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Venezuela's politics

By Aleksander Boyd

London 08.06.05 | I come from a country where people spend time discussing the relevance and implications of a photo op. Since enough water has passed under the bridge I'll take the liberty to give my humble opinion vis-a-vis Maria Corina Machado's encounter with George W. Bush. There is a saying back home that goes "cachicamo trabaja p'a lapa" and in this particular instance, without wanting to substract merits to Maria Corina or Sumate, I feel that such is the case. The country was in awe, outraged by the rampant corruption going on at PDVSA. For the first time the all 'powerful' oil minister -a.k.a. the poodle of German Marxist and ideologue of the destruction of PDVSA Bernard Mommer- actually showed up in the National Assembly to give his account in regards to the sorry state in which the Venezuelan oil company is at present. I felt we had Ramirez, and his master, cornered, his arguments completely divorced from reality and far too weak to be taken seriously. Many reports and stories had been published by the press, both locally and internationally, that evidenced a heretofore known but unconfirmed truth; chavismo is strangling the only profit generating enterprise of Venezuela.

Chavez, desperately trying to deviate attention from this issue, ordered his inanity propaganting machine to bombard the media with items about Posada Carriles, assassination attempts by ghosts, etc. He even went as far as ranting in his dominical show about Venezuela going nuclear! Such was the failed coupster's despair. Needless to say that all was done with the ill purpose of blaming other factors/actors for the comatose state of PDVSA.

However we kept denouncing, reporting, demanding explanations and so on but what the combined efforts of both Venezuelan and Cuban propaganda agents, reinforced by statements of the highest officials including Castro and his messenger boy, could not achieve, read the deviation of our attention to non issues, Maria Corina, singlehandedly, managed to do with a couple of pics.

Again, my intention couldn't be furthest from trying to cast shadows or to criticise her or her endeavours for none of the things she could possibly have done to date to gain entry to the White House would have mattered had Bush lacked the desire to see her. Chavistas and Chavez have had no qualms in having been photographed with dictators, criminals and terrorists the world over; why should Maria Corina feel any guilt or remorse for having had a photo op with a president elected twice, the second time by some 59 million people? The point of my criticism lays with the shallowness and outright stupidity of Venezuelan politicos and journalists, mad and extremely upset, as they are, because it wasn't them in the Oval Office, but her, a woman, a citizen, who got accepted into the White House. How pathetic, with such scale of priorities no wonder why Chavez has been in power for 7 years and looking promising to renew the contract.

Real issues

Julio Borges has entered the presidential fray. He calls the citizenry for participation in the coming elections. Some say that he's playing to Chavez, who needs urgently some sort of opposition to maintain the ever eroding democratic fašade. Whatever it is, and taking into consideration the actual state of the electoral body, Borges should be well adviced to devise a plan B. Gossip has it that last time round, August 15 last year, when specific request were put to him to either have denounced the recall as rigged or have accepted the results publicly he said "who me? Why me?"

In any case Borges and the rest of the presidential wannabes ought to start devising contingency plans such as electoral education programmes and organization, at a national level, of groups of thousands of "impromptu observers" that will have to guard, literally, their votes. Otherwise is going to be a Chavez 'victory' all over again, this instance until 2012.

Sumate's concerns vis-a-vis the fraudulent electoral set up of the revolution have been meticulously documented. The time to act upon that information has arrived. But it won't be the OAS, the US or the EU for that matter, the ones responsible for guaranteeing the transparency of Venezuela's voting system. No. That is the remit of democracy loving Venezuelans. Should our present legislation remain in place we have the right to witness the counting of the votes. On August 15 2004, people were uninformed and too tired to stay at the polling centres to see how their votes were counted. Should the official figures be truthful there are more than 4 million Venezuelans opposed to Chavez, one can only wish that, in the next 18 months, the majority of them will train hard and read the corresponding legislation to prevent another surprise.

That's the kind of job Sumate ought to start doing at once with or without US help.



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