Sunday, October 08, 2006

Watch out for the “Avalanche” 

Observers of Venezuela might have noticed that recently the term “avalanche” has been popping up all over the place. The opposition used it to refer to their march yesterday – as in there were a lot of people there. In fact they have been using the term quite a bit.

Truth be told, though, the term isn’t one that really suits them. The reason being that what favors them are small groups of people, not large groups. There is a very simple reason for this. They represent Venezuela’s elite and parts of the middle class. As a result their political base is small – maybe about 25% of the Venezuelan population.

Does that mean they can never win an election? No, it doesn’t. That minority can win because generally a much higher proportion of them vote than of the remaining 75% who constitute Chavez’s political base. The electoral silence and complacency of the poor greatly favors the upper classes and, along with their monetary resources, allows them to influence the political system in a way far beyond their numbers.

This explains, for example, why the opposition has complained bitterly about the Chavez administration registering millions of new voters. They know that it is much better for them if those millions of poor Venezuelans stay unregistered and don’t participate come election day.

How do I know they think that way? Truthfully, from all their actions over the past few years there isn’t much doubt. But I also know it because they say it so unequivocally themselves as the following video shows. This is a tape of Enrique Mendoza, the leader of the effort to recall President Chavez, speaking to his advisers on the night before the Recall Referendum on August 2004:

So there you have the opposition saying very clearly that “what really worries me is massive voting” and “abstention helps us”. Finally he sums it up very succinctly – “An avalanche can be very dangerous for us”.

Personally, I think there is something fundamentally undemocratic about wanting millions of your fellow citizens not to vote in order for you to have a chance to win.

BTW, the above video clip comes from the documentary called “Venezuela – Revolution in Progress” made by Downtown Community Television. It focuses on the Recall Referendum and follows activists from both sides around to give a very balanced, and informative, perspective. It is has been shown on the Discovery Times Channel and I recommend that people interested in those events consider purchasing it.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?