Opposition Candidates I: The year of Teodoro by Eduardo Mayobre

January 12, 2006

This article begins a new feature of The
Devils’ Excrement. I will invite anyone to write articles for my blog either
pro- or against any of the opposition candidates who are supposedly running or
considering running at this time. There will be no specific rules, other that the
articles should have good grammar, not be too long and respectful of everyone. I
will try to mix them in so that it does not become overwhelmingly a discussion around
a single name. At this time, the following are the candidates that are being
mentioned: Julio Borges, William Ojeda, Roberto Smith, Manuel Rosales, Teodoro
Petkoff and Oswaldo Alvarez Paz. I will create a new category eventually with the
articles published.

I had planned to do this later, when the candidates
had finally announced, but various people have been asking about the subject
and someone today made a very anti-Petkoff comment that was too short for me to

The first article is one written by
Eduardo Mayobre a former Vice-Minister of Finance who I have translated before
and I find is quite erudite and writes well. On Tuesday he wrote this article
promoting Teodoro Petkoff as the best candidate for the opposition.

Let the discussion begin!

The year of Teodoro by Eduardo Mayobre

2006 is a year for presidential elections

There is already one candidate that
pretends being that “ad aeternum”: the current President. We need one that opposes
him and is capable of defeating him. There are many people looking for him and
some aspiring to be him. Each person wants to have one made to his or her own measure.
However, it happens to be necessary that the opposition candidate be a single
one. The appropriate person exists and has even been mentioned a few times. It
happens to be Teodoro Petkoff, who is widely known.

Petkoff fills all of the requirements to
represent the 75% to 80% of Venezuelans that the last 4th. of December did not
vote for the officialdom. His disadvantage is that he lacks a political party. A
paradoxical situation if you consider that Teodoro has been all of his life a
party man and even founded one that awoke hope and managed to become important.
The parties of certain scope, on the other ahnd, lack a presentable candidate.

Because of this, at least in theory, an alliance
between parties and the Director of Tal Cual would seem obvious and other
organizations of the so called civil society and other forces with political influence
could also be part of it.

If such an alliance could be finalized,
the year 2006 will be the year of Teodoro, in which his dream to reach the
presidency of the republic could become a reality and begin the transformations
that could drive Venezuela
simultaneously to prosperity and justice. It is true that there are some leaders
of political parties that aspire to conduct the destiny of the country, without
any credentials other than their youth and ambition. But they would not damage
a national opposition candidacy, even if they persist in their adventure.

At the most, they would fulfill the role
that was played by the old conservative German Borregales in the first
elections of our democracy and in the best of cases the one that was played, as
an illusion for the future, by Teodoro himself some years later.

The other disadvantage of Teodoro is that
he is blond. You now notice it less because his hair has grayed with the years.
But he is not a blond from the oligarchy, like the one Florentino mentions, but
the son of refugees, which had to abandon their country because they were
educated and progressive.

That in itself could be an advantage.

Because with so many ethnic presidents and
candidates (including Evo Morales who copied from Petkoff his party’s name,
MAS) an ethnic origin like being Bulgarian, exotic for Latin-Americans, would represent
a healthy pluralism. For the powerful with money (old money, the new one is in
the forts) the problem is not that he is blond but that he has never allowed himself
to be controlled or seduced by the plutocrats; and that he has always been a
defender of those that have nothing.

Teodoro Petkoff is at the same time a
cultured man with political experience, a rare combination. About his culture
we can mention his books about Czechoslovakia,
Socialism for Venezuela
and his most recent, Two Lefts. As for experience, we can not forget that he
has confronted difficult situations, like the fight against the dictatorship of
Marcos Perez Jimenez, like being a member of the communist party and leaving it
without renouncing his ideals, like being in jail and escaping from the military
hospital and the San Carlos fort, like being a member of the guerillas and
accepting peace and the defeat, and last and not least difficult, like being Minister
of Rafael Caldera. In those multiple and diverse experiences he has demonstrated
being a man who does not do crazy things, not even when he embarks in enterprises
which are not that sane. .

Today Petkoff is a man who is fair minded and sensible, with a great ability
for political analysis, as he shows daily in his newspaper. A dialectician would
say that he is a mediated social democrat, in the sense that he has reached
that position thru or via his incursions in the communist and liberal extremes.
He knows all political positions and because of that, he could be the best
mediator among them and bring peace to the country. He is not only a man of the
center, but a centered man, which is what this country needs, ripped by
uncentered extreme positions.

Nevertheless, he has never stopped being
a man of the left with his sensitivity for the problems of workers, for exclusion
and poverty.

All of these political virtues, as they
used to say in the old days, embellish his personality.

Political parties do not count with anyone
with the same qualities that can gather 80% of the population that does not find
it fitting to vote nor see Alo Presidente. They have some leaders that could benefit
form a Petkoff Government, necessarily one of transition, to educate themselves
or acquire the charisma that they lack today. The alternative is to wait for 2030
and enter the ring after the Government of Nicolas Maduro or one of his mates.

That is why, if they are sensible, they have
no other option than to back the candidacy of Teodoro Petkoff, who is still
thinking about the possibility, as they say, or lending his name. But that he
would not think about it twice if he had the full backing of the political and
civil society.

I want to be on the record by saying that I have no contact with Petkoff and I
have no inhibitions to advance his name, because the matter is so evident that
it is the same to mention it before or after. 

The other possibilities that have presented themselves would mean playing the
loser. And neither Venezuela
nor the opposition can afford that luxury.

Summing up, 2006 will be the year of Petkoff or
the year of Chavez. To imagine other alternatives is to pedal in the air.

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