Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Venezuela Student Manifesto

David Smilde has a post about the Venezuelan student manifesto, and makes a very good point.

I have a lot of sympathy with the students’ emphasis on individual liberties. However in political terms the statement reveals how little progress the opposition base has made in understanding what it will take to grow their coalition. The last fifteen years have shown that if Venezuelans have to chose between liberty and equality the latter will usually win out. Thus the art of politics in a context characterized by large scale poverty is in proposing solutions to inequality that at the same time preserve liberty.

The five points in the manifesto say nothing about poverty or inequality, which are precisely what launched Hugo Chávez to the presidency in the first place. All the ranting about "régimen castro-comunista" totally ignores that critical fact.

Political reality should dictate that no matter what your ideological inclination, you need to incorporate the preferences of the majority into your messages. Otherwise you are doomed to failure. It is bizarre that after so many years the opposition seems to remain blind about that. Leopoldo López seems to believe that pressure will force out the Maduro government and through elections bring to power something more middle/upper class that will focus largely on dismantling chavismo. If there is even a shred of evidence to support that, I have yet to see it.


Alfredo 2:42 PM  

Chavez was far from perfect, but he hit the right chord when he came on the scene, and that chord was that pesky reality known as inequality.

Just happens to be that in many LA countries a majority of the folks are at the bottom of the economic ladder.

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