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realclearworld

Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: Building the perfect leader

By Juan Cristobal Nagel in Caracas Chronicles:

Building the perfect leader
http://caracaschronicles.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/henri-falcon-henrique-capriles-no-quieren-calle1.jpg?w=700

Less bashing and more wooing, please

Leopoldo López is a smart, visionary guy.

Maria Corina Machado is fearless, eloquent, a political megastar.

Henrique Capriles has great name recognition, and he is a master at building consensus.

It’s too bad we can’t have someone who combines all three features.

I thought about this as I learned the latest development in the tentative steps toward a Constitutional Assembly: Lara Governor Henry Falcón has shot down the idea, saying he does not support it, that it’s not the way, that it’s a “mistake.” “A majority in the National Assembly,” says Falcón, “will allow us to produce the changes that we wish to see in the country.”

Never mind that Falcón is dead wrong about this (a majority in the National Assembly? It will accomplish diddly squat if the Supreme Tribunal shuts it down) – how on Earth did López and Machado not ensure that Falcón was on board before saying the Constituyente is the way?

Let’s face it – no initiative as complicated as a Constitutional Assembly is viable unless everyone in the opposition – and particularly the governor of one of the country’s most populous states – is on board. Failing to build a coalition was #LaSalida’s original sin, and it’s hampered its efectiveness ever since.

So before talking about a Constitutional Assembly to a journalist, before announcing it to a cadre of your most ardent followers gathered in Eastern Caracas … shouldn’t you have built the political coalition that will carry it to victory?

It frustrates us to no end that López and Machado can be so careless about this. If Falcón is not on board, the Constitutional Assembly is a no-go … am I exaggerating when I say this? I hope I am. If not, then … why announce one? Seriously, I have no idea what they’re thinking.

Capriles was great at putting together a solid coalition. Unity during his presidential campaigns was never seriously called into question. But the current times have left him exposed, woefully unprepared, sorely lacking in vision. He used to toy with the idea of a Constitutional Assembly, but he hasn’t uttered a peep about it as of late. It’s like he doesn’t get the urgency of the moment.

López has offered a vision. He and Machado are bravely putting their skin on the line. They understand the drama of the conundrum, and they realize Venezuelans simply can’t wait until 2019. But they are hopeless when it comes to building a coalition around their idea for #LaSalida – whatever it is.

If we could just blend all these people into one tactical, effective, unity-forging, charismatic leader … then we’d be getting somewhere. It’s not that there’s no talent in the opposition – it’s just that it’s spread around too evenly.

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