It Takes a Lot More Than Votes to Govern

Oscar Schémel, head of prominent independent pollster Hinterlaces, argues that the Venezuelan opposition has no vision for the country beyond violent regime change. 


Oscar Schémel, president of one of Venezuela’s most respected independent polling firms, expresses his views of the current political standoff between the Venezuelan government and right-wing opposition, which has seen seven dead as a result of violent anti-government protests demanding the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro. 

According to recent studies by Hinterlaces, 76 percent of Venezuelans disapprove of any future international intervention to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power. Eighty-seven percent disapprove of any international military intervention in our country, while 9 out of 10 reject violent protests and the guarimbas [violent anti-government demonstrators who block roads].

Likewise, two out of three Venezuelans have an unfavourable opinion of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

In fact, Hinterlaces studies reveal that 84 percent [of Venezuelans] agree with international mediation that promotes dialogue between the Bolivarian government and opposition.

Eighty-three percent of Venezuelans are in favour of dialogue, and 67 percent think the priority of this dialogue should be to resolve the country’s economic problems.

Definitively, today Venezuela is hoping for peace, stability and progress. The majority [of Venezuelans] desires a climate of compromise, balance, agreement, and conciliation.

Without doubt, the opposition insists on an openly insurrectionist [policy of] la salida [“the exit”, which is a policy of pressuring Maduro to resign]. From the National Assembly, there are calls for international bodies and other countries to intervene in our internal affairs, apply sanctions against our country, push for an institutional collapse, heat up the streets [with protests], instigate a military uprising, sabotage the government’s economic policy and hamper much needed dialogue in order to create the conditions for the overthrow of the Bolivarian government.

Standing before a country that demands answers and solutions, the opposition isn’t presenting any proposal other than “get rid of Maduro now”. It’s the same thing they tried with Chavez, and it didn’t work at all.

For the national and international ultra-right, they aren’t proposing coexistence or alternation [of political power], let alone consensus. On the contrary, the [ultra-right] is engaged in a strategy of creating chaos and neurosis across Venezuelan society, to destroy Chavismo, reconfigure the national-popular culture and impose despair [on the people].

The radical opposition is failing to understand that it may weaken, erode and delegitimise the Bolivarian government in international forums and in the international media, but won’t succeed in building the necessary conditions for [good] governance and stability.

Translated by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim for Venezuelanalysis.com