Well, it is harder than expected to go back on the key board thread mill. And even harder to try to go back over one month of missing campaigning. Thus I have decided stop trying, pretend than nothing happened since I left the country for 3 weeks, and write down the little bit I have been able to gather before giving up. In no particular order.
Last time the subject was broached here I wrote that we needed to wait for the Consultores 21 poll. A done deed now as of late June and a confirmation that there is indeed a technical tie between Chavez and Capriles if we consider the error of such polls, even though Consultores gives 3 points advantage to Chavez.
But that poll that, IMVHO, reflects the current country mood has not stopped other polls to be published giving Chavez an explainable landslide. I mean, and it bears repeating over and over again, in the past 5 years Chavez has done nothing to justify an increase in his victory margin, amen of losing two elections and even three depending on how you define electoral success.
Let's take for example the latest IVAD in Anzoategui. Few states have been as battered as Anzoategui has been under Chavez. It holds the dubious distinction to be the state with the most blackouts, the worst roads, etc... except that the competition is fierce so who knows what rank is Anzoategui today. But I digress. The fact of the matter is that in 2010 legislative election the opposition made a grand slam in Anzoategui, surprising most pundits, some even did not expect the opposition to win there. And yet the latest IVAD gives Chavez ahead -which I can still buy, why not?-, but ahead by 30 points!!!!!!
IVAD may come with all sorts of explanations for such a result but as far as I am concerned their polling is at best sloppy and at worse sold out. Your pick. And I will not go into Datanalisis which is called as of this week end Matanalisis by Ibsen Martinez pointing out its arrogance, its wish to set the opposition agenda even though in recent years it has failed in its predictions more often that it got them right (Matanalisis: pun meaning "analysis killer"). Whatever it is, we can safely assume that the methodology for most pollsters is flawed, and that in addition they do not bother in studying trends to correct for their obvious flaws.
Chavez out of his lair
The most interesting development is that Chavez has started hitting the campaign trial. Oh! For sure it is well orchestrated episodes, quite spaced in between, the more so when compared with a Capriles going up and down everywhere. The point here is that the regime has realized that Chavez could not wage a successful campaign from his desk at Miraflores, no matter how many cadenas he would do.
Let's not speculate how sick the man is based on that. We can go from the cancer reprieve before death, to the cured speculation. It does not matter. What matters is that Chavez is obviously taking a risk with his health because if he indeed was cured, he would be out campaigning more. Cured? Sick? Drugs? Your choice. Worried for October? You can bet on that!
Cadenas and more cadenas
One thing that has not changed is that Chavez keeps commandeering ALL of TV and radio for simultaneous broadcasting, cadenas, which are now of an outright electoral nature. Interestingly and unsurprisingly, the electoral board does not detect any violation of electoral laws. Even though the violations are worse than ever considering that Chavez must rely on cadenas more than ever to make sure media does not speak of Capriles. Amusingly by its cynicism, outside of cadenas time, the CNE had the nerve to say that media coverage favored slightly Capriles. One does not know whether to cry or to laugh at such outrage.
One thing is certain: we would like very much the international media take these cadenas a little bit more seriously.
Once it is too late for doing true electoral observations, the CNE starts inviting some groups (not the European Union, by the way, the more consistent critic on how shoddy are electoral processes in Venezuela).
Of course, as expected, serious observers are declining because it is too late (OAS, for one). But the CNE has invited formally the Carter Center. Let's hope they have the good idea not to come least they get accused once again to favor electoral fraud.
The point here is that it is strictly up to the opposition to establish all the possible controls and all ways to supervise the integrity of the vote next October. We know very well that the Carter Center et al. are basically useless, and that in fact quite often make things worse because paradoxically in Venezuela veiled criticism has become indirect approval, such is the state of immorality and cynicism that the regime has reached.