Skip to main content

The New Faces of Venezuela’s Opposition
























BY JUAN CRISTÓBAL NAGEL
NOVEMBER 23, 2015 - 5:13 PM

  






All polls in Venezuela are predicting a comfortable win for the multi-party coalition that’s opposing the ruling socialists in the December 6 legislative elections. The opposition has struggled to gain traction for years, so this realistic chance at victory (if President Nicolás Maduro respects the results) is a big moment.







This opportunity comes at least partly thanks to a new generation of young people who have injected new energy into the movement. 




For the first time, many of the candidates seeking to enter parliament came of age during the presidency of Hugo Chávez.


Politics for them is a mix of ideals and combativeness, and while they engage in dialogue, they sometimes see compromise as a dirty word.



One of the breakout stars of this younger cadre of candidates is Manuela Bolívar. She’s running in the central state of Miranda under the banner of Voluntad Popular, the party of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López.



A former university student leader and community organizer, Manuela is also the daughter of Didalco Bolívar, a high-ranking regime apparatchik. Strangely enough, her father is a candidate for the governing party in the neighboring state of Aragua, his power base.



I spoke to Manuela about the challenges of campaigning, her curious family history, and what lies ahead.



“My parents are divorced. On the weekends, instead of spending quality time with my father, I would have to accompany him to political rallies. Hugo Chávez regularly came to my house, and I was always surrounded by Chavistas, but I was never one of them. I guess I was a rebel from an early age.”



“Now, we don’t talk about politics when we get together … which is weird, since we are both running for office.”



Opposition candidates face widespread violence. Manuela herself was physically assaulted on the street a few months ago, though she was obviously pregnant. (A few days ago, she delivered a healthy baby boy). The opposition must also withstand increasing scrutiny from a politicized judiciary, and its candidates enjoy little access to Venezuela’s largely pro-government media.





But in Maduro-era Venezuela, opposition candidates know where to go to talk to voters.

“All you have to do is go to the lines,” Manuela says.



For months, Venezuelans have experienced acute shortages of basic staples. 



Thousands of people stand in lines for hours in front of supermarkets and drug stores.

“Meeting voters means going to the lines and talking to them about the reason they are there, which happens to be the main issue on their minds,” Manuela explains. 


“In the lines you meet people from all walks of life — young, old, poor, rich, opposition or pro-government.”



Though some may portray her as part of the more aggressive, less conciliatory wing of the opposition, Manuela says she makes a point of engaging in dialogue. I ask her if the Chavistas standing in line have been receptive to her message.




“The supporters of the government are just as frustrated as the rest of us,”
she says. 



“It’s easy to disarm their arguments because, well, they are standing in line just like everyone else, living through the failures of the system the government has shoved down everyone’s throats. Though the collapse of the revolution has left them depressed, they are finally seeing in the opposition a viable alternative.”




It helps that Manuela knows how to speak their language. As her father’s daughter, she is intimately familiar with the language and motivations of Chavista voters, a trait shared by many who came of age during Venezuela’s turbulent recent history.


“I think voters are looking for someone to trust. They understand the crisis is profound, that it is the fault of the government’s failed policies, and that solving it is going to take years,” 
she says. 




“Voters are tired of being lied to, or promised magical cures for their problems. They want to hear common sense.”




So far it has been a smoother ride for the opposition than many expected, and opinion polls are predicting a massive victory for their side. The question is what they’re going to do with this power — and whether their unity will survive their victory.




Like several other opposition candidates competing in the upcoming election, Manuela hails from the generation of students who famously stood up to Chávez when he shut down an opposition TV station in 2007. Their view of politics has been marked by an open life-or-death struggle against the government’s creeping authoritarianism. 



Correspondingly, this generation is keen to advance constitutional reforms that would put an end to Nicolás Maduro’s government.



On the other hand, the opposition’s older members, hailing from an earlier political era, are more cautious. 



Politicians such as Henry Ramos Allup, a prominent leader of the “old guard,” has fewer qualms about coexisting with Venezuela’s current government. This older generation is harshly critical of the more confrontational approach espoused by the jailed López and his allies, and is more interested in improving the system from within than in overturning it. Whether these two groups can find common ground is a lingering question within an opposition that expects, soon enough, to be within reach of power.



Opinion polls show Venezuelans favor the first, more radical approach — over 68 percent of them want the Maduro government gone, either through his resignation or through a recall — by the end of 2016. (His term ends in 2019.)



Bridging the divide between the two camps will remain a challenge. When asked about it, Manuela tells me there is an agreement between both factions — once they’re in power — to push for change within institutions such as the courts and the electoral council, something both groups agree is necessary.



If the government torpedoes these efforts, the agreement specifies that the opposition will take stronger measures, triggering moves for some kind of constitutional end to the government. That could involve anything from a recall referendum to convening a constitutional assembly which would have the power to remove existing authorities, including the president.




The injection of youth into the opposition is a welcome development. But if their energy boils over into impatience and unwillingness to compromise with members of their own side, their hard-fought victory at the polls will result only in frustration, both for them and for their voters.









This dynamic bears watching, and will continue to be an important story in the next six months of Venezuela’s chaotic political life.








In the photo, anti-government students chant slogans in Caracas on November 21, 2015.

Photo credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images




http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/23/the-new-faces-of-venezuelas-opposition


Popular posts from this blog

THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER MANGOES IN THE WORLD ....

While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???





In alphabetical order by Country....










India




Alphonso





Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia








Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 


It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

MEET MELANIA TRUMP: The 5'11" supermodel married to Donald Trump

Aly Weisman, INSIDER

Sep. 2, 2015, 3:28 PM 











Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images







While Donald Trump loves to be the center of media attention, his third and current wife, Melania Trump, is a bit more camera shy.










The Slovenian-born model keeps a lower profile than her husband, doing philanthropy work, raising their son, working on a jewelry collection with QVC, and creating a $150-an-ounce caviar moisturizer.




With Trump on the campaign trail, Melania has stoically stood by his side.




But who exactly is Melania and where did she come from? Learn about Trump's other half here ...





Melania Knauss was born April 26, 1970, in Slovenia.




Wikimedia/Getty







The 5'11" brunette began her modeling career at 16, and signed with a modeling agency in Milan at 18.



Chris Hondros/Newsmakers via Getty









She took a break from modeling to get her degree in design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.








Wikimedia/Getty

Source: MelaniaTrump.com









But after graduating, her modeling career took off and Me…

INDIA 2016 : Mango production in state likely to take a hit this year

TNN | May 22, 2016, 12.32 PM IST






Mangaluru: Vagaries of nature is expected to take a toll on the production of King of Fruits - Mango - in Karnataka this year. A combination of failure of pre-monsoon showers at the flowering and growth stage and spike in temperature in mango growing belt of the state is expected to limit the total production of mango to an estimated 12 lakh tonnes in the current season as against 14 lakh tonnes in the last calendar year.



However, the good news for fruit lovers is that this could see price of mangoes across varieties decrease marginally by 2-3%. This is mainly on account of 'import' of the fruit from other mango-growing states in India, said M Kamalakshi Rajanna, chairperson, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd.




Karnataka is the third largest mango-growing state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.



Inaugurating a two-day Vasanthotsava organized by Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama and the Corporation at P…