AN ELECTORAL POST CARD
September 2003, first week.
I am travelling for business. This is good, I do not have much time to worry about the news and in spite of the work it gives me a slight vacation feel. Yet a few clips from our unreal political world manage to reach me.
THE SUPREMES GET HOAXED
The High Court in Venezuela is involved in a very trouble, and troubling, incident. Apparently, a recent decision unfavorable to Chavez as it would bar him to run immediately after a recall election was “found forged”. I really have not been able to try to understand what did happened. Was the decision really a forgery? Do the “supremes” read what they are signing? Did they claim a hoax because the president exerted strong pressure on them to reverse their ruling?
Actually does it really matter? Important forgeries have occurred in the past such as when an president signed a pardon for a narco without realizing it and if it really was a forgery the High Court will clear out the air and install safer provisions.
What is really important here is that the fuss made by the government illustrates how this one is trying very hard to find a way to allow Chavez to run again right after a recall election. Just as if you had been fired and would be allowed to put your resume back for consideration where you had been fired, and at the top of the pile of resumes at that. Besides the silliness of it all, and the annulation of the intention of a recall election figure in the constitution, it looks like a confession from the government who seems to think it will lose a recall election these days….
SILLY CAMPAIGN TRICKS
The ineffable vice president that we must suffer went yesterday to ask the general prosecutor to investigate SUMATE, the organization that tabulated the signatures that were given August 20 to ask for a recall election. The arguments? How could a private company usurp the right of the citizens to tabulate their will! How could a private company usurp the Electoral Council attributions by initiating a petition? How could people dare give money to SUMATE to do such felonies? And who are these people by the way?
In the oxygen deprived environment in which the vice president seems to operate these days one wonders if he thinks that it should be his responsibility to organize the collection of signatures for a recall election against himself.
To begin with, SUMATE is an NGO. And although this has been stated and restated profusely, the news seems not to have reached the VP yet. And even if SUMATE were a private company, so what? Is it not for the Electoral Council the organism to validate the signatures, no matter how and who collected them? But why argue with the VP? He is just doing his job to muddy the atmosphere and try to postpone the recall election at any opportunity. One suspects that even if people were to sign with their blood he would still find objections.
MORE SILLY CAMPAIGNING
Some brouhaha arose when on August 23 meeting Chavez named a few candidates for the July 2004 local elections. A little bit early for that of course, but nothing is silly enough to use in order to distract the attention from the recall election. Besides Chavez violating, once again, the constitutional provisions on how campaigns are planned, what was really interesting there is that the candidates were named by Chavez dictate. They do not emanate from the local base as it should be for local elections.
A Freudian admission that Chavez has not as strong a local base as he claims to have?
With all of that and the legal challenges that already rain on this pre-campaign, Diosdado Cabello did have his first campaign rally on Saturday. The VP graced the rally with his presence, uttering as usual some more “ineffabilities”. Mr. Cabello is running against Enrique Mendoza, a successful Miranda State governor who has become a probable challenger to Chavez. The most relevant electoral promise from Mr. Cabello was that “now Miranda will have a first lady” alluding to Mr. Mendoza being single. The VP, lacking oxygen probably, declared to the press at hand that Mr. Cabello was going to beat “El Pato Donald” (Donald Duck). This is a clear sexual allusion on Mr. Mendoza sexual preferences in Venezuelan slang.
One wonders if the language of a pre-campaign is that bad already, what will Mr. Cabello say a week before election in July 2004…
MEANWHILE BACK IN CUBA
During all this time Chavez finds nothing better to do that go to Cuba attend a UN meeting on desertification. This is not a pressing problem in Venezuela. Usually the only head of states that would attend such a specialized conference are the interested parties, namely those from the Sahel Countries. Indeed of the around 200 participants there were only a dozen head of states, including the host Castro and Chavez.
But any excuse is good for Chavez to go to Cuba visit his guru. Even better if Chavez can use the opportunity to present himself as the leader of the anti-globalization movement he claims to be. And most importantly to decide and announce there that the signatures for the recall election are not valid; and if the Electoral Council declares them valid, then this one is lose legitimacy as morally corrupt. The recall election in Venezuela being of course a very pressing problem for Sahelian countries, an issue that they want to be objectively informed first hand by Chavez.
Really, if Chavez is so confident on his electoral support why is he running so scared?