Thursday, November 01, 2012
The joyless October 8, today
That morning was sad for the Capriles voters, but it was not very joyful for the other crowd. Besides a few 10PM fireworks from city hall in San Felipe, chavismo had no celebration except for a quick parade late in the afternoon. And that was not an impromptu affair: I saw it when government vehicles bedecked in red Chavez paraphernalia were gathering at the entry of San Felipe. The caravan went around for maybe 15 minutes, blaring, honking, and that was that.
I did write that at least 25% of Venezuelan electorate sees Chavez as a prophet and thus he can do no wrong. One would have expected these to have more cheer on Monday 8, but they did not. Not in San Felipe, not in Caracas, nowhere that I know of. People, not all, went to work and that was that. The reason for this mood has come to be known: chavismo knows that it won because they may have forced people to go and vote. The amount may add to a million and maybe more voters. And since those that went to "arriar el ganado", herd the cattle, know what they did, and their relatives, and neighbors that went to vote on their own, they all know what was the deciding factor. Amen of those who went to vote out of fear of losing their job, their new washer or flat screen TV. The bulk of chavismo was very aware that there was nothing to celebrate. They may have been satisfied with Chavez victory for convenience, but they were far from elation.
This has translated in the nervousness that we see inside chavismo these days. Beyond considering that the fate of Chavez is far from certain, chavista local leaders know that their electoral success does not depend on themselves alone. If funds do not come down their way they will have trouble winning their race even if the opposition is duly demoralized. Thus there is a lot of "tira y encoje", pull and shrink, trying to be on the right side of succession wars, trying to get the funds to buy votes, trying to fight nails and claws for your political survival if funds do not come, running on your own if you must, sabotaging the one who gets the funds, etc. What we see is not a conquering chavismo, just a chavismo trying to make sure it is not left behind.
Inside the opposition the gloom does not only come because of the defeat of Capriles. This gloom has been made worse because of two factors: one is the poor reaction of the electoral leadership (Aveledo, Lopez, Capriles himself and other) and the other is because there is no winner inside the Unidad coalition which seems to be losing its Unidad real fast.
In parliamentary regimes where coalitions are needed to form a government it is not rare to see some people who lost the general election cheer anyway. This paradox comes because a small party inside the coalition increased greatly its share of the coalition even as this one fell. Nothing of the sort happened inside the Unidad and all lost.
Primero Justicia, in spite of holding the head of the ticket, only increased its vote share by 1% in 6 years, and is far from becoming a national party in spite of some charitable spin here and there. This for me is closer to a disaster than a victory and makes Primero Justicia look like a born dead political baby.
The winner, so to speak, was the UNIDAD label which included AD, Copei, PVzl, and others. Let's give 2% to each one of them at least. That means that in the best of cases for one of them the equation would be 15-2-2-2 = 9%. AD or Copei, the powerhouses of yore could not even match UNT if one could prove that hypothetical 9%.
Voluntad Popular paid its early alliance with Capriles by getting a rather meager 3%. As for the democratic left, all put together, they did not make it to 3%.
Not a single one of them has any real reason to cheer, not one of them can claim the leadership of the opposition. And hence the beginning of the unraveling of the UNIDAD-MUD that will bring many creeps defecting as if they had any life outside the UNIDAD.
So there you have it, whoever wins on December 16 will do so in spite of itself. And whatever the result will be, once again, a major election will not solve anything in Venezuela: chavismo may win but its succession war will not allow it to crush the opposition once and for all while the opposition may win more than what it deserves as once again it prefers to reinvent itself than build on what was gained. In short, too many people are more interested in grabbing crumbs and no one is actually thinking the big picture.
Count me out. But I will go and vote anyway. What else can I do? Who can I help? Who can motivate me? So I will vote for whatever yellow dog crosses my path.