Friday, May 15, 2015

VN&V will not cover the coming legislative elections in Venezuela

Now that I may have gotten your attention, this is not entirely true. But what is true is that it is not worth my time covering elections which are a fraud on so many levels, from so many sides. And yet vote we must.

First, to make things clear, it is not that I am not up to task, 5 years ago my predictions went quite close to the mark, to two seats from the actual result.  The prediction gathered out of the regime gerrymandering huge advantage and assorted bonus was on the mark. We know the consequences of that vote.

But then I had material to work on. If previous electoral results were not reliable they still could be used to establish trends. If pollsters were weak and underfunded, and even questionable, they still could be used for trends. There were independent papers so you could sense the mood. Regional papers in particular were useful for those who were not Caracas navel gazers.  I even had some contacts.

All of this is gone.

Pollsters are now unreliable. Hinterlaces is sold out to the regime. Datanalisis is very, very questioned, maybe compromised. Others like Keller are still reliable but short of customers that can shell out what is required to do frequent and complete studies. And if they do a study it is a nation wide study, not likely a local study.

Gerrymandering is reaching paroxysm. Now the regime is outright diminishing the population of opposition districts where the regime even built housing through "Mision Vivienda", increasing the population!  That is, the regime increased the population but statistically decreased it anyway to make the opposition lose seats. These "freed up" seats of course go to chavista districts whose numbers are boosted outright.

Since the regime does not benefit this time around of the huge material advantage it got before, nor of Chavez charisma it is using other techniques such as jailing opposition main leaders, or promoting minor leaders in the hopes creating divisions. That would not be so bad if the leadership of the opposition showed more guts and direction. But look at the mess. Has anyone heard much of Ramos Allup and AD lately?  He is probably one of the most discredited leaders these days, either because he has failed to stand up as he should have done for the many political prisoners or because of his many relatives engaged in sweet businesses with the regime. But he is not the lone one in that situation.

If we do not need to use the conflict of interest card to discard all opposition leadership we can certainly use the lack of trust, of confidence with other opposition leaders. For example Capriles is clearly out of his league now. When he is asking me to go and vote, he certainly does not raise any confidence in me. The man was unable to defend his victory of 2013. What confidence do I have he will defend the victory he claims is coming in a few months? None. I will go and vote but do not ask me to be dynamic about the whole process.

In other words, without free press, without reasonable polls, with self censorship, with limited regional news, relying only on Twitter gossip, with opposition leadership using panglossian speak, with regime thugs openly threatening the electorate, with the regime already in control of all levers of powers that will make the new assembly meaningless, etc, etc... why should any one bother covering the elections?

I suppose that other people who make a living on reporting on such things feel compelled to report on the electoral campaign. I suppose that readers of this blog would like to know about it. I do not want to discourage it, but this time around "caveat emptor" more than ever. You have been warned.

But the real reason that I will not spend much time on the coverage of neither the primary nor the general election is two fold.  First, my life is too complex. I simply do not have the time I used to have to dedicate to the minutiae and thoughtfulness that perusing data AND understanding it require. I do not want to risk to be wrong and the risk this time around. Yes, on paper the opposition will win. On paper. But that is not the real issue. Is it not?

The other reason is that deep down I do not care. I do not care because the opposition is not telling what will they do if they win. They are not telling me what will they do if they lose (it can happen without cheating). They are not telling me what they will do if the regime steals the election. They are not telling me what they will do if the regime accepts the victory but neuters it. They are not telling me truly why should I care (besides the obvious, which is obviously obvious).

But also because the lone politicians that speak about what I am interested in are either in jail or are about to get in or are trying to get out those who are inside. The other guys do not seem to care much about it, campaign as if nothing, address none of the issues that concern me, the issues that are grounded in reality. That may sound harsh but I am tired of lala land and politicians that are promising me that next time is the real one but when next time come run for cover.

Forgive me if I pass this one out and I rather focus on the economic disaster and on the repression of those politicians that are actually trying to do something. If you like fluff politics there are plenty of web pages for that, from blogs to world class newspapers that should know better........

End of rant.


  1. Venezuelans in Venezuela should try their hardest to do well in the elections. At the same time it will probably help to prepare a national strike. But I'm sorry to say I never felt Venezuelans had the ganas to force the Reds out of power. You are too easy going, and have always been pampered. The Venezuelan military is basically useless, they are a bunch of large eggs. But to get it done you have to be willing to stay out of work for 20 weeks. And I just don't see it.

  2. Daniel, I see your point- why spend time reporting on hthe predictable- sham election? And as you say the oppos have their mouths tied (whether it is fear or what = who knows. However, I also agree with Fernando- The average Venezuelan does not care ENOUGH to protest, strike or or do anything SERIOUS to change the situation... sad state, unfortuntately..

  3. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Keep your chin up Daniel. Don't do what the regime wants you to do - nothing.

  4. Roberto Carlos1:31 PM

    Daniel, you say: "In other words, without free press, without reasonable polls, with self censorship, with limited regional news, relying only on Twitter gossip, with opposition leadership using panglossian speak, with regime thugs openly threatening the electorate, with the regime already in control of all levers of powers that will make the new assembly meaningless, etc, etc... why should any one bother covering the elections?"

    I think the question should be "why should any one bother to freaking VOTE?".

    1. Because it is the lone thing we have left. If we do not know the real result the regime will know.

      And unless you have something better to offer and lead, then you go and vote.

    2. Anonymous1:50 PM

      I AGREE.To vote when you know there is no democracy, and it is impossible to win, is like a rat who goes down the same hole everyday knowing there is no cheese.Idiotic.Every time Venezuelans vote under these circumstances,the government has just a bit more control over the populace,public moral sinks down even further, and the lefty types all over the world use Venezuela one more time as as an example of Democracy.The way out in my opinion has more to do with continual strikes, boycotting elections , and getting the word out to discredit these goons.Nothing will every be totally believed as long as Venezuelans think they have a chance to win elections.I have thought this way almost from day one, when things were less entrenched.Timing is always of the utmost importance.Second chances are never the same....firepigette

    3. Roberto Carlos7:55 PM

      The only reason to vote is if you still have a glimmer of hope the they will not cheat. So if the good guys win -as we all think they would- they'll get a majority of the seats.
      But you already know that is not going to happen, even if you get a majority of the votes, by gerrymandering they'll get a majority of the seats.

      Back in 2006 the abstention was a huge success. I know what you are thinking "but our abstention gave them a absolute majority in congress". YES BUT, an illegitimate majority. Let me ask you: what have the few opposition leaders elected in subsequent elections with no abstention accomplished? Nothing! Except giving the regime a patina of legitimacy.
      So why was 2006 considered a failure? Because the opposition leaders are idiots. First you have to announce to the world that you are abstaining and that the voting stations will be empty. That will concentrate the press coverage on the abstention issue. Then you record the "emptyness" at all hours and locations and post those videos online. The abstention will show that the opposition is majority, and should give people confidence that they are not alone and it can be followed with strikes, sit ins.
      But nothing like that happened in 2006. All we got was, "now they have all the seats in congress". Which is the wrong conclusion just like your conclusion Daniel that what you are going to abstain is from covering the election, as if anyone cared. Do you have that big of an ego?

    4. You are confusing issues. Heck, you are even confusing years.

      Clear up your arguments and I'll try to reply.

  5. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Baseball question: who took more balls to the chin, Joe DiMaggio or Daniel Duquenal?

    1. I am sorry, I do not get the humor. Care to explain so we can all partake to the joke?

  6. Anonymous2:38 PM

    Daniel , I have something better to suggest:

    1. the regime DOES know the situation already, they do not need elections to know it.If they were that stupid they would not have been able to totally control things all these years while raping the country.It is naive to think that they do not posses the wiles that ALL sociopaths possess.

    2. if you go and vote they will know exactly how you voted

    3.We do not need more leaders....that is the problem with Venezuela.The opposition needs to show people that each person has to participate in boycotting if they want to get something done.An evolution cannot evolve without most members participating.

    4.People in Venezuela need to reject those in the opposition who are happily living off contracts and unfair exchanges.In other words maybe get a bit more serious.Even in my own personal life I know quite a few opposition members who are STILL living high on a hog.

    5.People should get together and protest en masse not in small groups .

    Voting is not what you have left, in the sense that it can work.Voting is an option to lose only.Even doing nothing, will give a better message than playing their game.The game Belarus plays every year.....


  7. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Consistency is essential for success in any area.Venezuelans are not being consistent.



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