Date For Primaries Is Feb. 12th. 2012: Tell Me Why It’s Good, Tell Me Why It’s Bad

April 14, 2011

(Have we ever won an election with the current political system?…No… Then, Why do we want to change it?)

So, the LODO (Los Organizados Democratas de Oposicion), otherwise known as the MUD, have chosen a magic date for the primaries, February 12, 2012, or 02-12-2012, which is not the day the world will end as some claim, that happens to be 12-21-2012, a full ten months later.

Given the very limited experience in Venezuela with primaries to select a candidate, I am surprised at the vehemence of some of the arguments.

The main argument I have heard is that this is not enough time to project a candidate against Chavez. Well, let me remind my readers that in the best known primary in my history, that of Oswaldo Alvarez Paz as candidate of COPEI, which took place on April 25th. 1993, the candidate was selected seven months before the election and proceeded to deflate itself in less than two months. (Even though the primary was made to select the candidate for COPEI, that party allowed anyone in the Electoral Registry to vote)

Then, there is the AD primary to select between Luis Beltran Prieto Figueroa and Gonzalo Barrios the candidate for President. This one took place on September 25th. 1967, less than three months before the election. Prieto Figueroa surprised his party, winning 65% of the vote and 75% of the party’s “Seccionales”. The party decided Prieto was too far left to become President and divided in two. In less than three months Prieto went from front-runner to obtaining less than 20% of the vote in fourth place, with Barrios losing narrowly to Caldera 29.1 to 28.2%. Just think all that happened in that brief period of time.

In 1978, Luis Piñerúa Ordaz defeated Jaime Lusinchi in a primary held mid-year, only six months before the election (more or less, can’t pinpoint date), in the last primary held by Accion Democratica. He lost the election, despite having the full resources of Carlos Andrez Perez’ Government.

So, these primaries held much closer to the Presidential Election date than the proposed date by the LODO, proved to be quite dynamic and curiously, in all cases, the winner lost in the end, despite being ahead at the time of the primary.

So, it is not clear to me that this is “too late” or does not give the winner “enough time”, on the contrary, it seems that it gives the candidate too much time to blow up his candidacy, make mistakes or whatever. He or she may simply “peak” too early. Ask Irene Saez, front runner extrordinaire in the 1998 elections two years before they took place. As Chavez rose (He was not in the top three in May, by September he was leading), she dropped like a stone and various parties, including Causa R and COPEI simply withdrew their support. She got less than 3% of the vote.

Talk about peaking too early.

But in the end, primaries are supposed to give voters a choice, but also are supposed to give candidates a chance. A chance to show who they are, to get well known, to appear in events, project their image. Within that democratic idea or ideal, what matters is the exposure to the candidates in the primary, not that of the eventual winner. So, this would suggest the later the better.

Given all that, my feeling is that 02-12-2012, may actually be too early, not too late…

What do you think? Is this date good, or bad? Tell me why!

41 Responses to “Date For Primaries Is Feb. 12th. 2012: Tell Me Why It’s Good, Tell Me Why It’s Bad”

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  8. A. Gil Says:

    I totally agree. It’s foolish to argue that it’s too late. The future is not bright and without an opposition candidate all the problems belong to the government. It’s important to recall during the last USA election when the credit crisis the famous meeting at the White House.

    In Venezuela anything can happen, and ironically and ideally the opposition will not come from an opposition party or candidate but from society itself (e.g. hunger strikes). And it’s Chavez that has to deal with these grievances and issues…

    Chavez will regret the fact that he neutralized the opposition, and will feel that power is a lonely and nasty business when you’re incapable of delivering policy and actions in the people’s interest.

    This is a country in permanent crisis, and a candidate will be asked to do things in the nation’s interest and not necessarily in the opposition’s interest. And experience reminds us that Chavez doesn’t have any qualms whatsoever to take advantage of this. In this regards what better example than the “Ley Habilitante”. And in case that there’s a need for a united country the MUD is there.

    Moreover, the fact that Primero Justicia has complained about the decision it’s once again a sign of how impulsive their leadership is. I have my reservations in regards to Borges, it’s not the first time that this organisation acts in this manner. And politically this is a sign of weak judgement, and lack of understanding of how real politics works.

  9. firepigette Says:

    February sounds like about the right date for primaries.As it’s better not to have it too soon so we can keep the attention focused on Chavez and also have all the primary candidates go around promoting the cause of the opposition.This way they will have a wider reach and also present a more dispersed target for Chavez’s election.The moment the oppo candidate has been chosen, Chavez will unleash his shock and awe against him.This is more relevant than the fact that the oppo candidate will have less time to campaign for himself.Ultimately it will not be about what the oppo candidate can say or promise but rather about the people deciding they have had enough of Chavez.

    The message of the opposition should be:

    Chavez is not really a candidate.The democratic candidates are only those running in the primaries.Those will be the real elections, and its winner will be the only alternative to dictatorship.

    The opposition candidate cannot count on having anything approximating an honest debate.It would be the equivalent of being in a televised debate with your opponent where you can make a 2 minute remark followed by a half rebuttal of your opponent.The imbalance of money, TV and other media outlets in favor of Chavez is so gigantic that the debate cannot really developed.

    Everyone knows that if the opposition candidate wins the elections, he is not going to be allowed to just step in and become president.Chavez and his generals have stated very clearly that if this were to happen, the army, and the Chavez militia would take over.So basically what is being done is an act of resistance where the winning candidate of the opposition becomes a focus against dictatorship and exposes it as such.

  10. FC Says:

    “as El Tocuyo, Guanare, Calabozo, Maturín, El Tigre, Guacara, Turmero, Cumaná, Ocumare del Tuy, Cagua, Mariara or Carora.”

    Do Yaritagua and Punto Fijo count? You’d be surprised at how many people have MSN over in those little towns.

  11. ErneX Says:

    I agree J.E.

    Being a raging anti adeco won’t do any good and yeah we need those guys in and the votes their are going to provide.

  12. m_astera Says:

    Of possible relevance?

    “Female Colombian snipers ‘fighting to defend Col Gaddafi in Libya’

    “Female Colombian snipers suspected of belonging to the Marxist guerilla group FARC are fighting as mercenaries defending Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, according to rebel forces.”

  13. J.E. Says:

    The more I read all the critical statements against the MUD in a lot of places on the opo blogosphere the more I realize that it is going to be very hard to beat Chavez, not because they will cheat us, but because we will shoot ourselves in the foot. People: we are trying to form a wining alliance! If we start by bringing down the people we need to win, then all hope is lost. We need every single one of those dinosaur adeco votes as they represent ⅓ of the votes the opposition got in 2010. Great, lets kick them out as Juan is proposing over at CC. That is a winning strategy! Politics is all about forming, maintaining, and growing alliances.

    On the contrary, I have to take my hat off to what the MUD has accomplished! They have a plan! They have established some structure and some rules that will help them figure out the different scenarios. They now have a date when the primaries will be held and all the political parties that are part of the alliance have accepted these rules. Awesome!

    Now let’s focus on the campaign! Let’s build all those candidates, not tear them down! Let’s ask for the dates of the debates! Not just one, but several! Let’s have a civil and rich discussion! Let’s exercise internal democracy not just as an abstract goal but as a day to day practice.

    Let’s build an opposition movement in harmony and peace, with mutual respect, as the sample of the country we want to have.

  14. J.E. Says:

    The time to discuss if 12F12 is a good or bad date has passed and focusing on it can only divide us. It has pros and cons, like any decision in life. Now we need to look at the risks inherent with the date and prepare strategies to mitigate those risks. Let’s focus on how to make the primaries successful. Unity is only achieved if we work at it.

  15. Antonio Says:

    Chavez has already set up his mercenary violent militia in case he loses the election. The oposition still has time to support peaceful pressure groups in case it wins the election. The students are prepared to help. Also those brave people in hunger strike. If the opposition parties are not prepared to do this themselves (when was the last time you saw AD on hunger strike?) at least it could show some public support.

  16. megaescualidus Says:

    February 12 is definitely not too late. If anything it might be too early. It gives Chavez plenty of time to “attack and destroy” whoever is the candidate of the MUD. On the other hand, perhaps the MUD didn’t want to repeat the fiasco of Rosales’s 2006 presidential bid, when too little time was left from the time he was finally elected “the” candidate and the election date. From this standpoint it does seem the MUD has actually learned a little bit in the past couple of years.

    More importantly to me is who the candidate will be? Who in the MUD can carry votes across the entire country (not just two or three large cities), and stand up to Chavez when Chavez’s plan is not to loose. Chavez has been strategizing for this moment for years, and the MUD, no doubt, is “en pa~ales” on this. I’m very sure the MUD will be outstrategized in the 2012 elections (they have always been, except for the referendum of 2007).

  17. Kepler Says:

    Protect the votes? Do I send you what I got from esdata?
    The opposition parties are not paying attention to that because they want to believe Venezuela is just like their fief in Baruta or Chacao or Northern Valencia.
    We missed a huge amount of actas and many of “our candidates” seem to be actually guys from the PSUV.

  18. torres Says:

    I don’t think the candidate will win or lose the election; the platform will. We need to know the platform first so that we can decide which candidate is a better flag carrier for the platform. This also serves as a emergency plan, in case the cadidate is take out by the chavez machinery; the flag would get picked up immediately.

    If we don’t have a platform by Feb12, then it’s too soon a date. If we have a platform before then, Feb12 could be sooner, but no need. Feb 12 is fine, just get a dang platform (and a plan to protect the votes).

  19. An Interested Observer Says:

    Did you read JC’s take on things? . Key quote follows:

    “the following weekend is the beginning of Carnival, and the weekend after that is the continuation of carnival. So that shoots down the following two weekends altogether.

    After those two weekends comes March, but the CNE had already told the opposition they couldn’t organize primaries in March because it collides with the planning they have to do for the other elections”

    According to that, a primary can NOT be any later. And being that late runs the risk of one bump driving it off the rails, derailing the entire primary and pushing the MUD candidate decision into a backroom, just like old time.

    Now I’m not in a position to say if it’s true or not, but it’s both plausible and serious enough that it seems you have to take it into account. As many have said here, you can’t apply thinking like you would in the U.S. – which has no CNE to meddle in things, and a well-established history of primaries that no one intends to interfere with. Magic realism is often the hard, cold reality, especially in politics.

  20. colon Says:

    I guess the date is too late. Not that it would matter much anyway. I’m afraid there is no way to stop micomandante reelection.

    Agree with Island Canuck that at least a 2nd round runoff or a multinominal system (as proposed by Prof Fidel Gil according to Eddie Ramirez’s article is required to force more unity.

    I predict that in february a candidate such as Capriles R will be selected with 15% tops of the votes, and he will not be able to win.

    Hope to be wrong, but in venezuela, at least in my life, the next government is always worse than the predecessor and kakistocracy is the norm.

  21. Kepler Says:


    I think we won’t get rid of Chavez with New Age forces.
    We need simple going to people and talking to them. It is not, I agree, about some ideal programme or something like that, but hell, those “national leaders” need to learn how to talk to Pedro Perez and Yubilsay Pacheco. They don’t.

    Stop mixing New Age with Venezuela, please.

  22. firepigette Says:


    I do know that, but I am in constant contact with many in Venezuela, from the small towns where my family and friends live :El Tigre, San Juan de los Morros, San Casimiro, Carupano, El Sombero, Valle La Pascua, Margarita, Maracaibo, Merida y los pueblitos cercanos, Barquisimeto, Santa Elena de Uairen,Caripito entre muchos otros..My family is not an educated one,my friends are but the family is very criollo, representing the heart of Venezuelan culture.

    I KNOW for a fact that the biggest problem in Venezuela today is not that most people want Chavez, it is the poor strategy of the opposition, who keeps believing that if we find the right message, and have the right debates we can win.

    NO.We will win Only when we finally accept that a strategy of Unity is the only way to combat a movement that is both Machiavellian and evil.We know that Chavez is Machiavellian, but we keep banging our heads against the wall with idealism.Even a rat is a more intelligent strategist, and will not go down the same path if there is no cheese.When dealing with powerful instinctual drives for power like Chavez, we have to use our own good instincts for survival..

    This is simple psychology.

    Most people are trying to win by concentrating on their perfectionist ideals, and not on practical reality.They naively think that if the remote pueblos got the “message” they would change and we will win.What a time waster.

    This is why we always fail.We do not concentrate on the right strategy.I think Chavez capitalizes on our divisions, and is laughing in our faces.

    Anyone like myself who is connected with the barrios knows that convincing people of a message will not do the trick.Primal emotions have to be be moved and will have to be shifted.

    Once the opposition is united without divisions into what candidate is bad and which is good, only then will the emotional force be created for many to let go of their fears, and jump on the bandwagon.

    Then A ball in motion tends to stay in motion.

  23. Kepler Says:

    Sorry, it was captain Kirk, of course, James T. Kirk.

    What Firepigette does not understand, perhaps because she hasn’t been in ages to Venezuela: the alternative forces are NOT getting out of the main cities. It is incredible how little a “national leader” as the leader of UNT or the one of PJ move around.

    Sorry, guys, but Borges and guys in a similar position should be spending at least every third weekend now in a different city.

    Chavez is going every month to different states, every month of every year, since 1998.

    Borges et alia have no idea about the local myths, traditions of each region. They are just “Caracas-guys” or “Maracaibo-guys” or “Valencia-guys”. That is NOT good. And no, Los Valles del Tuy is not like “the whole nation”.
    Let’s stop thinking we can solve things regionally.

  24. HalfEmpty Says:

    We need a front – not a party- and not 40 parties agreeing on a single candidate. We need something that goes beyond ideologies and makes people go, as Captain Dirk said, to places where people have never been before.


    And it’s not often I agree Captain Dirk.

  25. firepigette Says:

    Deananash is correct in saying that Chavez will do anything to win.Chavez reserves the right to pick and choose his opponents, and will disqualify any opponent who becomes popular.

    Many in my family live in poor neighborhoods and small towns and through conversing with them over the years , I have learned that many superstitious people will vote for Chavez out of irrational fears.Debates and rational ideas will NOT have an effect on them.Then there are others who will vote out of interests.Only a few in some totally out of the way places are completely ignorant of his evil.Would it be good to spread the message in those places? Sure, but the outcome of elections will not hang on it.

    The more time Chavez has to get rid of his opponents the worse it is for the opposition, and the opposition has to come together to accept ANY candidate who runs in the end, or else Chavez will easily have his way.

    Too many people in the Venezuelan oppo are hung up on small differences in ideology and self centered partisanship.This is a time where this kind of insanity spells doom for all of us.

    The important thing is to outsmart Chavez.There are already way more than enough people in Venezuela basically against Chavez.This is NOT THE BIG PROBLEM.The big problem is how to use strategy and apply it in a practical way to outsmart Chavez in such a way that shows Chavez at his worst in the coming elections.

    Most important factors:

    1. choosing a candidate at the last minute so that Chavez has less time to prepare
    2. UNITY
    3. overcoming ideological, irrational and self centered hang-ups in order to be more practical and efficient in outsmarting these sociopaths.

    The candidate is less important than the STRATEGY in this case.

    THINK STRATEGY, not details for now.

  26. Kepler Says:

    I agree with Groucho and disagree with Deananash here.
    Venezuela is not the US. Venezuela is not one country but different ones.
    It’s like 80% of Venezuelans visiting this blog or even blogs in Spanish
    live in urban centres where 30% of the Venezuelan population lives.

    I beg to ask any Venezuelan here how much time he has spent talking to people in such cities (cities, not villages) as El Tocuyo, Guanare, Calabozo, Maturín, El Tigre, Guacara, Turmero, Cumaná, Ocumare del Tuy, Cagua, Mariara or Carora.
    Those are the mean cities and one single person cannot go to them, to other important cities plus the big 3-4 cities.

    Venezuela is not Switzerland. We need a front – not a party- and not 40 parties agreeing on a single candidate. We need something that goes beyond ideologies and makes people go, as Captain Dirk said, to places where people have never been before.

    Allow me to show you this I made 2 years earlier:

    This hasn’t changed one single bit.

    If people think “no, I won’t move my ass from my little feud unless I am THE new Bolivar-to-be-elected OR I am paid 600 dollars to be a consultant to that one leader”, if people are not ready to help in a movement that is not just about driving their cars around their city, but about reaching out other people, we can forget it.

  27. Ira Says:

    I love the concept of this article, about timing being everything, so let’s not forget the unexpected:

    A serious natural disaster like the Vargas landslides where Chavez early on showed his incompetence…an embarrassing political scandal of greatest and epic proportion (Malek goes to the U.S. maybe or more Chavez terrorist support is uncovered…or photos emerge of Hugo in a dress and high heels kissing a photo of Tom Cruise)…all can “take down” a president in a New York minute.

    Unfortunately, if you’re a religious person and believe that “God loves Venezuela” as he claimed during the drought/electricity crisis, you have to believe that a natural disaster is coming–it’s the best way for God to help VZ. Or maybe, a miracle:

    In the 1960s, New York City had a wildly popular mayor up for reelection, John Lindsay. There was no way he could lose, but a major blizzard, and his administration’s ineptness in clearing the streets in the outer boroughs for several days, made him the loser.

    So since history repeats itself, if I were a Venezolano, I would start stocking up on gloves and snow shovels.

    You just never know.

  28. deananash Says:

    Right Roy, and you and I know that. But do you really think everyone else does? (I don’t.) And what are the plans for that? And who is doing that planning? This takes real work.

  29. Roy Says:


    Yes, we know that Chavez will never leave simply for votes. But that is only the first stage of the election. The first is to hold an election everyone will know he lost. Then, the second stage of the campaign begins…

  30. deananash Says:

    Forgive the errors. I wrote: “the people here” and I obviously meant “the people hear”. Damn old age.

    One other thing, Chavez will NEVER leave via the ballot box – it simply isn’t going to happen. Either he will find a way to either delay, cheat, steal, whatever. How can I be so sure? We’re all sure, it’s his nature. He’ll do anything – sacrifice anyone – to maintain his power. It’s all about him.

  31. Gerry Says:

    I believe it to be important for all those who would throw their hats in the ring to become “President” to state this intention, go out campaigning,
    state what they believe in, what they would do and by when.
    This should be done right now. All should tour the country to the largest extent possible to introduce themselves, (could be done individually or in mass).
    The people would get a chance to get to know them and what they stand for before they commit to a selection next February.
    It would also, to some extent divide Chavez’s attention.
    I think February is just about right.

  32. island canuck Says:

    One of the problems will be a widely split vote. If 5 candidates all receive around the same vote total then logically there should be a runoff for the top 2.

    From what I’ve read there won’t be enough time for that & it could end up in much division if there is not a clear winner.

  33. deananash Says:

    Groucho, I beg to disagree. In an ideal world, where an electorate is educated, I think you’re right. But in Venezuela, in 2012, I believe you need a single strong “personality” to confront Chavez. Give the people a choice between someone dynamic and a buffoon. I believe this is your best chance.

    Roy, 10 months is perfect if you’ll run a guerrilla campaign. As Lucia said about making trips to various barrios. You make a valid point about having multiple candidates do that – as opposed to just one. However, I would counter that with saying that the opposition needs to get creative – VERY CREATIVE.

    For example, (example only, I’m not suggesting this, I’m just trying to illustrate the idea of creativity), what if they candidate wore a bandit eye mask (think the Lone Ranger) and then had his surrogates visit the barrios – wearing the eye mask. This is but one example.

    Groucho’s other comment about Chavez using ALL his powers to prevent TV time, etc…are spot on. The oppo must have a creative plan of battle to circumvent all of Chavez’s tricks. It’s definitely possible, but it takes planning and creativity.

    And it must start now. Things like “hijacking” words, literally changing their meaning in the public’s mind. So when Chavez says “X”, the people think “Y”. For example, when President Obama says that we (the U.S.) need to increase revenues, the people here: “I’m going to raise YOUR taxes.” This didn’t just ‘happen’. These seeds were planted.

  34. Roberto N Says:

    Well, for one thing I don’t think that the history is similar this time around.

    The Venezuela of those past primaries is a much different animal, at least that’s how I remember it, but since I was a kid for the Prieto (LA OREJA!) battle maybe it colors my memory somewhat. Never was there such a feeling of being on the brink of disaster if X or Y party remained in power as there is today.

    The argument that the less time Chavez has to fire upon the anointed one the better doesn’t hold water with me, he knows who the probable ones are and should already have enough to sink any of them if he so chooses. Theoretically they could “inhabilitar” a candidate the day before the election, albeit at great risk to his chances of remaining in power. I would like to think that there would be such a reaction from the people that he just might have to leave a la Perez Jimenez.

    The “time to campaign” argument, not enough time to reach every single municipality and spend time enough to shine, well that one holds water for me more than any other. Not knowing, however, when the actual election will be makes me think that the MUD should have assumed it would be at the earliest possible time and planned accordingly. This makes me suspect that they have an educated guess as to when that may be (or maybe I’m giving the MUD too much credit for this)

    And then there’s the money question. How much they have that they can access safely may be determining the timing of the primaries.

    The longer that our attention is kept on Chavez’ incompetence, the worse it will be for him. Once we have a candidate, the debate shifts ground to the election, and the Chavez machinery shifts to high gear. Meanwhile, other than “traiganme a su Frijolito” and “esas ratas se fueron por alli” is about all he can say. He cannot focus on any one target and this makes him less effective in his offense.

    It’s obvious that there are so many people that are eager to see Chavez leave and that if there is any moment when he is vulnerable it is now, so people are upset the primaries will not be held in 2011. They want him out tomorrow, not next year.

    Picking the candidate this year would realistically be sometime in October/November at the earliest. Then we hit December and any campaigning done before then is probably just going to be as wasted as many will be concentrating on Christmas, las hallacas, etc, etc. Sad but true. We are not going to miraculously change from now til then.

    Sooo, in the balance, intellectually I think February will be OK. Emotionally, I wish they were tomorrow.

  35. Roy Says:

    IMHO (not that I am known for humility…), 10 months is too long to run a campaign. There is a huge danger of it peaking too early. Nevertheless, what is done is done.

    Once the candidate is selected, they will need to run a very low key campaign for months to avoid burning out the interest. The way to do this is to take the show on the road, and hit…. everywhere. One town at a time. Build the organization. Avoid making national headlines, and simply let the other team keep stepping on their cranks. Then, when there is only six weeks to go, mount the primary national campaign. Time it all right, and your candidate appears fresh and shiny. Step out to early, and he/she will look like just one more corrupt politician and the status quo wins.

  36. Glenn Says:

    Venezuela will not solve this problem until it gets rid of the one hundred political parties and settles for the two party system plus the stray cat (so called independent).

    Chavez knows this.

  37. Jose L Marcos Says:

    Octavio: In your translation I guess you meant to say

    “Then, Why are we against changing it?”
    “Then, Why we don’t want to change it?”

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  38. Groucho Marxist Says:

    The problem is that the opposition isn’t supposed to sell a single person as the new caudillo who will come and save Venezuela. It’s supposed to be selling the idea that the opposition will do a better job than Chavez no matter who does the job, and more importantly, it’s supposed to show that, while Chavez only works/pretends to work for those willing to get down on their knees and suck up to him, the opposition will govern for EVERYONE.

    Add to that the fact that there’s no chance in hell Chavez will allow the opposition a normal political campaign. He’ll do a 24×7 cadena of Alo, Dictador that lasts for 3 months if he has to, but he won’t let the oppo candidate get more than a couple of seconds a month of screen time on TV.

    Having a dozen oppo candidates going around the country for several months before the primaries, trying to convince everyone that they are better than Chavez would be better than a single guy/gal going around alone. So, yes, we need primaries as soon as possible, but if we gain nothing before the primaries, thinking that only after you select the candidate is when you’re going to start truly campaigning, then you’ve already lost the whole thing.

    The main job of the MUD right now is to make sure EVERYONE considers the primaries to be the actual election, because by that time, everyone should be certain that whoever wins the primaries should already be halfway through wiping the floor with Chavez, no matter who it is.

  39. Pygmalion Says:

    Excellent historical data but the date for the Lusinchi-Piñerúa battle was in 1979 not 1998?

    I do not knopw if the timing of the primaries is too early or too late. There will probably be divided opinions on this.

    What concerns me more than anything is if the unity in the MUD will be strong enough to respect the primary results and discourage any other candidate or candidates from launching himself or themselves onm a “rogue ticket”.

  40. maria gonzalez Says:

    I wrote this the other day:
    About the primaries I really think that actually Chavez in some way is neutralized by not having a definite target…he is been forced to dilute his energies into different potential candidates. So I am glad that primaries are next year.

    Also a longer campaign will be more expensive and can somebody tell me how the opposition will get the Bs Fuertes.

  41. Lucia Says:

    (1) Between now and February — that’s an awful long time for the opposition fire to be directed inward.

    (2) Badly-run campaigns do flame out…but well-run campaigns could use the time well. For instance, how about multiple trips to rural pro-Chavez strongholds, where opposition needs to make a dent.

    (3) Once there is an official opponent to Chavez, he/she and his/her party will make decisions…much better than having MUD (slow-moving, consensus-required, some members w/murky intentions) in charge.

    For starters….

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