Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August round up

And thus I am starting to get back into the groove of Venezuelan politics after, oh, a 1.5 month mental recess?  Now that my ranting on the 2012 reality is behind, we need to go back to the electoral coverage because no matter how weak the opposition is, we need to get rid of Chavez if we want to have any chance at improving the country.  Besides, we are still better off as an opposition than the Argentina one who got a major, MAJOR trouncing yesterday, in large part due to its put-offing divisions.

Below, in no particular order, a list of the political opposition candidates as I perceive them to be this mid August (call it an Iowa straw poll if you must...).  Also, I am not yet getting into discussion of the chavista camp who is in a mess as per Chavez ass cancer.  We need to give them some time for their return to earth.

The front runner

I am not too sure how much of a front runner Capriles Radonski is at this point.  As days pass he looks more and more like a front runner by default, meaning that the primary campaign of the opposition has still not started in earnest so he floats high by default.  The bulk of the opposition electorate has other things in mind this August, from going away on vacation for those who can, to how to get enough food and entertainment for the kids for those who cannot.  Personally I think less of him since he supported knee jerk PDVSA even though it is breaking international law.  A future president cannot make such kind of mistakes.  Also, Primero Justica, his party, seems bent in doing a neutral campaign, taking for granted the more radical opposition while trying to woo the NiNi electorate.  I think it is a mistake because there is not such a thing today as a NiNi electorate (Neither chavista Neither opposition) because we all know what is at stake and have chosen camp long ago.  NiNi are merely people too lazy too participate or to stand for the courage of their convictions.  NiNi  = sinvergüenza if you ask me.

If indeed it is true that a NiNi attracting campaign could pay off in December 2012, it might backfire badly in February where motivated and radical opposition voters will make the trip to the primaries while NiNi may stay home after all.  If Capriles is withholding too much his anti Chavez punch he could get a nasty surprise on primary day....

The wannabe front runner

The case for Pablo Perez is sad.  Once benefiting of a front runner status because of the simple fact that he has the most populous state vote locked, his constant delays in announcing his candidacy seem to have caused him some damage that he might not be able to repair anymore.  People simply do not understand whatever is going on inside UNT and why Rosales keeps insisting in being candidate from the exile (Governor Lapi debacle in 2008 anyone?).  Thus the very worst fate that can fall on a presidential candidate is falling on Pablo Perez: people are losing interest.

We are told that yes, soon, any day now, just you wait, Pablo Perez will announce.  But he will start with a self imposed handicap: not only he needs to waste time to refurbish his Zulia advantage but he has gone almost off the radar in places where he was strong a couple of months ago, such as the Andes region who got tired waiting for him and have started looking at other options.

The wannabe candidate

There is at least a candidate that is doing all the required work to build a real electoral challenge and offer a real program for the country.  Unfortunately we still do not know whehter he will be able to run for election.  I am talking of course of Leopoldo Lopez and his "inhabilitación".  And it is affecting him in the polls as he is not as high as he used to be, people losing interest in someone that may or may not run, a fate à la Jesus Perez....

But he is doing his work.  He had a reasonable successful wide open election where more than a 100,000 people went to vote for the Voluntad Popular organizers (and elected him head honcho).  You may think that 100K is not that great but no other party, PSUV included, has had as open elections as VP so at least these numbers are meaningful.  And he is also doing real proposals such as doubling oil production.  I suppose that it means he has realized that after 12 years of chavismo social peace can only be guaranteed by distributing free food with the 3 million barrels a day we supposedly produce today.  Thus we must double that if we want to have some money to actually develop the country.

Unfortunately for Leopoldo Lopez his eventual run depends solely on Chavez political calculations.  If chavismo thinks that allowing Lopez to run can divide the opposition, he will get the nod.  If chavismo thinks that a run by Lopez could unite the country effectively behind him, then he will never be allowed to run, no matter what international court says.  We must at the very least give that credit, that such considerations do not stop him, á la William of Orange.

A wannabette?

Maybe I am a little harsh on Maria Corina Machado, but I wonder whether she means it this time around or she is positioning herself for 2018 already.  Make no mistake, I think she is a good candidate, that her short stint as representative showed already her good political instincts, that her tenure at Sumate gave her enough experience to deal with chavismo in a post Chavez era.  But that is not what concerns me.

First, there is that novelty feel she brings and might explain why she has climbed significantly in some polls, if we are to believe them as they already would tie her to Lopez. We have been this road before with Irene Saez in 1998, from leading in the polls to almost dead last.  Certainly her name recognition should give her at the very least a 10% in any serious poll before a real campaign starts.  But you need more than that to win a primary election and the three candidates above have all an electoral machinery that she lacks.  True, their electoral apparatus might be rather incomplete but hers is, well, absent.

Which brings me to second, a redolence of opportunism.  It seems that MCM is looking for an electoral support and thus she seems to be shopping for a political party.  When I left on vacation the rumors were that AD would adopt her, which seemed to me preposterous.  Now that I am back in business it seems that COPEI will do, which would be a more natural fit for her.  There is even rumors that if Leopoldo Lopez is barred from running, well, VP might look into her as an option.  All this is fine and dandy but rarely has opportunism won primary elections....

The cryptic wannabe

I have in mind Lara's governor Henri Falcon who is, so far, sitting it out.  I think he is smart enough to have realized that getting with the opposition alright would kill his chances in both pro and anti Chavez front.  But not embracing the opposition vote dooms him since the PPT alone cannot win him the opposition primaries if he were to chose to run.  Besides he probably needs to spend more time defending his job in Lara as that state could be the one to decide the 2012 vote.  Chavismo is working hard at unseating him before his term ends.  But of all potential candidates he is probably the one that can afford the best to enter late in the race, and even skip the primary altogether if, say, Chavez were to drop off the election, a division within chavismo making him a sudden front runner.

The wannabe wannabees

I just put under this label all the other candidates, from Osvaldo Alvarez Paz to Diego Arria (who by the way was aggressed today by the barbaric governor of Cojedes, a piece of scum if any, proving that chavismo does not underestimate any candidate).  As far as I can tell since my return they are not making many inroads and might actually be "sabotaged" by the MUD who thinks it has enough candidates already.  Maybe, but that is OK in a way.  After all, if they manage to get up to 5% in the primary they can hope to have a role in a post Chavez government and the good lord knows we can use someone like Diego Arria as foreign minister or Alvarez part as interior ministry to deal with insecurity.  After a decade and a half of ideological improvisation some experienced politicians may be a breath of fresh air.


  1. RabbiBulla1:30 PM

    Daniel, very well summation.[I am reminded of "Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of my enemies"..]FIrst, it sounds contradictory-but, all opposition must have the goal in mind of uniting to remove Chavez.
    "we need to get rid of Chavez if we want to have any chance at improving the country" -your words.
    [and as the verse contines-"surely
    goodness and mercy will follow"]
    just imagine "a good President" -not a lying, thief, military dicataor Chavez.

  2. RabbiBulla1:49 PM

    Maria Corina Machado symbolizes the future of Venezuela best in so many more ways than the other candidates. (In fact, any of the others would be a good Vice President and maybe most all of them will be in government posts-Foreign Minister, for example.)
    I belive Venezuelans can unite behind her and trust her.

  3. Maria Corina looks ok, but can't they find Super Hot model with some brains and education to rule our proud nation?

  4. Not an Iowa straw poll - a Yaracuy paja poll. ;)

    I'd never read that quote from William of Orange before, and I rather like it. Quite fitting for Venezuela, not only for the opposition, but it also somewhat describes Chavez's M.O.

  5. AIO

    You are a mean person.

    As fr the quote, it sounds much better in French and actually I think he said it first in that language. Let's not forget that Orange Nassau come from Orange in Southern France.

  6. A long while ago I wrote on these pages that Henri Falcon would be our next president. You, Daniel, replied that it was way too early to make these kinds of predictions (you were right, of course).

    There was no way back then that anybody could foresee that Chavez would get Cancer (or as you so nicely put it, ass cancer!), that this condition would present a possible opening for a Henri Falcon to go from Dark Horse possibility to Brown Horse possibility, but there you have it.

    The oppo candidate race is a long haul, marathon like. Care needs to be taken not to peak too early, or to spend all the bullets.

    Can you imagine who would be the best candidate if Chavez bows out? Do you think Jaua would stand a chance vs. Falcon?

    Oy vey!!!

  7. Robert

    Actually Miguel has a post with a scenario for Falcon. I do not agree on his scenario but the possibility is there. the thing is that there is a lot of people inside chavismo that are tired of Chavez too.

  8. I know, I read that post too when it came out.

    Here's the thing about Falcon, from my point of view.

    It seems like a lot of the oppo pre candidates are running on some form of a Chavez without Chavez platform. At least, por ahora. An exception to this is MCM, who is so far running on a platform of Eat, Pray, Love, 2.0, again, por ahora.

    If you look at the political landscape and ask yourself which one person can draw both from the "reasonable" oppo and chavistas at the same time, the only answer seems to be Falcon. Now, granted, the man does not have much of a political machinery behind him, yet. But that could change if Chavez dies or decides not to run. IF there is one thing the PSUV does have it is grassroots organizing. Imagine if a significant portion of that grass roots goes over to Falcon. You could argue Falcon would not need the MUD, even.

    The scenario you painted of Falcon entering late sounds just about right for him. He can wait to see who emerges from the primaries, as well as wait to see if Chavez is or is not running. All in all, right now, he has the best scenario.

    What would remain to be seen is what his platform would be. Nonetheless, if dialog and fairness are a part of it, this will go a long way even among the business class.

  9. Good for you Daniel:

    "NiNi = sinvergüenza if you ask me."

    Also I think that when people are steering close to Chavez to look for more votes, they undermine the credibility and the strength of the opposition.

    - William the Silent, Hope Quote:

    "One need not hope in order to undertake; nor succeed in order to persevere." ( HURRAH FOR !!!!! WILLPOWER !)

    Roberto N, "MCM, who is so far running on a platform of Eat, Pray, Love"??? Where do you get this?MCM is not sifrina in the full sense of the word.She is quite capable of confronting Chavismo in the way that it needs to be confronted.

    As for Falcon...He is just a more palatable version of Chavismo without Chavez, which the opposition KNOWS it does not want

  10. When you rule and dominate people and you know that there will be a certain percentage of your enslaved who will rebel and awaken, you do not let an individual come along who may guide these people to the truth and possibly then become a threat to yourself. You get in there first and plant agitators and people who give the illusion of opposition.........

  11. Cochinita de Fuego:

    I meant that so far, it is a platform of platitudes, nothing really specific. "Liberty, Justice, Honor" These are all admirable qualities to have in a leader and a country, but there are no specifics (so far) as to how we are gong to get there. And not just from MCM, but from all of them.

    In her favor, she is not really advocating for Chavez sin Chavez, but she is not very specific about what she does offer, either.

    Unlike some I have nothing against MCM, or where she went to school (Heck my mom taught there), or who she married or where she lives.

    I do think she needs more seasoning (as in wood, not spices!), more experience in political roles and she will need to find a way to turn her experience in SUMATE into a positive, because for many her role in SUMATE is a negative.

    Whether you believe SUMATE could have done more vis a vis the referendum and the 06 election or whether you believe SUMATE is a tool of the Empire, either way MCM IS SUMATE in the eyes of most of us.

  12. Anonymous11:11 PM


    This question got nothing to do with your post, but I would like to hear your opinion about Chavez moving the reserves... I'm affraid he is preparing for next year, a coup?, then UN or OEA can't freezed the accounts like they did for Lybia.

    What do you think?

  13. Charly11:59 PM

    Falcon for president? Then the average Venezuelan voter is even dumber than I though at first. More corrupt and incompetent, hard to find except the one now agonizing in Miraflores. Just come have a look at Barquisimeto new bus terminal and trolleybus line, the jokes of the century.

  14. RabbiBulla7:04 PM

    Jose is furious with the 'opposition" and said,
    “If we don't make some changes, the status quo will remain the same.”
    In other news -Jamaican Parliament remains dreadlocked.


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