VENEZUELA: FROM THE CONDOR PLAN TO THE “PARROT PLAN”: the right-wing has its candidate to confront Nicolas Maduro – We reproduce below an article published in Venezuela Infos explaining how the right and the extreme right are seeking to beat Nicolas Maduro by every means in the next presidential elections. They have enlisted a puppet candidate that no one knows, proof of the feebleness of the bourgeoisie in front of the development of the revolutionary process in the country.

Start of the article by Lorenzo Santiago: 

Edmundo González Urrutia speaks little – very little, for a candidate in the middle of an electoral campaign. He is not used to being in the spotlight, but in two weeks flat, he became the right-wing candidate in the Venezuelan electoral race. His answers are short and, so far, he has not made many proposals. Except one: the “rapprochement” with the United States.

Urrutia does not have a political career. He worked in the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, long before the election of Hugo Chávez, and was ambassador to Algeria and Argentina. His candidacy is supported by the right and far-right coalition “Plataforma Unitaria” (Unitary Platform), as a forceps solution to the conflict between the former far-right MP María Corina Machado and the right-wing governor of the state of Zulia, Manuel Rosales.

With just over two months until the elections scheduled for July 28, Edmundo González Urrutia – who resides in Miami – returned to Venezuela for a time to participate in his first campaign event, on May 18. The chosen location was La Victoria, a symbolic city since he was born there.

But the campaign of the Unitary Platform candidate struggles to get off the ground. Edmundo González Urrutia refuses to participate in the rallies, and the person responsible for popularizing Edmundo’s name is his far-right mentor, María Corina Machado. In the absence of “her” candidate, she brandishes a photo of him in the marches organized in bastions of the right. The Chavistas label him “the poster candidate” and in fact, until now, Edmundo does not seem to want rid of the label. At the event in La Victoria, while the ultra-liberal ex-MP María Corina Machado was giving her speech, he stood at the back of the stage, behind the members of the “Unitary Platform”. The ultra-liberal had to pull him by the arm so that the public could see him.

Initially, María Corina Machado tried to position herself as the main candidate of the right. Declared ineligible by the courts for corruption and her constant participation in violence and far-right coups since 2002, she could not enter her NGO-party in the electoral register (1). This did not stop her presenting as victim in front of the cameras of the whole world (“the dictatorship prevents me from being a candidate!”).  At the last minute, she got herself replaced by an 80-year-old university professor, Corina Yoris, an unknown in politics who received no support from the other opposition groups. 

The right-wing governor of Zulia and candidate of the Un Nuevo Tiempo party, Manuel Rosales, had criticized this authoritarian move arranged by Machado without consulting the other parties of the coalition. Rosales then he launched into a standoff with that oligarch. And after two weeks of negotiations, Machado succeeded in obtaining the withdrawal of Rosales. 

Meanwhile, both of them had signed a tight deal to launch Edmundo González Urrutia, the candidate unknown to the general public. For  for María Corina Machado, the big challenge now is… to make him known.

A parrot on the balcony

Not content with being an unknown, Edmundo González Urrutia has long remained absent from social media. Before the electoral registration of this “candidate” in March, his last publication on X was dating back to January 2017.  Now he had to publish twice a communiqué explaining that this was indeed his original profile, because according to him, “someone took the liberty of opening an unauthorized [twitter] account.” The initial strategy of the far-right had been to boost his presence on the platforms, using bots, in the style of Milei, Trump or Bolsonaro.

Edumundo and his Parrot

This is how more and more publications, photos and texts describing the candidate began to appear. In one of them, Edmundo appears feeding parrots on the balcony of his apartment, a common hobby in the lonely apartments of the bourgeoisie in Eastern Caracas.

For Fernando Medina, professor of political economy at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, this way of making Edmundo known is not very effective. “No one knows Edmundo and it is ridiculous to make him known through parrots, or the way María Corina Machado is promoting his candidacy. In places where she gives speeches, she carries a photo of him saying ‘this is the candidate’. But Edmundo is not present in the streets, does not organize debates and does not speak to the hearts of the voters, to the majority of the Venezuelan people.”

The second step (of the far-right strategy) consisted in building of the candidate an image opposed to that of María Corina Machado. In the view of lawyer and political economy expert Juan Carlos Valdez, the ex-far-right MP Machado and the current candidate Urrutia act the well-known ‘good cop and bad cop’ role-play: “In the media, Edmundo González Urrutia must incarnate the antithesis of María Corina Machado. Her “Milei” brand of extremism plays on the fear that Chavismo will strengthen for fear of seeing her seize power. The job is to soften this image of María Corina. But she remains important to Edmundo González Urrutia, because she attracts the vote of the hardest right. In short, it is up to him to be the good cop, to be measured, to speak simply, not to be too expressive in interviews.”

According to Juan Carlos Valdez, another important tool used by the campaign of the ex-diplomat of the pre-Chávez regimes, is the appeal to experts and political analysts to “reinforce” Edmundo’s qualities. “His team now relies on other players. There are several well-known political analysts in Venezuela who speak very well of Edmundo Gonzalez Urrutia, praising his image and even his intellectual qualities, which cannot be measured in interviews because he does not say much. »

Edmundo González Urrutia declared that “he did not feel physically strong enough” to campaign in the streets and that he left this task to Maria Corina Machado.

Project emptiness… and the spectre of the “Condor Plan”

So far, Edmundo Urrutia has made few concrete proposals. But this is not the sole responsibility of the candidate. Interviews with the Venezuelan media (mostly opposition) and the foreign press (also opposed to the left-wing government), focus on the confrontation with Chavismo and the possibility of a return to “capitalist efficiency”. But usually, when asked questions, Urrutia answers briefly or changes the subject. The online opposition newspaper TalCualpublished a nearly 30-minute interview with the ex-ambassador. Asked about the first steps he would take at the head of government, Edmundo González Urrutiaremained unclear: “The first thing I would do? The reconstruction of the country, the re-institutionalization of Venezuelan democracy.”

For Fernando Medina, the void of projects and proposals shows that there is a hidden agenda due to their unpopularity. “What is the proposal for education? What is the proposal for health? What is the proposal for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean? What is the proposal in terms of social rights? Edmundo González Urrutia and María Corina Machado focus more on confrontation and radicalization than on the debate between programs.”

The only area that Edmundo addresses with more clarity is precisely the one in which he made a career. In the matter of foreign affairs, he promises to move closer to the United States and abandon relations with countries to which Venezuela has grown closer in recent years.

If he becomes president, Russia and Iran are some of the countries that Edmundo intends to break away from, in favour of an imperial re-satellization similar to that of Milei in Argentina, to counter the influence of the BRICS which so worries Washington.  Edmundo explained to right-wing journalist Luis Olavarrieta: “In recent years we have made alliances with countries that are alien to our tradition of a peaceful and democratic country – alliances with Iran, Russia, Belarus… It is not with traditional allies that Venezuela has conducted foreign affairs these last years – totally alien to the behaviour of democratic Venezuela”.

The relationship of Edmundo González Urrutia with the United States has been criticized by the vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, the main Chavista party), Diosdado Cabello. In his weekly show “Con el Mazo Dado“, Cabello revealed that this former ambassador maintained links with the US Intelligence Agency when he was a Venezuelan diplomatic official in Washington in 1976. Edmundo González Urrutia also allegedly collaborated with the “death squads” which operated in El Salvador in the 1980s. This current candidate was in fact advisor to the Venezuelan Christian Democratic ambassador in El Salvador, Leopoldo Castillo, and would have served as an intermediary in the relations of the CIA with far-right paramilitary groups in that country.

Edmundo González Urrutia during the Salvadoran Condor Plan in the 1980s

For Professor Medina, this desire of the “candidate” to get closer to the United States tallies with his trajectory, his vision of the world, the ideology of María Corina Machado and the entire far-right. “Edmundo has always been closely linked to State Department policy. Edmundo’s main idea, when he says he wants to get closer to the United States, is the same as that of Maria Corina. They represent the putschist opposition. Not the democratic right which sits in the National Assembly.”

Defeating Maduro would make it possible to apply “the Milei shock” to Venezuela: privatize, Americanize the economy, repress the social movements that oppose. As Machado says herself, the goal is to make Venezuela “a country of owners and entrepreneurs” by privatizing everything that can be privatized – such as the public oil company but also the five million social housing units that the “regime” has built for free for the popular sectors. Such a project would quickly involve the use of repression because these measures would very quickly be a source of social discontent, as in Argentina. Maria Corina Machado like Edmundo González Urrutia embody the counter-insurgency school of the United States. The first has also signed a “strategic cooperation agreement” with the Israeli Likud including “geopolitics and security” (photo below).

Part of all the coups and the violent street actions against the left-wing government of Venezuela (recast by the media as “popular-revolts-against-Maduro”), Maria Corina Machado is the daughter of a business tycoon, Henrique Machado Zuloaga, director of one of the largest steel companies in Venezuela. This was nationalized in 2008 by Hugo Chávez when he began his policy of redistribution in favour of the poorest. Machado has retained a thirst for revenge and perfectly embodies the racist oligarchy of Venezuela in a hurry to erase the Bolivarian revolution and its inclusion of the “non-white” majority.

Text: Lorenzo Santiago, with Thierry Deronne

Edited by: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


(1) Read « Douze points sur les « i » d’élections présidentielles au Venezuela« , T. Deronne

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Published by Venezuela Infos 25 May 2024

Feature Image : The PSUV youth demonstration against the US sanctions, Caracas, 17.5.24

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VENEZUELA: FROM THE CONDOR PLAN TO THE “PARROT PLAN”: the right-wing has its candidate to confront Nicolas Maduro – We reproduce below an article published in Venezuela Infos explaining how the right and the extreme right are seeking to beat Nicolas Maduro by every means in the next presidential elections. They have enlisted a puppet candidate that no one knows, proof of the feebleness of the bourgeoisie in front of the development of the revolutionary process in the country.

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