Saturday, October 08, 2011

And so there were still a few left

Today the first official drop out from the Unidad primary campaign happened.  He was never a favorite and could not even convince his own political party COPEI to support him, even though they had no one better placed, and certainly not "El Tigre", Eduardo Fernandez.  Osvaldo Alvarez Paz time came and went in 1993 when he came fourth in the election when he could have come first had Caldera not decided to wreck his party that did not want him anymore.  Thus easing the way for an "adventure" five years later, which sure enough came.

I kind of like the man even though he had no chance.  His personal fortitude unfortunately had a whiff of olden days and they could not work out with a country electorate who seems desperate to get an efficient Chavez, just as if that was possible in the collapsed narcostate that the new president will inherit in February 2013.  Alvarez Paz could not promise that and thus he suffered in the polls, recognizing this tonight very candidly at Alo Ciudadano.  Not only at the polls, but the campaign money is scarce and focused by the political decision made by the donors that the next president of Venezuela has to be significantly younger than Chavez, and consequently must not have run for presidential office ever until this year.  Which pretty much will kill soon enough Arria in addition of Fernandez.

And yet his sacrifice, as the one of Arria, will not be in vain because they will force voters to understand that 2013 aint' going to be a picnic at the park and if it were not for these brave souls no one would force Perez and Capriles to use a more serious speech even if only occasionally.  They are both statesman and both are running for duty more than any real ambition as both have had plenty of successes in their political lives, none of them needing the drudgery of an electoral campaign and the killing strains of running a wretched country for 6 years.  And both have committed themselves in advance to work for the winner of the primary, for unity, for the country.  And both certainly will be top choices diplomats and experts in the coming administration.  Their career is not over.

Brief electoral update

Since we are on the topic let's update our horses.

Capriles and Perez are still on top.  Capriles is summing curious support, from the left through PODEMOS and Causa R.  But Perez seems to be loved by the social democrats equivalents as Tal Cual has all but officially endorsed him.

If these guys are on top, polls indicate that their lead is far from overwhelming and Maria Corina Macahado strong security themed campaign is making some inroads it seems.  Question: who is financing her TV ads since she has no party behind her?  And she has still to announce that she has collected enough signatures to run, spending a lot of time with Arria getting these signatures.

Arria does his twitter campaign and patiently crisscrosses the country for small but consistent meetings.  I think he is really trying to place himself as a necessary helper for whomever wins and has probably as secret goal to get a 5 to 10% share who practically ensures him the foreign secretary office for the troubles ahead.

If the other are inconsequential there is still the Leopoldo Lopez question mark.  Not only the regime keeps claiming that it will not recognize the IACHR ruling to allow him to run, but it seems that Chavez is more than willing to pay the international cost which might force him to leave the OAS.  So, instead of campaigning hard for the primaries poor Leopoldo had to do a tour of South America capitals.  True, he looks like a statesman when he meets all of these personalities, but that does not give him much votes since the ones he would get having his picture taken with these figures he already owns.

The two questions hanging in the air still hang: what will AD and PPT/Falcon do?

AD is reinvigorated some through the burial of CAP.  But AD still does not have a candidate and cannot find one.  Rumors on Ramos Allup running after all persist but the prospect of an utterly humiliating defeat (too much of the past like Paz, Fernandez and Arria) is stopping him.  Their calculation is simple: what is best for them for the local election primary effect: to run behind Ramos Allup or behind, say, Arria or Perez or MCM?  If logic were applied Arria should be AD man but as far as I know they hate him so they have to decide between Perez and MCM, probably pushing them above the mark!

As for the PPT it risks to fall into oblivion.  The regime has found a group of disaffected PPT who are trying to steal through court decision the PPT flags.  That internal fight is so consuming the PPT remains that it risks to damage its only viable candidate, the Herni Falcon cypher.  But realpolitik seems to be carrying the day as now the two PPT governors have no more qualms in sitting together at meeting with other Unidad governors and me thinks that anytime soon they will have to support Perez or launch Falcon.  The PPT support to Perez could give him as much as a 5% bonus, enough to bring him above Capriles since many disaffected chavistas might use the PPT color to vote for Perez.  I personally think that if AD and PPT go behind Perez, he wins the primary. But three months can be a lifetime in politics so do not quote me on that just yet.

Which brings us to our last contestant, Hugo himself.  Clearly he is smelling the coffee and he does not know what to do.  After having used his sickness as a blackmailing tool to rally his support, he is forced to notice that it brings him sympathy but not much hard core voting (Keller and Datanalisis sort of agree on that).  So, out of ideas he is trying to revive the "Polo Patriotico" that paid huge dividends in 1998-2000.  Unfortunately there is no one left that may join such an alliance since all were forced to join the PSUV or to become forced opposition.  So he is trying to mount some show with "community" organizations, pseudo NGO and the like.  Good luck with that!


  1. Obviously you did not read the poll results of Chacon, placing Chavez at 58% ;)

  2. Glenn! Thank you! How could I miss that!!!!! Silly me....


  3. Anonymous11:03 AM

    I stopped reading after I saw the image - how clueless does clueless get?!?

  4. i love it when the anonymous politically correct cavalry comes to the rescue. ever so helpful....

  5. RabbiBulla2:46 PM

    Judging from afar- I really have no right to question your statements,but I can't see Perez winning against Chavez.Not meaning anything bad-but maybe it machismo-when I close my eyes and barely look out-at Perez and hear him-I don't know-something..
    "Viva la difference"-Capriles and Maria Corina Machado -obviously different from Chavez. They both are refreshing to me to listen to.
    And, Lopez-but he is not really a candidate...

  6. Juan Cristóbal9:39 PM

    What about Proyecto Venezuela? Seems like their endorsement could carry some weight.

  7. JC

    I was expecting someone to yell at me for not including Ledezma, the more so that I was the first one to put him winning in 2008... but the political moment was different and Ledezma is out this time around, AD waited too long to rally behind him and now it would not help much.

    As for PV. It has become really a Carabobo movement alone and the never quite stopped rumor about launching a Salas for the primary sound like "ni lava ni presta la batea", in other words, counter productive.

    PV should go to PJ but will not. So at best it can hope to give Carabobo to whomever it picks and nothing else. But Carabobo alone could help decide the winner, true, if the election is close which is far from certain right now. Will it go Perez? Will it go MCM?.... Frankly, I do not care nor I think it relevant if PV keeps postponing its decision because people in Carabobo are starting to make up their mind on their own and when the Salas oracle spoketh it might be too late.

    At least Convergencia is being smarter and the handful of votes it still has it seems it placed them with Leopoldo who was today in Yaracuy. Maybe we could count Yaracuy for Leopoldo? :-)

  8. I confess I don't get it. The title was changed back in the forties, way before political correctness became a thing. What is the point in putting up the original?

  9. 1979 Boat People2:54 AM


    Please do not laugh.

    Vladimir Putin's fake jugs

  10. The title was changed back in the forties

    Did not know that. Interesting. Go to Vz news blog learn about an old best selling mystery novel, life, I like eeet.

  11. Anonymous6:54 AM

    It's from a British nursery rhyme. As such it means someting to those who learned it from their mothers. Others could get the meaning if they tried. Nigger is not important in the context: you can change it for "indian" or "pretty blond girls" or anything else, and the meaning of the rhyme remains the same. It was never meant to be pejorative. One of the "niggers" went to study law at the best place in London, and that's how he dropped out (go figure). I think it is a witty introduction to what Daniel had to say.

    Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;

    One choked his little self and then there were Nine.

    Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;

    One overslept himself and then there were Eight.

    Eight little nigger boys travelling in Devon;

    One said he'd stay there and then there were Seven.

    Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;

    One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.

    Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;

    A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.

    Five little nigger boys going in for law;

    One got into Chancery and then there were Four.

    Four little nigger boys going out to sea;

    A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.

    Three little nigger boys walking in the Zoo;

    A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.

    Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;

    One got frizzled up and then there was One.

    One little nigger boy left all alone;

    He went out and hanged himself and then there were None.

    Yours faithfully,
    Mother Goose

  12. Anonymous7:04 AM

    Instead of showing a front cover of of a 70 year old book saying " Ten Little Niggers " perhaps you should have had something more appropriate to the present situatiion in Venezuela.

    " Gone With The Wind,"


  13. wac and wlad


    to begin with, i was born after 1940 and i read that book with the same title without being offended by it. then again in venezuela "mi negro" is a term of affection that p.c. creeps upper north cannot comprehend.

    second, it is difficult to put the editor of this blog in the racial prejudiced group since he himself is victim of prejudice, amen of other liberal things he has emitted profusely over the life of this blog which have caused him grief.

    third, this is a cultural matter and this blog is also about culture and history. or are we supposed to ditch everything that does not conform to p.c. standards of the day, from the bible to uncle tom?

    if subtlety, if carefully chose worn out book jackets, with appropriate drawings of confused people, if non directly venezuelan things do offend some, my reply is always the same: there are other blogs that may suit your taste better and no one is forcing you to read this rag. i do not write for the simplistic and primitively minded, sorry, there are politicians for that, from some tea partiers to chavez.

  14. mother goose

    thank you for posting the verses. you cannot just change the verse for whatever because there are some metrics to be respected, although your point is very valid. there were versions which at some point were considered less offensive, such as replacing nigger for injun. go figure...

    but if you think of it, no matter what you replace nigger with, today it is offensive since the verse would suggest that people are dispensable without any major consequences.

    then again that is exactly what chavismo does, all are dispensable but el supremo ......

    10 "little chavistas" anyone?

  15. RabbiBulla10:17 AM

    "mi negro" is a term of affection that p.c. creeps upper north cannot comprehend.
    B.S. I reject that as a
    "term of affection"-
    mi pato?,mi maricon,
    mi esclavo-mi chavista?
    I am not anybody's "mi" anything
    except wife...

  16. RabbiBulla10:20 AM

    I did not see your last post--I agree with
    your statements about Mother Goose

  17. First, I'm inclined to agree with Rabbibulla. Venezuelans, like ALL cultures have their little soupçon of discrimmination, however mild. And pretending that mild discrimmination, xenophobia, etc. don't exist, in order to build a defense mechanism, is unrealistic. Having said that, I think that fences in Venezuelan society have not been as tight as those in more northern latitudes.

    As for Daniel's substitute of "little chavistas" would do perfectly. But may I suggest finding a Venezuelan location that rhymes with "seven"? Devon just doesn't cut it.

    Then what about a law-related accomplishment that abides with the metrics of "Chancery"?

  18. syd

    far from me to state that racism does not exist in venezuela: courtesy of chavez it is quite alive and well!

    as for the rest, would Tucusiapon (a.k.a. Tacusipon) make for Devon?

    (running for cover!)

  19. Daniel,
    Racism, discrimination, xenophobia - all these have magnified exponentially during Chávez' regime. But let's not be 'ilusos'. Let's not draw Nirvanas of the past and pretend that a (much) milder version of perjorative optics did not exist prior to Chávez. Especially in inner social circles. Not taking that into account is completely unrealistic.

    As for the Devon rhyme, the 'o' sounds more like "uh", where the vowel is short. Unlike the dreadful "uh, ah, ...".

  20. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Dear Daniel,

    I in no way intimated I was offended by the 10 Little Nigger dust jacket. In fact the rhyme has a happy ending. " and then were none."

    Just because you read the book as a child in the 1950s does not mean that it was written then.

    Heavens to Betsey, at that rate just think how old I must be. I was forced to read the Bible when I was 10.

    However the ordeal did do me a great amount of good. I became an athiest after page 8.


  21. Roger2:20 PM

    I always love the culture clash I see in the Venezuelan blogs. French and Spanish cultures (and politics) are so very different and I doubt have had the title renamed. Indians was not a much better choice! It also reminds us that Venezuelans can be just as narrow minded on other issues as the rest of us.

  22. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Blame the bloody English, not us! The indians (or injuns) was also their idea referring to US natives, feathers and all. The nigger thing came from the fact that the poem was often performed at shows where minstrels painted their faces black. No disrespect was intended by any of this, I think.
    M. Goose

  23. Goosey,
    (Cristóbal) Colón pretendía llegar a las Indias por el lado oeste comprobando que la tierra era redonda y no plana.

  24. "Blame the bloody English, not us! The indians (or injuns) was also their idea referring to US natives, feathers and all."

    Who is "us"?
    The English? Which English? Actually, what you call "the English" of the XVI-XVII centuries have more to do with those who out of the blue considered themselves US Americans than anything else.
    Like it is pretty silly from Venezuelans to be blaming it all "on the Spaniards" (almost understood as today's) or of the Spaniards of today to be proud of what THEY brought something to America.

    Those who did good or evil centuries ago are not us or they in the present. They are long dead. And we can hardly be pointing fingers at some current group for things long past.

    As for racism in Venezuela: it has always existed, not just from Chávez, not just from any single group. Let's neither minimize it nor maximize it.
    I do believe we are more easy-going regarding ethnicities and mixtures and all that, but we do have serious problems still. We have gone over this in the past.

  25. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Kepler, much of this discussion is just about a 19th century nursery rhyme, a book by Agatha Christie and the connection with Daniel's post. If anyone wants to find racist undertones in the rhyme, fine, but it is not the point here. It would be interesting to see who disappears next from the opposition list. Will the last one hang himself/herself?

  26. WAC

    Just for the record, I read the book in the late 70ies, in French, and the title was "10 petits nègres", in an edition that could not have been possibly more than 4-5 years old.

  27. closest anonymous to this comment:

    thank you for bringing the topic back on track.

  28. Leopoldo is doing extremely important work by keeping the International political pressure on Chavez, making sure he pays a price for eliminating him.It also exposes that the Venezuelan election is not democratic as a primary contender has been unjustifiably eliminated for political reasons.

    It also makes it less likely that Chavez will try to "take out" another contender he might find too threatening.

  29. firepigette

    true but how many votes does it gain him?

  30. RabbiBulla12:49 PM

    I also so believe Leopoldo is doing a very good thing and enlightening the people of Venezuela-even if he get's no votes. Later on, I hope he lends support to the Candidate chosen and later I hope he is in Government in some post..
    I am not sure if this will stop Chavez from attacking anyone else though...

  31. Rabbi,

    When I said:

    "It also makes it less likely that Chavez will try to "take out" another contender"

    I should have said instead that it " could possibly" make it less likely


  32. I wonder if Chavez's "polo democratico" is an attempt to do what he did before - broaden his support base with no intent of actually catering to them in any way. It's got to be appealing because it worked so well once upon a time, but I can barely comprehend why he would think it might work. Fool me twice, you know.

    Re: the book title, I only read it (in English, mind you) as "Ten Little Indians," and was not aware it ever had a different title. Fun story, though.

    I do like Daniel's idea about "10 little Chavistas." That's something I'm tempted to take on, but my brain will not cooperate today. Besides, it should be written by someone with a better grasp of Venezuelan history since 1998 than mine. It would have 10 different ways that persuaded Chavez supporters to abandon him over the years - Tascon list, PPT, etc. How about we just come up with a list of 10, in choronological order, here?


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