Saturday, October 07, 2006

La Avalancha: Rosales takes Caracas

FINAL UPDATE: So it was a big success. The last images from VTV were of Rosales during his speech (they are obliged as Globovision passes Chavez campaign speeches) but on the half images from "the march" which were in fact images from distant spots from where some of the marches started, NOT AT ALL where Rosales and thousands of people were gathered. One was from the San Bernardino elevado, at least a mile from the grand stand, away from major movement AND STILL showing activity! I suppose if you are a naive chavista from the provinces you might get fooled that few people attended or paid attention, but if you are from Caracas, chavista or not, YOU KNOW exactly the manipulation. That you might want to acknowledge it is another matter. Has Chavez already given up on Caracas to play with such crass and silly TV tactics? Not to mention that it allows further freedom to Globovision to become more partisan if wished for...

Anyway, for now let's savor the real images from Globovision and that Rosales now commands the streets of Caracas. I doubt that even if all provincial Pullmans are drafted Chavez could fill up the Libertador the way Rosales just did. The electoral campaign has just shifted a gear today, and the consequences will show quickly. By the size of the rally, comparable or larger to the ones of opposition heydays of 2002-2004, we did see a real opinion poll and the opposition with Rosales is now at least at its 2004 "CNE official number" of 40%. Or more. Chavismo has taken its third big hit in a week!

UPDATE 8: Ooops! Rosales just arrived! With his family around, including the latest baby. He is starting his discourse. "The union of East and West of Caracas". El Ejemplo que Caracas dio. Etc... It is going to be good! The provincial Maracucho gaining over sifrino Caracas. From Yaracuy, well, I love it!

OK, now lunch.

UPDATE 7: Rosales has not arrived yet. Apparently he is coming walking through the crowds, not Carnival Queen style on a chariot as some others have been doing lately. Hence the delay .

Globovison shows a helicopter of the police stationned above the march. Of course, as usual, the opposition is not allowed to fly its own helicopter, only chavismo can show images of its marches from the sky (which they rarely do anyway, you know, not as great as they would have us beleive they are). Nothing new here, same chavismo unfair advantage as usual. But that is fine, the crowds filmed on the ground leave no doubt as the big hit in Caracas. I am not even bothering with VTV anymore.

Break time for lunch. Hey! I am not at the march and I see no reason to starve and dehydrate.

UPDATE 6: Now they have a cumbia on the grandstand, which evolves into Amparito. These guys know what they are doing!

UPDATE 5: Gaitas on the stand, Maracaibo15!!!! Rosales is about to arrive. The images of Globovision are now spectacular!

I have some vicarious living through my cell phone constant ringing from my assorted folks and friends at the march. They all want to know what I see on TV. none of them can reach the Libertador... Shit! I wish I were there.

UPDATE 4: There was something that did not fit in what I am watching on TV. And it hit me: not as many Venezuelan flags as usual. This time many, a lot of people in fact, came with the colors of their political organization. So you see lots of green(surprising!) ,more orange than expected, many yellow/black, a decent sprinkiling of red, and a lot of blue but not an overwhelming amount of it. In other words, quite a political rainbow. White I did not see much but I suspect that they are covered by the blue :)

UPDATE 3: Second good line of the day. Referring to Bernal that managed not to give the Bolivar Avenue for the rally, from somebody on the stand: "Now we need the Bolivar Avenue. Not for the rally but as an annex for this one".

UPDATE 2: And what is VTV showing? Well, they are at Maiquetia, interviewing the high level commission leaving for La Paragua. Now that Rosales has said publicly that the miners have been abandoned, that not a single important public servant, not even the governor of the state came to check the area after the army related assassination of half a dozen miners (at least), so now the government reacts and the ministers of Labor and Environment are interviewed separately, alone, only by VTV at the airport. Now what is amazing is the wooden technocratic language they use. Amazingly they are going there to "bring" solutions, we do not hear of any commission set to "listen" to the natives. We hear all the code words, cooperativism, defense of the environnement, union of the people, progress of Latin America, socialism of the people, community work, education projects, etc, etc, but not a single consolation word! It is simply astounding to see how detached, how out of touch with the political moment these ministers are!

Of course they also must cover the march. So what do they do? From the Centro Lido they report AFTER the march left. The stupid reporter states that "in 17 minutes everyone was gone". Showing that she is either stupid, has never reported from a march, or is just manipulating the information (or all of the above). And not realizing that if the march is gone, judging by the numbers of laggards it was an impressive group even if they left in 17 minutes, military style... Cada ladrón juzga por su condición.

They also have cameras. They comment on the rally but filming side streets where groups of people are marching towards the Libertador. Thus the naive chavista can feel comforted in thinking that the rally has a poor attendance. Of course the lower level of the Libertador is closed to traffic and they linger lovingly on its empty expanse while the people walk in dense groups on the higher level, but, oh, so conveniently hidden by a group of large trees. VTV sure spent a lot of time picking its angles to minimize everything as much as possible. The silliness of it all it is quite amusing, you know.

Ah! And I was forgetting! They keep patting themselves on the back as to how fair their coverage is!!!!!

It seems to be a success, a large success at that. My favorite line so far: "We are so happy, it smells like sulfur everywhere!". So much for Chavez UN speech effect on the self esteem of Venezuelans....

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Today Rosales is checking if he has appeal in Caracas. His campaign has been, wisely, oriented to the Venezuelan provinces as is fitting for the governor of the largest Venezuelan state. But eventually he had to check out if fancy and chevere Caraqueños will support him since their two candidates, Borges and Petkoff had to withdraw in favor of Rosales.

The initial reaction as seen on TV is good. Globovision is showing lots of people gathering, and no buses. Not that it matters, there would be not enough buses to carry what I see on TV. But even more telling, VTV, the state network prefers to stay silent which speaks volume. They probably are either trying to find the march with less people to film (there are 4 marches, see map below) or they have decided to ignore it altogether. VTV less and less restrained partisanship is, by the way, allowing Globovision to show more partiality too, each side probably preferring to accept the facts and have one completely dedicated TV media dedicated to their cause. Not ethical, of course, but at least more honest.

There are thus 4 ways to gather in Avenida Libertador where the meeting will take place (which, by the way, can hold more people than the Bolivar avenue if less prestigious or spectacular, but the government managed to trump the use of the Bolivar this time). Everyone that I know in Caracas and can make it is going to the march. Just as in the good old days of El Paro Civico of 12/2002. Globovision is having a field day so far.

More later.

PS: It seems that wherever Rosales is, I am not. When he was in Yaracuy I was in Caracas. when he is in Caracas I am back at home. Oh well...

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