The former head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), Jesus “Chuo” Torrealba, was interviewed by the newspaper Version Final in an article that was printed today. Torrealba, who led the MUD into the opposition’s greatest ever electoral victory in the 2015 parliamentary elections, spoke on a wide range of topics, from last Sunday’s gubernatorial election to the future direction that he thinks the MUD should take.
Torrealba spoke in extremely critical terms of today’s MUD, suggesting that it had fumbled its way from mistake to mistake until it was essentially tricked into participating in the October 15 gubernatorial elections, a decision that he thinks may have doomed the bloc.
In particular, Torrealba took issue with the fact that the MUD leadership spent the summer months arguing that the only way to remove Maduro from power would be to engage in widespread civil disobedience, and then suddenly abandoned those calls and switched into electoral mode following the July 30 Constituent Assembly election. Torrealba explained:
They told the people with all of their strength that in the streets it was supposedly possible to put a stop to the Constituent [Assembly] and eventually find a way out of the regime, but when we got the July 30 that turned out to be a lie. It was false from the start. The [MUD] leadership that pushed for the recall referendum [last year’s failed bid to remove Maduro from office via a referendum] did not talk to the people about what had happened. It went from “increasing rebellion, zero hour and general strike” to “we’re having elections, vote for me” very suddenly.
Torrealba laid much of the blame for what he considers to be the MUD’s mistakes on National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara and former Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, both of whom are leading opposition figures. According to Torrealba, the two led Venezuelans down dead ends and, once they got there, failed to communicate with followers properly about what had gone wrong.
When asked what message he had for the MUD, Torrealba expressed concern over the possibility that the Maduro regime’s relentless repression of opposition forces and elimination of democratic channels for political change might lead to a radicalization of the bloc. Torrealba explained:
The communist party was an impressive force that had impeccable democratic credentials due to their fight against [Juan Vicente] Gomez and [Marcos] Perez Jimenez, and then it made the stupid decision of launching an armed struggle in 1960. By 1963 we knew already that this was going to be a political and military failure.
Because it failed to recognize its errors, [the community party] continued its armed struggle until 1968. Thousands of Venezuelan youth died simply because their political leadership did not want to recognize its faults. What I don’t want right now is to enter a spiral of failure because [the MUD] leadership does not want to recognize its mistakes.
Maria Corina Machado: Recognition of Constituent Assembly Would Be Treason
Maria Corina Machado, the head of the Vente Venezuela opposition party, warned today that any opposition governor who decided to be sworn in by Maduro’s Constituent Assembly would be committing “treason against the people”, since such a decision would be tantamount to recognizing the fraudulent body as legitimate.
The comments come shortly after Maduro warned that any opposition governor-elect who did not eventually participate in a swearing in ceremony at the Constituent Assembly would simply be replaced.
Comparing the Constituent Assembly to Cuba’s legislature, Maria Corina Machado said:
A governor cannot recognize–either directly or indirectly–this Cuban Constituent [Assembly]. That would be tantamount to reason against the people.
Maria Corina Machado is one of the more radical voices in the opposition. She withdrew her Vente Venezuela party from the MUD bloc after it decided to participate in the gubernatorial elections.
Mision Vivienda Lagging Behind on Home Goals
The Mision Vivienda, the government’s subsidized housing program, is struggling to stay within eyesight of the goals set by Hugo Chavez in 2011 when he created the institution. According to El Nacional, Mision Vivienda has only built 26.6% of the homes that the organization had set as a goal for this time.
According to the newspaper, Mision Vivienda‘s own construction schedule estimated that it would have built 3,000,000 homes by now. It has in fact only built 800,000. The figures come from the nations’ construction unions which are employed by the state to build the subsidized homes.
The regime will often use the construction of new homes for propaganda purposes, showing Maduro and other high ranking PSUV officials handing over the keys to apartments to grateful Venezuelans. According to the regime, the 2 millionth home will be completed by the end of this year.
For William Lizardo, the head of the Federacion Nacional de Trabajadores de Construccion [National Federation of Construction Workers], the regime’s figures are fiction. He told El Nacional:
If anyone knows the details of how this construction is going, it’s the workers who are employed by the state in these projects.
Lizardo said that the construction unions engaged in the construction of Mision Vivienda homes have been growing increasingly alarmed by the “standstill” affecting construction around the country today, which he blamed on “abandonment by the government and the lack of raw materials”.
Octavio Campos, the secretary general of the Sindicato Unico de la Construction de Caracas [Caracas Construction Syndicate] told El Nacional that a good indicator of the poor state of the Mision Vivienda is how few workers it employs compared to six years ago. Campos said that whereas in 2011 there were 300,000 construction workers employed by the institution, today that number is less than 100,000.
El Nacional pointed out that one of the tricks used by the regime to bolster its home construction numbers is count repairs to existing units. By doing so, the regime can claim a new coat of paint in an existing unit as an entirely new home.
For Lizardo, it is clear that the Maduro regime is only concerned with appearances and not with actually helping Venezuelans. He said:
Propaganda is what the government is doing now when it inaugurates and hands over a new home to its followers and in accordance to political and electoral necessities.
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