El mal que nos aqueja / Oswaldo Barreto

The Evil That Ails Us

In yesterday's editorial for our newspaper, Teodoro Petkoff sustained that "the massive withdrawal of the political parties and the magnitude of the predicted abstention are symptoms of a sick political system." We don't tend to gloss the editorials of our director in the columns we maintain in TalCual, but on this occasion we find in the very words used to begin the editorial an invitation to do so. In effect, TP writes, "beyond the personal opinion one might have about the manner in which the withdrawal of opposition parties has occured, what is true is that a political situation has been created from whose consequences no one can feel removed."

These words serve, on one hand, to reveal they are the echo of a political situation that has been created, that exists there, objectively, removed from the personal opinion of whoever writes it and, it's worth deducing with healthy logic, also removed from any other personal opinion. And they serve, on the other hand, to announce a situation that would have been created in the immediate future and which has effectively been created: it can be seen everywhere that nobody seems to feel removed from the consequences of the actions of us Venezuelans on the upcoming 4th of December. Many have offered opinions about what can happen due to the refusal of the political parties to participate in the parliamentary elections, "beyond any opinion one might hold" about the reasons that might be able to determine this negation.

However, it is not for the purpose of joining our voice to this chorus of opinions that we have decided to write this type of gloss, but instead, in order to investigate some of the evil that has engendered this situation and the cures suggested. Let us begin by affirming, abruptly, that it has not been the refusal of determined political parties and leaders to participate in the upcoming elections what has revealed our illness to us, but rather the immediate and vast reception this refusal has encountered. In a minute it became evident, no longer just for the missionary or professional electoral observers, but even for the most candid or depoliticized of Venezuelans, that "a considerable portion of the country does not trust the electoral system nor the Consejo Nacional Electoral." This should be understood: it is not only Henry Ramos Allup nor Pastor Heydra, it is not the unanimous Copei political party or fragmented Copei, nor the delayed Primero Justicia party, nor any other fussy leader, but instead an immense sector of society that has demonstrated that it truly does not have faith in the electoral system.

Whatever the polls or the creators of opinion might say. Whatever the government might think about the success it has had in creating an electoral system that allows it to maintain a democratic appearance for international opinion, even at the cost of maintaining a coin in legal circulation that all of us Venezuelans know to be false.

Such is the illness that afflicts us and, as has been suggested by Petkoff himself or by Manuel Rosales, the elections should be postponed in order to consecrate ourselves to seeking a remedy. Such is the evil and such would be the adequate condition for beginning its treatment. But, as a disgrace for all Venezuelans, the person who could be the main factor in this process of curing and rectification does not see the evil where it remains, but instead prefers to talk about the causes that create it. And in this manner the Government speaks to us about plagues that are created abroad, in the precincts of American imperialism or which assault us from the inferno of the past. It is a case then, for Chávez and his spokesmen, of a disguised coup or of the camouflaged counterrevolutionary rejection of the great transformations that are being propelled in the country and which the country propels in the entire continent and beyond the continent. That those diseases exist, that they can be virtually activated in Venezuela as they are activated in any place where revolutionary processes develop, who can deny this. But it's just that with this electoral system, with this Consejo Electoral, we are not even allowed to freely debate these matters. And this is what it's about. That the position and opinion of half of Venezuelans about what is bad or good for the country may be legitimately represented in the elections.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 2 December 2005 }

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