CARACAS – The candidate challenging Venezuela’s self-proclaimed socialist government from the left in the May 20 presidential election has centered his campaign proposals on reconstructing and recovering the ethical base, which, he says, has disappeared from politics in the oil-rich nation in the last few years.
“The political reconstruction must by accompanied by an ethical dimension of politics,” Reinaldo Quijada said, who is a supporter of late President Hugo Chavez and a former member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela that Chavez founded.
The administration of Chavez’s designated successor, Nicolas Maduro, includes many people who are interested only in power for its own sake, Quijada said.
“It is necessary for this country to wake up, to stop being blackmailed, to stop being manipulated by the government,” he added.
Quijada criticized the MUD opposition coalition’s call to boycott the elections, saying Sunday “is the moment that everybody must assume their historic role.”
“The situation we are experiencing makes no political, ideological or historical sense ... This is a misgovernment, there is a lack of economic policy, ... a lack of educational and health policies. This is a complete misgovernment,” Quijada said, adding that a Maduro victory “cannot provide any positive perspectives.”
Quijada, who is running as the candidate of the UPP89 party, said that he had talked to opposition candidate Henri Falcon regarding the possibility of an electoral alliance.
Quijada, however, decided to reject the possibility, as he considers that he has “a much more critical position against the government than any other candidate.”
He stressed that UPP89 is a left-wing party that emerged as a criticism of the Maduro administration from the perspective of Chavez supporters.
Quijada also rejected an electoral alliance with candidate Javier Bertucci, a businessman and evangelical pastor.
“Politics must remain a serious issue ... his candidacy is not serious. We haven’t contacted, nor are we interested in contacting, Bertucci,” he said.
Quijada recognized the challenges that his campaign faces, as he has limited resources compared to the Maduro, Falcon and Bertucci campaigns.
Quijada, an engineer by training, said his candidacy “has a moral objective, not only an electoral one.”
“The moral objective in politics is crucial ... and it is not apparent in the short term. Rather, it establishes an important change in direction and that is what we aim to do,” he said.