Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Zulia, abstention and other electoral ramdom thoughts

The electoral situation does not seem to be improving. Not that I was expecting much anyway: we all know that what is needed is a new CNE board and manual voting. Nothing else will do. Watching the news I was wondering about a few things and I wanted to put down a few for common reflexion with the readers.

The Zulia problem

Manuel Rosales, Zulia's governor, has announced that he was going to win the Zulia seats and that he was running no matter what the other guys said.

I do not see that as bucking the abstention trend, not even as posturing. In fact I think it is reflecting something much worse: a new and dangerous regionalism. I suspect that the Zulia voter, the most refractary to Chavez bull shit, is getting tired of the delirium of Chavez, which is financed in large part with Zulia underground oil wealth. No matter how many visits Chavez does to Zulia, how much cheating he does at polls, how many promises (usually broken anyway but not a problem elsewhere in Venezuela) opposition to Chavez in Zulia is increasing steadily.

Fascism usually operates by dividing and even atomizing its opposition. This never solves the problem of course, and actually can bring worse problems. Regionalization is one, unleashing centrifuge forces that can have umpredictable consequences, even breaking up countries. The neo-fascists we have in Miraflores are aware of that but are unable to deal with it. Yet, their policies keep aggravating the Zuliano resentment. That bill will have to be paid.

The reason why Rosales remains in the race is because he is effectively harnessing that regional component that we thought was long lost since Gomez. Yet another example of how backward in time Chavez is taking Venezuela. And I cannot condemn Rosales as he is probably avoiding worse manifestations of the problem.

What's up with Sobella Mejias?

Ms. Mejias is the "token" opposition representative at the CNE. As such she has been woefully inadequate, so much that she is basically rumored to have tossed her lot with chavismo.

So, how come we have not heard from her since last week fiasco? How come she has not resigned? How come she has not even supported her colleagues? What are her links with AD?

Sobella, it's time you take a stand for once in your life. If you are cashing big with chavismo have at least the decency to acknowledge it. Or announce publicly that you are ready, as the vice president of the CNE , to take over as soon as Rodriguez resigns. You will create the best possible political crisis in Venezuela by forcing the rotten CNE to collapse or throw away the hypocresy.

The Hamletian Primero Justicia

If I can understand the reasons why Rosales is staying in the run (for the time being anyway) it is more difficult to see why Primero Justicia is still hanging there as there is enough evidence of a groundswell opinion for withdrawing coming from inside its supporters!

I do appreciate that they think elections should always be contested, but underestimating the rejection from the masses to voting under the CNE rules is dangerous for its future. Even this blogger for the first time in his life is wondering whether we should just not take a stand in front of international observers. Not that they will do much but at least we would get media exposure. I think that at this time unity is crucial and if Primero Justicia is going to break it, it should do so without any ambiguity. Those are not days for pusilanimity. AD seems to be doing very well these past 48 hours, at least on what I hear on talk shows!

Useless abstention again?

My main problem with abstention is that it should be active or it is TOTALLY USELESS.

Indeed, I think that if we were able to uncover such a fraudulent action from the CNE, we have the right to demand a full audit of the whole system. As I wrote above, even people like me who are fanatical democrats and cannot see an election where they would not vote are having second thoughts.

But staying home is not the simple solution! Abstentionists should be doing more than calling people to church (though the PR bonus from that could be considerable!) In fact, the abstention "leadership" should already be calling for a massive march on Monday 5 to declare publicly that they will not recongize the results of Sunday election if they dare to hold it anyway (something that looks less and less likely as the CNE is not even holding its regular meetings!)

At any rate, if I do not see much more than useless screaming I will go to church on Sunday and then hit the ballot box anyway, even if only some very minor anti Chavez candidate is left on the ballot. Actually I might even vote Tupamaro as this might scare chavismo even more!

More tonight as events keep unfolding.

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