Two days ago, a group of opposition parties dubbed "Meeting Point" and led by Accion Democratica took ten demands to CNE, portraying them as minimum conditions to take part in elections. AD's Victor Bolivar, speaking for the group, told Notitarde "we are not looking for excuses in order not to participate, as some say, we're asking for guarantees. We have always been participationists. We're seeking to defend the right to vote."
So far, so good. But then yesterday, when news came that Jorge Rodriguez had agreed to step aside from CNE - undoing one of the key obstacles to realizing Meeting Point's first and central demand - AD Secretary General Henry Ramos Allup flipped, telling reporters:
"Everyone should understand that even if they guarantee hand-counting of votes, nothing changes if you have five hustlers upstairs who undermine it, who alter the tally sheets. What good is a manual count with a twisted voter registry? With [Jorge Rodriguez's] exit nothing changes if they don't take concrete steps for people to be convinced that the system is trustworthy, because people are not going to vote and there will be very low turnout come hell or high water." (llueve, truene o relampaguee.)
Hmmmmm. Which one is it? Is AD actually trying to work pragmatically towards proper voting conditions? Or will they keep moving the goal posts, discounting the possibility of a fair vote a priori, as a matter of dogma? What's the point of sending lists of demands to CNE if you've already decided there will be very high abstention "come hell or high water"? Precisely what kind of twisted game is Ramos Allup playing?
The less reactionary of the oppo party groupings, Primero Justicia-led "Together for Venezuela" (isn't it funny how the more divided they get the more they use words like "meeting" and "together" to call the splinters?!) called Jorge Rodriguez's decision "an important step."
Hey, I'm not saying the next CNE will necessarily be better than the last (how could I?) I'm just saying it's really bad form to start slinging mud at it pre-emptively, before we even know who'll be on it.