April 23, 2004

Breaking the coalition

It's the standard advice negotiators get when facing a particularly tough negotiating partner. The Romans built a tidy little empire on the principle.

Stuck? Divide your enemies.

One would expect VP Cicero, of all people, to be well versed in such tactics. Predictably, the initial reactions to the reparo regulations from the opposition coalition were divided. Most of the antichavez coaltion seems to agree that participating is the least-bad idea - including AD, MAS, Causa R, Bandera Roja, Union (most of it), Solidaridad, and others. But a few voices on the center-right - Primero Justicia, Proyecto Venezuela, and Alianza Bravo Pueblo - disagree and call for following "the judicial route."

From this point of view, CNE did a sterling job, carefully calibrating the reparo procedures to split the opposition down the middle. Brito's draft of last week was just a trial balloon to see how much CNE could get away with. They could see that if they agreed to the Comando Ayacucho proposal to check 50% of the fingerprints, they would fail in the broader drive to divide the coalition, simply because NO ONE in the opposition could agree to that. In retrenching, CNE again found "sweet spot" - that gray area acceptable to one part of the opposition, but not the other.

Sigh. It stinks to see the government apply such a basic strategy and succeed. I've been spending too much time fantasizing about just grabbing Julio Borges, el viejo Salas, and Ledezma and just slapping them again and again until they snap out of it. I don't understand their attitude at all. If they don't see the need for unity now, if they don't realize they're playing into the government's hands now, when will they? Also, was it just me or is it clear that the "divisionists" who "don't really want a recall" that Ramos Allup was ranting about last week were, in fact, the PJ cagaleche squad?

Can someone please explain?