"Chavezism without Chávez is extremely vulnerable"
"Quite a few things need to be revised, except for one thing, which is unity"
A hand vigorously rubs the chin. The incipient beard causes a particular noise that fills the short gap left by Henrique Capriles Radonski, while pondering on an answer that seems to be not so easy. The reelected Miranda state governor knocks down ideas; intersperses dots; overlaps images. Four days after December 16, he concedes not having digested yet the results that gave ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) 20 out of 23 state governments. He lists abuse of authority; noncompliance with laws, an indulgent National Electoral Council (CNE), but also glitches.
"On October 7 we got in some states voting as never before and we let such voting demobilize. I think that we failed as well to raise awareness about the importance of such an election that was so close."
The majority that voted the PSUV punished neither abuse of authority nor embezzlement. Something must be wrong in the country.
We are fighting against it, but we have not made voters understand it yet, that participation should be the means to curb abuse. We are charged with having accepted the election conditions, yet a government like this does not negotiate, but imposes itself. How can we overcome that? With more people! Venezuelans ought to be mad at the abuse of authority and this can be overcome by organizing ourselves. I, on December 16 (the day of the gubernatorial election) just resisted. Here, in Miranda, they would do whatever; the only difference from October 7 (the day of the election for Venezuela's president) is that they spent more funds.
You said that abuse of authority ought to be a matter to be upset, but most people do not stay away from the unlawful use of resources. Nor the voters of the (opposition Unified Democratic Panel) MUD supported the "new leaders" elected in the primaries. Instead, not young at all military men won. The message is defective.
These are two very different things: one thing is age; another thing is the new leadership. I have nothing against their status of former military officers; such a condition does not prevent their involvement in politics. But, yes, it could be. I agree. Many things need to be revised, but this was an absolutely atypical process. I am certain that many things need to be revised, except for one thing only, which is unity.
According to Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, the people crushed it.
The government had for December 16, without being immodest, two goals, and it continues having them: doing away with the MUD and Capriles. They hailed having beaten (Zulia state governor Pablo) Pérez. I deeply regret having lost Zulia. Pablo is my buddy; he forms part of the new leadership and the impact is bigger. But the main goal of the government was to beat me in Miranda. Sure enough, in failing to defeat me, Maduro said: "The Unity has been vanquished." It is quite the opposite.
Is democracy inside the MUD a problem?
Who knows, who knows... This is part of our reflection.
(Ex-government authority) Jesse Chacón boasted on December 16 that "Chavezism is clearly a political identity" and that Chavezism without (President Hugo) Chávez is possible.
I do know that some people take issue with me, yet I have my doubts about it. Circumstances for our voters are quite different from that of voters for the red party. Ours is a basically spontaneous voter. The PSUV blows its trumpet with the 20 state governments. However, what were the actual numbers for the PSUV? In Miranda, around 4:00 in the afternoon, the PSUV would turn every stone looking for voters. When they claim "identity," reference is made to their attempt at imposing something. In Miranda, they paid USD 1,400 to the coordinator (of the balloting station). In the day of the election for president they did not paid that.
Was it a bigger expense / vote ratio this time?
Very high indeed for the PSUV! They are keenly aware of it. They move for fear of losing a position, but the ones, who are on this side lack a position. That is why I tell you that our voters are spontaneous; there is no direct relationship with the cost of not voting.
The PSUV does frame an identity that justifies that law is superfluous and Chávez is what really matters.
(Government candidate for Miranda state governor and former Executive Vice-President Elías) Jaua was assessed as the best-performing government person, and he was beaten. I do have my doubts about Chavezism without Chávez. It seems to me that any leadership in the absence of Chávez is extremely vulnerable. It is up to our voters to realize that such Chavezism without Chávez can be defeated and extremely vulnerable if they (dissenters) opt to move on. Jesse Chacón purports to make us believe that Chavezism can be defeated by no means. No way! Chavezism can be vanquished. I just did it on December 16. I have beaten two out of the two most powerful (government) men in this country: (Congress Speaker Diosdado) Cabello and Jaua: the two heirs apparent.
In such scenario of Chavezism that can be defeated, how do you view a new election for president?
The MUD will be prepared to make any decision whatsoever accordingly. We may not be ahead in the game. The MUD position, (MUD Secretary General) Ramón Guillermo Aveledo said, is to be respectful of the president's recovery and the scenarios were brought forward by the very president.
Is a revision of the inauguration day plausible?
The Constitution provides for a date; however, any construction of the text falls to the Constitutional Court (of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice). We are contingent upon such a construction; that is the reality.
What if the Constitutional Court rules that Maduro's temporary incumbency should be extended?
At the end of the day, the government will have to make a decision. We expect things to be done under the Constitution; that the president will get well and take office on January 10. They are the ones who have put otherwise for discussion.
Translated by Conchita Delgado Rivas
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.