Venezuelan opposition consolidated as a unified power alternative

Archives: September 26, 2011. 

No doubt the scenarios are very different in Venezuela these days. While Chavez health remains a classified secret during his cancer treatment, one thing is visible: “La Unidad” is in the offensive.

With polls indicating that the popularity of the country’s strongman Hugo Chavez is well below 45%, and the approval ratings of his government falling under 35%, the once fragmented opposition has reinvented itself.

The Mesa de Unidad Democratica (MUD), known as Unidad Venezuela, has managed to reach unprecedented accomplishments and agreements.

To begin, despite all sorts of abuses by the government, including the Gerrymandering of all electoral districts, the electoral victories of the opposition acting under the unity promoted by MUD speak volumes. The 2007 election brought 6 governors and several majors to office. Two of them, Henrique Capriles (Gov. of Miranda) and Pablo Perez (Governor of Zulia) have become serious challengers to Chavez in the polls, based on the their successful regional performances, contrasting with the national government inefficiency. Indeed various pollsters are in agreement that if one of them becomes a candidate of the unified front against Chavez, the chances of winning the election are high. Reinforcing this trend is the fact that in 2010 the unified opposition came back to the National Assembly with a colorful parliamentary representation. Although holding the minority of the seats, due to the redistricting imposed, la Unidad received 52% of the national votes.

And the scenario of unified candidate is now certain. There will be one voting card in the presidential ballots on October 7th 2012, after a primary election to be held February 12th 2012. Moreover, the political alliance has reached an agreement to run with a unified political and public policy platform known as Compromiso de Gobernabilidad, together with a comprehensive set of 100 public policy prescriptions to deal with the priorities of the Venezuelans.

While some doubt there will be fair elections, the opposition has increased its capacity to monitor fraud in more than 80% of the ballot boxes across the nation, and is coherently working to bring international electoral observation from the OAS, the European Union and other key institutions. Most importantly, the youth have taken a major role in the strategy mobilizing millions of new voters to register and participate in the upcoming elections.

The government is paralyzed with its once promising social initiatives (“las Misiones”) falling behind expectations. In spite of high oil prices the economy is downwards, energy and food shortages are the norm; while insecurity in the major cities of Venezuela have become insurmountable, with violence reaching among the highest levels in the world.

In the past few weeks the presidential hopefuls participating in the primaries organized by MUD are in the streets, knocking doors, visiting people all over the country’s social spectrum, with a message of change that reflects unity and inclusion.

Winds of change blow in Venezuela with the opposition consolidated as an unified power alternative.

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