Friday, January 11, 2013

Venezuelan opposition

This piece in the Huffington Post is a really good example of why the Venezuelan opposition will find it hard to impossible to win a snap presidential election if Hugo Chávez dies. The essential argument mirrors U.S. views of Cuba, especially in the 1960s. Back then, U.S. analysts believed that support for the revolution was shallow and that once Fidel Castro was defeated/killed a moderate opposition could establish a popular government that was neither Batista nor Castro (which was really the foundation of the Bay of Pigs invasion).

To that add hagiography of Henrique Capriles.

His formidable discipline, determination and preparedness serve as critical unifying factors. Should snap presidential elections be called, Capriles can effectively seize the initiative and build upon the momentum of his recent campaigns.

If "preparedness" is the best you can offer, you're in trouble. How about actual policy ideas? The article goes on to explain how all the gubernatorial defeats last year don't matter. Plus, all you need to do is "de-Chavezation" and go back to...whatever.

Fortunately for the opposition, not even Capriles makes arguments that stupid. But there will be no presidential victory until the opposition convinces Venezuelans that it does not want to destroy institutions they like. If the electoral system is polarized between left and right, left will win.


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