Mitigating factors of the defeat and arrested development
The causes that curbed a seemingly unstoppable advance must be ascertained
The downfall suffered by the Venezuelan opposition has one mitigating factor only: the victory of Henrique Capriles Radonski. This is true given the particular current circumstances related to the disease of President Hugo Chávez. As for the rest, the results are a step backwards with regard to the election of 2008, where five state governments were won with a large amount of votes that are much higher than the results of Sunday, December 16.
In this way, a steady growth that had been recorded in the alternative of the democratic unity since December 2, 2007 in several elections, including the presidential election of October 7, came to a standstill. Note that while the dissent could not win the latter voting, an unprecedented percentage prompted and helped consolidate Capriles Radonski's championship.
Nevertheless, no matter true justifications, such as the government with all the odds stacked in its favor; indiscriminate use of public funds for electioneering, and the sheer weight of an oil state-party at the service of pro-government candidates, the causes that curbed a seemingly unstoppable advance must be ascertained. And that revision includes the effectiveness of the Unified Democratic Panel, the members of which have not welded yet a sound front with a clear strategy and a convincing proposal.
This election was intended not only to have the upper hand (time had come for local leaders), but also to save the political-administrative decentralization that has received a crushing blow from the central government, determined to finish it off.
In any case, both the revision and a diagnosis needs to be fast, effective and conclusive, because the political dynamic requires so and the uncertainty about our immediate future demands clarity to redefine the political-electoral alliance, including the election of a presidential candidate. Note that one of the scenarios is an election for Venezuelan president in the first half of 2013.
In this case, there is the need to get ready to meet eyeball to eyeball with someone different from Hugo Chávez, the driving force, strength and inspiration of a political system which, in his absence, implies further uncertainty about the country governance.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.