The litmus test

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September 13th will go down as one of the toughest days in Henrique Capriles Radonski’s presidential run. As I watched on VTV the video of deputy Juan Carlos Caldera getting money from a hidden figure, I must admit that I thought to myself at the time: “Henrique is screwed. This race is now over”. I won’t deny it, I kinda panicked for a minute.

Chavismo set the trap and was ready to milk it all the way to October 7th: changing the whole narrative of the campaign and making it a choice between agents representing foreign powers and the comandante presidente who has been fighting them all along. The dirty campaign was already in motion and violence was fresh on the headlines. Chavez was about to have it his way and turn the entire electoral dynamic upside down.

Then, Henrique Capriles appeared within mere minutes later at his Campaign’s HQ with this:

In a scant eleven minutes, he showed his full commitment to fight corruption, even in his own ranks. Some can say he was just throwing Caldera under the bus to save himself but I think it wasn’t like that. What he showed today is something called leadership.

Just to compare: Rafael Ramirez is still the Oil Minister and PDVSA President, even after the worst industrial accident in recent Venezuelan history, surrounded in mystery and with evidence of ongoing negligence under his watch already made public.

Hours later, Juan Carlos Caldera took full responsibility for a blunder that was not a crime. His real fault was his unbelievable navieté and he’ll spend a few years in the dog house for it. He should have known better.

But really, today has been a big litmus test for Henrique Capriles Radonski. And he passed it.

This is far from over. The worst is yet to come. But he’s ready to face what’s coming.

La moraleja de este cuento es… the need for reforming our campaign finance rules.

1 COMMENT

  1. Naive? At his age he should know right from wrong. Although taking money for a campaign is not a crime, taking money from a boliburgues, from a gangster, shows poor moral fiber. Whoever took him to see Ruperti did him no favor.
    In my book Caldera is finished. He hs done harm to capriles buy, above all, he has commited political suicide (if he were in Switzerland).
    Of course,he is in Venezuela. In three months no one will remember who the hell is Caldera or wont give a damn….

    • You can say that with authority Mr. Coronelas you know all about it when you we eon the board of PDVSA. Are you still shilling for the Carnegie Foundation as a traitor in the US?

    • Gustavo, you are right. Ruperti is all you said he is. Caldera is finished/more than a fool. The damage to Capriles is,in my opinion, minimal, both with the educated and even broader electorate. Anyway, as a newly-lucid “Arturo” (probably “J.G.” on your Blog) says, the entire Chavez campaign, from top to bottom, will probably resign so as not to be associated with themselves–the super-corrupt– thereby assuring a Capriles’ win. As for “Arturo’s” comments below on the end of the Oppo, I think he’s been talking too much with Anastasia (Leonardo Padron’s ex, and Ruperti’s actual) about possible “novela” scripts….

  2. Gustavo – this has only just started and is really the end of the oppoosition in its present form when it crumbles after being thrashed at the polls on October 7th.

    PJ is in complete disarray. Borges in his press conference “suspended” Caldera from the party and Capriles “expelled” him from PJ. What is it to be?

    Check out the Twitter account of Wilmer Ruperti – he says he has reels of video evidence and some of this mud with stick on MUD and Capriles.

    Caldera did not answer questions openly from a Colombian journalist who asked if he had funding from Colombia. He did not respond when asked where the money was now and what would happen to it.

    On RNV questions are being asked if this is drug or paramilitary money coming from Colombia. If this mone y realy for Caldera or for Capriles or is it destined to organize destabilizations acts in Venezuela? The AN has set up a special commission to investigate this and you can bet that Ruperti and Peña will “sing” to save their own skins.

    If the government did set this trap for Caldera then they knew that greed would get the better of these PJ yuppies.

    In fact it does not matter – the race is lost for you and Capriles could have a lot of heat to deal with in what remains of the campaign.

    In fact for Capriles own political future he should withdraw from the race, tell the truth about campaign financing and the nature of his relationship with Uribe Velez. Coming clean works as demonstrated by President Chavez on 04 February 1992.

    If you are an honest person you shoudl also remove yourself from thse people. This is irrefutable proof of how they are and is just a continuation of the illegal donation they received via L. lopez’s mother when she was head of PR at PDVSA in 1998 to set up PJ.

    • What about Makled/Aponte singin’ and military officers dancing, wouldn’t you speak about that, right? First Chavista jibber-jabber that I see written in a somewhat decent english, to my surprise.

      • Wrong, amigo. I am defending the people from a paquetazo. Listen to RNV and VTV now – they are going for Capriles’ jugular. No one believes that Capriles, Lopez and Briquet did not know about this probable narco funding. They are screwed.

    • OK ya todos demostramos que sabemos hablar inglés y escribirlo más o menos sin errores pero dejémonos de pendejadas (como dijo Arturo Uslar Pietri) y hablemos en español ya que dudo que habrá muchos gringófilos realmente interesados en este problema que nos aqueja única y exclusivamente a los venezolanos! Caldera, hecho el pendejo o no recibió cuatro “lochas” de un tipo que todos nosotros sabemos quien es, pero aquí lo que interesa es que Capriles siga pulcro como lo ha hecho hasta ahora. Dejémonos de tonterías y no caigamos en la guerra sucia de los salientes – Caldera posiblemente pueda limpiar su nombre y reputación y espero que lo logre si realmente cayó por ingénuo, pero el que interesa aquí es Henrique Capriles, nuestro próximo PRESIDENTE (de paso repetido en varias oportunidades por el propio Caldera en un momento donde su reputación y su vida política están en entredicho) Es hora de dejar de criticar y darnos cuenta que si no nos unimos todos, no vamos p’al baile así que a dejar de perder tiempo y energía en pendejadas y seguir apoyando a Henrique pues es AHORA o NUNCA!!!!!!
      Y si alguien ha debido renunciar, o forzado a hacerlo hace tiempo, es el farsante, corrupto, ladrón y TRAIDOR A LA PATRIA de Hugo Chávez! Sin embargo la culpa de que siga allí hasta el último momento tratando de acabar con nuestro país, ya que a él no parece interesarle sino al cretino de Fidel Castro, la tenemos nosotros mismos y creo que tenemos la oportunidad de rectificar el 7O sin derramamiento de sangre ni pérdida de vidas.

      Hermanos, dejémonos de echarnos la culpa los unos a los otros ahora que estamos en la recta final y pensemos en nuestros hijos y nietos y en recuperar a nuestro fabuloso país!!!!!!!

        • Te equivocas, no tengo cupo de signos de exclamación cuando escribo, solamente tengo un cupo de Cadivi que espero en un futuro muy cercano Henrique Capriles pueda eliminar sin temor a que el país quede en la carraplana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • No acostumbro a utilizar anónimos pues me parecen una señal de cobardía. No tengo idea de quien es la persona que mencionas pero para mayor claridad, mi nombre completo es María Luisa Rivero Guevara de Niño, C.I. N° 2.931.742

          • María Luisa,
            Me imagino que dentro de los parámetros serios que manejas, no hay mucho cupo para el humor. Por ello, espero que no te decepciones con nosotros, la mayoría de comentaristas y autores de este blog, que con frecuencia nos tratamos con un sentido del humor.

            Ma Alejandra López es un personaje ficticio de la hiper-oposición. Aparece de vez en cuando en el Chigüire Bipolar, el Radio Rochela de la blogosfera política. Cuando usaste el lenguaje hiper-político con tantos puntos de exclamación, me hiciste recordar a la Ma Alejandra. No te ofendas!!!! Todo en broma!!!

            Referente a tu indirecta sobre el uso del anonimato (acaso las indirectas no tienen su punto de cobardía?), permítame aclararte que, en los 10 y pico años que he recurrido y contribuido a estos blogs de política venezolana, he visto mi nombre ensuciado por algunos loquillos, entre ellos, dos pendejos sin fronteras, tal como Teodoro Petkoff tildó a esos enamorados de “la revolución” chavista, en el exterior. Hace unos dos meses, hasta recibí, luego de algunos comentarios que hice, varias llamadas (inclusive tipos “collect”!) para amedrentarme.

            Por ello, dentro de este mundo de cobardes en la blogosfera que trata un tema de hiper sensibilidad política, prefiero guardar mi anonimato. Aunque hay muchos que ya lo conocen. Si deseas saber quien soy, tu primo Christian te podrá informar. El y sus hermanos, como yo y los mios, tenemos antecedentes en común.

            Saludos,

          • Para nada me ofendes con tus comentarios. Lo que es más, tengo muchísimos años mandando cartas al diario El Univesal, muchas de ellas escritas con un estilo de humor negro que no lo entiende todo el mundo. Antiguamente se ponía la dirección electrónica además del nombre y demás requisitos exigidos por el periódico lo cual me hizo merecedora de muchos insultos y hasta amenazas de muerte por chavistas que no toleran que se les critique. Hoy en día solo se publica el nombre completo y número de cédula.
            Apenas hace un par de días me metí en Caracas Chronicle y todavía estoy conociendo y evaluando su contenido. Y te seré muy sincera, en estos momentos no tengo el sentido de humor a flor de piel por razones obvias. La verdad es que no necesito averiguar más de tí a través de mi primo Christian. Se nota a la legua que eres una persona decente y con eso me basta y me sobra. Lo que sí te puedo decir es que seguiré luchando hasta el último momento, con dientes, uñas, la palabra escrita o lo que esté a mi alcance para salir de este horror ya que no hay mal que dure 100 años ni cuerpo que lo resista. Y te seré muy sincera, hace muchos años, la primera vez que salí a la calle con una gran luchadora que prefiero no nombrar aquí, me metí el miedo en el bolsillo y a estas alturas de mi vida esa palabra no forma parte de mi vocabulario!

          • Quédate con los dos tercios, ML. O el cupo entero. La verdad es que yo prefiero la sombra (ojo, sin ser mosquita muerta — como te dirá Francisco Toro, a quien seguramente le he producido alguna ulcerita, de vez en cuando. Bueno, antes de que empezó su tratamiento).

    • “Caldera did not answer questions openly from a Colombian journalist who asked if he had funding from Colombia. He did not respond when asked where the money was now and what would happen to it.”

      He DID answer to the questions. Probably you were to busy spreading rumors to listen to then. He DENIED any relation to these rumors made by VTV. He added that MR. Peña (the other man in the video) had not “paisa” accent. Are you deaf or just stupid?

      “On RNV questions are being asked if this is drug or paramilitary money coming from Colombia”

      So, are you implying that Mr. Ruperti is laundering money for the drug cartels/paramilitary? Because the money Caldera got came from Mr. Ruperti’s pockets.

      “In fact for Capriles own political future he should withdraw from the race, tell the truth about campaign financing and the nature of his relationship with Uribe Velez.”

      Are you so afraid of losing to Capriles that you have to suggest such a thing? I thought Chavez had a huge margin. Cual es el miedo entonces, Arturo?

      “If you are an honest person you shoudl also remove yourself from thse people. This is irrefutable proof of how they are and is just a continuation of the illegal donation they received via L. lopez’s mother when she was head of PR at PDVSA in 1998 to set up PJ”.

      The last time I check the authorities (Procuraduría) already delivered swift “justice” for the PDVSA-PJ affair: they banned politically Mr. Lopez and that was it. If you want your pound of flesh, you should probably talk to your beloved leader. After all, everybody knows that he’s the one running the tribunals:

      http://www.el-nacional.com/noticia/52275/16/%E2%80%9Cla-orden-que-expresamente-me-dio-chavez-fue-condenarlos-de-una-vez%E2%80%9D.html

    • Arturo: “for Capriles own political future he should withdraw from the race.”

      I suspect there is no way you are actually concerned for Capriles’ political future for his own sake, so just what is the reason that you are suggesting he withdraw?

  3. Perfecto Capriles. Este carajo ha mejorado mucho. Muy bueno el mensaje de indignación por la utilización no autorizada de su nombre y de lamento por las tácticas de guerra sucia del gobierno. El delivery fue también auténtico, genuino, atractivo. Capriles se ve cada vez mas presidencial.

  4. Yet another call to reform the reform. Venezuelan society still hasn’t shrugged off their old ways. The truth is that as long as Chavismo controls the National Electoral Council, laws of private funding for political campaigns will never think out.

  5. Gustavo asi se habla! Te felicito. No nos hemos equivocado, Henrique Capriles-Radonski es la persona quien con todos nosotros sacara a Venezuela adelante.
    VENEZUELA TIENE MUCHO MAS FUTURO QUE PASADO.
    Eduardo Rivero G. M.D.

  6. Off topic some but what I want to know is, campaign messages aside, what does the opposition plan to do O7 when the predictable results come back? Seeing as the CNE is Chavez-controlled there’s only one ‘correct’ outcome for the polling results. The fact that they even pulled this sting (there had to be SEBIN involved, it was just too efficient) shows that the govt was worried about the virtual dead heat. Although I don’t want to contemplate it, I’m fairly sure that even if Capriles wins O7 the results will still come back as a Chavez victory. What then?

  7. And this is want happens without unconditional support. In fact it has it’s price, a mere few thousand Bs. and and the revolution continues.

    And there’s an undertone in all the blogs I read. The writers have assumed the moral high ground and now openly criticise Capriles, all for the greater good of Venezuela, a better Venezuela, a land of milk and…….

    So in the same vein you should be seeing the unveiling and removal of a corrupt figure as a positive action for Venezuela.

    However you may just have lost the election here, probably will come to think of it. The next revelation will probably do it for MUD. But as you all suggest what’s the point of removing a corrupt government with one which at least will be questionable as far as it’s integrity is concerned.

    You can take the boy out of West Caracas but you can’t take West Caracas out of the man springs to mind.

  8. “La moraleja de este cuento es… the need for reforming our campaign finance rules”
    Really? REALLY!?
    Sorry, Gustavo, but you are missing the point here. State funding for political parties is not the answer for the ethical problem we are dealing with.
    No, it’s not about asking for Caldera’s head and whatnot. I couldn’t care less for his fate or the eventual forgiveness/forgetfulness of venezuelan voters. No.
    What bothers me is the casual attitude of Caldera towards taking a wad of cash of some shady boliburgeois just because it’s up for grabs, consequences and ethical dilemma be damned. Yes, I am aware that politics is not cheap, but it is not as if PJ or the MUD is unwilling to finance Caldera’s campaign.
    I also know that financing scandals happen everywhere. A few months ago Germany’s president resigned because he got some cheap credit from some bankers a few years ago. Same happens in the U.S. and many other countries. Like Milton Friedman said: “where in the world do you find these angels who are going to organize society for us.”
    We should probably take this chance to talk about the real issue here: all those things that lie in the grey – sometimes dark grey – area of ethics but are common practice in our society.

  9. “…paramilitary money coming from Colombia. If this mone y realy for Caldera or for Capriles or is it destined to organize destabilizations acts in Venezuela” (sic).

    That was their line. That was what they were trying to portray here, since they cannot exploit corruption for obvious reasons*. Capriles’ swift reaction destroyed their plans. Rodriguez, Cabello & Rizarrita must now be kicking their asses. They blew it. It backfired completely. Nobody is going to pay attention to any new “videos” that are “coming”, since it will be more of the same, cheap setups. This dirty war is going to cost castrochavismo the last undecided votes and abstention within its ranks will increase dramatically.

    *Graffiti frente al CNE: “Hay que AUDI-tarle las cuentas al comando carabobo”

  10. Ive been saying this al along, PJ is involved with some sketchy benefactors, Ruperti, Vargas and who knows who else… Im scared of what other stuff may come out. You can thank Julio Borges and RJ Medina for this. I must say though, Caldera handled the aftermath amazingly well, he could have easilly cut a deal with the Govt and made some crap up about HCR and gone on on to retire in Costa Rica with pockets full.

  11. I hadn’t seen the Capriles press conference until today and I have to say … it’s great. Capriles is forceful, determined, and speaking from the heart. It’s one of his best moments.

    I think he came out a winner yesterday.

  12. You know I am often extremely critical and skeptical, you know my support of Capriles used to be half hearted.

    Today, I can say I am really excited to have him as candidate, happy that he is the alternative. He showed courage and principles, he proved to have a spine, something too often lacking in politics. He acted swiftly to cut Caldera, not because he committed a corruption act, but because he was even suspicious and was engaged in this kind of activity. That won me.

    I don’t know it Henrique is gonna win, but now, win or lose, he has my full support. Hay un camino, no joda!

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