Thursday, June 24, 2004

The electoral campaign started, on Carabobo day
A fitting day for a military electoral campaign

Thursday 24, June 2004

Today is Carabobo day, the anniversary of the major and almost final battle of our independence wars. And it seems that it will be the unofficial start of the Recall Election campaign, depicted by Chavez in military terms for quite a while already.

Though the official start for the Electoral Campaign for the Recall Election of August 15 is July 15, at least according to the rules set by the Electoral Board, CNE, the omens of the last 2-3 days are not good for our peace of mind: life might become unbearable as we near August 15.

Today, to commemorate the Carabobo anniversary, we got treated to a 5 hours "cadena" of the military parade live from the Carabobo fields. A "cadena", for those that are late comers to Venezuelan blogs, is the much abused privilege of the executive to tie ALL the broadcast media, radio and TV, to play simultaneously live or not some message that the government deems important for the Nation to hear. For example, today Chavez decided that we should watch for about 5 hours the military cheap parade. Well, I did not watch it. I have cable TV and I decided to watch the Portugal England football game from Fox Sports network from its Argentina team. Argentineans are good when commenting on European football. Incidentally the fact that many Venezuelan Portuguese could not watch their small country beat England live will probably have cost once and for all the Portuguese vote to Chavez. But I digress.

But why is Chavez doing such an unusually long "cadena" with a military parade? After all his troubles after February 27 and the burnt soldiers debacle he has been bending backwards to assuage the military moods. Such things as increased budgets or expensive parades are the means. Clearly he needs to be as secure as possible of military support before August 15, or at least sure enough that they would not do something against him.

But perhaps we thought that the military "cadena" would be enough. No such luck. Around 8 PM there was yet another "cadena". This time Chavez using his presence in Carabobo state took the opportunity to swear in the local electoral campaign commando.

Now I have a question for all of the chavista supporters in the foreign media, in particular people like those writings in pseudo intellectual leftist papers, or web sites, and who have made a career in accusing the Venezuelan media of bias (it is biased indeed, but with some reasons that these supporters fail to mention). The question is: why is it important to the nation that Chavez force broadcast us the swearing in ceremony of his troops? Is it because the theater was filled up with red shirts? That sure looked nice.

The fact is that Chavez has shown today his campaign colors, truly. He will not be paying for TV advertisement. He will just run all sorts "cadenas" whenever he will feel like. And ask if the opposition will be able to run advertisement on the state TV and radio… You might be disappointed by the answer. Though if you are a Chavez supporter you might be pleased.

I will venture that this strategy might backfire. The Venezuelan people is not that stupid.


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