Carlos Blanco's A Time To Talk, released on July 22
"The presence of an opposing candidate has created an interesting gravitational pole"
A revolution gone trite
Not only is there an ill man, but also there is a sick, downtrodden, foul-smelling system. Nothing can hide Hugo Chávez's audacity in yearning to stay in power for at least 20 years (he has expressed his desire for even more); that is almost a full generation. Many disorders are evidenced therein: a man who sees himself irreplaceable, believing that no one around can do what he does, but even worse is the fact that he does not regard himself as a normal person, who would be able to walk freely through the streets of Venezuela or as a person detached from power, one who the people relate to and admire; he thinks only about power, and the prospect of not being in it becomes a personal tragedy.
A second disorder is evidenced in the people surrounding him. Venezuelans have traditionally been mouthy, zealous and rebellious; it is quite strange to witness the degrading submissiveness of the president's collaborators who endlessly praise his virtues, values, characteristics and qualities, without such blatant level of flattery causing them any sort of shame. These grown men and women, having amassed their share of life experiences, are basically brought to their knees by the virtues they see in the Commander. One of them has even said that they all want to be like him. Another one weeps every time the Chávez makes a sentimental remark; they all laugh at the miserable jokes their boss makes in referring to anyone who opposes him. Some may show a bit of weariness, but no one dares to discuss the issue openly or even confidentially because the last one who proposed in a small group to discuss presidential succession was snitched on.
A third disorder is evidenced in the hundreds of thousands followers of Chávez. There is no doubt that fear abounds, but there are also true signs of support. Even though the regime has made a huge effort at redistributing wealth given the high fiscal revenues attained, poverty is still acute and living standards low. Poverty measured through income has decreased, but the Misery Index (unemployment plus inflation) remains high. Nevertheless, it is evident that there is still a high percentage of Venezuelans that, despite current conditions, feel that Chávez represents them. Research on this issue is needed to prove that the resentment displayed by the caudillo, obscenity as a basis for human relations, disrespect to others and sarcasm by those in power towards those who are not, resonate with the deep cultural core of a significant sector of the country.
Triteness abounds. The country turns its head. In addition to firm and radical opposition, there is a section of society that has benefitted from the Bolivarian chaos or does not believe in anyone else or is simply finding ways to survive, but is now looking for a way out. Henrique Capriles seems to be the option for those who want to open their eyes and see.
The presence of the opposition candidate has created an interesting gravitational pole attracting many who drift in that direction not only for political reasons or for opposing the government but also for wanting a change: in the players, language, colors, attitudes, sounds, fears...
The government knows that Capriles stands for more than just a political proposal and is becoming a way out of an oppressive, unbearable, toxic and violent situation. As evidenced by polls, it is obvious that Capriles is on the rise. This evolution explains Chávez's and his cronies' verbal violence toward Capriles.
Capriles' candidacy grows. The road ahead is difficult and decisive. It is an option resulting from the free deliberation of a democratic society that found him as their best representative. No one has the right and I will put this in a deliberately yet diaphanously confusing manner to sacrifice what Capriles represents on the grounds of partial interests; that right does not pertain even to the candidate himself. The opposition gave him the power to round up the troops, guide them and pit them against Chávez and to come out victorious. He was not appointed to build a party or create momentum for the 2018 elections or pave the way for anyone else. A similar and very strong power was previously granted to Enrique Mendoza, then to Manuel Rosales. If the goal is fulfilled, may God, the country and every living creature be thankful. If it is not, then may they furiously demand more than mere explanations.
Translated by Félix Rojas Alva
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."