Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: If you were in Maduro’s position, wouldn’t you be recruiting inside the MUD?
If you were in Maduro’s position, wouldn’t you be recruiting inside the MUD?
Dark suspicions have long clung as to the deeper MUD’s loyalty. This is one of the longer term effects of Henrique Capriles’s botched messaging following his April 2013 election loss: his simultaneous claim of fraud and refusal to call his supporters out into the street in protest scrambled everyone’s circuits, leaving many to wonder about secret agenda’s in their attempt to square the discursive circle.
I grant that, in almost all cases, these allegations are more argumentative gambits to delegitimize Capriles than serious statements of reasoned position. “La MUD está vendida” become a kind of shibboleth of the radical opposition, an identity marker, one way that we know for sure that we’re we and not they. Seldom are any such allegations presented with evidence.
But we do have evidence, clear evidence, that the government uses monetary incitements and other perks arising from proximity to state power to peel off opposition supporters and get them to jump the talanquera and start supporting the government. Ricardo Sánchez, William Ojeda, and the bit players from the Diputado 99 saga speak clearly to this fact. We know that government connected business players will give opposition-politicians suitcases full of campaign donations – at least to film them and then publish the film.
Some other things we don’t have evidence for, but can speculate about with a reaonsably high confidence that we’re not a million miles off. We do know there are large numbers of Cuban intelligence officers in the country. We know Cuban intelligence is notorious for seeding informants throughout dissident circles in Cuba, and have long experience recruiting spies among anti-castristas both in Miami and in Havana through large payments and/or threats and intimidation. You’d have to be terminally naive to believe they’re not looking to buy off people ostensibly playing for the other side. I mean, really.
Now, think about the incentive structures facing a mid-level opposition politician associated with the MUD. Where’s that guy going to raise the money to buy the killer Coral Gables condo he went into politics to secure?
His Plan A, skimming it off the top of some contract once he got into government, he can forget about: the flow of funds to oppo-dominated institutions is massively restricteed, and what money the opposition does get is scruitinized with a fine-tooth comb.
So…what do you think he’s going to do when an old leftie friend of his from college calls him one day and invites him to meet in an out-of-the-way arepera in a part of town he’s not familiar with, and turns up decked out all in red, with 15 bodyguards in motorcycles, and with “an offer he can’t refuse?”
Is this speculation? Sure.
Do I have reason to believe Capriles personally is compromised? None whatsoever.
Is it likely the government has agents working at different levels within the official opposition? It’s virtually certain.
Is MUD’s top leadership seriously committed to the kind of counterintelligence operation it would take to ferret out the turncoats and expose them? The question answers itself.