"Chávez is responsible for Amuay"
"The opposition is morally obliged to protest and demand for holding those who are responsible" "Capriles will face a difficult situation and a Government of National Unity will be needed"
Massacres in jails, the most serious accident in the oil industry, bridges are falling apart, the infrastructure is in ruins, Chávez booed by a section of the working class. This conjunction of facts is happening by sheer chance?
It is the confluence of a series of lines of incompetence. Many people and myself have repeatedly denounced the poor management quality and the utter propaganda in the worst sense of the term (refusal to see the facts that contradict a previously adopted ideology). What happened in Guayana is the reflection of the basic enterprises crises. When the workers protested against Chávez (despite the fact that it was a pre-selected and trustworthy audience), it revealed only the tip of the iceberg. And of course, all of this has consequences.
And those consequences would have impact over the election results?
In regular circumstances and in a population who is on the alert, it should have devastating consequences. Just imagine the political cost that such a tragedy would have entailed to other governments, such as those of Luis Herrera or Jaime Lusinchi. It would have destroyed them five weeks before the election.
When such situations take place, it is up to people to be aware of it. Sometimes I wonder, what else does it take for the people to realize that this is an intolerable situation? Fourteen years of disaster, and especially these past four years, have been so serious that it should be enough for the government to hit rock bottom, electorally speaking.
Why do you say "should"?
That is a matter one can question regarding the country. Why there is not a generalized conviction that this is an intolerable situation? Why the government has a minority of supporters (something inconceivable, in my opinion) that will be defeated in any case? There are many answers: we have lost our capacity to be astonished, the nearly religiously relationship of Chávez (with his supporters), the huge amount of money rolling in the streets. Those facts only explain some elements, but in reality, the situation we are living should be patent.
Is a resident of Caracas' slums, adversely affected by the collapse of a bridge, an inmates' massacre or a devastating oil refinery explosion?
If you ask me those questions one by one, the answers could be no. But whether a person is or not adversely affected, one suppose that that person living in a slum has an idea of the implications of a disaster, even though that person is not directly struck by it.
Maybe, unlike what is stated in the Chavezism collectivist discourse, everybody focuses on solving his/her own problems (which is logical)?
For most people, the government problem is real and practical and it strikes them as individuals in one way or another. If the Cúpira bridge fell apart and a person was going to travel to eastern Venezuela, that person is adversely affected. The same happens to the relatives and friends of the inmates, and so on. As matter of fact, we have reached a point of Venezuelan dignity. We do not have to live in such a country and that is something that every Venezuelan should reflect on. And I believe that reflection is taking place because, in utilitarian terms, it would be enough simply to give money to 51 percent of the population to insure eternal power, but it does not work that way.
Maybe it does work that way?
That partly explains the support for Chávez, where there are other elements involved such as militarism and opportunism. But I think that right now we are facing a minority. In the meantime, there is a majority aware of the need to make Chávez step down. It is true that there are people who are doing fine in their personal life, but they do not want to live in a mistreated, poorly managed, and manipulated country just for getting some oil money.
How do you see the way Capriles has behaved in a scenario where his contender has to put out so many fires in the home stretch of the electoral campaign and while he does so, he accuses the opposition of being scavenger?
To say that whoever protests against Amuay's tragedy is a vulture that wants to take political advantage of the situation is extremely cynical. Chávez has a lot of nerve and he reveals it with this false accusation. Certainly, there is grief, condolence, and solidarity with the victims and their relatives. But there is also an outcry of outrage: How this accident happened? Who is responsible? And of course, it is well known that, beyond the concrete cause of this tragedy, there is the issue of maintenance. That is the background of Amuay's tragedy.
Is Chávez responsible for those fatalities?
Absolutely. And it is unacceptable to say that one is a vulture for denouncing it. The opposition is morally obliged to protest, criticize the incompetence and fiercely demand for holding those who are responsible, and not only for the accident in Amuay refinery. The situation in Yare prison is a comparable tragedy because it hits a particularly sidelined sector of the population.
I asked you about how Capriles deals with this situation.
In Amuay's case, he has had a firm, discrete, and respectful attitude. He has demanded for holding those who are responsible and has voiced founded criticism. The strategy he has adopted has produced good results, in keeping with his character and his political abilities. It is the result of the synchrony between his personality and the strategy he adopted.
Translated by Andreína Trujillo
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."