El Ciudadano is the flagship talk show of Globovision, from 5PM to 8 PM. The political who'swho of Venezuela has to go through its demands, like it or not. Chavistas have stopped going there years ago because, see, the guests receive unfiltered phone calls from the audience which can be quite nasty on occasion. Yet, the strength of the show is in its anchor, Leopoldo Castillo, who is tough but fair, not tolerating nonsese or "guabineo" (dodging the issue, failing to give at least a partial answer to a given question). Hate it or love it, it is the one and it has privileges that no other talk show has. Such as organizing a one hour for each candidate of the Unidad starting tonight with Henrique Capriles Radonski (HCR). None will miss the date (then again all have gone there at some point so they are used to it and not afraid anymore).
I am not promising to watch all of them but I'll try to do so and give as brief a possible a comment on that because, well, there are bound to be better to know the candidates than the stupid debates we have been subjected to so far. Unfortunately at best a 20% of the population may end up watching the shows because of the hour and because of Globovision limited to cable TV outside of Caracas and Valencia.
Without further ado, let's comment on HCR tonight (remember, I am not even pretending to be objective, but I will try fairness).
The governor of Miranda appeared quite relaxed (good poll numbers still). But he was cautious enough to wear a rather awful shirt but in the COPEI green which means that he feels that he needs to work on attracting the Copei vote away of Pablo Perez. COPEI should be in theory a natural fit for HCR since he started his political career as a COPEI representative in 1998. (Juan has posted a partial video of the performance at his blog which I have lifted for the bottom of this post)
He did not say anything that he has not said before (jobs, fairness, justice, whatnot). However he said it with more conviction than I have seen him saying it since he started. At least he betrayed some awareness that his nice speech is part wishful thinking when the reality of January 2013 comes rolling in at inauguration day. He is not as comeflor as I was starting to believe he was. Still, when a caller confronted him on why he would not pursue Chavez in front of courts (second debate "highlight"), he failed. He took the tangent that it was not his duty to judge anyone (true, and fair answer) but he was unable to explain what plan he has, if any, to make sure the judicial power becomes independent enough to dare to prosecute corrupt chavista officials on its own. In other words, he may believe truly in separation of powers, that he should not interfere, but he pretends that all will be solved nicely without his intervention. No deal, for me, because you do not go from a chavista fully owned judiciary to a fair one without some significant measures. Not even in Oz.
This being said, and I do not want to be negative, it was his best presentation so far, and for the first time I liked the guy, really. Yet, it is very likely that I will not vote for him in the primaries though I would feel much better about voting for him in October if he wins the primaries (I would have anyway, but now I will feel better about it). Again, my major grip with him is that he would make a fantastic prime minister, a great manager. It is about the presidential job I am less certain. Still, if he wins in February, HCR can count on me and this blog without any misgivings from me.