The bed was made in 2005, and it’s still uncomfortable to lie in it


There are a lot of English expressions I’ve never really understood. I mean, like anyone else I’ll say them, but as the words come out of my mouth I realize how ridiculous and—well, stupid they are. Most of these observations have already been made by way cleverer people, but still…

“You just want to have your cake and eat it too.” –eating the cake you “have” seems like a pretty reasonable thing to do, right? As opposed to?

“It always in the last place you look.” –I owe my brother-in-law for this one. Of course it is. Why would you keep looking if you’d already found what you were looking for?

Finally, though, and a little more germane to the topic: “you made your bed, now you have to lie in it.”

It’s the first expression that came to mind when I read this Sunday’s Venezuelan parliamentary election results. The opposition, in its recent incarnation as the MUD (la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática), suffered for having sat out the 2005 elections, and as result found themselves playing a rigged game; because the rules changed with The Suffrage and Political Participation Law Chávez forced through the opposition-less legislature last December, and the MUD has had to live with the consequences.

The reality on Sunday was, as a journalist reminded a furious President Chávez, that regardless of how the popular vote shook out, the seats were already predetermined to disproportionately benefit the PSUV.

And so, despite a difference of barely 100,000 votes, the PSUV won 98 of the 165 seats.

I guess the first expression that really came to mind was “cosechan lo que siembran” (you reap what you sow). But that’s kind of harsh.

The opposition sat out in 2005 to restore democracy, not to weaken it.

But if they had stuck around, and won at least the 64 seats they won this time, they never would have bequeathed the power to change the constitution to el comandante.

And what would that have meant?

No Suffrage and Political Participation Law, which, in the current context, means the PSUV and MUD would be tied at 80 seats each.

So is the glass half full or half empty? It’s kind of hard to say. Aristóbulo Istúriz, a key member of the National Directorate of the PSUV, promised they’ll legislate “till the final day,” and that the opposition should “prepare themselves.” (

A little ominous? Threatening?

The PSUV maintains its majority till January, which means they’ll be eager to make as much use of it as they can.

“I don’t know a country where 98 is less than 64. In no country in the world…We know this campaign that just finished is just the preamble to our commitment for 2012, which is the ratification of Commander Chavez,” he continued.

He has a point.

This is being celebrated as an opposition victory, but it’s a bit early. They’ve really only won back what they lost four years ago, and at the cost of angering a President all too willing to make the most of his slightly weakened grip on power.

So, until the Presidential election in 2012, we’ll call a spade a spade, or call bread, bread, and wine, wine (llamar al pan, pan, y al vino, vino): Señor Chávez and the PSUV will not go gently into the night; 2012 is a long way away—the MUD should be happy to make it to January.

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