The turn-off


Recently, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles responded to chavista suggestions that he would do away with Chávez’s landmark social programs, the Misiones.

In a videotaped reply, Capriles doubled down, promising to improve the Misiones.

His response was wrong on many levels.

What did Capriles say?

Oh, that Mercal, the chain of government grocery stores, would multiply, and that shortages would go away.

He promised to rehabilitate Barrio Adentro health modules, expand Misión Vivienda, and start giving out food and medical subsidies for elder Venezuelans. He also promised free school supplies, eyeglasses, public transportation, and even backpacks for public school kids.

In essence, he promised Populism 2.0.

The problem for Capriles is that it all rings hollow. Promising more and more and more AND MORE money for the Misiones doesn’t get at the heart of why the Misiones are failing: because they are bloated and they fail to integrate civil society and, most importantly, the private sector. Capriles doesn’t even begin to grapple with the idea that all these wonderful things he is promising are simply out of reach for a financially bankrupt and bureacratically inefficient State apparatus.

But never mind. It seems like someone, somewhere convinced Capriles that all he needs to do to win an election is offer, offer, offer goodies that will simply fall out of the sky. Instead of talking to Venezuelans like adults and showing them that, yes, he understands the issues, he is simply promising things Venezuelan swing voters, deep down, simply don’t buy.

I hope I’m wrong, but I think they dropped the ball on this one.

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  1. And… now Chavistas are having a field day pointing out how contradictory Capriles is being for asking to reinvent Las Mision. When I saw him saying this on his ” First 100 Days of Government” has led me to believe that, whatever happens, we’re doomed.

  2. Do you really think that anyone can talk to Venezuelans (at least the ones that he needs to impress) like adults? If he tells most Venezuelans that, he will loose support and never win. He told them what they wanted to hear because right now the objective is to win.

    • Yes, but a statesman tells you that the road ahead will be tough and convinces you to walk it, because at the end of it the rewards are large.

      Our leaders perhaps with the exception of Betancourt have always made us believe that we are a land of abundance and that principles don’t matter.

      I think CAP also deserves some credit, but it would’ve been better if he had talked about his plans to modernize venezuelan economy during his campaign, and convinced the voter that they were necessary. Now that takes true leadership.

      • I think saying something you think the public wants to hear just to get elected is … lying. And people see through that easily.

        • I couldn’t agree with you more Juan.

          I think people need to be on board from the start in order to fulfill a plan. It is pretty obvious that Chavez is also lying to our faces when he describes his plans.

          But right from the primaries Capriles didn’t offer much substance. We elected him as a way out of an autocratic regime. I never expected a mature political attitude from him or his party (Christ, specially his party). This is not a surprise to me. I guess when one is never ON one can’t get turned off.

          • It’s one thing to not offer specifics, I can dig that. It’s quite another to when the specifics you offer are alarming, as if the public coffers were a bottomless pit.

            I mean, more Mercales? Will we see one in Prados del Este? In the Country Club? In Las Mercedes? How about saying that the government really shouldn’t be in the business of selling food, and that Mercal will be associated with the citizens in each community, with the Consejos Comunales?

          • When Venezuelans think of mercales, and the expansion of that network, however small, they don’t think of the illogical “ubicación” of those mercales in Prados del Este, in the CC, or in Las Mercedes.

          • El fin justifica los medios. So you guys really believe that Capriles would have a chance of winning if he stood in front of a camera and said Venezuela is bankrupt and we will have a really hard time to fix this, even though it is the truth.
            In Venezuela people love promises. They love them so much that after 14 years of misery they still believe the ones Chavez says.
            Is he lying?, probably. Does he do it consciously?, perhaps. Do I care? not one bit.
            Yes, morally speaking it is wrong, but Chavez’s campaign is so immoral that this promises are a price I am more than willing to pay.
            Anyway, Do you really think it will be a problem, if after winning Capriles says to the country: Venezuelans now that we have the power we can finally see the real state of the country, and it is worse than we had imagined. Let’s bear this burden together as a country, and lets get out of this hole as one.

          • Let me say it differently, Capriles wants to win, I want Capriles to win, and off course most of the people that visit this blog.
            Now, lets take a vote.
            How many of you think that saying the truth would be the right political move in Venezuela (not Europe or the US)?
            The vote that Capriles needs to win, is the one that wants/needs to hear this kind of promises, not the hard truth. The later are going to vote for him already and won’t change his vote. So from a moral point of view, it might not be right, from a political one, it is the right move.

          • pablo,
            what I read between your lines is that the Venezuelan people can’t understand what is better for them as individuals and as a nation if explained to them? Are we children now?

            There are examples of this. Churchill convinced the house of commons by offering: “Blood, toils, tears and sweat” . But lets not go that far, even Ahmadinejad was able to convince the Iranians that gas prices were too low, in a way, that when reform happened, everyone would agree with it.

            CAP’s reforms did not fail because of their speed, they failed because no one cared to explain or convince that they were necessary.

            What you are proposing pablo, is to continue doing what has always been done. What’s politically right must be what’s morally right. That’s why we need statesmen (or stateswomen), not politicians. We need balls. Do you want to see a statesman right around the neighborhood?

          • Rodrigo… i really consider that they are not capable of understanding the reality of the situation here… the objective here it taking the Coyote down dont you ever forget that

          • Hi Rodrigo:
            I understand your point, and share many points. But what you say does not go against what I said. Churchill, Cap and Ahmadinejad did and said that when they were already ruling the country, a way different thing.
            Rodrigo, do you really believe Venezuelan people are, politically/socially/economical speaking, mature? If so, how do you explain that after 14 years of the worst government almost half of the country still support Chavez?

          • Pablo,
            Agreed. We are not mature. But if we keep being treated like children we will never be. I have been thinking a lot these days on how to can we grow up, how can we become citizen and not merely inhabitants.
            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt right now. I think my approach has never been tried before and it might be surprising. Indeed those fellas were elected, but the still obtained support when asking for it under difficult times.

  3. JC,
    I think you are being too harsh. Remember that elections here are highly emotional. There are misiones (social programs) that their scope is not bad, but their implementation is poor. When you are allowed 3 minutes, there isn’t much one can say.

    I agree with you that stuff like Mercal or mision vivienda shouldn’t exist in a normal country. Sadly the political campaign is centered around the the “social agenda” more than the “economic agenda”.As you guys commented before on an earlier post, it seems like the economic agenda plays no role when we elect candidates.

    You also listed the reasons why “you were voting for capriles”. Everyone thought Capriles was capable of doing just this. But at least he gives us the best shot towards a democratic alternative. There were other candidates that were speaking to Venezuelans as adults, but we didn’t pick them.

    What I see all around me, around oppo and chavistas is no desire for information. Both camps are making such an emotional and irrational choices here. I hope that in the near future we seek information more and make choices based on that.

  4. Juan, you are getting a little bit Tea Party on this.

    I heard :” make the misiones more efficient, make them serve better, incorporate our own doctors to Barrio Adentro, open more Mercales, especially with Venezuelan products on the shelves, ensure everyone goes to school, help the handicapped” Y que lleguen a todos los que lo necesiten.

    I also heard hambre cero, no one goes to bed hungry, which IS populist as all get out.

    And let’s face it, the Misiones, in the strict sense of the word are populist, but you’d be very naive to think that you can dismantle these in a hurry. It’s going to take time, money, sweat and tears (plus a bit of blood maybe) to do so.

    We may not like it, but Capriles is not going to win if he announces he’s going to shut the Misiones down

    • I’m not asking him to dismantle them – my God, that would be heartless. All I’m asking is to be convinced he can make them better. I didn’t get that.

      • How can “Las Misiones” get better?
        More Money? or Perhaps firing potentially hundreds of inefficient government employees and their corresponding corrupt administrations?
        Replacing the bureaucracy with what? Honest, un-corrupted Venezuelans? (Talk about short supply)
        Unfortunately, this question will perhaps generate more uncertainties than answers,
        But, in the end, this video will hopefully win Capriles some votes, so, come January that poor bastard will be the unlikely leader to spearhead Venezuela into what I think will be a machiavellian transition towards somewhat higher levels of governmental efficiency.

      • JCN, if we assume that misiones are failing due to mismanagement of monies and people, then by just preventing money from being diverted to wrong places and by doing follow-ups of directives from above, the misiones would improve.

        Capriles has explained that all the money that is chavez is now spending on other countries or on weaponry will stay. That is enough to spot improvements in all the programs.

        Capriles has also mentioned he would not do long cadenas. If the number of hours chavez has been on TV is equivalent to two full-time work years, just by staying off of TV and looking into the misiones once in a while, Capriles could get them to improve on the human front.

        I don’t think it’s a big leap to expect listeners to agree on the possibility of improvement.

  5. Quien los entiende. Ahora no les gusta Henrique. Pues quedense en Canada o en Chile o donde quiera que esten!!! muy cuidaditos. Henrique esta arriesgando el pellejo mientras Uds. estan sentados en una oficina escribiendo en la computadora. Por lo menos callense la boca o incorporense y metanse en la candela. “It all rings hollow” que riñones!!. Henrique podria estar en el sur de Francia contigo de chofer y en su lugar esta fajado tratando de rescatar un pais, rodeados de hombres y mujeres con tabaco en la vejiga, un pais que muchos como tu y como yo dejamos cayera en manos de un sociopata.
    Eduardo Rivero G. M.D.

    • Aqui nadie le ha quitado nada a HCR. Segun Ud., ni se le puede criticar? Que vaina la suya, Rivero.

      Fuera de Venezuela hay quienes hacen lo que pueden a distancia, acaso Ud. menosprecia eso? O es que el esfuerzo de los que estamos afuera no vale un carrizo?

      Esta va a ser una eleccion cerrada donde todos los votos cuentan, los de afuera y adentro.

      Y vaya a mandar a callar ya sabe Ud. a quien………………

  6. If the polls are to be believed — the YV Polis corrected average, at least– the Capriles camp needs to close in on 5-10 percentage points that will keep the incumbent below 50%. Those voters who lean pro-Chavez, yet are fed up with crime, explosions and blackouts, etc… but still want to hear their populist message (dame mi pan con queso con todo “pero menos sin mostaza.”) In this spot, Capriles is pitching right at that strike zone.

    So, it’s poor policy to double down on the Misiones. But, “no-jose,” it’s good marketing.

  7. Even “el gran viraje” had on the side social programs, not quite different to las misiones: hogares de cuidado diario, vaso de leche escolar, dispensarios and whatnot. Of course they had a much smaller budget due to the low oil prices at the time.

    On itself the message shouldn’t be a problem. I am not a big fan of misiones, but mostly because they are wasteful, but they can be integrated to the regular system and made more efficient. Who could be against better hospitals, or efficient poverty reduction?

    On the other hand, if you put that together with some other campaign promises such not rising the price of gas and not getting rid of the RECADI… CADIVI, well, that’s seem pretty incredible…

    I kind of wary about the economical optimism of some economic advisors of the MUD. Mr. Guerra and Mr. Villasmil look very confident that a change of regime is enough to set things right, while other economist like Garcia Banchs are painting a very gritty landscape, whatever happens in October.

  8. Is that like running against Hitler on a platform of making the death camps more efficient?
    If it shouldn’t exist in the first place, improving it is pointless

  9. Si, a callar los que no tengan criticas constructivas.
    Sabe Ud. lo que significa correr a las 6 pm para que no lo agarre la noche en la calle?
    Sabe Ud. lo que es no poder dormir hasta saber que sus hijos ya llegaron a su casa?
    Sabe Ud. lo que es no atreverse ir a una farmacia a comprar un medicamento?
    Se leyo la carta publica de Graciela Perez Viloria!?
    Si, terminas tu perorata como un genuino macho criollo, “Manda callar a tu madre”, pues te aseguro que mi madre que esta bajo tierra tenia mas guaramo que tu!
    Si, el momento de decir su nombre completo y no esconderse detras de una N y eso que estas fuera de Venezuela.

    • eduardorivero, no pierdas la paciencia. Yo no estoy en Venezuela, pero todos y cada uno de mis familiares lo están. Uno de mis hermanos trabaja en una cárcel. En una de esas en las que se forman los alborotos. Soy madre. Te entiendo. Capriles es el hombre porque simplemente está allí y tenemos que apoyarlo. Es nuestro deber convencer a los indecisos, y al voto blando de que tenemos que agarrar este toro por los cachos. Unidos lo haremos. Recibe un abrazo.

    • Eduardo, todos somos venezolanos aqui o nos importa Venezuela, y descalificar porque no quieres que critiquen al candidato es absurdo. Los que venimos a este blog venimos porque aqui hay una discusion de altura sobre temas importantes. Yo no comparto muchas posiciones de Juan en temas sociales o economicos, pero respeto su opinion y no voy a venir a decirle que a Capriles ni con el petalo de una rosa. Y en cuanto a que hacen ellos donde estan, creo que Caracas Chronicles, Devil’s y Daniel han hecho muchisimo mas que ningun partido politico en explicar la situacion de Venezuela a un pubico externo y eso no es tarea facil.
      Aqui en este blog se han dado muchas ideas constructivas y se han debatido temas que muchas veces han terminado influenciando la campaña, nosotros no somos la mayoria que debe ser convencida y me niego a aceptart que vamos a ser otro PSUV donde nadie puede criticar al lider. Aqui seguiremos diciendo las buenas y las malas desde nuestro punto de vista y eso no nos hace ni menos venezolanos ni menos comprometidos.

      • Estoy totalmente de acuerdo contigo, Moraima. Estos blogs de política económica y social venezolana han servido, por más de una década, para unir a los adeptos, en no importa qué rincón del mundo. También han servido de encuentro y de tertulia, tanto para venezolanos (mayoromente con conocimientos del habla inglés), como para extranjeros con amor a la patria venezolana. Claramente, los blogs tienen un gran valor.

        Relacionado a la descalifición de quienes osan criticar libremente a un candidato u otro, es la siguiente preocupación …

        En el caso de que ganara Capriles y regresaran exiliados económicos al territorio venezolano, sería triste que los que enfrentaron tantos años de caos chavista, en Venezuela, descalificarían a los recién llegados, como si los mismos no hubiesen enfrentado retos, al incorporarse a ambientes desconocidos, mayormente sin el calor familiar.

        Lo menciono de antemano y por si acaso.

    • Sr. Rivero:

      Ud. tiene razon en una sola cosa, y es que no he debido mencionar a nadie mas si no a Ud. Por eso, acepte mis disculpas.

      Dicho eso, se muy bien lo que es vivir en Venezuela, lo viven mis familiares todos los dias y lo vivi yo tambien.

      Ud. se equivoca pensando que me escondo, escribo mi nombre asi por razones que no vienen al caso.

      Me llamo Roberto Daniel Nasser Duffy, y mi cedula de identidad es 81 087 371.

      De mis 49 años he vivido 35 en Venezuela, mi esposa es Venezolana y nuestras hijas tambien.

      Francamente me molesta su actitud mente de pollo que presume que solo los que alaban al candidato de la MUD les importa el pais. Por eso le respondi como le respondi.

      Vuelvo y le repito, le pido disculpas por la manera que termine mi anterior post, pero no se equivoque, Ud. no tiene ni la decima parte de la verdad en sus manos

      • Sr. Roberto: lo que Ud. y los dueños del blog tienen que entender que la recta final no es el momento de atacar al Candidato. El no es perfecto como tampoco somos perfectos ninguno de nosotros. Pero no le demos municiones a Chavez o a sus secuaces. Si por culpa de comentarios se pierde un solo voto es un voto mas para Chavez. Muchos parecen no darse cuenta de lo que estamos viviendo y que se puede poner mucho peor como se puso peor en la europa del este donde se metieron en tu casa, te dieron un cuarto para ti, tu esposa y tus dos hjos y los demas cuartos los repartieron entre otras familias. Que eso no puede pasar! sigan creyendo o es que creen que tenemos corona. Por que se ha perdido una generación de venezolanos que se ha ido del país. Sr. Roberto en venezuela se perdió una generacion completa de medicos, de ingenieros, de expertos petroleros, porque se quemo AMUAY, se quemo por estar en manos de incompetentes. A Venezuela hay que reconstruirla y necesitamos a todos. Hay que rehacer TODO.
        Atentamente, Eduardo Rivero

      • Interesante su comentario al Sr. Rivero. ¿Acaso Ud. sí es dueño de la verdad? Y si lo es, lo cual lo dudo mucho, sería buenísimo que nos la diera a conocer ya que a lo mejor pudiera ayudarnos a salir de ese cáncer que carcome a Venezuela!

  10. Dear Juan,

    I understand your point about Capriles being a bit doubtful, showing a hint of hesintancy in his speech. I also appreciate your desire of being and feeling convinced by what he says. We all want that, as least quite a lot of us would like be convinced that this is the man that will lead the restoration of our wonderful country. I don’t need to hear him speaking or put I don’t know how many” likes” on facebook to KNOW, almost by faith, that HE is the only choice Venezuela has, and we all have to convince as many people as we can on this. Get them moving, get them voting. If we are not in Venezuela, we have many tools and means to contact everyone, friends, family, mates, and get them going. As simple as that. I agree with Eduardo Rivero, this man, meaning Henrique Capriles R. is wearing himself out in a presidential campaing visiting every corner of the country because he believes he can lead the ardous journey of rebuilding our institutions, our society. I have worked in two presidential campaigns and 6 local campaings. It is hard work, extenous work.Unbelievably tiring and wearing in normal circumstances. I don’t want to imagine how it is with Capriles. It is easy to criticise being an outsider, or probably you are not, I don’t know you, but I admit that it is only fair that you do it. However, I want another Venezuela. I want a country in bloom, a restored society, a healed society, I wan to see the Venezuela that can be. I want to believe that, I want to believe that yes, there is a way. That he seems young?, yes he does, that sometime is a bit ‘sifrino’, yes he is. That he doesn’t convince everyone in the first go…? So what? Let’s be fair, and don’t focus on details. Capriles is not Chávez and praise the Lord for that. Chávez got the Carisma and what has he done with it? Capriles has shown the courage, strength and knowlegde to start and get involved on the process and being the man that will take the country to the next level, because our aim shoul be going up. Some missions will have to change, but as you probably are well aware you cannot arrived in office cutting all these programs without having a deep understanding of how they work, and what they are , and most important of all, ascertaining with WHAT you -or the Government in this case- will replace these social programs. This time is not a time for ‘shock therapies’, you know it, I know it, we have lived through that and we know their consecuences. Come on boy, don’t be a wet blanket, we all need to pull our fingers out (excuse me..) get moving and get some more people voting, God willing, there will be a way. And it is Capriles.
    Have a lovely day in whatever office you are and God bless.

    • Tanya, congratulations! You have incredible insight on what the situation really is in Venezuela. It is now or never and our elected candidate to oust Chavez after 14 years of corruption, theft, having insecurity promoted and even paid for by the State, using the poor people to promote himself, etc. etc., fade any flaws that Capriles might have. He is human and he is our only hope of getting back on the right track. So we have to stay together and as you say, focus on getting more people to vote.

      Maria Luisa Niño

    • Tanya,

      I appreciate the comment, but this blog is not a “get out the vote” operation, and it is not part of the Capriles campaign. We try and provide a rational discussion, and sorry, the post reflects my instinctual reaction to a flawed ad.

      God bless you too.

      • Juan Cristóbal, I joined the fray this afternoon for the first time and I disagree with your way of putting things. I don’t think any of us who have questioned your ideas are campaigning for Capriles. That is his job and I think is doing a good job at it. And pardon me, but what you wrote to Eduardo Rivero is by no means a rational discussion. Especially what you implied about his mother, who happens to be mine also!

  11. Turn-off?? Really? We are fighting a war here, my friend, if you haven’t noticed. Your “turn-off” sounds so …removed, so incredibly frivolous given the fact that a good number of people here are risking their lives to make this happen. NOW is the moment when we all need to really -literally- join the fray in the most productive way we can: “All I’m asking is to be convinced he can make them better. I didn’t get that” and now I’m turned off, boohoo. Aterriza pana.

    • The ad is not effective from an electoral point of view, because it is conceptually flawed. How about we stick to that discussion?

      • No way! If you think the ad is flawed you have a right to your opinion. But our discussions go way beyond the ad because all of us who live here in Venezuela count on Capriles to liberate us from 14 years of horror! The ad is totally unimportant in the whole picture.

      • An effective TV commercial is to be evaluated, basically, by two measurers: recall and persuasion. The target audience should remember the key message (Capriles saying “not only will I keep Misiones, I’ll make ’em better”) and be convinced, as a consequence, to behave a certain way — which in this case would be to cast a vote for the candidate in the ad.

        By that measure, I found it to be on strategy. (It is for sure not targeting readers of this blog.)

        • Thank you, Zuliaman. Exactly. But that is not the point here. The point is that, in my opinion, this discussion is utterly frivolous, given the circumstances. I am completely turned off by so much “rationality” in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  12. Juan, just imagine how much money can be saved by restoring pdvsa, the basic industries and “the guisos” that are out there… if capriles manages to do that he can waste money on misiones and you and I would not notice that, but juan bimba will, and sadly, we live with them…

      • It’s a bit irrational to expect a detailed economic policy in a 3 min ad, don’t you think? You should probably be discussing Mr. Guerra and Mr. Villasmil articles if that’s what you’re looking for.
        I would love to listen some concrete ideas about how they would improve the misiones, beyond the “aqui hay plata pa’ eso y mucho mas!”, though…

        • I don’t think it takes much to say “El problema con las Misiones es la corrupcón. Por eso, sacaremos a las Fuerzas Armadas del manejo de los programas sociales, para integrar a la sociedad civil y a la empresa privada y juntos, salir de la pobreza.”

          Something like that…

          • I understand your point, but disagree on the following:

            When making a political ad, it is as important as the message to consider what your opponent will say about it. If Capriles goes and says “Las misiones son corruptas” or anything to that effect, or criticize the misiones in any way, the Chavismo would inmediately seize on that to claim that he actually said something like “With my paquetazo I will destroy Misiones because they are corruptas”.

            Of course, this would never have any credit with strong Capriles voters, but with Ni-Ni? It might be much more effective. Remember that chavez doesn’t need to turn ni-nis to his side, he just needs them to keep them away from HCR. And by attacking his credibility with claims like “he said Misiones are corrupt, therefore his secret agenda is to destroy them” he can increase his chances that a ni-ni that wont vote for him, wont vote for Capriles either (AKA Abstencion).

            My two cents.

      • He has said so. He has mentioned the money being given away to other countries. He has mentioned bad management. Perhaps you could say the ad could be better if he mentioned the things you wished he had mentioned, but what you imply in your post is that he cannot accomplish what he’s promising in the ad, which seems like you’re doing a 180 now that you are only asking that he include what seems obvious to others.

    • Hey buddy, our goal is to never again have to call any Venezuelan a “juan bimba” and that can be achieved by education which is one of Capriles’ main points in his campaign. The misiones are a waste of money under Chavez’ regime because he is corruption personified, but if managed in the proper way they can become a stepping stone towards having all Venezuelans become productive citizens in their own right. Let’s focus on what is important and support Capriles, who, after all was chosen by a majority of Venezuelans to assume the very difficult and uphill job to make our country a prosperous one where all 28 plus million of us have a place to fill.
      Maria Luisa Niño

      • Hey buddy, our goal is to never again have to call any Venezuelan a “juan bimba” and that can be achieved by education which is one of Capriles’ main points in his campaign.

        Agree. And I hate to say it, but Chávez deserves credit for his Chinese water torture of repetition that the poor matter much, much more than they ever did to adecos and copeyanos.

        Hopefully, Capriles will now improve on the chavista message and their efforts, which really only consisted of programs to “Keep ’em dependent”.

  13. Just watched the video. It is striking how one-sided it is. I agree with Rodrigo L. “Yes, but a statesman tells you that the road ahead will be tough and convinces you to walk it, because at the end of it the rewards are large.” I used to argue with pro-Chavista students several years ago that Chavez should say that there has to be some years of sacrifice in order to build a better future, etc… but, they said that, after the neo-liberals (CAP et al.) had all said that everyone had to “sacrifice for the future” and that “change takes time”, that it would be political suicide for Chavez to say the same thing. Nevertheless, …. it is the truth and you only get elected AND then actually change things positively by FIRST telling people the truth.

    • Sure, and the truth that Chavez said, among other things, that he was not a socialist and we all know now what he really is! And how about, and I quote: “Ser rico es malo” (It is bad to be rich) and now he and his family are the richest people in the country while a very big portion of our population doesn’t have a roof over their heads or money to buy the basic neeeds like food or clothing..

  14. JC,
    I guess given some of the answers here my point is made. People is not well informed and is making emotional, not rational decisions. And candidates know that which is why they appeal to emotions.

    Chavez is using fear tactics. I think HCR is trying to defuse them with this clip. To that extent, I think it is useful.

    Hopefully one day we will be able to debate and comment freely about ideas and proposals without getting irrational.

    • I also think he’s trying to defuse them with the clip, but I don’t think it will work. That’s my main (and only) point.

      • Juan, I see your point, but when you ask: “someone, somewhere convinced Capriles that all he needs to do to win an election is offer, offer, offer goodies that will simply fall out of the sky” The answer is: every president we have had before, and specially the one of the last 14 years have taught us that.
        It’s unfortunate but it’s the true and if they think that the misiones are a key point in favor of chavez I think he really needed to come out and say it. You could argue that more fake was la “Tarjeta mi negra” people didn’t believe Rosales, it sounded fake. But making misiones work for everyone and not just chavistas and making them more available sound feasible. So in that sense I think it might work.
        More than a turn off for me this just scares me because if he wins he will inherit a ticking bom and I don’t see how they plan to defuse it. That’s where I agree with you, but I don’t think this spot wasn’t the place to explain how he is going to find the money to do that.

      • It won’t work because he went too far? I think he went to far by talking about mercal and expanding the network. I think that might have come from focus groups in which mercals were perceived as positive.

        He should’ve said that mercal will no longer be necessary because all grocery stores will be affordable and inflation will be kept under control.

  15. It wouldn’t be the 1st. time a politician doesn’t deliver on his promises. We just recently elected one here in Spain that is doing the complete opposite of what he said on campaign.

    But I understand your concerns on promising to keep these programs around, because of what they mean OR what it could mean if they decide later on to now deliver. This will give excuses to “el pueblo” to revolt and it’s something that needs to be considered post-revolution.

  16. Here’s something for the technical crowd:

    This IP seems to be hosting a replica of the Twitter homepage (but so far it doesn’t seem to be doing anything else that just having the same html code as the original but please don’t enter anything there just in case) is the same IP address of this site you can use nslookup on the command line to check this.

    That’s just weird. I found it on Twitter:

  17. Some people just never learn. Venezuelans will be treated like adults when they behave like adults. So far they are not doing that, so it is dumb to pretend otherwise… Politics is difficult. Not just in Venezuela, but also in developed countries. People that leave the country just forget what we are talking about here.

  18. JC, I don’t know how you felt, but I think it’s more or less how I felt: the upper ground has been stepped out of. It’s like we went from sexta vs. quinta to cuarta y medio vs. quinta.

  19. He could offer them life membership of the Country Club for all I care.
    I prefer the unknown future of Populism 2 than the criminal Populism 1.

    From reading a few blogs recently it would appear that Capriles has come under fire for a few of his comments.
    Get real. This whole thing is about getting rid of Chavez. Nothing else matters. Unconditional support is what he and his team needs.
    Thereagain maybe Venezuelans need Chavez. Maybe they are addicted chaos in their daily life.

  20. This discussion is one of the best I’ve read on this Blog. The Capriles commercial is directed at the “Indecisos” and current/recent Chavista voters. These are not necessarily the most rational/objective segment of the electorate, but they are key to getting HCR elected. And, to get them to vote for him, Capriles has simply told them what they want/need to hear; many, many of them are only able to eat sufficiently due to heavily subsidized Mercal foodstuffs; many. many of them can only survive due to various Misiones monthly handouts. Yes, he has over-promised to an extent, but memories are short in “Live For Today” Venezuela. He will definitely make the current social programs more efficient, and he can deliver on much of his promises quickly just by eliminating the oil/money giveaways to paises chulos. These social programs can only be reduced over the mid-long term by rationalizing the Venezuelan economy and improving general living standards. Remember, even as Capriles/Oppo win, the Chavistas/troublemakers will still be around in strength for some time….The commercial is right on.

  21. Juan, Juan, Juan…I was cracking up with this post…why? because of your consistency. The ad is so populist that makes Chávez sounds like a neoliberal professor from the Chicago school! 🙂

    But, on second reading, if you listen carefully, only two promises are really out of touch, the others may be called “misiones” but are really social programs, like the ones we have here in Québec.

    1.- extend Barrio Adentro….means providing quality medicine to all
    2.- extend programs and access to handicapped people…that is just a normal undertaking in a civilized society
    3.- provide old age security pensions….ditto
    4.- quality education to all …that’s a basic element of any developed country

    The ones that are truly out of range are

    1) the mercales in every corner…because they simply destroy the local commerce and make the State the biggest grocery provider and

    2) providing free houses for everyone…who would get into construction if the State makes them free?

    So, if you omit those two points, Capriles promises are not that far-fetched.

    • Thanks Bruni. And I grant you that, aside from those two, they are not that far-fetched from what you see in the Socialist People’s Democratic Republic of Quebec. 😉

      • Juan, just a tiny FYI: Québec is not a Republic, at least, not yet. We are a constitutional monarchy since the Queen of England is still our sovereign and she has a representative in place called the Lieutenant Governor of Québec, who BTW is a different person from the Governor of Canada, also appointed by the Queen.

    • Bruni, very good observations.

      On the two out of range proposals you suggest, I guess there can be tweaks that Capriles has in mind, in terms of the role of the State. For example: Mercal can become franchises run by the community, so easy to set-up and would give those who run it a stake and feel empowered. On housing, the private sector may play a bigger role in order to garantee supply and quality.

      I also believe that the Capriles camp are betting on a couple of things to help out: 1) the money that is wasted and spent abroad and 2) Lowering the Vzla “risk premium” and distortions, which will increase supply and investment. They could have started the add with those two elements to anchor the credibility of the promises, If they had the overall tone of the add would not have rang as hollow to at least the audience of this blog.

  22. the fact that most of the people posting here didnt like it, gives me hopes that, maybe, it got to those average venezuelans ninis and chavistas that we need for the win.

  23. I have to agree with JC. Some of HCR’s promises sound like that old saying “prometer y prometer hasta lograr meter – una vez metido, olvidar lo prometido”. I’m not saying he shouldn’t voice out objectives/aspirations like eliminating the violence or not sending to bed any hungry kids, it’s just that his message sometimes comes across exactly like Chávez’s empty words. I accept Capriles’ message has improved substantially in the last few months, but that doesn’t mean we should just applaud at everything he says without thinking. That’s exactly what chavistas are good at. If on this camp, the same PSUV-esque attitude of not voicing or accepting critical opinions will also be the norm, we have simply failed to present a valid alternative to the Chavezment.

    Having said that, I believe that those hordes of indecisos the polls suggest fall into two categories: (1) people that don’t want to share their preferences with the pollster and, (2) people that will not vote, anyway. In any case, a bad (or good) ad is not going to change their minds.

  24. I am afraid that this is a desperate attempt to get more votes 3 weeks before the elections.

    And what this is telling me is that Capriles is not going to make it from where he is now, and that the Capriles camp is, at this point, willing to try any Hail Mary pass to see if the gap between Chavez and Capriles magically closes.

  25. lgg2011 is reading the Miraflores’ polls. All serious polls put Capriles ahead. Are you aware of what is happenning in Venezuela in every town, every village, every hamlet, every city where Capriles shows up. It has never happened before, not even with Cap in ’73 or Chavez in ’98 and both won by landslides. HAY GENTE HASTA REPETIDA!! and it’s not only the numbers it’s the enthusiasm, la locura absoluta, es indescriptible!!! aunque lo veas por television.
    Have you seen Datanalisis poll of the parliamentary elections, they where far off, really far!!
    POR FAVOR DEJEN DE MANDAR MENSAJES NEGATIVOS, NO SE DAN CUENTA QUE DESDE LEJOS LAS COSAS SE VEN DISTINTAS. Ojala estuvieran aqui pues estamos viviendo los momentos mas emocionantes de nuestras vidas.
    Eduardo Rivero G.

  26. I know I’m late here but a few points. I wish you were right but, in my opinion, Maria Corina was the only primary candidate who spoke to Venezuelans like adults…and look what happened to her. We need to think of a potential Capriles government as a transition government. Not just transition from Chavismo but from a half-century-old system of political patronage based on petroleum rents. Votes have always been purchased in Venezuela. Chavismo simply institutionalized the process and championed it from the rooftops. Asking Capriles to change the discourse that average Venezuelans have become accustomed to throughout the entire modern era in this one election is just too much. He won’t win. Capriles, if he is so inclined, will have to grease the wheels for someone more extreme like MCM to take the reins in the future and make the dramatic social and economic reforms that Venezuela truly needs to enter a more equitable and prosperous future.

  27. i agree with pedro,one question if capriles isnt a threat to chavez why the plan to murder him in LA PASTORA,CARACAS, and they say Capriles is promoting violence, i rather have a new fresh goverment that is willing to actually help the missions and if necessary make more, not just say we have a new mission for no reason while the others dont even work, yes they may have giving some people houses but those houses dont even last a couple of years, ,i want all of you to watch this, tell me if venezuela doesnt have issues, and where is all the money from the goverment going? we make more money in 1 month the chile,peru and argentina make in one year yet we have a country that looks like its been in a war..its time to wake up, why stick to the same damn promises that never get accomplished ? stop and think, if you have a bike sitting in a yard and every day you say im going to fix it, im going to fix it , im going to fix it, for not 1 not 2 not 3 but 14 long painful years, wouldnt it be better and easier to just get a new bike ? a new secure bike.


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