The moral feeling that currently unites Venezuelans is that of bitter acquiescence towards Nicolás Maduro and everything that his name encompasses.
Inside and outside the country, many agree to the seemingly unshakable reality that tyranny will last forever, that nothing will be able to prevent those who have been able to squander the wealth brought to us by the longest oil price boom in the last century. , subjugated two generations and exiled more than a quarter of the population that today should be 31 million, can continue lording over a country where more than 300 political prisoners have been denied due process and more than 800 executions were recorded extrajudicial, counting only the year 2022.
The poverty to which, in all areas of life, what was an immensely rich country, a lively nation of unlimited possibilities, has been reduced in less than a quarter of a century, and which today has Haiti as its only continental parallel, It suffocates the spirit of those who can still be called the luckiest of our diaspora.
In this trance of precariousness and exhaustion, a presidential election is announced again. If he wins re-election in 2024, Nicolás Maduro, who in 2013 looked like an unlikely successor to Hugo Chávez, will ensure power until 2030! What does the Venezuelan political opposition offer in the face of this gloomy perspective? A float of pre-candidates, an exhibition troupe, that poorly vindicates the idea that a democracy governs Venezuela.
After the fiasco of Juan Guaidó and his fictional interim government that lasted five years and ended in the Floridian exile of its owner, leaving a trail of corruption scandals characteristic of the oil industry, the opposition has arranged a primary election.
The general idea is to choose the presidential candidate who will challenge Maduro for office next year, on a date not yet officially announced and which Maduro himself will set for when it best fits Chavista practices of electoral fraud.
The opposition corporation—let’s call it that—, meeting discreetly in a hotel in Panama, appointed last year, after what its factors affirmed was a conscientious selection, a commission of citizens of the highest moral reputation to regulate the tongo—since that is what It is about a tongo—whose winner would not displease Maduro under penalty of disqualification of the candidate.
The board of notables found it convenient that the electoral college be the same one that had enjoyed the support of the regime for twenty years. In a country where, for example, even the Maduro board of directors of the state oil company “lost” three billion dollars in “accounts receivable,” the board of notables judged that the electoral college was so reliable and proof of fraud. such as the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Geneva.
He requested, consequently, that Nicolás Maduro’s own electoral college supervise the selection of the opposition candidate. Up to this point, the electoral martingale was reasonably in line with Latin American tradition until the pre-candidate María Corina Machado raised objections to the electoral college. “Maduro cannot be the one who counts the votes in a fair opposition,” Machado objected.
This was the beginning of a struggle between opposition banners that perhaps would have been less bitter if Machado did not unquestionably lead all the polls. Machado has gained more lengths over the other candidates than the great Secretariat has over her rivals in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.
The vortex of the debate is that of the disqualifications of the Daniel Ortega type with which Chavismo-Madurismo usually gets rid of its adversaries. Absurdly, for the opposition the question of who will replace the already disqualified Machado has become decisive when, as is inevitable, the dictatorship reinstates her. There are, of course, more elements at stake in this succession and the “potable heirs” for the dictatorship. There are mayoralties and state governorships to dispute in the 2025 general elections.
Rarely has the true nature of the Venezuelan opposition and its “dilemmas” been better described than by Professor Luis Eduardo Bruni, who is not a political scientist but a doctor in Molecular Biology and holds the Chair of Media Technology at the University of Aalborg, Denmark. .
“There seems to be a consensus—he states, in an opinion article published on the Venezuelan portal La Gran Aldea—among the supporters of the succession thesis that the heir must be eligible for the regime, which is synonymous with “qualified,” and “To be qualified, a candidate cannot have the chance of winning the elections because if he does, he can be disqualified.”
“The game is not over until it is over,” said the great Yogi Berra, but I have a feeling that Nicolás Maduro will preside, in 2024, at the Bolivarian carnivals commemorating the 200 years of the Battle of Ayacucho, just as Hugo Chávez wanted for himself.
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