Carlos Blanco's A Time to Talk, released on May 27
"All those that were not or have not been with Capriles have to join"
Capriles can win
He can win. His campaign needs some adjustments and victory will be possible.
The basis of victory is the desire of change of the majority. It is not that Capriles is today a majority, but he could be on 10/7. The desire of change of those that do not want the current situation to continue is shared today among Capriles, the undecided and Chávez. Chávez? Yes, there are citizens that want a change, but have not still found in the opposition candidate the possibility of getting it and keep the remote hope that President Chávez' reelection would prevent chaos.
The opposition society granted the opposition candidate undeniable laurels in the primaries, but he also received a categorical mandate: the democratic country told him: Mr. Capriles, we have chosen you for you to gather the forces that are today scattered throughout the opposition arena, the undecided and in some sectors of the Chavezism; you have been designated to command October 7 battle. The forces are dispersed; the primaries drew together those of the opposition, but not the others; the mandate since February 12 is for you to attain it from now to 10/7.
Polls say that Chávez has today the highest intention to vote. That is certain, but he can lose if Capriles fulfills the mandate of gathering the forces that are scattered today and that have united in other times. From June to October, there is enough time for the dispersion to become a very powerful weapon. The majority has to focus on fighting a battle on D-day; basically, the middle class that is in the opposition and should vote for Capriles; but if it is not mobilized, it will be lethargic and even a sector might not vote.
OPEN TO CRITICISM. The notion that criticism weakens the candidacy and the opposition is wrong. That is a pro-Chávez notion; the caudillo forbids his followers from dissenting, because that supposedly damages him. That is an antidemocratic view.
Capriles and his team should be open to dissenting opinions, because they can have at least one gram of certainty; they are reluctant to accept criticism. The worst crime that those that are managing the campaign can commit is confiscating it and facing criticism with petty jokes, sarcasm and disqualifications.
Journalist Rafael Poleo has said harsh things in the style that characterizes him. The accuracy of the things he has said is part of the debate, but his right to say it or not cannot be questioned. To be sure, accusing him of being part of the "old politics" is not just using a preferred term of the late Guillermo García Ponce; it is not realizing that all relevant leaders that surround the opposition candidate, except Julio Borges and Leopoldo López, come from that "old politics."
POLLS. Polls are influenced by the medium; they are not submitted to any independent audit and are financed by sources that are not publicly known. These conditions, among others, give rise to suspicion. However, if all of them say today not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but today- that Chávez has the majority, far from engaging in a clash with pollsters, what you have to do is getting free from the confiscation they have exercised over political leaders in general. It should not be forgotten that in the primary elections, polls were used to promote a polarization that, in the end, translated into a drop in Pablo Pérez' chances and, in a much lesser degree, those of the other candidates. Now, in this new scenario, Chávez uses them against the entire opposition. That has to be stopped. Polls should not be used either to promote the opposition candidate or to defend against the use Chavezism makes of them. Reliable polls are those that behave reliably and are discrete.
AMPLITUDE. Those who voted for Capriles in the primary elections and, of course, the millions that did not participate in that election process have to feel that his candidacy belongs to them. It is not enough for them to want to do this; the candidate and his closest collaborators have to generate a real, not only formal, inclusion trend. There is a hidden competition to see who will prevail, who is going to partially reap more fruits in the election campaign.
The interest of the democratic forces is that Capriles develops a successful campaign, which gathers the discontent majority and that leads him to victory on 10/7. For a democrat that lives inside an authoritarian regime, the second place is no consolation at all; just like the Argentinean military did after the war of Las Malvinas. There is not a second best in this agonic fight for freedom.
All those that were not or have not been with Capriles have to join, but he and his closest friends have to promote peer participation and discard those that are collecting bills, the "offenses" (in fact, differences). By the way, the author of these lines knows this for a fact.
CHÁVEZ IS THE COMPETITOR, FOR NOW. The opposition candidate should not insult Chávez and nobody has suggested him to do it. This fight is a matter of two: President Chávez and Capriles; they both are on the ring and it is impossible for them not to fight tooth and nail. Capriles does not have to follow Chávez' agenda, but he cannot permanently ignore disqualification, disdain, ridicule and jokes. This is not something personal for Capriles; whether he is totally unaffected or not; to fulfill the mandate he received in February, he has to lead the host he committed himself to liberate, without being insulted. It can be something gradual, well thought, rhythmic, but to dare defeat Chávez, he has to show that he has the guts.
VALUES RATHER THAN PROGRAM. Capriles has to underscore the values that are inherent in democracy. Not as an election strategy, but because these values will allow him to set a contrast with Chávez and Chavezism. Capriles represents freedom; Chávez, oppression. Capriles represents confidence; Chávez, fear; that confidence will make it possible not only to overcome the terrible malaise of insecurity or violence, but also receive foreign investment that will assist in the challenge of development. Capriles represents effort, work and creation. Chávez represents destruction.
Here is the crux of the matter. Compete with Chávez by means of offers is nonsense, because if you offer one hundred, the caudillo will offer one thousand. However, President Chávez cannot respond to issues like freedom, private property, absence of fear, security, inclusion of those that are different, rescue of the national sovereignty, the narco-State, the military institutional defense. In this arena, Chávez loses and Capriles has huge advantages.
These are ideas to help Capriles to win. It is possible and this possibility has to be rendered viable with amplitude...
Translated by Álix Hernández
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."