Friday, November 02, 2012

The joyless October 8, today

I was trying to figure a way to end the series on the October results and the new panorama for Venezuela. To understand some of the stuff that is going on these days in both sides of the spectrum, I do not know why but I started thinking about the sad Monday morning of October 8. And I got my ending.

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.


  1. I get the same feeling, everyone drank their liter of piss & vinegar and still have a hangover from it. This is a poor little country if still a country rather than an appendage ready to fall in the arms of Brazil or Columbia (I should check on a map of Guyana whether the balance of Venezuela is a territory under reclamation). Never though seriously before of leaving for good (I still come and go). Now I do, I just see a bunch of losers and am afraid to catch this sickness. I believe it is contagious you know. And yet, less than a week ago we got that, go figure!

    1. Watch out for witty spell checkers. It is COLOMBIA, NOT COLUMBIA.

  2. estás clarísimo Daniel.

    Why is that Venezuela has people that can think as clear as you do, and politicians that will keep us in the hole forever and ever because cannot think ahead of them?

    1. Bruni, this one of the great mysteries, at the level of the Trinity.

      A partial explanation is that people that are clear minded actually do not crave power nor the riches that may come with it. There is a long tradition in Venezuela to humiliate and get rid of decent and smart people who dare thread the political waters, from Vargas to Uslar.

  3. Daniel, es arrear el ganado, no arriar...

    As per your post, clear as any thinking, intelligent individual unwilling to follow the herd, or join the groupies would see it.

    There are people that can think clear all right, those are called radicales by the rodilla-en-tierra (por genuflexos) politicos that lead the opposition. One of the things that we must thank Chavez for is to have exposed the sheer uselessness of the oppo political class in Venezuela, as someone famously said, they are unelectable (I shall add imbeciles), and will continue to be. They'll get trounced in December, hopefully, someday, a new class will emerge from the ashes.

    But shall I join you, in the out crew, or shall I welcome you to it?

    1. It is arrIar on purpose, like in "Aqui hay rial".

    2. Chusma speak if you will.

    3. Tá clarito puej! :)

  4. Is Venezuela a country that recognizes individual rights? Is so, go and vote.If not protest.Or vote and protest.But what will voting without protesting do?

    A vote under Chavez only seems to serve the fig leaf of democracy.North Korea has a 99.9 percent turnout for " elections", and remember the purple finger of those who voted in Saddam Hussein?I wonder how massive vote withholding would work in the case of Venezuela.

    A free uncoerced vote can be a beautiful thing, but how many in Venezuela feel coerced? In my opinion they are not, but their subjective feeling is that they ARE and that is what in lies the grandest trick of Chavez the magician and illusionist master.The illusion is not the same as reality but it certainly does fool people as though it were.I say 'Chavez' for expediency - Actually Chavez is nothing but a composite of interested maleficos.

    Alicia keys once said ( on the " duty" of voting) that if we turn our backs the world will burn.

    Properly done perhaps turning our backs will make the Chavez world burn, after all the magician relies on where and how we place our attention.

    You are a voice in the desert, and your decision is long as you keep exposing the regime for what it is, in whatever way you chose to do so.But clarity should be always be the first consideration.


    1. The PAN in Mexico explained it better. When the PRI did whatever it wanted at election time, the Pakistan kept voting: "we may not know how many votes we got but the PRI knows." that is why one must go and vote regardless because it may not tell us how strong we really are but chavismo will know and that knowledge will eat chavismo from inside just like it ate the PRI.

  5. Chavismo sin Chavez means the ever more extensive use of databases to impose apartheid. The only recommendation the Unidad people can make is for everyone, every single voting Venezuelan, to enlist in the PSUV and in every single existing Chavista program and database, local and national. The purpose? To help direct events from the inside (preventing the imposition of totalitarianism) and to cause the apartheid lists to become stale. But it has to be an oficial policy, otherwise, people won't play this Machiavellian game out of an impractical sense of purity.

  6. Databases are powerful: a news reporter just published the (stolen) database of 2000 super rich Greek citizens with Swiss accounts, giving rise to a scandal because the unpaid taxes amount to 25% of the country's losses (debt, GDP etc)... But the database was stolen because someone was at the right place at the right time. Similarly, Venezuelans need to know who is getting the goodies and who isn't. Massive participation by the opposition in all committees, in all councils, in all programs etc. will eventually put ***someone who cares*** in the right place at the right time. This is another reason why it is necessary to play the Machiavellian game, by having all registered voters swamp every single council, committee, program, initiative etc. the Chavistas invent.


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