"Facing away the historical debate is a silly thing"
"A poor ideology is a burden to us"
A doctor of History, graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University, and a professor with Simón Bolívar University, he contends that "history seems fastened to the political speech."
Why does President Hugo Chávez usually give his own version of history?
History will be permanently cited in societies which need an explanation for their present problems. We have, on the one hand, Chávez's speech, which fits in a messianic, charismatic, egotist wording premised on sort of annunciation. On the other hand, there is a leadership that needs a background of crisis in order to emerge, backed by history.
Why, in your opinion, the opposition has kept silent?
In order to understand the opposition, there is need to understand the historical background where Chavezism emerged. Chavezism appeared in the late 1980s and the 1990s in the middle of a crisis that Chávez nicely construed, even though in an interested manner. Unluckily for the society, the elite at that time abode by that interpretation in the absence of a diagnosis or the appropriate ideological tools and they would not defend themselves. Chávez's wording speaks of "rotten" democracy and a "rotten" country formed by "deeply entrenched leaders and oligarchies."
During the campaign for the presidential election of October 7, advocacy of democratic accomplishments reemerged. Does a spontaneous movement to vindicate the past suffice?
Little by little, the Venezuelan society has realized the significance of rescuing components from the historical process. The organized opposition should review the past; not an easy task for we cannot waste time in finding who is to blame. A historical trap lies there, because when you turn your back on a historical event, you are already taking a stance and that has favored the government.
Where is the opposition tangled up?
The opposition must be plural if it is going to be democratic. This means a varied way of construing the events. We have a historical paradox, because the opposition may not stop being plural. However, should it review it past, splitting accusations will pop up. The opposition needs to have a discursive personality; a dilemma hard to face. To give an answer to this conflict, the political wording must be revised; the past must be reviewed to pick up good things able to nurture democratic values and ideologically confront the prevailing speech.
Which components should be rescued by the opposition?
The speech performs two essential functions: mobilize the masses and justify a political action. In order to review the speech, there is the need to rescue values and I think we ought to de-stigmatize the fact that we had covenants. Agreements are the most normal and necessary way of making politics in modern terms; otherwise, we would devour and shoot each another. Institutional dialogue is another component to be retrieved. How comes that power has become personalized (to such an extent) that the president makes use of public monies as he pleases? This is quite serious. Still another component to be retrieved is the impending need of representation for the minorities and the fight against patronage.
During the election campaign of October 7, it was said a lot that "the country has more future than past."
If anything is a burden to us as opponents is a poor ideology. We cherish democracy as an essential value because we have a democratic tradition. Is it that Chávez invented the people's eagerness to vote? Such a process claimed lives and blood. (...) The opposition keeps on disclaiming our past instead of using it to show it as is.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
Why did Gerardo come to Caracas? One day he took the decision, handed the car keys to his father, gave him his share of the cloth business they both owned in San Cristóbal and kissed his wife and two sons goodbye. "He told us he was going to continue fighting for Venezuela," the wife says. That was in mid-2013. He has been imprisoned since May 8, 2014.