Tonight the second Unidad candidate, Pablo Perez, took the stand at El Ciudadano. Takign the stand may be a tad strong since both El Ciudadano and Pablo Perez are from Zulia state and no matter how hard they tried the atmosphere was more relaxed than during the first of the series, the visit of Capriles last Monday. this caveat being advanced it still was a real interview, a one hour chance to say to the country why Perez wants to be president.
The good news is that the format is definitely better and that hard questioning by El Ciudadano (making us try to forget the usually inane question of his side kick Peñaloza) gave us a better image of Perez than this blogger had. A much better image actually. The bad news is that I still cannot erase from my mind that him like Capriles would benefit of another 4 years at the head of their state before becoming president. There is that je ne sais quoi missing still. And yet that cannot stop me from writing that the opposition has the luxury to be able to pick between several great candidates, unlike the GOP in the US who seems unable to embrace the lone serious candidate they have as Moises Naïm has reported in El Pais. But I digress.
Since I did not promise objectivity but at best trying to be fair I will not go into his low points. After all, not only you cannot define a je ne sais quoi, but he really did not get any hard ball question that he could not find an elegant way to dodge (even the inevitable question about all of those dinosaurs supporting him, going as far as admitting that Ramos Allup is one of his main advisers). Teflon he ain't made of, but it still slides somewhat.
Fortunately for him as I write this review he made a few strong points. For example, in one that is sure to send many hard core opposition raving, he said he was not afraid of the CNE and that he would not allow them to wait until the wee hours to publish their results. What was notable in that statement was not the phrasing itself but the assurance he displayed. He may have been rehearsing that really well or indeed he is ready to fight for our rights. And I am afraid that it is the latter because on other points he showed a strength of character that I am afraid to say Capriles did not have in contrast. He seemed to be someone that you would actually follow in a protest march. Note: Capriles has been tear gassed, but he does not play on it whereas as far as I know Perez never was gassed. But in politics all is about perception and tonight Perez showed that the comeflor candidate was not going to be him.
Another point that came across and that he seems determined to play is that he is not form Caracas, contrary to ALL OTHER candidates. That gave him the assurance not to talk or even be questioned about recent polls. The guy knows that once people outside of Zulia realize that he is not from Caracas they will be more willing to listen to him. His electoral strategy is long run and he seems very comfortable being in second position right now. For example he made a point to name small states and saying that these should also be considered because they are also Venezuelans. He also extended his protective hand to the Llanos. On this respect he scored yet another point against Capriles who cannot seem to escape his Caracas aura even though he is campaigning strongly all around.
Speaking of protective, he is playing on his natural physical bulk trying to look protective. His shirt, contrary to Capriles, was the blue of UNT but with a fashionable little blue alligator on the side (in Venezuela there is no copyright so that the alligator is freely stolen, no one is fooled). But the shirt fit him better and credibly. We can trust more a father figures if he plays the part, you know...
In short, Perez came out as a no-nonsense social democrat and that did him a lot of good. Thus my conclusion for the time being: 1) Perez and 2) Capriles, with 4 more to go.
Reader Syd pointed out that Globovision has already a partial video with its report. I should have known better and wait a few more minutes before posting to wait for the video. Here it is.
Pablo Pérez en Aló Ciudadano por Globovision