The Coordinadora Democrática has a tough job to do. Its members range from Bandera Roja to Copei, going through a wide variety of NGOs with different objectives. Besides this, there are widely different political objectives and egos that need to be taken into account. Add to that the absence of a charismatic leader and a rank and file that is impatient, tired and disillusioned and you got a very difficult organization to manage.
That is why I seldom agree with a lot of the criticism of the Coordinadora Democrática that I read regularly. The Coordinadora is a democratic institution where decisions are reached by consensus. In fact, it represents the antithesis of what the Chavez Government stands for, an organization with debate and consensual agreement on all subjects with no “caudillo” who has to be followed or obeyed.
But it is quite difficult for me to understand how negotiators agreed to a set of rules for the ratification process that are so asymmetrical. According to the regulations approved last October, the ratification process was supposed to take place to have those whose signature was questioned step forward and say they did sign, or to have those who did not sign, go and say they did not.
Instead, CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez said that it had been agreed with the Coordinadora to have people go and say that they withdraw their signature, if they so desired. This of course plays into the Government’s strategy of pressuring Government workers and those that do contract work for the Government to withdraw their signature.
While fair, what I fail to understand is why such an asymmetrical agreement was reached. If those that did sign can go and withdraw their signatures, it would seem to me that those that did sign but their signatures is nowhere to be found, should also be able to express their interest in having their signature count. Fair is fair, no?
While this issue is being discussed with the CNE and Alianza al Bravo Pueblo is going to ask for an injunction from the Supreme Court, I doubt either of those efforts will work. The time to negotiate this was when the regulations for the ratification process were being discussed, not now. I simply fail to understand while one issue was not exchanged for the other by the Coordinadora Democrática. This asymmetry may have sealed the fate of the whole recall process for the opposition.