision now seems incongruent. They have legitimized the National Constituent Assembly, and they will have to explain this to their followers.
  • We can’t rule out the possibility of a two-faced strategy by the opposition. They might continue to generate violence while they participate in the elections, just not with visible links between the candidates and the paramilitary organizations. There’s a growing narrative that presents the “resistance” as independent groups that have become separated from the MUD and are not subjected to political control. These elements may continue to generate violence through the strategy of guarimbas.
  • On the other hand, the coup attempt on Paramacay Fort, of which Oscar Pérez claimed authorship, may be replicated, and violence would take an increasingly professional and paramilitary form. These violent episodes might continue to take place, and meanwhile the opposition would claim to have no links with it while they’re in electoral campaign. The MUD benefits from violence: it’s essential to achieve the level of destabilization they need. And it benefits the international opposition even more, as it gives them an excuse to intervene in Venezuela.
  • In relation to this, Marco Rubio is being financed by armed corporations, Israeli funds and oil corporations such as ExxonMobil. Interests in Venezuelan soil and subsoil are fully expressed in the policies of the US senator against the country. Therefore, it is apparent that Rubio and many others expect violence to continue in order to destabilize Venezuela’s political scenario.
  • Now that the coup has failed, violence has been weakened and the MUD is putting on its electoral mask again, the US is taking the first steps to strengthen other fronts. The first result is the immediate and merciless attack on the entire economy, by disproportionately inflating black-market dollar. They attempt to worsen the cycle of economic downturn to increase the opposition’s odds in the election, even if that means sacrificing economic agents (mid-sized businesses and traders) and even opposition supporters who are not exempt from the damage caused by the manipulation of the Dólar Today website.
  • The MUD cannot participate with candidates in the states of Zulia, Apure, Monagas, Bolívar, Trujillo, Aragua and Carabobo, as a result of them being trialed for fraud in those states. However, member-parties of the MUD will be able to run in regional elections.
  • The National Constituent Assembly will play a key role in determining, through its plenipotentiary power, the National Constituent Assembly is in charge of legitimating (or not) the admission of people who have been intellectual or even material authors of crimes as candidates. There’s also a distinct possibility that members of the MUD might use their political seats to protect themselves against paying for their crimes.
  • As of now, not everybody in the MUD is running for elections. The Come Venezuela party, led by María Corina Machado and the Courageous People Alliance led by Antonio Ledezma have been strongly against participating, while People’s Will tries to maintain appearances.
  • Registration of candidates will close next August 17. This gives the MUD only days to debate the distribution of candidacies. It’s unclear whether they will go as a coalition or whether the parties will run separately. The internal disputes are mainly between the parties that publicly promoted violence and those who didn’t. On one hand, Democratic Action, Progressivist Advance and A New Time had a pretty low-profile role in the violent escalade of recent months, and are regarded as the “moderate wing” of the opposition.
  • The leadership of the MUD is internally debating who is capitalizing on the support of opposition grassroots. Which parties are still in the race and which aren’t. The promoters of violence are seen as responsible for a great deal of political frustration, plus damages and deaths. On the other hand, moderates are accused of being servile to Chavismo. These debates will weaken the MUD’s internal cohesion. They will probably reach a deal on how to distribute candidate quotas, which will hardly leave everyone satisfied. The result might be the candidacy of a mix of worn-out Democratic Action members, activists of violence, politicians who appear out of the blue and media faces. This might leave regional representatives unhappy, which would cause parallel candidacies and therefore division of the vote.
  • On the other hand, we need to look at Chavismo. It has come out of this process with renewed morale and political commitment. Hundreds of leaders have emerged with the Constituent Assembly, who will have to continue to encourage and reorganize the Chavista grassroots. This adds to the favorable outcome of the Constituent Elections—a political, statistical and symbolic victory.
  • Chavism, who had been declared almost dead a few months ago, now questions the entire pre-election analysis. It will have six months to build popular, solid and victorious candidacies. To this end, Chavismo counts on a superior capacity of organization and cohesion.
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