A Clear Choice

 With no Venezuela Down The Rabbit Hole segment today, let’s get right to current news. It’s rare to find someone in the political arena that doesn’t compromise their beliefs. Maria Corina Machado is one such person.

 Caracas Chronicles did an interview with the leading candidate in the upcoming opposition primaries in Venezuela. Here are some of the highlights from the Q & A with our personal favorite candidate who, at this point is leading in the polls to face off against Nicolas Maduro in the 2024 presidential election, although the CNE (electoral council) still hasn’t officially scheduled the election.

 Q- Why do you think the caretaker government (with “interim President” Juan Guaido) failed to produce a transition to democracy?

 A- …a great lost opportunity…there was confusion between means and goals. The goal was to topple the regime but they were distracted by other matters. (And that’s why everyone’s frustrated. How could they get distracted by other matters?)

 Q- How do you see the many doubts around the primaries?

 A- …We would have a huge impact if half a million to a million people abroad vote in the primaries…We have to play hard because our lives are at stake. We must set a high standard and from there push for the conditions in 2024.

 Q- How do you think the opposition can reconnect with the voters?

 A- It’s going to be very hard. Above all, this is a spiritual fight between good and evil. I think Venezuelans know for certain that the only way of transforming the country is by defeating a system that took hold like a cyst on our nation’s flesh, doing enormous damage. So we must choose someone who can defeat the system, displace it, and call the entire nation to a transformation process…in order to leave behind, in a relatively short term, the darkness, the poverty, the division of family and society, and make Venezuela able to exploit all it’s extraordinary potential.

 Q- How do you define yourself, ideologically?

 A- I’m a liberal. Vente is a center liberal party.

 Q- What’s your plan for economic recovery?

 A- First, leaving socialism behind. The rich state that owns everything and subordinates society. I believe in the opposite. The state must be a subsidiary of individual initiative, for you must open the market under clear rules and the rule of law, so everyone knows what to expect. If you don’t know the institutions or don’t believe in them, you’ll never invest a cent and without real investment  you can’t have employment or an increase in the population’s income. (The minimum wage is currently $5 A MONTH!)… You need common sense, transparency, and discipline to eradicate the evil that bleeded Venezuela and other countries, inflation, which is the state stealing from society. I believe we have a great opportunity to turn the country into the power center for the Americas. (Remember, Venezuela was the wealthiest country in Latin America before the Chavistas took power and now it’s the poorest)

 Q- Would you require economic aid from the IMF (International Monetary Fund)?

 A- Venezuela is mortgaged and looted so if we don’t achieve a sensible restructuring …we should forget about reactivating our economy. For me this has three pillars. One, a responsible plan of economic reactivation and transformation. Two, debt restructuring. And three, a massive and transparent privatization process, with the opportunity of swapping debt for investment, in order to recapitalize the country without inflation. No one will accept a restructuring process of such magnitude, however, for a country so damaged by those shameless corrupt people, without the approval of the multi-laterals.

 Would you privatize PDVSA (Venezuela government-owned oil company)?

 A- Of course, we must privatize PDVSA…Corpolec (Venezuela government-owned electric company)…SIDOR (Venezuela government-owned steel company)…telecom business… Public companies are black boxes sucking money and keeping their workers in poverty.

 Q- How would you ensure, once in power, that Venezuelans trust the new democracy?

 A- This is the paradox of liberals, we came to power to reduce that power and give it to the people…We need a big process of institutional strengthening and civil education. In the end, we need to create a wealthy society. Only a wealthy society is autonomous from the state…This is part of the transformation of the model of society we need to implement, in order to make it irreversible and avoid that another totalitarian regime could return.

 Q- What would be your strategy to defend the vote and stop fraud?

 A- …You are elected to fight, to change conditions, not to say “It is what it is”. First, you fight.

 Q- Do you support indefinite reelection?

 A- All reelection must be banned. (I love this! Someone that wants to come in, do the hard work, then leave!)

 Q- How many years for presidential periods?

 A- Five years is reasonable.

 Q- National Assembly or bicameral congress?

 A- I’m sure a bicameral congress strengthens democracy and the legislative power, as well as checks and balances and political debate.

 Q- What’s your stance on decentralization?

 A- I believe in federalism…Venezuela needs more municipalities, not less.

 Q- What would you do with judicial power?

 A- It must be rebuilt from the roots, completely transformed.

 Q- In favor or against gay marriage?

 A- In favor.

 Q- In favor or against abortion?

 A- I have my convictions for religious reasons, and we need a national, rational debate…However, I would never impose my vision on society.

 Q- Nicolas Maduro?

 A- Failure and evil.

 Q- Juan Guaido?

 A- He had a chance and didn’t make it.

 Q- Henrique Capriles?

 A- The past.

 Q- Leopoldo Lopez?

 A- He tried and failed. (But he’s still our favorite here at TFT)

 Q- Lorenzo Mendoza? (Owner of conglomerate Polar)

 A- A good businessman.

 Q- Simon Bolivar?

 A- Audacious, stubborn, passionate, and generous.

 Q- Hugo Chavez?

 A- The main culprit.

 Q- How would you like to be remembered as a former president?

 A- Wow…I would want people to say, “This woman was useful for our country, she served well, she contributed to making Venezuela a better country.”

 So there you have it. Should Maria Corina Machado win the primaries and face off against Nicolas Maduro in the 2024 presidential election (Again, CNE, the electoral council, still hasn’t scheduled the election) the choice will be clear. The incumbent has done nothing but disastrous things to Venezuela and it’s people and would sacrifice anything, including Venezuela and it’s people, to remain in power. The challenger would do nothing but positive things for Venezuela and it’s people and would prefer to just do the job, repair the damage caused by Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism, and having done so, return to private life. With Nicolas Maduro’s abysmal approval rating do you really think the Chavistas will allow the Venezuela people to make that choice?

 That will do it for the week. We’ll be back Monday with another Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment and more current news. Until then… Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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