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DOCUMENTO Íntegro

Cable en el que el dirigente de AP comunica a la embajada de EEUU su intención de dimitir

El dirigente de AP dice a la embajada norteamericana que está pensando en dimitir porque no le gusta lo que ocurre en el partido.

ID: 197611
Date: 2009-03-18 21:25:00
Origin: 09CARACAS340
Source: Embassy Caracas
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno:
Destination: VZCZCXRO3987
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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 182125Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2757
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000340

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/12/2029
TAGS: PGOV, KDEM, VE
SUBJECT: AS CHAVEZ EXPANDS CONTROL, OPPOSITION IMPLODES

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Classified By: A/POLITICAL COUNSELOR DANIEL LAWTON,
FOR REASON 1.4(D)

1. (C) Summary: Opposition party leaders are considering
coordinating their messages and actions more, but are still a
long way from doing so. Instead, fracture lines within
opposition parties are even more pronounced in the wake of
President Chavez's victory in the February 15 referendum to
eliminate term limits. As Chavez grabs greater control over
state and local resources (Reftel), opposition parties have
not yet developed a strategy or communicated a vision to
counter the Venezuelan president's further concentration of
power in his hands or broaden their appeal among poor
Venezuelans and independent voters. Opposition parties do
not now possess the cohesiveness, grassroots strength, or
public support to constitute a real check on the Venezuelan
president's ongoing efforts to "accelerate" his Bolivarian
revolution. End Summary.

------------------------
OPPOSITION IN POOR SHAPE
------------------------

2. (C) Although the opposition parties were able to bring an
unprecedented number of "No" votes to the polls on February
15, their party structures remain top-heavy and media-focused
with little grassroots reach. Polling from the prominent
Datanalisis firm from November 2008 indicates that just 11.7
percent of respondents self-identify as a member of an
opposition party. Of those, 5.3 percent claim Un Nuevo
Tiempo (UNT) membership, 2.8 percent Primero Justicia (PJ),
2.3 Accion Democratica (AD), and 0.8 percent Christian
Democrats (COPEI). In contrast, 24 percent claim to be
members of Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela
(PSUV) and 48.5 percent of respondents say they are
independents, or "ni-ni."

3. (C) Opposition activists report that major opposition
parties are making efforts to create a "dialogue platform" of
party representatives to try to coordinate opposition
messages and actions. Such a group would also get a
headstart on trying to establish consensus opposition
candidates for the parliamentary and municipal elections in
late 2010. The opposition failed to win dozens of mayoral
seats in November 2008 because opposition parties did not
field consensus candidates. Political insiders concede that
many in the opposition are actually relieved that the
National Assembly intends to postpone municipal council
elections from late 2009 to 2010, affording them more time to
try to create effective mechanisms to designate consensus
candidates.

---------------------
UNT: ROSALES V. LOPEZ
---------------------

4. (C) UNT activists report that there was increasing
friction between Maracaibo mayor Manuel Rosales and former
Chacao mayor Leopoldo Lopez over leadership of the party.
She complained that the older politicians in control of UNT
-- namely Rosales -- are only interested in claiming power
for themselves, rather than grooming rising stars in the
party who may generate broader public appeal. One young UNT
activist told Poloff that while Rosales had connections and
power in Zulia State, Lopez was far more charismatic and
popular. She added that the Primero Justicia mayor of the
Sucre Borough of Caracas had made an effort to communicate
directly with the poor residents of the densely-populated
Petare slum, and they had responded by voting across party
lines for him in November 2008. Rosales, she lamented, is
uninterested in supporting such grassroots efforts to expand
the party's base.

5. (C) Charismatic former student leader Stalin Gonzalez, who
waged a strong, but unsuccessful longshot bid for the
mayorship of the Libertador Borough of Caracas in November
2008, is being considered a contender for UNT's Secretary
General slot, according to a senior UNT official. UNT is
planning to hold internal party elections in May to replace
Gerardo Blyde, who was elected mayor of the affluent Baruta
borough of Caracas. The Comptroller declared Chacao mayor
Leopoldo Lopez ineligible to run for office until 2017,
making him a natural choice to succeed Blyde. Gonzalez's
ascension would be a slap in the face to Lopez, and could
herald a potential split in the party. (Note: Lopez was a
co-founder of PJ but left the party to join UNT in 2007. End
Note.) Lopez was very critical of other opposition leaders

CARACAS 00000340 002.3 OF 002


during his March 16 meeting and stressed that the opposition
needed to "renew itself by conveying more hope and less
confrontation."

---------------------------------------
TENSIONS IN ACCION DEMOCRATICA, PODEMOS
---------------------------------------

6. (C) Accion Democratica (AD) President Victor Bolivar
confided to PolCouns March 11 that he continues to have
differences with AD Secretary General Henry Ramos Allup and
is considering stepping down from his post. Bolivar is
concerned about the fractured state of the opposition and
acknowledged that his own party's internal party rules are
undemocratic and make it difficult for talented younger
members to rise through the ranks. Bolivar said he has high
hopes for Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, a former member of
AD, to rise to be a national figure able to compete with
Chavez in 2012. Bolivar argued that unlike the other three
major opposition parties, AD maintains nationwide membership
and party structures.

7. (C) National Assembly (AN) Deputy Juan Jose Molina, of the
formerly pro-government Podemos party, told PolCouns March 13
that he has been active in the effort to organize dialogue
"mesas," or tables, among the opposition to create a common
platform. He lamented the relatively slow progress in such
efforts and accused some unspecified opposition leaders of
negotiating with and "selling out" to the Venezuelan
government. Molina claimed that Podemos is going to use the
lull in elections in 2009 to "renovate" itself and suggested
that the party may seek new leadership, instead of sticking
with party leader Ismael Garcia. Another long-time Podemos
activist complained to Poloff March 12 that Garcia spends too
much time speaking on the opposition-oriented Globovision
cable network. He suggested that the party is considering
turning to Henry Rosales, a former mayor of Maracay and
unsuccessful Aragua gubernatorial candidate in 2008, to lead
Podemos

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COMMENT
-------

8. (C) An anticipated 18-month lull in elections provides the
opposition with a rare opportunity to unite and to develop
political strategies and platforms that can compete for votes
among Chavez's political base of poor Venezuelans. So far
opposition parties are only talking about coordinating better
among themselves and are instead beset by in-fighting.
Opposition leaders appear committed to rebuilding their
parties from the bottom up are still the exception, not the
rule. Moreover, opposition parties continue to react to the
Venezuelan president's political agenda rather than creating
and communicating their own. Consequently, the opposition
does not right now represent any real check on the Venezuelan
president's efforts to concentrate even more power in his
presidency or his measures to undermine the five opposition
governors and 48 opposition mayors elected in November 2008.

CAULFIELD