For several years most of the Venezuelan opposition has been counting on the collapse of the regime to come to power. Their political action has been mainly participating in elections and some media presence. The opposition has been severely punished by the regime with arrests, kidnappings, blackmail, forced exiles and deaths. However, its connection with citizens and their realities has been intermittent and thus a common goal proposal and strategy has eluded it. It is once again noticeable precisely now when in facing new elections, considered fraudulent by the absolute majority of the population and unrecognized by all the democratic countries of the world, some opponents present themselves in favor and some against. Those who reject the elections (Guaidó’s environment) do not openly dissociate themselves from those who favor participating, namely Capriles. Primero Justicia does not expel Capriles but rather the remaining leaders of that party “hope to find him again within the party in the future”. And that is just a small sample!
If Guaidó and the main parties send incoherent and contradictory signals, how do they expect the public to believe in them and respond to their calls? How do they expect democratic countries to understand and/or trust them? In any case, the political picture reveals itself in full focus and therefore the situation is not very predictable in the short term. Of course, hidden behind the fuel shortage, is the specter of the general scarcity threatens Venezuela.
The gasoline shortage is showing up again throughout the country and it includes Caracas. Unlike the previous macro crisis, it now also extends to stations that dispense with foreign currency. It has been impossible for the regime to achieve production continuity at the Paraguaná and El Palito refineries, which seem to be the only potential source that can provide some hope. The second shipment of 4 ships with fuel from Iran was intercepted by the United States in different seas around the globe and all were forced to transfer their contents to other vessels. The regime has now announced that three more ships are en route from Iran. It is important to note that the US sanctions strategy is now being applied to the vessels’ captains and has been very effective.
Hospitals in Venezuela announced the arrival of the Heroes de la Salud bonus granted by Guaidó. Now we will have to see what effect this interesting initiative achieves. Guaidó wants to expand bonds to other labor sectors for social protection in a pandemic and it is a great opportunity for Guaidó to finally be able to show results that are comparable with those of Maduro.
The opposition parties also signed Guaidó’s “pact”: popular consultation and rejection of Chavista elections. The way in which the consultation will be carried out is still not yet known. It must be considered that there are physical limitations associated with the pandemic and then also the weakness of party structures. Of course, the main limitation to achieve participation is the lack of credibility accumulated by the interim government. ANCO, the organization promoting the consultation, published a draft consultation with possible questions included.
In any case, it can be seen that Guaidó and his surroundings have treated Capriles with a silk glove and María Corina Machado with an iron hand. This fact is curious, since MCM’s position has been public all the time (including her support for Guaidó as President) , while the actions of Capriles and Stalin Rivas prove that from within the “unity” they have been working against Guaidó for a long time. Could it be that in the end Guaidó will be forced to adopt the positions that MCM has stated all this time?
The regime is moving towards elections, requesting the participation of the EU and the UN and ensuring that there is no chance of delaying the date. A determining element is raised by Datanalisis: Abstention in parliamentary elections would be around 75%. There are even others that indicate numbers greater than this. With that participation, the regime does not even have to cheat additionally, with its voters tied up it would have an absolute majority in that NA.
Capriles has been very active after publicly announcing his participation in the elections, he stated that “Europe has a historic opportunity for Venezuela to regain democracy”, of course there he has the full support of Borrell and Spain. It is evident that he had been planning this action for a long time since his party, the Force of Change, registered 277 candidates with the unrecognized CNE. In social networks the messages against Capriles have flooded all platforms. Very negative reports have also appeared in the media, such as Odebrecht Confessions: Capriles received millions, Chávez died in Cuba and when the TSJ in exile asked to investigate Capriles for the Odebrecht case. The opinions of his former Campaign Manager JJ Rendón are lapidary when in an interview among other things, he says that “Henrique Capriles came out of the closet as a Chavista.”
United States and Venezuela
The United States had to react to the contradictory messages they issued last week, when Elliott Abrams said that María Corina Machado’s proposal reminds him of the magical realism of García Márquez upset that he did not get MCM’s support for Guaidó’s approach. Through James Story they reversed the message by stating that “All options are and will be on the table”, returning to the necessary credible threat. In the same period, the United States proposed designating the Faes as a terrorist organization and former political prisoner and police inspector Simonovis stressed that a solid structure operates in sync with the DEA from Venezuela.
Discussions of constitutionality or a democratic exit on the part of the opposition do not seem to make much sense when Diosdado Cabello replies threatening the recently “pardoned” and also rules out that the ANC is going to approve a new Constitution. It is important to understand that the differences within the regime are very serious, not only did they take away their own parties from most of their allies, but now the PCV warns that their differences with the Maduro regime “are not due to a quota in the AN.”