In this interview, PSUV member Dr. Luis Rodriguez analyses the opposition’s electoral strategy for the 2012 presidential elections and their relationship with the United States’ government.
The Venezuelan rightwing has been internally fractured, searching for ways to counteract the popularity of the Republic’s president, Hugo Chávez, who in spite of the sabotage and media campaign at an national and international level, has come out of it stronger.
That’s the way that Dr. Luis Rodriguez, PhD in political science and development, expressed it when he gave an interview in “The Opposition vs.Chávez” Forum.
How do you view the Venezuelan opposition currently?
Since Chávez arrived in power the Venezuelan opposition has been fractured, they have launched attempts, all of them failures, to organise in order to be able to confront the leadership of president Chávez, but they haven’t managed to do this. The Venezuelan opposition goes from failure to failure. This failure of the opposition has been marked by the individualistic interests that are merged together in this group that has tried to demonstrate itself as unified. As well as being characterised by bad moments and even worse ones, being the constant factor in the first and second instances, we can’t forget the fateful Democratic Committee, amongst the other groups that have been invented, to confront the president. Look, if there is something that characterises the opposition in Venezuela, it is interest and more interest, necessity, to group together in order to try and become the next president, up until now without managing it. Today, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity has exactly the same role as the same Democratic Committee, in every way and with all its internal divisions.
However, an analysis of the Venezuelan opposition cannot be done lightly, I believe that an analysis of the opposition, given its mistakes, implies primarily an internal analysis of the pro-government sectors and actors. In the past few years some opposition sectors have gained access to some positions of power (for instance some governor positions and more recently in the National Assembly), however, this access, rather than being a response to any political grassroots work that they have done to gain it, is really a response to internal failures within the process, failures that have allowed the opposition to gain power. With regards to this, I think that it is advisable to carry out an internal mea culpa with maturity and responsibility, to assume responsibility and to work on the failures that have been occurring and helping members of the opposition to hold positions of power and get where they are today.
It’s been said that the pre-candidates for the right, before thinking about setting out a government programme, go to Washington to ask for approval in order to launch their presidential campaign. What is your opinion with regards to this?
The United States is definitely the centre of organisation and definition for the candidates and electoral campaigns of the right, not only in Venezuela, but in all the countries of the region. Washington chooses the candidates and puts them in place, sends them resources, advises them, provides support, amongst other things, so that their puppets can implement the policies that are most convenient for them within the country. The United States government wants policy in this era of revolution to be like it was during the fourth republic, when decisions were made in the Whitehouse and not in the Miraflores palace.
How do you see the fact that 14 of the opposition pre-candidates for the presidential elections in 2012 have been to the capital of the United States. What is being planned now?
It’s the same way of doing politics as inherited from the fourth republic, they receive guidelines from the government of the United States in order to then apply them in the country, that’s why they fail, because they are policies adopted from elsewhere, they are forced and don’t correspond to our reality. However, the “logic” of the opposition sectors is understandable, they’re looking in the exterior for what they aren’t capable of carrying out in the country as they don’t have either what is sufficient or necessary to be translated into popular support.
Sectors of the government have said that the “singular” electoral card is defrauding voters because they (the opposition) haven’t reached a political consensus. What is your opinion?
Of course it is a fraud. Look, when the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) was formed, the opposition sold the image of a singular party, in fact, they used all their media powers to stigmatise it as the “Only Socialist Party of Venezuela”, taking away the importance of the “Unity” that gave it meaning and its reason for being, the things which converted it later on into the most important political force in the country. Now, the opposition has fallen into its own trap, now it is them who are promoting a singular electoral card to punish individuality, the poorly named “Roundtable of Democratic Unity” has definitely ended up imposing this rule because they haven’t been able to attain that much longed for unity.
The situation provoked responses from the Roundtable of Democratic Unity, who said that “the Unity is earthquake and intrigue proof”. What a weak reply! What can be said in response to that?
They know that only the surface of the Roundtable of Democratic Unity will remain, as they have been losing the legs with the passing of time. In fact, it’s no secret that some of the more hardened members of the opposition reacted against the decision to implement a singular electoral card, they know that it implies restricting some liberties, the same liberties that they say they are fighting for.
Another sector of the opposition has said that the singular electoral card potentially allows for the unification of the result of a democratic electoral group that has been forming and strengthening itself. Is that true?
They are mirages in the face of the necessity to achieve unity. What is true is that they need to confront the president unified, to attempt to at least generate some noise and make their electoral presence felt, they know that presenting themselves in elections separately, when the opponent is president Chávez, would disperse efforts and wouldn’t achieve anything.
Translated for Venezuelanalysis by Rachael Boothroyd