Monday, August 07, 2017

Broadening the Venezuelan Opposition

8 days since constituent assembly vote. 3 days since it took power.

Henrique Capriles is reaching out to disaffected Chavistas. This is a good move that will broaden the opposition and shift its image. This won't be easy because those Chavistas hate Maduro, not Chávez.

I would go even further and consider giving one of those leftists a prominent leadership role. The opposition has found it hard to shake accusations of privilege, of wanting to ignore the reasons Hugo Chávez came to power in the first place, of disregard for the poor. Leopoldo López can't be the face of a unified opposition. The "united" part would be for free elections only--I can't imagine such a thing morphing into a ruling coalition sometime later.

Since Maduro is not allowing democratic change to occur, a broader opposition will serve as a signal both to Chavistas and the armed forces that the government is too unpopular to support. No doubt the opposition is putting out feelers to the military as well. Ideally, the combination of domestic and international pressure would force the government to engage in substantive dialogue, which would ultimately lead to elections. I am not holding my breath, but that's the hope.


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