|05CARACAS917||2005-03-30 20:15:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Caracas|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 000917
1. (C) Primero Justicia President Julio Borges and Sec Gen
Jose Luis Mejias lamented the opposition's inability to offer
the public an alternative to Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez. Meeting with the Ambassador March 22, they outlined
the party's political strategy, noting especially its efforts
to address social issues. The Ambassador suggested ways the
Embassy could help show alternatives to GOV social programs.
Primero Justicia is one of the few Venezuelan political
parties with vision, but the tiny group, now focusing more on
organization building, is not prepared to challenge Chavez's
revolutionary juggernaut. End summary.
2. (C) Primero Justicia (PJ) party president Julio Borges
and secretary general Jose Luis Mejias paid a courtesy call
on the Ambassador March 22. Calling the opposition's
predicament "the worst of all worlds," Borges and Mejias
derided President Hugo Chavez's critics for their inability
to statistically evaluate the administration's performance
and for their lack of familiarity with GOV social missions.
According to Borges, the opposition must not victimize
Chavez; rather, it has to generate expectations and show the
GOV is unable to meet them. In addition to being critical,
he contended, the opposition has to offer an alternative to
the GOV. Noting that the opposition let Chavez have a
monopoly on social-issue discourse, Borges said PJ planned to
launch a "street justice" program aimed at disseminating the
party's message to the Venezuelan poor.
3. (C) The Ambassador described how the Embassy could use
its public presence to demonstrate other options to GOV
social programs. In response to Borges's suggestion that the
USG help build political institutions and civil society, the
Ambassador said the Embassy was considering sponsoring
English language classes, bringing back the Peace Corps (in
the event of GOV approval), and establishing libraries,
especially in poor areas.
4. (C) Borges discussed PJ's need to devise a credible
short-term strategy to offer the public an alternative to
both the GOV and the traditional opposition. He described
three goals the party had for its own development:
--PJ plans to hold a party congress in July to revise its
ideological platform and public policies.
--PJ hopes to form 14,000 local networks via its "justice
with the people" grassroots movement by the end of the year.
--The party intends to consolidate its party machinery with
an eye towards holding internal elections next year.
5. (C) Borges and Mejias described a four-hour meeting they
had with the Minister of Education (Note: whether he was
referring to Higher Education Minister Samuel Moncada or
Education and Sports Minister Aristobulo Isturiz_ was
unclear). Borges said the Minister's invitation to meet to
discuss ideas came as a surprise because there has been no
communication between the ministries and the opposition. The
ministers do not even greet opposition deputies in the
hallways, he said.
6. (C) Primero Justicia is probably the most pro-active
opposition party. First, PJ is perhaps the only opposition
party that has articulated to us a political strategy and has
demonstrated an urgency to recreate its public image and
message. Second, it is one of the few to build alliances
with other parties since the collapse of the Coordinadora
Democratica after the October 2004 regional elections.
Third, PJ is one of the only parties engaging in long-term
planning; other PJ contacts told us in mid-2004 that the PJ's
first priority was to prepare for the national assembly
elections, currently scheduled for December 2005.
2005CARACA00917 - CONFIDENTIAL