From the rumour mill

I’ve been trying to get more information on what’s going on inside the opposition camps, and here is what I have found out. Take all of this with the proverbial grain of salt.

  • The Capriles campaign does not really see Maria Corina Machado as a viable Vice-Presidential pick. For one thing, if Capriles is the candidate, the VP post and all ministries would be decided after October 7th, not before. But more importantly, the criteria they would look for in a VP pick is someone who can help with the internal politics of the opposition and keep the coalition in check, someone who can also establish a dialogue with chavista powers-that-be. Say what you want about Maria Corina, but dealing with the MUD and with chavistas is not her forte.
  • The López campaign is in a bit of upheaval. Carlos Vecchio has taken a back seat, and Alejandro Plaz (formerly Maria Corina Machado’s partner at Súmate) is being given a more prominent role. That, plus the addition of a new publicity agency responsible for this curious ad, is what is driving the shift in tone. They convinced Leopoldo that he should talk about crime nonstop, in particular policies to combat crime directly, and draw a contrast with Capriles, who views crime as related to poverty and education. The problem for López is that most Venezuelans agree with Capriles’ position.
  • Pablo Pérez is suffering from a curious version of the Irene Sáez syndrome, whereby layers upon layers of dinosaurs have hijacked the campaign and have left the candidate spinning. For the debate, they were more worried about the awkward hand gestures and the dozens of different messages they wanted to convey than about establishing a clear, brief narrative and delivering it. His team was more concerned with swarming online post-debate polls and social media than about content. They understand they need to get their act together, but it’s not going to be easy for them.
  • All of these groups are impressed with Maria Corina Machado’s performance, but they simply don’t see how she can be a relevant factor in this election. Consider, for example, that yesterday was the first time many people had ever seen her on national TV. They think she does not have the alliances, the media presence, or the organization to be a factor.
  • Twitter is ablaze with the apparent riots in Guanare.

Have any more info? Mouth off in the comments section, or better yet, email me at nageljuan at gmail dot com.

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