Friday, June 08, 2007

The Student Vote in Venezuela: No to Chavez

While all of these events were taking place this week, the Andes University was electing its student organization. Remember? The election that was canceled by the high court, TSJ, without any ground? Probably against the constitution by the way. And which was supposed to be won by Nixon Moreno, now hiding at the Nunciature?

Well, if the government was hoping to gain some time so it could bolster the election of its supporters it did not work out. The results are in and at the ULA chavismo has been trashed (as it is always trash in ANY university that is not "bolivarian", the universities where to get in you basically need only to wear a red shirt).

The results are lapidary for chavismo: the opposition got 26,832 votes and chavismo got 8,514. That is right, for every vote chavismo was getting, the opposition students were getting 3 votes. In some faculties the rate reached as high as 10 to 1. Of the 26 seats at stake chavismo got only 4 seats. Then again, you know, the CNE was not directing these elections. Results taken form El Nacional, subscription only.

So, what does this tell us?

The immense majority the future managers, technicians, professionals of Venezuela, at least the quality ones since bolivarian universities do not seem to be graduating anyone outside of social work and propaganda/education careers, will not share Chavez socialist nincompooperies. Even more damming since the students that were voting got into the ULA AFTER Chavez became president. These results appear everywhere in more or less the same margins, from 2 to 1 to 3 to 1. Bolivarian university elections are not reported so we do not know what is going on there but I doubt the opposition is even allowed to offer a list of candidates, at least as far as I know and I would be delighted to stand corrected.

How is Chavez planning to build a country with social workers form the UBV and the Cubans that crawl everywhere? The best and brightest that Venezuela is forming at UCV, ULA, UCLA, UDO, USB, UC (I am not even getting into private universities) at great cost will eventually find their way out of the country, supplying for cheap with qualified personnel anything from Burger King franchises in Florida to technical staff in Manhattan.

And of course it does make us understand much better why we see huge students protests while chavismo attempts at counter protest are limited and paltry. Even the UBV students that got into the UBV because they could not get anywhere else want at least rudimentary education so that they could get a job in some business where they might make a better life for their children. But the way things are going, with the slow strangulation of the private sector, even the UBV
graduates will not find enough janitorial jobs in the public administration. These students are not stupid: they might not dare to join the protesting students associated loosely with an anti Chavez feeling, but they are not militantly hitting the streets in favor of Chavez either.

I suppose that there is a lesson for Chavez in those results but we know from experience that he will not even look for it. What we know is that he will do his best to end the university autonomy which for all its fault has managed to still semi educate students in Venezuela, and create a few brilliant ones as we are seeing these days. Under any circumstances chavismo will always prefer red dressed mediocrities.

-The end-

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