The titanic struggle ahead

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Today, Hugo Chávez launched a new social program: Misión Venezuela en Amor Mayor. Don’t ask me to translate that.

The point? Making sure all senior citizens in Venezuela receive a pension.

I caught a bit of the cadena today, and saw this amazing video. The production values are excellent, and the amount of money being thrown at our abuelitos is simply staggering. And keep in mind that this video was shown, by law, at the same time, on every TV station in the country.

The challenge we face is daunting, folks. Because … how can you argue against this?

1 COMMENT

    • Oh, don’t ask for details… but yeah, it probably means money for everyone!

      Don’t know if you caught the fact that a couple of the poeple featured in the video are in their early 60s. One is 61, the other 62, as far as I could tell. ¡Misión Pensión Italiana!

        • If olive oil was selling at $1 million a barrel, the Italian Chávez would still be in power, having Bunga Bungas in Cadena Nazionale.

          • Hm…not quite…if olive oil were very expensive now, Italian oil producers would be perhaps forced to deliver some oil for Italy, but else: the Italian Chávez couldn’t do without them. In Venezuela half the population leaves from cutting each others’ hair, half the population minus two sells Chinese panties and one person, who was the one importing those panties, pays another person to keep oil wells producing.

  1. Chavez is going all-in buying votes. A new bomb dropped every week.
    Next week Chavez will announce borrowing more billions or another bond sale…

  2. Of course you can argue.

    What about those who paid? Should they not receive a refund?

    Why did Chavez wait so long?

    What about the program launched a couple of years ago to allow for people to buy back into the system at a modest rate? Are they going to be refunded too?

    Who is going to pay for it?

    Etc….

    It is all beautiful and well organized but in El Pueblo they are very aware of the delays, of the compromises, of those who were offered a chance to buy in, etc… and those laggards are going to get in Scott free?

    Trust me, there is room for intelligent debating, if anything forcing Chavez to recognize that all should have a pension, period. See what happens. After all, we are bankrupt already, why not a little bit more?

    This is the deep en of populism, beyond Italian style as you pointed out. We call it “tierra arrasada”, if I lose you will not be able t manage, if I win, I just keep promising more and we’ll see what happens. But I am sure Credit Suisse will approve and predict Chavez reelection…..

    • Daniel,

      Do you really think a discussion of the ins and outs of the fiscal lunacy that is Mision en Amor Mayor can compete with Doña Ramona With-no-Teeth grinning at her check?

      I’m hitting the bottle, folks.

      • Coye, come on!!! No one should hit any bottles. Really, was anyone expecting anything less from Chavez? Did anyone expect anything DIFFERENT than what Chavez is doing now? It is exactly what he did in 2006: bombarding everyone with his message through cadenas and with money through the misiones. He’s adopting the exact same strategy than he did in 2006. The thing is… we are no longer in 2006. Mucha agua ha pasado bajo el puente. I am really sure some people will get in line to get their new pensión, and will still vote against him because they can’t imagine him ruling the country for 6 more years. It is nothing new that the struggle is titanic and cuesta arriba. In fact, even though I hate as much as y’all do what he’s doing, I think this only gives the opposition more reasons to keep on message and to elect a progressive candidate. Also, we’ve had cadenas two days in a row… and he talks about the opposition a lot in those cadenas. I wonder… If he wasn’t a little be worried, would he be talking about the candidates, about the opposition? Apparently some people in the opposition criticized Misión Hijos de Venezuela because it “encourages women to get pregnant early”. Bolsa Familia (CCT in Brazil) has been criticized for the same thing even though it has been proven that it doesn’t. But Chavez still addressed that criticism. In the same way as the opposition strengthens Chavez every time they mention him, he strengthens and gives importance to the opposition every time he mentions it, even if he calls the MUD, the MUD (Mesa de United States). What I’m saying is: let’s not panic.

      • I tell you JC,

        The advertising geniuses behind Chavez are no less than dazzling…sociopathic dazzlers.

        This video is too much ! But Daniel is right , where there is a will there is a way, and counter arguments can always be found….just takes a little concentration, and the weak points can be discovered .

      • I am not suggesting discussion of the ins and outs, I am lowering myself to discuss how we wuzz’ robbed and how unfair it is that those who never paid are getting a freebie while you who paid remain stuck at the lowest level of the pension system. Surely someone should be able to point out that chavismo is all about unfairness.

        Will we have at least one candidate say something “if I get elected there will be a minimum survival pension fund while those who paid to the system will have a retirement that will proportional to how much they put in retirement funds”. Are you telling us that Venezuelans are unable to understand such a speech? Because if this is what you think we are then there is no point in doing any electoral campaign whatsoever…..

    • Agreed but who is educated enough to listen? That’s the issue. Guess the target audience for many available arguments is the undecided, or to be even more blunt, the half-educated segment of our population. That’s where the opposition needs to concentrate their efforts. What do you you think the people portrayed on this video who can’t spell their own names, can begin to comprehend, especially if/when they are being bought off with cash and prizes?

      • Caray! The pedantry here never ceases to amaze me! So, because some did not have the opportunity to go to school, earn titles like Ing,, Lic., M.A., Ph.D. before of after their names they are “half-educated”? Lack of formal education, Ing. Iglesia, does not make you smarter than the woman or man who can’t spell his/her name in the video. Perhaps it is indicative of the fact that you were born with a golden spoon in your mouth. I bet that you have never had a conversation with someone like the fisher-woman (BTW, looks like Cata/Ocumare de la Costa) or the woman who works the land to produce plátanos and yuca. If you did, you would realize that they are actually quite savvy and astute.

        And your comment regarding being “bought off” is exactly what democracy is all about. Ergo, the campaign promises that are made all over the world during electoral campaigns that even the rich in the UK or US se la comen por entero.

        The video, BTW, is brilliant as it is representative of all of the people who inhabit my country. This is in stern contrast to the opposition video that was shown on this site last week that focused in on a small segment of the population.

        • “The video, BTW, is brilliant as it is representative of all of the people who inhabit my country. This is in stern contrast to the opposition video that was shown on this site last week that focused in on a small segment of the population”

          Told you so.

        • The question you need to ask, Pipo, and everyone here, is whether this is sustainable development and will be in the interest of these people’s children and grandchildren.

          What will happen in the oil price just stops increasing at a rate of 10% or more A YEAR?
          I don’t even mean if the oil price goes down to an eighth of its price, as it was when the military came back to power, but if it just stops going up at the rate it has been doing?

          This is not rocket science, man: Venezuela got in recession for two years because oil price got into a FUCKING LOCAL MINIMUM, and yet it was several times the price of 1998.

          These people are getting crumbles and they are eating all the crumbles. Venezuelans are getting less competitive by the day as education quality in Venezuela – already the worst in South America in 1998 – is going down the drain.

  3. I think the opposition should offer the same benefit to everyone, no matter what age, what sex, you have a cedula, you get your 1,600 bolivares every month. And to make Chistmas a happy occasion, we will throw four months of “utilidades”.

    The math is simple, at Bs. 4.3 this only costs US$ 160 billion per year, over twice the current budget. We could borrow a little more in 2013 and 2014, like US$ 240 billion. Dont know what will happen in 2015, ummm

    I guess we will have to shut down the Government too…ummm…

    This is complicated to explain, but who cares, offer it!

  4. The next misiones are going to be called:
    Mision yo si los quiero.
    Mision los otros son muy malucos.
    Mision con el PSUV si se vive bien.
    How much further does he have to jump the shark?

  5. I think that they realized the importance of the Seguro Social pension and how much support it got them from the older people. The fact is they are now re-branding that as a mission when they have been giving pensions to most people that didn’t qualify under past criteria. A few months ago the Devil had a post about this (http://devilsexcrement.com/2011/01/30/venezuelan-social-security-pensions-can-the-country-afford-them/)

    But beyond the fiscal viability and the like, the aspect that makes me sad is that we in the opposition don’t produce videos that capture this side of Venezuela. Do you remember that horrible video that Quico liked so much with only sifrinos from UCAB? This is the exact opposite, it’s so much the real venezuela that makes our camp look like a bunch of sifrinos.

    I would like to see videos like this coming out of any of the opposition candidates. Some of them are doing an effort to connect with those people and really get to know them, but how many on each camp is really going to be comfortable talking to the lady without teeth? getting to know her well enough that you can do a video that shows her as she is and manages to connect with the audience?
    Despite all we have improved, our opposition still lacks barrio/pueblo “habitus” tu borrow Quico’s favorite word.

    • “This is the exact opposite, it’s so much the real venezuela that makes our camp look like a bunch of sifrinos. ”

      Actually Moraima, if you read between the lines, both videos have a purpose, the oppo video targets the 18-24 demographic, while the Government targets the 60+ crowd. Obviously everyone has done their reaserch+numbers and know who they have to convince to get “x” amount more of votes.

      Basically IMHO you can´t compare the too. The oppo approach to the segments D and E of the population seems to be “patear” la calle, something Chavez can´t do, and when we have a candidate and campaign time comes, we will see completely different commercials. Keep in mind, the government has a “limitless” budget, the oppo doesn´t, we have to bean count for now.

      Though for the record I was not a big fan of the “UCAB” videos, yet, I understand its purpose and method completely.

      • El Feto,

        I know this can get personal, but I also think it is relevant:
        did you grow up in Caracas (upper) middle class or something? Have you spent enough time among people of classes C-, D and E in the last, say, ten years?

        Perhaps I am wrong, but this is what I see: Moraima came from a rather humble section of Caracas, my expended family still lives in C and D areas in the typical secondary cities outside Valencia and some other secondary cities around Venezuela, Guido came from Trujillo and his family, as I understand, were also of similar background as mine.
        And we are completely anti-Chavez.

        We were all more critical of that UCAB video than Francisco and you.
        It doesn’t mean we are more enlighted or anything, but we may see things a little bit differently…and I think demographically speaking Eastern Caracas and Northern Valencia do not make more than 15% of Venezuela’s population, even if on the Internet about 90% of Venezuelan visitors to this blog and other blogs may come from those areas.

        Do you think this UCAB video is really targeted to all the young? To most of the young?
        Do you think there is such a uniform sector? Do you think the fact everybody wants to have a car and a nice house and burda de billete means all the young people will perceive those accents, esa pinta, in a similar way?

        I don’t.

        • Well Kep, I could be wrong, and most of what you say is definetly correct, I do think however we are comparing apples and oranges (strictly refering to the 2 videos), starting with the fact that the UCAB video was not made by the MUD, and in the other side the government is in full presidential campaign mode, whereas the oppo is in primary mode.

          The MUD has been adamant in having young voters register ASAP, the biggest movement of the 18-24 demo has been done through universities, it might be a flawed strategy, but that´s what they have gone for, and they seem to have failed according to recent information today stating very low registration numbers amongst the aforementioned demo, I was hoping they would do more in that regard, apparently it didn´nt materialize.

          I must also state I was never very enthusiastic about the video, you might want to look up the thread and see my post in that regard as well as read the final line of the post you are replying to.

          My point is that the MUD is targeting the 18-24 demo, as an overall strategy, I can never state the oppo is directing THIS video in specific to the rich or poor youth, as the MUD did not even make this commercial.

          And to clarify, yes, I was raised in Eastern Caracas, and I am a sifrino, the kind Chavez abhors the most, from private schools to english lessons, the whole package. However, my opinion has nothing to do with rich or poor, I just address what I believe is the political/marketing strategy that each side seems to be taking.

    • Agree with you 150%, Moraima, on the oppo production efforts that for the most part, have focused on the sifrino element of Caracas, or on the candidate as the main actor, sometimes surrounded by el pueblo as supporting cast, but not always.

      The beauty of this last chavista ad is that it focuses on people, not on the narcissists in power. We get to know a little of who they are and how they feel about — not brand X (Chávez), but the results of the brand X initiative, even if it hasn’t been rolled out yet.That’s powerful. It takes the narrative to a whole other level.

      And here are just some thoughts. Me like these people. And if I were in their shoes, I’d say, hey, these people are like me. And they like Chávez. Therefore, he must be good. I must like him, too.

      • The central mission statement of the Chavez government is poverty reduction and prioritising the interests of the working class and poor through the provision of transformational public services (misiones). On that measure they have been very successful.

        The reason the broadcast works is 1. The people in the ads are “like me”, and 2. The viewers (or members of their family) have also benefited from the social programs.

        The message is powerful because it is reinforced by delivery. And the opposition have no answer to this other than cynical nitpicking (which fools nobody) or ritual denunciation (which plays only to existing supporters). That is why, providing he remains in reasonably good health, Chavez will be comfortably reelected president next year.

    • Before reading this, I wrote something similar further down here.. gotta focus on who can still listen and understand some basic principles, no time/money to waste now in the wrong places/venues. The opposition is trying to look like “pueblo” but they may be fighting a losing battle, because they are NOT gonna win votes away from the under-educated Chavez supporters, bribed by Chavez.. They need to FOCUS in certain voter areas, or spectrums of the population, now. Those who can still add 1 + 1 = 2

  6. “The challenge we face is daunting, folks. Because …” a) he may be able to make a few payments to some that will reenforce the lottery mentality (any day now, I’ll be lucky, too); b) maybe without long lines, using debit cards, as apparently is the case now, and with banking points in, e.g. small grocery stores located in isolated rural and urban areas, initially launched by private banks, an idea now appropriated by the government. c) but even if all that were not enough to guarantee a Chavez victory at the polls, how could *any* government finance a “Misión Pensión Italiana” as well as all the other promised throw outs, given the bloating debt burden in the midst of falling local production in all realms?

    This is a clearly a repeat of the pre-referendum ploy with ample lead time that may or may not work. However, no matter how optimistic one may be re. electoral results, it unquestionably poses a daunting challenge for any future government, Though it may/does reek of desperation, it’s going to be hard for anyone argue against it and hope to win and/or govern.

  7. Indeed, Moraima.

    Now: I hear a couple of guys saying they have 16 years working…and they are over 60. What were they doing before they were 45?
    People here will retire at 65+-67 at the earliest after having worked much much more.
    I myself am a couple of decades younger than that guy and I won’t expect a pension for several decades still.
    One of the guys says people are dying on the streets in Europe because of hunger…and I have heard similar stuff from neighbours of some of my relatives in Valencia and satellite cities (cities over 100 000 inhabitants).

    We can’t go against this via twitter. 70% of Venezuelans have no Internet access. Half the population are functional illiterate.
    The last time I asked people living in the most densely populated municipio of Carabobo (on Sunday) they told me no oppo has been there since 2008 (and then only some minor figure).
    That municipio’s city centre is 20 minutes from the governor’s house, 10 minutes from the Panamericana. It’s Los Guayos.

  8. Yes, the old folks, the teenage mothers, the handicapped and even the campesinos are getting some love from the government… but you’re forgetting how incompetent and corrupt this government are.
    Did your remember Mercal? Populism at its best. It was a brilliant idea, but then you got PUDREVAL…
    Do your remember the grandiloquent Mision Vivienda? How many house have they built so far?
    What about the electrical problem? Are we doing any better after Chavez declared that the problem was over?

    So the old folk get some money from the gov? Do that, and even more: promise that the grannies and pops will never have to wait for HOURS under the sun ever again. Poor people buy in Mercal? Forget about it, let them go and buy in a real supermarket and give you the money for that (U/C CT). People hate the black outs? Get the best engineers to solve the problem.

    Yes, blahblah commander is loaded and willing to spend like there’s no tomorrow (probably that’s true in his case), but most of it is going to be stolen, mismanaged, or redirected to another crazy shit. So, instead of complaining about how rigged or unfair the game is, focus on the things the MUD can and should do. It’s time for some Moneyball. There are a lot of chinks in the armor of this Leviathan.

  9. Like Quico likes to say “Los Rusos tambien juegan”. Extorres’ words loom large, as long as the game is “who can give out more with the current rules of the game” it’s going to be hard to out-regalar a Don Regalon. Now if the conversation is shifted to: “Screw these little crums Chavez is giving you, I will shift the state paradigm and give you ALL the money” Not that’s something Chavez can’t and wont beat.

  10. A) Mr. Barreda is right: announced now, how in Heaven’s Name are they to keep the momentum (efficacious money flow) until when they need it for the final push, to avoid oppo accusations of “What happened to Misión Venezuela en Amor Mayor?” as is the efficacious oppo objection with the housing scheme;

    B) Take the money and run anyway — to vote for whoever.

    Re the translation aside, the only thing that occurs to me is a parallel with a musical piece, “XYZ en Fá Mayor” for instance, so we’d be stuck with “Mission Venezuela in Love Major” which renders it somehow but gets us nowhere, a characteristic that some may deem ensures its having something in common with other missions…

    • People don’t care about the financing in the long term. They think Venezuela is the richest country in the world, remember? Of course we can afford this.

  11. You challange this by reminding everyone of all the empty promises and inefficiency of this government. There are too many to list, but this government has not carried out on anything they have said. Also the main concern of many venezuelans….crime…what good is the pension if you will either not live to get it or that you may live long enough to see one of your loved ones killed in the streets. Also inflation……what will that money buy you next year….35% less that’s what. I think that its a noble thing to give elderly people a pension…..but lets face it these older folks are harder to sell and fool. I think they will take the money and run to the oppo on election day. They have lived to see Venezuela go through many periods and if they cant see this is the worst of them then we are in trouble.

    • “They have lived to see Venezuela go through many periods and if they cant see this is the worst of them then we are in trouble.”
      That is correct. This was a “cherry-picked” selected group. I hope everyone sees that.
      Even these people in the video MUST KNOW “the other side of the coin” re.Chavez.
      Do you think these people really don’t know for example about Cuba-one of them had
      a newspaper?

    • But you assume your audience will understand, are they as educated as you are? Most of them are not. So you have to target specific audiences, those who might understand your message, undecided on ‘on the fence”. And keep the messages simple for them too.

      • Ing. Iglesia,

        I am not sure if you are as educated as you would like to think as your first sentence is a run-on and you have a typo in your second sentence. In any case, I want to answer your question: Yes, “they” are as educated as you or I might be. Do not confuse formal education with being savvy or politically smart. I know many people with advanced degrees who fell for some of the nonsense that CAP, LHC, and JL were promising during their campaigns.

        • There is a big difference between being ” savvy” and being “politically smart”. Most are just “savvy” – just as they were with CAP 1 and 2, LHC et al. It all depends and depended on the handouts. In the 4th it was sheets of zinc for rooves, blocks, hand water pumps, machetes and lots of beer; now it is all that plus cash. Every one loves to get “something for nothing” but few know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The person with the deepest pocket will win an election in Venezuela and many other places in the world irrespective of their manifesto. Sad but true.

  12. But who is educated enough to listen to what’s really going on? That’s the issue. Guess the target audience for numerous, easy counter-arguments here, is the undecided, and to be blunt, the half-educated segment of our population. That’s where the opposition needs to concentrate their efforts. What do you you think the people portrayed on this video, who can’t spell their own names, can begin to comprehend about semi-complex socio-economic or historical issues, especially if/when they are being bought off with cash and prizes?

    I would spend too much time, for now, except to run a few commercials, in the most rural areas. I’d concentrate all efforts in venues (tv, radio, actual cities) where voters are in between, mostly in because they are not bought off, illiterate or what have you: focus where the not so smart or prepared, unfortunately could hear the obvious message: Chavez is a huge load of crap. And make that message as simple, and customer-friendly as possible. The middle-upper areas of society already know where they stand. Even the UCV students understand what’s up.

      • Chavez giving money to get votes does not change history. If people look at
        the last years and do not see and know anything that has happened, then
        these ARE the lost ones. Most, even the illiterate -if they are honest must know
        the truth.

    • Why all the dislikes? It’s been proven that the majority of the population lacks the requisite education to uphold democracy after they gave Chavez a dozen years in power to do whatever he wants.

      • Reverse elitism, DaBoss: In Venezuela’s educated, expat opposition, it’s taboo to even insinuate that the average Chavez supporter is not learned enough to understand the larger issues that Chavez artfully boils down to an empowering, us-vs.-them narrative.

  13. A couple of days ago, I caught another cadena on the radio while driving that was about some new program where they are giving money to every single mother for each child they have… and it was pretty significant amounts they were talking about!

    And, he will continue to hit every grouping of people. I think it would be a good time to be a pregnant single indigenous female over 62 years old, with a bunch of minor children, trying to start a business.

    On a serious note: Isn’t he starting this a little too soon?

    • “I think it would be a good time to be a pregnant single indigenous female over 62 years old, with a bunch of minor children, trying to start a business.”

      Jackpot!

      On your question, he may be starting too soon for October, but if your horizon for a change in government is, say, April 2012, then this is about right.

      • “….too soon for October, but if your horizon for a change in government is, say, April 2012, then this is about right.”

        Exactly! That is what I was thinking. I think this is important, but I’ll be darned if I can figure out what the Opposition should do about it.

    • Roy
      “where they are giving money to every single mother for each child they have… and it was pretty significant amounts they were talking about!”

      We have that here where single , pregnant women do not have to work.They don’t live high on the hog but they survive just fine without working a minute, and if they should decide to work in some informal capacity and not report their incomes, they still keep getting the money.

      This is a problem, because on one hand I it is great the babies have help,but on the other hand, it is no incentive for them to avoid the situation…and many welcome it.

  14. I didn’t bother with the ad, but I suppose I get the gist of it: Chavez offers to give money to someone.

    So does Chavez expect the people to eat the money? To live inside the money? To throw money at the robbers and sicarios hunting them on the streets? To use piles of money as make-shift dams against the overflown rivers? To patch the holes on the streets with piles of money? To burn wads of money to produce electricity?

    If all Chavez does is to give money to people without increasing production/importing of goods, all he’ll do is send inflation into triple digits, give people more reasons to complain about the shortages and make robberies even more of a problem for everyone if that’s possible.

    All he’s doing is giving shiny rocks to the indians. Will it work? If he had done it in September 2012, perhaps. But now? No chance.

  15. 1. Obviously he’s not comfortable in the polls, so he’s going all out.
    2. He did that between 2007 and 2010. It only worked -a bit- in 2009. He’s not more popular nor is there less “Chavez-fatigue”.
    3. “Voters aren’t fools”: an opposition party has upended a serious, popular and money-spending incumbent (party or candidate). Is it easy? No. Has it been done under authoritarian rule? Yes, but with less populism around. Is populism blinding? To some; alas, how are those new beneficiaries not already in the Chavez’ system of dole? Could there really be “new Chavez voters”?

    • Could there really be “new Chavez voters”?

      Yes, there could. The level of “undecided” voters is significant and the degree of abstention is very high. If the proper keys are pressed they can convert a fraction of these segments into votes for their cause.

      • But those who abstain regularly will tend to do so this time around. Chavez has not been able to sway more voters beyond the inertial growth of the electorate.

        As for “Ni-nis”, most independent voters agree to a change in government. This is no unsurmountable summit.

  16. Juan, this is not new. I know for a fact that people over 60 -after doing whatever diligencia they ought to do- have been getting their pension, monthly, on time, without problem for a while now. I think in Xmas they get a bonus of some sort. Crucially, this has also been applied to an extent to amas de casa. They have to pay up what would have amounted to minimum contribution over a number of years, as if in regular employment, and then they too get their pension.

    This, I will say without compunctions, is one of the things we should all give credit to Chavez for. It is one of the really good things that he’s done, and he should be commended for it. I think we can all remember, back in the day, viejitos protesting and blocking Av. Urdaneta for lack of payment of meagre pensions, which at the time, in memory serves, was well below minimum salary.

    As per the video, I agree with you. Extremely difficult to argue against that. The extraordinary thing about chavismo’s propaganda has been that it identified very early the need to communicate to its constituency in visual terms, through imagery. Indeed the use of imagery for propaganda purposes is another thing we should all give credit to Chavez, not because he invented it, after all Socialist Realism can be traced back to other places, but the adaptation of it within the contemporary Venezuelan political context can only be attributed to whoever handles the propaganda for Chavez. In fact, as far as successful methods of communicating a given message, it is important to note that use of imagery by chavismo, and association of red with Bolivar -an icon already well established in the Venezuelan psyche- surpasses whatever literary or indeed any other communication method used by chavismo to date. Chavismo is yet to produce a half coherent manifesto or statement of principles of what socialism of the XXI century means, whereas it has unquestionably and successfully “sold it” to a great deal of people in Venezuela.

    Chavez knows his constituent very well, he knows they are, for the most part, poorly educated. It follows that poorly educated folks don’t question images, communication through imagery is processed differently, and it goes in pretty much unchallenged. What he’s done in that regard is a stroke of genius, and no amount of HCR, Maria Corina, et al is going to change that.

    On the other hand however, successful as he is in conveying his message, the truly titanic struggle isn’t there Juan. Rather it has to do with his unlimited spending power. That, and no other, is Chavez’s more lethal weapon. In a country of pedigueños, of people that want to get something for nothing, of people who are convinced that the State has to solve each and every issue or give them the hard cold cash so they can do it themselves, there’s no beating Chavez, even when it means having to queue, register, and chase monies around different misiones.

    • Good analysis Alex.

      “What he’s done in that regard is a stroke of genius”…

      However we should all know that Chavez is not the genius here…it it the work of Machiavellian advertising men.The opposition needs advertising help…they have to get the best and the brightest because Chavez has.

      Visual imagery is not only important to the uneducated but to all people….especially when

      imagery is repeated over and over again

    • Alek I agree but …….

      How about the visual imagery that most Venezuelans deal with on a daily basis…crime, poverty, lack of jobs, infrastructure breakdown, black outs ..etc. I do think that this is a great thing he is doing….but the oppo can do the same but better. Stop the spending abroad and you have plenty of money for social programs to benefit all of Venezuelans. That should be the message. Instead of giving our petro dollars away we will reinvest them in Venezuela. The oppo needs to show imagery of that….show imagery of all the failed programs and inefficiency of the government.

      Money will buy him votes….but I think most have caught on. They take the money, wear red shirts at rallies, put their name on a list for a house, applaud when they have to but
      come election day most will vote oppo. The “nini” votes are key. The question is getting them out to vote. Money won’t do it.

      • “The oppo needs to show imagery of that….show imagery of all the failed programs and inefficiency of the government.”
        How about this aide-memoire to get the visual imagery experts moving:
        “Cuando en Venezuela ha habido referendos, elecciones o cuando se le han puesto “las papas duras” al Gobierno, el Comandante Presidente lanza una Misión. Se las voy a enumerar para que me digan cuantas están vigentes y útiles: Misión 13 de Abril (la de las comunas), Misión Alimentación (la de pudreval), Misión Árbol (de reforestación), Misión Barrio Adentro (I y II), Misión Ciencia, Misión Robinson (I y II), Misión Ribas, Misión Sucre, Misión Vuelvan Caras, Misión Cristo, Misión Cultura, Misión Guaicaipuro, Misión Hábitat (relanzada como 7 veces), Misión Identidad, Misión José Gregorio Hernández, Misión Madres del Barrio, Misión Milagro, Misión Miranda, Misión Música, Misión Negra Hipólita, Misión Niños y Niñas del Barrio, Misión Piar, Misión Revolución Energética, Misión Sonrisa, Misión Villanueva, Misión Zamora. Todas son especies de planes de emergencia de contenido social, alejados de cualquier Plan de Nación sustentable y consolidado, con presupuestos espasmódicos, lanzados y relanzados al golpe de las necesidades electorales.”
        Charito Rojas, “Desbocado” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=344570765560253&set=a.344570735560256.105780.113048215379177&type=1

      • Ramon, the oppo has done good things too, in certain places. The problem I see with oppo communication is that it has failed to convey the message at a national level. This was evident in 2006, when the much maligned Rosales was running against Chavez. Rosales, a figure much hated in these parts, had a record of beating chavista machinery in Zulia. He also had a good record as a Mayor and Governor. But only zulianos knew. He failed miserably at showing to the rest of the country that in Zulia, under his watch, both chavistas and non-chavistas had benefited from his programs. The same thing is happening now with Pablo. The MUD is nothing but a coalition of regional parties / figures, opposing a leader very well known. That is to say Chavez is a known quantity, the opposition is not, at least not as much.

        Apart from that, if you were to add all the funds and media time available to the opposition, it would be only marginal compared to that of Chavez. That is why I said to Juan that money is Chavez’s most potent and lethal tool. He can spend whatever he wants; he can go on TV whenever he wants for as long as he wants; and, he has every square centimetre of the country covered with reps. Should any of these reps fail, there’s plenty eager and willing to come up to the plate, for they know that that means access to money. The oppo can’t offer that, and ideology will take them only this far. If we compound that with the fact that Chavez is ready to open the money floodgates, and has a supremely slick team of imagery / propaganda creators behind, well, titanic indeed to beat him.

        It can be done though, by making sure that every single mesa of every single polling station has an oppo witness ready to throw his/her lot and impede fraud. In 2006, we didn’t have witnesses in 40% of the mesas. The question is, will we be better prepared this time?

        • I could not agree with you more on the mesas. There has to be a plan in place now and carried out with precision. Every Venezuelan must be ready to defend their vote…the oppo candidates cannot do it alone. These are street thugs trying to hold on to the bottom rung. They will lie, cheat, steal etc. Whatever it takes….that should be the oppo slogan to the masses…..”Whatever it takes” . I know that in a true and fair election the oppo wins. Every year this government governs the margin gets higher for the oppo. Money is their greatest weapon….but inefficiency has and will continue to hurt them.

          David and Goliath…….I believe in it and will not stop!!!!!

  17. Something I never seen talked about:

    What is the financial status of Seguros Social?

    Two examples.
    1) We have an employee that went on maternity leave 2 years ago.
    As required she submitted all the necessary documents to SS for her pay during the 3 month leave. SS is supposed to pay her. Her kid just turned 2 & she has received nothing. When she inquires she is told that there are many people ahead of her who also have not been paid. How much is this outstanding debt?

    2) We know of cases where people have paid up the missing quotas of their pension & have filed for their pensions. Nothing has been received & no answers come from SS. How much is this outstanding debt?

    I have a feeling that the outstanding debts of SS are staggering. It would be a great topic for one of our AN reps to address.

    Also why do all the companies in Venezuela have to line up at a bank EVERY month to pay SS? Why can’t they do it on line? It’s 2011 not 1995.

    • That’s exactly my point! First, these so-called social programs are more hot air/propaganda than reality. This guys will get some people to sign some list AGAIN, then give some money to a few lucky ones and then forget about it as soon as Chavez says “pitiyanqui” again. Much ado about nothing.
      The opposition should not pay attention to the propaganda. They should focus on the auditing and the (in)efficacy of the programs, just like Manolito Borges is doing with Mision Vivienda. Just give a hat tip to the gov for helping the poor. Later, when the farce is obvious, begin with the finger pointing and keep on doing that til someone listens. That’s what regular opposition parties do. Keep insisting on pudreval and other failures of the regime, and how the opposition would do things the right way to help people.

  18. Folks, Use Chavez Don Regalon approach against him. Help and organize los viejitos, las prenhadas, los invalidos, and every other interest group looking for bacon effectivelly so that he is overloaded and unable to deliver. Mision Vivienda is a great one for that.

    How much was budgeted, how much was buildt and released, to whom? how many damnificados are ther wehn will all be satisfied at current production rate (like the credit card disclaimer, your debt will be paid in 34 years if you make minimun payment…) and educate! educate people of the costs of popoluism. Educate them of the relative size of the rums they get vsl the money that never reaches them. Document where the money is going and have this ready for criminal action against the responsible parties when some justice is available.

    In my mind the only good thing about the chavista adventure, would be if we manage to use it as a case study, as a lesson to all future venezuelians in haow not to manage the hacienda publica.

    Las viejitas sin dientes sonriendo a la camara! dificil de vencer con mas vijitas de este lado. Cambio de paradigma and stick to your guns. Doesn’t any one of the oppo think there is a better way to manage Venezuela? o wait there is, and she is not the leading horse…

  19. Venezuelans in general might not see oppo candidates on their towns often or themselves represented in their videos, but they see the guerrillas, the mafias, the low flying airplanes carrying drugs, the power shortages, no drinking water, food shortages, inflation, kidnappings, etc. And they know that they live in a very dangerous lawless place, and they know that its getting worse.

    My concern is not if we win or not, I think we will win. My real concern is if we would be able to defend our victory.

    How many phantom voters could we accept? how much pressure to public employees should we allow? how are we going to get people to the voting tables on election day? how many witnesses do we need in each table? how many reliable people will we have inside the CNE on election day? do we have contacts inside the troops to defend our rights? are we going to allow the Cuban to decide for us? I have many questions like these and I am not sure if the MUD is addressing any of them.

  20. Sorry to ask the question, but how is this different from the conditional cash disbursements that have been proposed here before? Sustainability and productivity be damned..

  21. How about the part when the farmer says: “en esos paises de Europa donde la gente se esta muriendo de necesidad, aqui no!”. The government just makes story after story, people will repeat them, it really works.

  22. at 2:17 : ‘in africa, europe, outside, people are dying in need, sleeping on the streets, not here’
    + deaths in 2011 number published this week
    = quite the irony (o simplemente nuestro realismo mágico)

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