Venezuela’s opposition needs to pull itself together

This political alliance requires a lot of transparency among its members in order to be effective at political level. It is very difficult, not to say impossible, that all its decisions are taken unanimously

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition has to pull itself together. It is assuming talks and negotiations with the Venezuelan government amid some internal misunderstandings that many believe may end in a break-up. This time around unity, that condition that has meant significant progress to the nation’s democratic sectors and that was key to winning a parliamentary election held on December 6 of last year, is being put to the test.

This political alliance requires a lot of transparency among its members in order to be effective at political level. It is very difficult, not to say impossible, that all its decisions are taken unanimously, but the consensus reached in the past to make fundamental decisions must be regained.

To make that happen, a fluid communication between its members is essential. At present, the so-called G3 (a group comprised of three of the most important opposition parties in Venezuela such as Acción Democrática, Primero Justicia and Un Nuevo Tiempo) has representatives in the meetings currently being held with the government of Nicolás Maduro. The rest of the parties, as far as we know, are unaware of what is being talked about and what kind of agreements are to be reached with the Government. What both the Executive and the democratic sectors would be willing to give up.

There is nothing but total silence. We do not meant there is something irregular going on, but we believe it essential that the talks with the Government are known to the leaders of the rest of the parties making up the MUD so that any agreement that may be reached enjoys the widest possible consensus.

The little information that has emerged from the meetings is that one of the possible agreements is the repetition of parliamentary elections for the state of Amazonas. However, we heard Liborio Guarulla, governor of that state, rejecting that possibility, since in his view –and no court of justice or anyone else has said otherwise– the results of the December 6 election are entirely valid and represent the real decision of voters of that state. Did anyone from the G3 ever have a word with Guarulla? It seems to us that doing so is something essential.

With regard to the presidential recall referendum we see two positions. On the one hand, Henrique Capriles, one of the leaders of the MUD and current governor of Miranda state, insists that holding it is a must but last week Henry Ramos Allup, president of the Parliament and leader of Acción Democrática, claimed that the referendum is dead. What is the position of the negotiators of the MUD when they sit down with the Government for talks? On the other hand, there is the issue of deadlines. At first Capriles had set a November 11 deadline last week, but shortly after Carlos Ocariz –one of the representatives of the opposition coalition at the negotiating table and party colleague of Capriles– pointed out that the MUD aimed to achieve some of the objectives by that date, but not necessarily all of them.

On this issue also intervened the governor of Lara state, Henri Falcón, who rejected the deadline set by his Miranda counterpart and was rather in favor of not setting any deadlines, pointing out that what matters is to reach agreements.

What is the position of the MUD as a whole on this particular issue? From the little that is known is a possible agreement to increase gas prices. We suppose this would be a single item within a whole set of measures to be taken in an attempt to fix Venezuela’s broken economy. The Government has shown itself unwilling to implement even the measures once proposed by UNASUR regarding this area, and we hope that if an agreement is ever reached will be on a comprehensive plan that not only involves the economic area, but also the political and social ones.

The situation the country is going through demands that the leaders of the MUD set aside their individual aspirations.

We get the impression that personal interests are being imposed, threatening to reverse all the progress made. The MUD must focus on restoring the validity of the Constitution to allow a peaceful and democratic solution to the grave crisis affecting the country. That road must be walked along by those who already have and bring in new people willing to do so as well. They will do better if they work together as one.

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