CARACAS, Saturday November 24, 2012 | Update

Carlos Blanco's A Time to Talk, released on November 17

"To address 2013 crisis, it is necessary to join, without exclusions, the "moderate" and the "radical" ones"

Saturday November 24, 2012  12:00 AM
Sorrow and Glories
Were people not so busy in that difficult endeavor of looking for God everywhere, they could see what is evident. Today, learning from Chávez and the rowdy left that is in power could prove to be instructive, because they have experiences that may be interesting to the democratic opposition. They are so evident, so obvious, that you cannot understand that they are there.

One of the skills Chávez can show and that at his time Rómulo Betancourt expressed outwardly from a historical democratic perspective is the necessity of a project of power. That is, the target is not steady, but a mobile one: power. To attain this purpose, Chávez plotted, lead a coup d'état, flirted with abstention, took part in transparent elections and at the end, he found the way: seize power, be legitimized through subsequent and profaned elections and remain there until the body gives out. His project was and is remaining in power, whereas Betancourt's was establishing democracy. In both cases, the method did not replace the goal; participating in elections became an instrument to reach the goal instead of the goal in itself.

The rowdy left that is controlling the State today through a militarist project never had qualms whatsoever about resorting to "every form of struggle," which was an euphemism to say that they could rise up in arms and, at the same time, ask from the National Congress to stop the Armed Forces' offensive against "peasants;" that is, the guerrilla. It is worth recalling the first time José Vicente Rangel ran for president, when he put forward the idea that the left was set out to reach power "even by means of elections."

Today's democratic opposition does not have plans to establish a guerrilla front or stage a coup; among other reasons because the most part of those who are experts on both things are governing. However, it is a contradiction in terms that the opposition has limited itself to go to elections overwhelmed by claims of permanent and official fraud.


Under current circumstances, one cannot assure that the depression among democratic ranks is exclusively due to 10/7 defeat.

The notion that the sensation of grief is rather due to how the main campaign leaders processed the disaster is increasingly present; this has to do not only with the lack of explanations for a defeat that was a "sure victory," but also with the ensuing political, intellectual and spiritual disarmament, the perplexity that was left as sadly byproduct of the defeat. That emptiness of short is hardly filled with calls to vote on 12/6, something that, notwithstanding, has to be done.

The issue of fair election conditions is now in the front burner. The same things that are evident now were evident then, but the leaders stubbornly refused to see them in their dramatic dimension: if you do not fight against the practices conceived by the government and implemented with rigorous obedience by the national election authority (CNE), there is not any possibility that the issue of power in Venezuela can be solved through electoral and democratic means. Nobody is asking for an election authority that guarantees the opposition that Chávez will be replaced, but that guarantees that it is possible, which is essential for democracy to prevail and work. Chávez' political defeat on this terrain is crucial.

This issue has been brought up ahead of 12/16, albeit too late and weak. It could have been done without it promoting abstention, because, as people know, next month's abstention may depend on both the very nature of the election and 10/7 outcome, but in no case on criticism against the election authority.

If people do not strive to change the CNE members so as to assure a fair referee, it is very difficult that eventually coming elections may motivate voters. It is not certain whether the objective is going to be attained, but if you do not fight for it, you will not know even to which extent it is possible.

HISTORY, MY FRIEND, HISTORY! Another matter, in which leaders, Chávez included, have shown their mastery, it has to be admitted, is that they know how to use and have a vision of history. For many, and rightly so, this is a selfish, distorted and generally utilitarian version, but in past events they find the genetic codes and clues of the societies they are set out to transform.

Rómulo Betancourt, Rafael Caldera, Jóvito Villalba, Luis Beltrán Prieto, Gustavo Machado, all from different perspectives, thought about Venezuela. Chávez too. Through this process, they developed a narrative that provided each social class or sector with a place and a future; there they found symbols and answers to Venezuela's enigmas. It suffices to see Chávez who chokes with words like future, project, plan, novelty and others that point far away; but he did not hesitate to resort to the "old" politicians; those wise people of the Venezuelan left-wing politics, who before 1998 were represented by Luis Miquilena, J. V. Rangel, Douglas Bravo and the like, or by personalities from other veins such as Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla and Jorge Olavarría. Yes. They were a bunch of young rebels that did not relinquish their historical search and used it until they were sickened by it.

Now it turns out that today's "new" politicians, in that process to reinvent the wheel, have arrogantly renounced to the historical search; and believe me, it is very difficult to view Venezuela like a country where everything works well. Understanding the Chavismo's historical meaning entails abridging the history of the country, because just like the germ of this tragedy lies in a process that started centuries ago, the struggle for the democratic liberal Republic finds its origins and strength in the same centuries.

But history is not only a proper construction of facts, but resorting to the existing memory of what the country has been and is. In intellectuals, political parties, groups of professionals, culture people, yes, also in poets and painters, you can find the clue to a democratic solution that does not hopefully entail blood, but that will be hardly free of sweat and tears, which, by the way, have abounded.

NATIONAL FRONT. To address the issues of the future and struggles that the unavoidable and colossal 2013 crisis will bring with it, it is necessary to join, without exclusions, the "moderate" and the "radical" ones, the "old" and the "new" ones, political parties and NGOs in a Front that debates, that agrees on big lines and that mobilizes the whole country toward impending challenges.

2013 will be a year when the Commander will have to pay for his implacable economic laws; and if to this situation you add the fight for power inside Chavismo, social struggles will intensify. Who will lead the development of this crisis?

Twitter @carlosblancog

Translated by Álix Hernández

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