After the Constitutional reform of 1999, on July 30, 2000, general elections were held in Venezuela. In order to be reelected under the new Constitution, President Hugo Chávez had to re-submit to a general election.
Chávez’s main opponent was Francisco Arias Cárdenas, a soldier close to the president who had to leave the governorship of Zulia to run.
In fact, together with Hugo Chávez, Arias Cárdenas was one of the main leaders of the so-called Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement-200 that, on February 4, 1992, tried to overthrow President Carlos Andrés Pérez.
During the political battle in 2000, Arias Cárdenas tried to profile himself as a sensible dissident of Chavismo. He said that, although he supported Chávez, he had turned away from the path that had initially led him to support the Bolivarian Revolution. His statements against Chavez were strong. It was a rough campaign.
In the end, the dissident was defeated by Hugo Chávez on July 30, 2000. He managed to obtain significant support, but the president won 59.7% of the vote.
Immediately after the failure, Arias Cárdenas opened himself to a process of dialogue with Chavez. He began to approach Hugo Chávez until in 2005 he left all the supposed differences behind and was completely reconciled. He said he “made mistakes” and, the following year, Hugo Chávez appointed Arias Cárdenas as Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations.
The ex-solider then was deputy and from 2012 to 2017, governor of Zulia. Now he continues being one of the main Chavismo characters and president of Corpozulia, the state company in charge of the economic development of the western state.
With time it became clear the role that Arias Cárdenas tried to play in those 2000 elections. When he promoted the constituent process, Hugo Chávez knew that he had to submit again to elections; but an opponent like Arias Cárdenas did not pose any risk, even in an eventual defeat.
Who is Henry Falcón
Now there is another character that pretends to assume the same task; but in a much more dramatic and perverse pretenses. Henri Falcón is strikingly similar to the former dissident, now staunch chavista Cardenas. The alleged opposition candidate has said he will be Maduro’s opponent, ready to back the electoral fraud of April 22.
Falcon approached Chávez in 1994, when he became a founding member of the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement-200 in the state of Lara— the center of Chávez’s political force— before the conspiratorial movement, which in 1997 would be called Movimiento V República.
In the same general elections of the year 2000, Arias Cárdenas was elected as mayor of the Iribarren municipality, representing the political party Movimiento V República. Later, he was named president of the Association of Mayors of Venezuela.
In 2004 he was re-elected and in 2005 he presented a project to President Hugo Chávez, called Transbarca, whose objective was to build a transport system to modernize the transport of his city.
Four years later, now as a member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Henri Falcón conquered the Lara state government. Already by that time, Falcon presented himself as a moderate. A Chavista, but affable for those who disagreed with the revolutionary project.
His presumed restraint led him to depart from the PSUV in 2010 to join the ranks of the Patria Para Todos (PPT) political party. With that movement he joined, surprisingly, with the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) in 2011 to support the candidate who would confront Hugo Chávez in the 2012 presidential elections.
The year of presidential elections, PPT took up a Chavista line and Henri Falcón founded his Advancing Progressives movement, along with the journalist and brother of Chavez minister Ernesto Villegas, Vladimir Villegas.
After the death of Chávez, to whose relatives he sent condolences, Henri Falcón became the campaign leader of the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, who now measured against Nicolás Maduro. Capriles’ electoral victory was stolen, and Falcón opted at the end of that year, 2013, for the governorship of Lara state.
The ‘exchavista’ lost his governoship in October of last year, when the National Electoral Council awarded the victory to ex-minister Carmen Meléndez.
Maduro’s electoral candidate
Now Henri Falcón has announced his will to be president.He intends to represent the Venezuelan opposition in the electoral fraud on April 22.
His decision was disseminated by the media at the end of January of this year. However this February 21, his candidacy was confirmed when he made it clear on his Twitter account.
Falcón makes the decision even after the leadership of all oppositions (the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the Soy Venezuela alliance and other leaders) decided to refrain from participating in this process due to the lack of guarantees necessary for them to be considered free and fair elections.
He insists on participating even after the Group of Lima, the European Union and the United States reject the elections and affirm that they will ignore any result that derives from the fraud.
When finally the opposition—from pressure or sensibility—decide to move away from the desired route of the dictatorship , which is the electoral one, appears Henri Falcón; willing to be an accomplice of the parody that the chavism will orchestrate at the end of April.
“Nicolás I’m going to defeat you with all your traps”
It is clear that Henri Falcón will now play the same role as Arias Cárdenas 18 years ago; but with the added disctiction that, by participating in this process, he immediately becomes a collaborator of the crime.
Maduro is desperate to have an opponent-—and he found one in the corrupt evangelical pastor who now appeared. It is a good time for the opportunists of the past, like Henri Falcón, who’s vanity points them where it suits them best.
Although the majority, including the pusillanimous opposition, talk about the current National Electoral Council as partial and sure to influence the election results; Falcón insists that he would be awarded a victory.
“If we speak with the truth and make this suffering population feel identity, not only with our message, but with the commitment, we will defeat them as they were defeated in 2015, with This same National Electoral Council, “said Henri Falcón at the end of January.
In this light he can only be seen a candidate of Maduro, chosen to serve as token opposition. A character infiltrated in the ranks of the opposition that tries to hide behind a false dissidence to continue with his, at best, naiveté.
Falcón is the same man who still does not call Nicolás Maduro a dictator, and during the strong demonstrations of 2017, when the regime massacred students, he only spoke of skirmishes and never intervened in his state, Lara, where he was governor.
After the murdered of those protests, in October of 2017, Henri Falcón also suggested that the responsibility lay not only with the Chavista dictatorship, but with the parties Popular Will and Primero Justicia. He could have taken the phrase directly form a state-run television program’
He has rejected the opposition’s delcaration stating Maduro’s actions have vacated his right to the presidency, and says that you can not look for a “violent” way out of the crisis. When the president of the United States, Donald Trump, raised the military option in Venezuela, Henri Falcón wrote: “Insolent Trump! This ‘peo’ is ours! Solve yours that are enough! ”
He is a populist and promoter of unpleasant practices, like throwing toys from a truck to children. He is also the token candidate of Nicolás Maduro in these upcoming fraudulent elections, there only to justify their taking place.
When Henri Falcón published his risible tweet, in which he claimed that he would defeat Maduro, despite the pitfalls, he received less than 300 retweets; however, the replies almost totaled four thousand. All messages and insults rejecting his statemtns. Users asked him how much the Chavista regime paid him.
In short, he got what the twitterverse calls, “ratioed”.
Subservient to the end
Then information began to spread that, apparently, Henri Falcón would rectify and abandon the contest due to popular pressure. However, the journalist Ibéyise Pacheco wrote on her Twitter account on February 22 that “the pressures of Maduro on Henri Falcón, after learning of his decision not to participate in the fraud, are taking effect at this time, 10:13 p.m. It is regrettable. ”
For now Henri Falcón will participate in the fraudulent presidential elections, without having the slightest possibility of even facing Maduro.
We will see public relations and pollsters outlining Falcón as a serious opponent. In the end they will say that they have the potential to succeed and they will ask the society to support it. has been outlined and denounced by the professor of the Catholic University Andrés Bello, José Valentín, who speaks of “Operation Falcon”.
But the truth is that today the majority of rational society rejects that supposed ex-chavista, whose only intention is to prevent a regime change that would allow for the rescue of Venezuela’s freedom.