A Rant For Democracy In Venezuela

June 25, 2015

Give or take a vowel or a consonant, this rant (post) preceded the existence of this blog, which was created in 2002. In fact, in 1998, writing for a private publication, I noted that in the 1998 election, not a single one of the candidates had been selected by a primary election: They had all self-appointed themselves. In fact, even Hugo Chávez did that, and he could have had a primary and won it without a single vote against him. In that same note, I also pointed out that in the previous election in 1994, only one candidate had been elected in a primary (He lost!), despite the country having undergone a fairly undemocratic impeachment of a President, because some politicians wanted to get rid of the democratically elected President of Venezuela.

And 20 years later, things are not too different. Yes, we ask for democracy, but it seems that the opposition leadership has a particular conception of democracy, including “dedocracy”, choosing the candidates you want using your finger in a smoked filled room, if things get uncomfortable. “Dedocracy” works quite well when you have to satisfy the egos of leaders from the Paleolitic age, even if there is no literature that can explain to us exactly how they became leaders at the time.

And that is exactly what the “MUD” did yesterday (We all knew it was coming!) when they announced the 60% of the candidates chosen by the magic “consensus” formula. Here is one guy from MUD looking at it on the Board to figure out who was the candidate for District 3 in Caracas. Anyone that knows any math can tell what it says:


Since it is so incomprehensible, it has to mean Henry Ramos Allup is the candidate for the El Recreo District of Caracas, because it is obscenely incomprehensible that this man can be the consensus candidate there.

And yes, I know all of the arguments about the difficulties of holding primaries everywhere: It is complex, expensive, bla, bla, bla, but in the end, if the alternative is to have such a candidate in District 3 of Caracas, then the system is not only undemocratic, but it stinks.

It would have been better to ask anyone who wants to be a candidate to provide the volunteers to manage the voting polls on primary day. At least, the ability of a candidate to mobilize people would have told us about his popularity and ability to win an election.

Because Mr. Allup was always a candidate for Carabobo, until the 2000 election where he was hand picked for Caracas, maybe because he is not as well liked anymore in his home State, but vaguely rang a bell in Caracas.

And this shows how screwed up the system is. In Distric 3, Jose Guerra, who at least has been more politically active against the Government than Mr. Ramos Allup under Chávez and Maduro, had to go out and win the Primary, while Ramos Allup watched from the seats of the MUD stadium, doing nothing.

Let the candidacy come to him!

And that is the problem, we complain about the neo-Dictatorship that Venezuela has become, but the opposition does not offer a truly democratic platform. I am not inventing anything, this just so happens to be the law in Venezuela, as Art. 67 of the Constitution clearly says:

“…sus candidatos o candidatas a cargos de elección popular serán seleccionados o seleccionadas en elecciones internas con la participación de sus integrantes.”

“Its candidates for popular election will be selected in internal elections with the participation of its members”

Nobody can convince me that the MUD held “internal elections”

To me the only possible solution the MUD had was to have full primaries with the participation of anyone. I was in Caracas the day of the primaries for the opposition and since the part of the city where I was had no primary, nobody was even aware that a primary was taking place in 40% of the electoral districts of Venezuela.

Not the best way to get the electorate involved, says the Devil!

I wrote this same rant when talking about the Coordinadora Democratica (Remember them?), who had even fewer primaries. And there are other rants in this blog (Another one here) about this same subject: I truly believe until people don’t feel there is full democracy in Venezuela, people will continue to put down politicians and political parties will continue to be as “caudillistas”, inbred and gerontocratic as they are today.

And the strategy could eventually backfire, as I am told that part of the Government’s strategy is to “back” alternative opposition candidates against candidates like Ramos Allup, hoping to divide the opposition vote. I can imagine thousands of El Recreo voters, casting their vote for an unknown before  doing it for Mr. Ramos Allup. Yes, I dont like Mr Ramos for too many reasons, but the chief one is that he has no place in Venezuela’s politics, because he stopped doing anything about it, except continue being part of this self-appointed leadership boards. But he has also made accusations against people I respect, like Alek Boyd and Thor Havolrssen, which were not only false, but self-serving.

But I am just using him as an example everyone can understan,  I haven’t gone through the whole list, but I am sure there are many more “Allups” among the candidates of the opposition selected by the dedocracy of the MUD: Permanent members of the self-appointed leadership, “living room” politicians who know theory but don’t get their hands dirty, except when it comes time for self-promotion.

Until the opposition starts advocating the need to comply with the basic principles of democracy stated in the Venezuelan Constitution, there will be no progress. Democracy is what it is, not like what someone wants to say it is at some point in time. It is time for at least the opposition’s selection of all candidates and its party’s leaders to become fully democratic.

End of rant! Thank you!

P.S. Just after I posted this, our magnanimous Electoral Board announced that at least 40% of the candidates have to be women. If the MUD had held primaries, this argument would not hold water, as it would not be democratic. But given that they hand-picked their allupses and ramoses, they can go back and chose again and make some of them female. The tricks have just begun! And the MUD ain’t ready, who would have thought, Tibi is a feminist!




18 Responses to “A Rant For Democracy In Venezuela”

  1. Glenn Says:

    And then you have people that are afraid to be caught not voting in the PSUV primary for fear of losing their jobs. Democracy in action?


    Interesting to note the low profile of the supreme (living) leader in this campaign. Must but tough to be him.

  2. Juan Largo Says:

    This just in:

    Venezuela Elections: Don’t Underestimate Maduro’s Party

    By Dimitra DeFotis

    Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro and his party will face the most difficult election since the late president Hugo Chavez first came to power, but they have considerable resources.

    After a long delay, the government announced Monday that the presidential election will be held December 6. Nicholas Watson, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence, writes:

    “Despite the economic situation – the International Monetary Fund is forecasting a 7% contraction in 2015 – the government has greater campaign resources than the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) opposition coalition; an electoral system biased in its favor; and media dominance. On top of this, the government is likely to continue to harass opposition leaders and exploit divisions within the MUD. Although imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez will argue that his 30-day hunger strike succeeded in its aim of forcing the CNE to announce the election date, Lopez’s radical tactics pose a challenge to MUD unity as other opposition factions espouse a gradualist approach towards the Maduro administration. Maduro is also likely to invoke Chavez’s messianic leadership, which has enduring appeal, in an attempt to win back disenchanted Chavistas; it is significant that the vote takes place on the symbolically important anniversary of Chavez’s first presidential election victory in 1998.”

  3. bobthebuilder Says:

    A worthy rant. A few years ago it seemed that, at last, the opposition were beginning to get their act together. The fragmentation of the MUD in a host of untimely uncoordinated antics means that a realistic opposition remains a pipe dream.

    I suppose the presence of the old timers ultimately plays in to the ‘unity by action’ approach displayed by Lopez, MCM et al, but how long before the more enterprising members of the traditional opposition see a jail sentence as a badge of honour with which to safeguard their future political career?

  4. Juan Largo Says:

    He wrote: ” They are self serving interest groups with their own agenda, that doesn’t necessarily serve the best interest of the people of Venezuela.”

    If the country can melt down this far, and the opposition still comes back from the same place it always has, I have to wonder if the motto, “you get what you deserve” doesn’t have some truth to it.

    The question is, why is real change so hard? I am still looking at this question in terms of what has happened or might happen or has to happen. I forget what an old professor told me at a birthday party in Trigal Norte, in Valencia.

    The problem, he said, is that the Spaniards came over not for nation building but to rob, plunder, pillage and dominate. Once the national population took over, centuries later, they had the old world model and nothing else to go on. So they went with that. Nowadays, that plunder and dominate platform is so burned into the national DNA there is simply no other option in view. No model to emulate. The old ways have a gravity and even for those educated at Harvard or Oxford, and raised “western,” once the plane lands and the Polar stars flowing, it’s business as usual.

    Hope this is all wrong, that LL gets the hell out of jail and a new leadership takes a bold new path, somewhere between dreams and destruction.


  5. HalfEmpty Says:

    I’ve seen that blackboard often during my Exam Nightmares.
    WAIT am I in right room?
    Where the hell is my calculator?
    I missed one class and LOOK! 😦

    I still have them after 30 years.

  6. TV Says:

    I can tell you what the magic formula is, easily – the MUD leaders sit together and divide the candidacies between various factions, who then do the same within the factions to get a list of candidates.
    It’s not very democratic, but it’s essentially what (typically) happens in a proportional system with no primaries anyway. Primaries are a good thing, but not necessary for a democracy to function.

    • moctavio Says:

      Primaries are not necessary for a democracy to function, but democracy is necessary for a democracy to function. When you have a closed system, with no criticism and guaranteed position for the old timers the system gets complacent. The law says they have to be chosen by primaries, the law should be followed. We are talking 50 years like this…

      • Sledge Says:

        Yes, but the focus right now should be returning to something similar to the Adecos/Copeyanos times, where at least there was some semblance of a deeply flawed democracy. That, alone, unrooting Chavismo’s dictatorial, populist ways, might take decades.

      • TV Says:

        Don’t get me wrong, primaries would be a good idea. Right now though, without a MUD coalition, there will be no democracy in Venezuela.

        • TV Says:

          I clicked “send” too fast. The internal democracy of MUD can wait. Yes, it would be better if it didn’t, but it *can* wait until such time as Chavista dictatorship is overthrown. Constitutionally, if at all possible. If MUD obtains power, it will fractionalize anyway.

  7. Tom ODonnell Says:

    Sadly, yes! And, everybody who is anybody (electorally) just has to have their own boutique party. There really are not ‘political parties’ in the modern sense.

  8. JORGE UROSA Says:

    https://aycaracha.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/2015-06-25yasinosva.mp3. En este Link a partir del Min 36 se toco el tema.

  9. Sledge Says:

    In other words, MUD Dedocracy and rigged elections are much better than NarcoCabello’s indefinite Kleptocracy.

  10. Sledge Says:

    Baby steps, little Lucifer.. Let’s keep that quiet, wait until the Chavistas steal these laughable elections anyway, do their Gerrymandering, and everything continues to get even worse next year. Regardless of any internal mud in the mud.

    The real elections anyway would be the presidential ones in 2019. Easier to select Leopoldo over Capriles against Masburro. Can’t wait to see how they try to steal that one too, if we get there in one piece.

  11. Island Canuck Says:

    To me it’s super depressing to see someone like Allup as a candidate especially without having to work for it. Even if he worked for it I wouldn;t vote for him.

    The old time leaders are so self centered & power hungry that it makes you wonder what the differences are. Do they really care about a democratic Venezuela? I think not.

    The government will surely use the vote splitting technique here in our area as they have used it in the past to win unwinable elections.

  12. karl Says:

    MO. Great post!!!! You hit the nail right on its head. I am 100% against the tropical populism that has governed the country for most of my life. And yet, I am also convinced that most Venezuelans are disillusioned with politics because they don’t believe that there is a real difference between the PSUV and the MUD. They are self serving interest groups with their own agenda, that doesn’t necessarily serve the best interest of the people of Venezuela. I believe that there are some worthy exceptions in the MUD against none in the PSUV but without primaries, it is very difficult for them to assume leadership in Venezuela since they are seen as “problematic” by the status quo. I have applauded the efforts of Leopoldo, Maria Corina and others because they have been willing to use their considerable political stature to at least oppose the government and fight to preserve individual freedoms and are the role models for a new generation of leaders with the willingness to try to do what is needed for a better future. Dinosaurs like Ramos, Ismael and Borges would never agree to allow a primary because they will face certain defeat against them.

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