On October 22, 2023, the primary elections of the Democratic Unitary Platform, a block that groups together Venezuelan opposition political parties and organizations, will be held. It is difficult to predict what the results will be. It is also difficult to take for granted that the event will conclude with the selection of a candidate for the next presidential elections, to be held on an undetermined date in 2024.
What is clear is that there are many who aspire to win the opposition primaries. In this very “competitive” situation, everyone has displayed their best versions of demagogy to attract the attention of the voters, running a great risk, because the promises of anti-Chavista politicians are crumbling even faster than in past years.
Let us try to understand what the aspiring presidential candidates really mean with their peculiar “government programs.”
Let us begin with María Corina Machado, who has the greatest popularity among those surveyed, according to several private polling firms.
In a previous article published by Misión Verdad, we showed that the strategy of the leader of Come Venezuela (Vente Venezuela) is to show that she presents a different option from traditional politics, which is very difficult for the audience to digest, since we are talking about the woman who took a photo in 2005 with former President George W. Bush in Washington, after the organization of which she was president, Súmate, had received tens of thousands of dollars from the NED [CIA regime-change front the National Endowment for Democracy] during the 2004 recall referendum.
And this was just in her beginnings as an antigovernment operator.
Now, Machado tries to hide her past by claiming to have had a “critical stance” of the G3 coalition (currently disbanded) and Juan Guaidó’s imposter government tactic. With her hands washed of that fateful episode, she presents her “government plan”: slogans of “political freedom” and “money in the pocket,” with the intention of persecuting Chavismo and privatizing the Venezuelan state.
This is what can be deduced from her radical statements: Put an end to two decades of socialist government” and ” privatize PDVSA, the Guayana companies, hotels, and telecommunications companies.”
But the opposition leader also brings us “innovative” proposals. In the middle of 2023, she incorporated into her government plan the idea of changing the automated Venezuelan electoral system to manual voting.
“Innovative” proposals? Not as innovative as those of César Pérez Vivas, former governor of Táchira state and candidate for the Concertación Ciudadana party. He proposes to change the presidential term, the eligibility conditions, and the formation of the National Assembly, without mentioning a Constitutional or constituent reform anywhere.
On the economic issue, Pérez Vivas speaks of three mantras: “absolute respect for private property, respect for private initiative, and the privatization of state companies.” In the social sphere, the political leader proposes solving Venezuelan nutrition and health using “the resources that are available from the international community, whether they come from the United States or Europe.”
The latter would be a temporary action, of course. Progressively, the privatizations and the invitation to the transnationals to earn their profits here would magically translate into the recovery of the country’s economy. Venezuelans would purportedly see this expressed in significant salary improvements, as if by a tickle-down effect.
Speaking of salary improvements, there is no competition to the promises made by Antonio Ecarri, former advisor for the Chacao municipality and leader of the Alianza del Lápiz party. One of his most important proposals, in the context of national mobilizations by the teachers’ union, is to increase teachers’ salaries to $2,500, as in Finland.
Another, which is not very creative, is the electoral promise a “dollarized universal basic income” that “would allow each Venezuelan family to receive an annual amount in the order of $6,803.71.”
The contradictions appear when it comes to fitting this proposal with the plan of privatizing everything, which is a point that Ecarri shares with the other candidates. Can you eliminate most sources of government revenue and keep your promises? No, because in principle complying with them is not part of their true program.
We went from deceptive offers to ruinous propositions. Benjamín Rausseo, “Er Conde,” in a conversation that he offered at the Monte Ávila University in Caracas, said that the universities had to be privatized because with the technical high schools [opened by Chavistas], high school graduates should be able to pay for their college education.
“I propose the technical baccalaureate, that every boy graduates as a technician in something: art, trade, to repair cell phones, air conditioners,” said Rausseo. “And the university would stop being public because the bachelor who is entering a technical professional could pay the university.”
Presenting technical high schools as a new invention and eliminating public universities is not a joke.
And what about the leader of Democratic Action (Acción Democrática), Carlos Prosperi? When asked about the government plan he responds with 30 ideal goals, without making clear the path to achieve them.
He proposes a “zero hunger” plan, the elimination of taxes such as the IGTF (Tax on Large Financial Transactions), the use of green hydrogen to counteract climate change, modernization of health and education systems, an agricultural fund, support for entrepreneurship and the private sector, and a “diversified economy with commensurate wages.”
These are all commonplaces; however, among them, the promise to “incorporate Venezuela into the SWIFT system” stands out, since with that, Prosperi confirms that the country was excluded from said system for political reasons, and suggests that a regime change would suffice to lift the illegal sanctions.
In reality, no one in the opposition has provided a government plan, only the usual slogans. In the background, and abstractly, they only promise to throw the entire socioeconomic public structure and infrastructure into the invisible hands of the market; in practice, handing over the country to transnational interests from the United States and Europe.
The pre-election rhetoric of the majority has consisted of offering prosperity and well-being, throwing mud at each other and at the government of Nicolás Maduro, and blatantly omitting their contributions to the destabilization plans against the country, which forced the Venezuelan population to go through the difficult circumstances which they now promise to solve. They never contemplate asking Washington to abandon its interference in Venezuela; rather, the opposite.
Well, everyone in their electoral proposals forgot to put the only point that will guarantee them foreign support for a future presidential campaign: to promise that they will govern under the orders of the United States.
Translated by Orinoco Tribune.