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DOCUMENTO Íntegro

Cable en el que el dirigente de AP informa de que intentó la retirada de Henry Ramos

Víctor Bolívar comunica al embajador que intentó conseguir la retirada del líder de la dirección del partido, para dar paso a una ejecutiva más joven, pero el secretario general se negó.

ID: 211334
Date: 2009-06-10 21:48:00
Origin: 09CARACAS724
Source: Embassy Caracas
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:
Destination: VZCZCXRO5745
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000724

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HQSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
DEPARTMENT PASS TO AID/OTI (RPORTER)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2029
TAGS: PGOV, KDEM, VE
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION ANNOUNCES NEWEST UNITY EFFORT

CARACAS 00000724 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ,
FOR REASON 1.4(D)

1. (C) Summary: Opposition political parties held a June 8
press conference to announce that they are creating a "unity
table" with a structure of 11 committees aimed at drafting a
single democratic alternative to Chavismo. The presence of
virtually all political party leaders across the ideological
spectrum was offset, however, by the absence of many younger
generation political figures. Political observers indicate
that opposition parties are beset from within by ongoing
power struggles particularly between older leaders and the
younger generation -- many of whom hold office and can claim
an electoral base of support. With at least a year until
major elections are expected, the opposition has the time to
organize itself, but probably not the will to sacrifice
personal ambition for the sake of unity. End Summary.

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OPPOSITION CALLS FOR UNITY
--------------------------

2. (SBU) Opposition political party leaders held a June 8
press conference at the Christian Democrat (COPEI)
headquarters in Caracas to announce the creation of an
opposition "unity table." COPEI Secretary General Luis
Ignacio Planas served as the group's spokesman and called for
the creation of 11 committees to discuss issues ranging from
elections to international affairs. He said this work would
eventually lead to a unified "democratic alternative"
platform. Planas also announced that the group stood in
solidarity with Globovision, the opposition-oriented cable
news network that Chavez recently threatened to close.

3. (SBU) In answer to press queries, Planas did not
elaborate on any specifics, notably refusing to comment on
elections either for the National Assembly or within the
parties. In a typical display of poor coordination, the
small opposition Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party's
national coordinator, Jose Antonio Espana, preempted the
press conference by announcing a day prior that MAS supported
a unity opposition ticket for elections and had its own party
agenda that prioritized fighting poverty. Early on June 8,
Accion Democratica (AD) Secretary General Henry Ramos Allup
told a radio interviewer that he did not favor the creation
of a single opposition electoral ticket.

4. (C) The press conference was well-attended by leaders
from the traditional opposition, including formerly
pro-government Podemos party and Mayor of Greater Caracas
Antonio Ledezma. Among the 50 or so leaders on camera,
however, there were just two female faces visible and very
little enthusiasm. Also conspicuously absent were the
younger generation of heir-apparents within the parties,
including Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski
and the mayors of the Sucre and Baruta boroughs of Caracas,
Carlos Ocariz and Gerardo Blyde. Former Chacao municipality
Mayor Leopoldo Lopez created some disruption when he arrived
near the end of Planas' speech with his successor, Emilio
Grateron, in tow and began greeting the other party
representatives seated near him. Planas also struggled to
stay on a positive, clear message focused on unity, answering
baited questions from reporters representing state-owned
media outlets who asked how this effort differed from the
Coordinadora Democratica that actively opposed Chavez in the
run-up to the unsuccessful 2004 recall referendum.

-----------------------
COLLAPSING FROM WITHIN?
-----------------------

5. (C) Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) activist Yenny De Freitas told
Poloffs June 8 that the party continues to suffer from a
major schism between its self-exiled leader, Manuel Rosales,
and Leopoldo Lopez. She said that Lopez, who is currently in
charge of UNT's outreach, is scheming to create his own
opposition "movement" outside of the current party system --
likely taking advantage of the networks he has developed in
his current role and his personal popularity within Caracas.
She noted that Lopez no longer attends UNT meetings and said
that Lopez and Grateron's noticeably late entrance to the
press conference was intentional. De Freitas contended that
both Grateron and Gerardo Blyde, who was UNT's most recent
secretary general, would follow Lopez if he left the party.
She also suggested that the other parties are privately happy
about UNT's distress and are angling to take advantage of it
to increase their own relative stature within the opposition.

CARACAS 00000724 002.3 OF 002



6. (C) Political observers have also told Poloffs that
within COPEI, Planas has poor relations with Governor of
Tachira State Cesar Perez Vivas and COPEI Deputy Secretary
General Alejandro Vivas. Perez Vivas is rumored to be
angling to use his electoral base to wrest control of the
party away from Caracas-based Planas. Within Accion
Democratica (AD), party president Victor Bolivar confided to
Polcouns a few months ago that he was struggling to convince
AD Secretary General Henry Ramos Allup that the party needed
a "renovation" and the retirement of its older leadership --
which is widely perceived as discredited. Bolivar would like
to allow new, younger faces to emerge among its leadership
ranks. According to Bolivar, Allup was reluctant to
sacrifice his own prominence within the party.

7. (C) Governor of Carabobo State Henrique Salas Feo, who
is president of the small opposition Proyecto Venezuela
party, told the Charge d'Affaires June 9 (septel) that the
unity effort is a waste of time. He said opposition leaders
are too busy jockeying to be the next President of Venezuela,
rather than focusing on the needs of the people. Salas Feo
opined that with so much time before the next major
elections, the issues at hand should be resolving
Venezuelans' social ills rather than choosing the next
leadership of the opposition movement.

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COMMENT
-------

8. (C) While the opposition's much-heralded "unity"
announcement was a worthy first step aimed at creating a
democratic alternative to Chavez, it was underwhelming in its
execution. Planas offered only vague promises of unity
committees that would, in theory, come to a consensus on more
detailed strategies. The stated goal may also be somewhat
unrealistic given the widely divergent ideological views
among the parties, which range from socialist to right-wing
Christian democrat. Planas also failed to pronounce what the
opposition stood for, preferring to make cheap-shot remarks
against Chavez.

9. (C) The lethargic and at times indifferent attitude of
the opposition leaders in attendance (some of whom paid more
attention to their Blackberries than to Planas' speech)
stands in marked contrast to Chavez's enthusiastic,
color-coordinated PSUV rallies and underscores the
opposition's inability to present even a temporarily united
image. The absence of the more popular younger generation of
opposition leaders almost certainly will feed speculation
that all is not well within the parties, and that disgruntled
figures like Leopoldo Lopez may be preparing to launch their
own self-serving "movement" at the expense of whatever
cohesion the current opposition parties are able to achieve.

CAULFIELD