At the beginning of 2014, discussions concerning the political and social situation in Venezuela were varied, under the siege of violent attempts meant (yet again) to destabilize the government of Nicolas Maduro. That oppositional strategy, which conservative leaders denominated “The Exit,” proves to have had a paradoxical result months later, with Ramon Guillermo Aveledo’s resignation as the general secretary of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the leading opposition bunkers against the Bolivarian government. What is the political moment playing out in Venezuela now? What defined the recent governing socialist party (PSUV) congress? What will the opposition try next with Maduro?
“They talked about ‘The Exit” and who ended up leaving was them,” Nicolas Maduro recently remarked in irony during his radio and television program En Contacto con Maduro. What was he referring to? The step backward Ramon Guillermo Aveledo took as general secretary of the MUD, the platform which carried Henrique Capriles to presidential candidacy on two occasions. Maduro made reference to how conservative sectors within the MUD may have pushed Aveledo out following his participation in “peace talks” promoted by the Bolivarian government in response to the violent protests of February and March.
The notorious Maria Corina Machado, one of the most visible figures in the Exit strategy next to Leopoldo Lopez, is now championing the so-called “Citizens Congress,” while trying her luck at acting outside the MUD yet again. Machado represents a radical hard-line wing within the Venezuelan right, the sector that refuses to make any “concessions” to Maduro. Her campaign focuses mostly on the issue of security, widely ignoring the nation’s productive structure and people’s participation in decision making.
The recently held 3rd Congress of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) demonstrated increased party support behind the figure of Nicolas Maduro, who was also elected president of the party. Giordani’s letter, replicated so many times in conservative newspapers hoping to divide the party, became a thing of the past. The PSUV decided at this time to continue organizing the almost 14,000 UBCh (Bolivar Chavez Battle Units), factions for political deliberation proposed by them throughout the past year.
Additionally, documents from Congress feature a “multi-centered, multi-polar world and Latin American and Caribbean unity guaranteeing peace and equality on the planet…” in response to the recent UNASUR-BRICS summit which took place in Brazil, and demonstrated the ties that the PSUV intends to make with other governing parties in the post-neoliberal countries.
Now Venezuela- and public opinion- notes the growing division within the opposition, which is hardly new; in February two tendencies were already clearly visible before the violent street action. The situation seems similar, but amplified; Capriles announces his tour of country virtually alone, Machado opts to build her Citizens Congress without the MUD, and Aveledo can’t seem to find enough words to explain his split from the party. As one can see, it’s become a war of egos and political orientation concerning the country’s future.
Without a doubt, at the time of writing, one of the main challenges the government must face is grounding the rising economic speculation propelled by the nation’s big businesses. To put an end to all that- including the scarcity in some areas and indiscriminately rising prices- is also an important point for Venezuela’s political future; Newly fractured, the opposition will continue to attempt through the economic route what they could not achieve through politics. In this way they will seek to wear down a government whose principle concern continues to be in the popular masses, to whom they have dedicated a large part of the policies implemented since their arrival at Miraflores [presidential palace.]
Translated for venezuelanalysis.com by Z.C. Dutka.