Live-blogging the Venevisión debate


11:13: Pablo Perez is a disaster, people, let’s face it.

11:12: Oh man, Leopoldo continues talking about his Inhabilitación. Major mistake.

11:10: Capriles calm, cool, confident, and collected. And, yes, Henrique, we know you know your elevator speech.

11:08: Maria Corina finally draws a contrast. She can beat Chavez because she is the most different from him. Attacks Capriles for being Chavez-lite … Game on.

11:07: Serious question – had LL planned to offer HCR the education ministry before the debate started, or is he making policy on the fly here? #GetSeriousLL

11:02: If there was any justice in the world we would wake up tomorrow with a 30-point bounce for MCM.

10:59: Capriles answering Leopoldo’s questions better than Leopoldo. So much more relaxed than last time. Good night for him. #ChacaChacas

10:58: Has Diego Arria jumped the shark? #Your15MinutesAreOverSir.

10:57: Awesome RT @Kenbei: Pablo Pérez es como Buzz Lightyear antes de darse cuenta de que era un juguete

10:56: Maria Corina says she guarantees unity precisely because she has no party. She has a point. Continues to be the only one talking about values.

10:53: Leopoldo giving away Ministries. Henrique goes to education, the others get squat!

10:50: Our take so far is that this debate has provided more moments than the previous one. And that’s not thanks to the format, but in spite of it.

10:48: We want to thank El Universal for their live streaming the debate. Above all, we thank them for sparing us from the commercials.

10:45: Pablo Medina needs a nervocalm post haste. 

10:44: Pablo Perez should stop referring to Pablo Pérez in the third person.

10:41: HCR is very comfy in his education spiel comfort zone. Great at linking education with aspirational themes.

10:39: MCM has memorized the country’s child mortality statistics…wow. Then pivots back to a real answer to the real question asked. She’s just a cut above.

10:35: I’m slightly baffled by the way Leopoldo López has chosen to play this one – 70s style economic nationalism together with a reiterative drone on crime. I guess that’s what the focus groups told him he should say – but does anyone really think it’s what he really believes?

10:34: Let us re-iterate once again that the format sucks.

10:28: Pablo Pérez is pushing the Clinton zipper-gesture hard.

10:27: Diego Arria says Rrregimen perverso twice – double drink!

10:24: Now MCM is pushing private investment in roads?! That’s Juan’s whole thing…what is she, specifically targetting the Caracas Chronicles vote tonight?! Another brilliant, substantive answer. She’s good. She’s just good.

10:23: HCR gives a fluff answer to a fluff question. #VVFail…again.

10:22: Felicitaciones por el cacerolazo … do they sell Hallmak Cards for that? Sigh. Pablo Medina is stuck in a 2003 time warp. Poor guy.

10:21: MCM is just extremely gifted at giving real, substantive answers in just one minute – not sure if that’s really a key skill for a president but, well, it’s a skill she has. But we’re still reeling from Capriles’s brilliant defusing of the Hague bomb thrown his way: he answered that with such devastating simplicity and clarity of purpose. This is a guy who understands perfectly well how ungovernable the country would become if the next president uses Miraflores as a launching pad for a crusade against the old regime. Thank God for that.

10:14: Pablo Pérez goes numerical. No idea if that made sense or not.

10:13: MCM makes The Washington Consensus sound good, doesn’t she?

10:12: LL’s doña does the shopping. Gross sexist crap. Then he pivots to idiot economic nationalism and Hecho en Venezuela crap. Ugh. At least he didn’t keep carping on crime…

10:11: HCR beauuuuuuutiful on The Hague. It’s really not the president’s place to judge his predecesor – simple and real. Oh God he just made a believer of me again!

10:10 : This gallego doesn’t even know how to pronounce Diego Arria’s last name.

10:09: Diego Arria and Pablo Medina threaten to make “constituyente” a by-word for crazy extremism. Which is unfortunate, since we may yet need one.

10:07: Diego Arria explains in one minute what a constituent assembly is for. Impressive. Then pivots to an idjit Hague harangue. Sigh…oh and rrrrregimen – DRINK!

10:05: I do hope at some point in this cycle they try a real debate, one without the stultifying one minute time limit on answers, where candidates get to actually engage with one another. At the moment, the range of skills being gauged here is very narrow. And MCM is winning it…by a lot.

10:03: We’re just real glad Capriles called bullshit on the 100,000 new homes built this year line from the Venevision journo. Shows he’s not just about rehashing his elevator speech again and again like some others we could note (cough cough ll cough).

10:02: MCM gets all the hard questions. Which is just as well, since she’s the only one really answering them…

10:00: Leopoldo has decided that whatever question he gets, he is going to talk about crime. And that’s a crime.

9:57: Capriles excellent calling the journalist on the 100.000 homes BS. Great answer. I was cringing thinking he was going to miss that gimme. He didn’t.

9:56: Pablo Medina = Gustavo El Chunior. Discuss.

9:54: Pablo Perez is not just the father of Venezuela, he is also its future. Does that make him his own grandfather?

9:48: Two takeaways so far: Capriles’s smile when correcting the Colombian journalist, and MCM’s bold, impressive answer on the fuel subsidy.

9:46: Pablo Pérez is making an effort to sound memorable. Really trying to dial in the catch phrases, gunning for the water-cooler effect. Not sure it’s working.

9:44: Capriles likeable correcting the Colombian journalist. Tough question, but he skirts it.

9:41: Maria Corina impressive on the fuel subsidy. Brave, honest … but hopeless. Kudos to her for calling it like it is. She’s strongly pushing a Caracas Chronicles pet cause, and that makes her completely unelectable 🙁

9:38: Leopoldo is asked about privatization, but ends up talking about crime. #DialogoDeSordos

9:34: Quico’s theory: candidates not evenly lit. I can barely tell, what with the journalists hogging the camera.

9:32: You ask a long-winded question on specific policies for universities? Allow Mr. Capriles to whack you in the head with his elevator speech. No specifics, tool.

9:27: “Una república musical, vinotinta, ambientalista” … paging nurse Rachett.

9:25: Leopoldo sharp on economics, although Hecho en Venezuela is such a IVth Republic buzzword, I cringe when I hear it.

9:23: This gallego journalist is what we call in Maracaibo “la borra del café”… bad question followed by a train-wreck of an answer by PP. Vinotinto, no re-election, unique card … dizzy. “yo avalo que chavez se va a meter, pero nosotros los venezolanos podemos decidir (aunque se va a meter) ?!?!?!?!?”

9:22: ¿Quién es este bolsa que dice JASTACK?

9:16: We’re both really, really, really hating the pajúo, no chance to develop an idea or a back-and-forth, more-exposure-to-the-journos-than-to-the-candidates format. #VenevisionFail

9:16: Leopoldo gets an important question: how will you govern with Chavismo controlling the State’s institutions? His answer: he will melt their hearts.

9:12: Capriles’ tie is funky, and not in a good way.

9:11: Pablo Perez brief, concise, relaxed. “I can beat Chavez,” not true but brief. Punching turning into hugging is an elevator … handshake?

9:10: “Este rrrrégimen” … DRINK!

9:09:Maria Corina skillfully sidesteps the question on Chavez’s health. She’s a lot less scary-intense than last time… seems she had a bit of chill-ex, nervocalm.

9:06: Not gonna waste my time analyzing Pablo Medina’s wacky, uninteresting stuff. Oh wait, another Colombian asking questions.

9:05: If time runs out, they will be zapped back by the Star Trek computer. #Venevision#Fail

9:02: Are you kidding me? A Colombian journalist? The third debate in thirty years, and there is a Colombian and an American journalist?!

9:01: Pablo Medina will be working to out-crazy Arria. Staff of journalists are the ones sitting down.

9:00: Yikes, Are they sitting down? Watching it via El Universal.

Tonight we’ll be live-blogging the second debate between the opposition’s five (six?) candidates. Refresh this post to get our continuous updates. Comments will come from both Quico and myself. You can follow the action here, and here.

One piece of commentary before we begin: this is truly an embarrassment of riches. Venezuelan candidates simply do not debate. The fact that we now have to “name” the debates – this one is the Venevisión debate, moderated by the milquetoast Eduardo Rodríguez – is a tribute to how far we’ve come.

In a normal country, holding several debates between candidates is the norm. In Venezuela, it’s downright Jeffersonian.

Let’s roll.