Thursday, 14 June 2012

Macabre waiting or building bridges?

In the last months I have been observing how other bloggers take for granted Chávez's death or full incapacitation.

I am very worried. If that is what we need to win, we are in real trouble.

I know any opposition would have an extremely hard time in a country where the state (and thus the government) is getting a record amount of money thanks to high oil prices. That's the case in Russia, that's the case in Equatorial Guinea, that's the case in Kazakhstan and that is the case in Venezuela.

Still, we should be doing better in Venezuela. Why? Because Chávez's regime is squandering money so badly. How? We need to provide content. There is a big issue here: Capriles has to work hard on his oratory skills. There is no way around if he wants to reach more people. He needs to read books in Spanish, really. He needs to work on how to link ideas in a speech.

There are two major problems the opposition has to deal with:

1) There is not "a Venezuela". There are several Venezuelan regions, very clearly divided.

Most key political actors within the Venezuelan opposition are based in and come from Caracas, Maracaibo and Valencia. They haven't presented a clear development plan for each of the other regions. It's not that Chavismo has any plan in those regions apart from more control though the so-called "councils". It doesn't matter Chavismo is clueless: it has the petrodollars, you can only fight against that with well-developed plans, plans customized to your clients - the regions.

2) Venezuelans are basically deluded. They need to be informed about the real state of the nation if we want to defuse the socio-economic bombs that have been planted in the last few decades.

Venezuela is a pressure cooker. The vast majority of the population - the poor, the middle class and the tiny upper classes - hasn't got a clue about how fragile the economy is...Venezuela is structurally speaking in worse shape than other countries. Only oil prices keep us afloat - we still have much higher oil prices than in any previous year -.

The economy in Venezuela won't collapse this year. But the situation will become more critical in the next few years. Do we spend time now telling people about how unsustainable the economy is or we wait a little bit longer...yet again?

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