"We perhaps misinterpreted consensus of states' elites as majority support"
"The Government has relied on an enormous illusion to entice a significant number of Venezuelans in the short term"
Next to his Christmas tree at home, while sitting on his favorite sofa and tasting some biscuits, opposition leader Ramón Guillermo Aveledo elaborates on the results of the gubernatorial election held in Venezuela on December 16, which resulted in the election of 20 candidates of ruling PSUV party out of 23 offices. Aveledo remarked that the election result is nothing but "a major setback" to opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD). He noted that he has learned from concerns from some renowned figures over how convenient it is to keep up the coalition as the alternative leading group.
"Considering that the coalition has not fallen apart, we made it through such trial. We are also fully aware that this is the right choice." It ratifies that MUD will go over its tactics "so as to bring about a democratic change by election and constitutional means, as well as a program."
-Is MUD still the best choice for Government's dissenters?
-Today we are wondering what is going to happen with respect to the president's health. If we are to face political challenges arising from this situation without the coalition, it will all be more difficult. Some people are fishing in trouble waters; I advise those people to take careful steps. They do not really know what they are dealing with.
-Why do you think voters supported candidates imposed by PSUV instead of those in favor of decentralization?
-It is quite interesting having found out that decentralization turned out not to be a priority for the majority. So we have to stop and reconsider it, not because decentralization is wrong, for God's sake, but because we, the ones in favor of decentralization, have not done a good job or perhaps we have misinterpreted the consensus of states' elites as majority support.
-Is MUD facing difficulties to pass on its message or is it reluctant to understand the majority?
-I believe a greater effort is pivotal. I am confident that great leaders in the country have accepted that the rentier model has become the core of the national ideology, and whenever an alternative arises, we are compelled to convince people that productivity is better than rentier model, and progress is better than just living at random. Sometimes when you swim against the tide, changes must be in connection with people's lives. The Government has relied on an enormous illusion to entice a significant number of Venezuelans in the short term.
-Some opposition leaders have been working on the short term as well.
-Yes, the MUD is against such thing. It is not about being immune to the ecosystem and therefore they shall not feel the temptation to do so, but MUD has projected to alternative democracy a high level of respectability globally, including at home. What is really important here is not to confuse some opinions with the general thought of the public. MUD has been a response to inconsistency, a negative and typical Venezuelan attitude that stems from our short-term vision. The idea of having a Government of National Unity is more pertinent, and the commitment, made on September 26, 2011 by those who were keen on holding the presidential seat, puts aside any differences. Now it is time for all of us to remember that, right? Sometimes we forget, and so do people.
-We are still surrounded by uncertainty over the president's health. How to deal with it?
-We have said this for months. Official statements regarding the disease that the president is suffering from are unfounded. Moreover, the idea of a small opposition, one that does not exist, an opposition comprised by traitors to their homeland, or an opposition constantly vigilant of what is going on so as to take advantage at any moment is nothing but an obsolete and worn-out vision.
-Under this political crisis, what can MUD offer to its supporters?
-We must offer them coherence and responsibility, and we must show them our understanding of reality. In the wake of some conversations held with several leaders from different parties, I believe that is part of their will. They look forward to providing prompt and accurate answers, and being above anything that is smaller. I am fully aware that it ought to be transmitted and we are not doing it. The harder we try, the higher level of confidence that there will be. That helps moderate those who feel attracted to individual actions and those fish that believe are fishers. It is politics time and we must be brave and leave complexes behind.
-What will you do if a new presidential election is to be held?
-MUD will duly solve anything that needs to be done. We are not going to force the pace. We have an interesting combination of experience and youth that sometimes we are not aware of. For their part, Chávez's supporters constantly rely on the president to keep them united and tell them what to do. We have witnessed, in view of their fear to be left alone, out of tune shouts from the vice-president and grunts from the Congress' speaker. I am confident that it is all they can give. It is our duty to encourage responsibility.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
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.