Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This tiger doesn't change its stripes... 

Catching up on some old news I noticed that the current mayor of the affluent Caracas district of Chacao, Leopoldo Lopez, has nominated himself to be a candidate for the Greater Caracas Mayoralty. Doesn't sound like big news does it? In fact it could be good news. After all, when the man isn't helping lead riots (see below) he actually does a half way decent job of running his municipality:

But there are two important details that tell us alot about how little the Venezuelan opposition has changed.

The first is that he will be running as part of the UNT (Un Nuevo Tiempo) party which is the party formed by the opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales. How was it decided that Leopoldo Lopez would be the candidate? Who knows? But we do know that wasn't done via a primary. Hence, we have a continuation of the age old process in Venezuela where a few powerfull political bosses, business tycoons and media bosses decide most things - the party base is left out in the cold. Although Venezuela desperately needs political parties that are run in a democratic fashion from the bottom up it doesn't seem to be anywhere near getting that.

The second problem is that Mr. Lopez is a confirmed crook who was supposed to be banned from holding any governmental positions after his current term as Chacao mayor ended. The reason for that is he used to work for the state oil company PDVSA a number of years ago as did his mom as the public relations director. Well his mom managed to get PDVSA to give a pretty penny to the right wing political party, Justice First (Primero Justicia) which her son, Leopoldo, just happened to be a leading member of at the same time. Clearly this is a blatant act of corruption and a conflict of interests and hence the ban on Mr. Lopez holding public positions.

But hey, he doesn't give a shit. In the launching of his campeign he brushed aside questions about whether it would be legal for him to become Metropolitan Mayor saying that no law could overturn the mandate of the voters.

I don't know that that is true. More likely what this just a case of people from eastern Caracas thinking the law doesn't apply to them.

Nothig new under the sun.


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