Chavez’s “47 percent” moment


The comandante presidente said the following during a rally in Maturin:

“There can be some people could be unsatisfied with the failures of our government, that the streets aren’t fixed, that electricity is out and water isn’t running, that they don’t have a job and their house wasn’t delivered on time…  …That’s not what’s at stake. What’s really at stake is the life of the fatherland.”

Who’s the “heart of the fatherland”? Exactly. No es otro sino el papa de los helados.

Even if this kind of comment from Chavez is nothing new (the older comment starts at 0:32), the fact that he said this a week from the election shows what’s all really about for him: Staying in power no matter what. Tienes problemas? Bueno, esto es lo que hay!

This comment brings to mind the infamous “47 percent” comment in the U.S. – the context is different, but the experience of hearing the candidate speak out loud words that confirm every negative storyline the other side’s campaign has spent months trying to establish is very much the same.


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  1. A little problem: copying US efforts, casting shadows.
    I hope Capriles can handle the Chávez gaffe, using his own filter, which seems to be: hammer accurately and briefly. He already and brilliantly made good inroads, today, during his speech to the Caracas throngs. I suspect that there are very few Venezuelans that did not hear him.

  2. The message is straightforward enough, if what is at stake is the life of the fatherland except for the parts including the electric power, paved streets, housing, (milk availability, ‘y pare Ud de contar’) then the opposition’s easiest home-straight inroads would be to declare that they’ll be happy to take care of the parts that the current president deems of trivial import, such as electric power, paved streets, housing and milk availability, ‘y pare Ud de contar’, for which most laudable and desirable end, their candidate HAS to be elected next Sunday. Massively. Losing parties would be freed up to contemplate the nittygritty of the exactly what they might mean by “la vida de la patría”.

  3. Hate to use the cliche pero “Solo en Venezuela ….”
    This shows how desperate the government is that, one week before the elections, they go as far as to admit that they just don’t get things done or solve people’s problems. And even though it is desperate, it is also smart because the pueblo will find it as a sincere admission by Chavez and will be touched by his appeal to pure patriotism. “Oh, now he is promising to be efficient in the next 15 years, so let’s save the fatherland from the capitalists once again and give him another chance”
    Man, I really hope electors don’t think that way but sometimes Chavez’s popularity defies logic…

  4. Gustavo,

    Con todo respeto… There are no parallels right now between Venezuelan politics and U.S. You just can’t compare the two. The bickering between the two major U.S. parties is peanuts compared with what is at stake in Venzuela and the differences in the ideologies between Chavez and Capriles. In fact, Capriles is probably to the left of Obama in his political ideology, but he represents individual freedom and dignity for Venezuelans.

    Dragging comparisons of U.S. politics into the debate simply brings out the U.S. extremists and produces no new insights into the situation in Venzuela.

    • I don’t know, I do see lots of similarities between Venezuelan and US politics. The polarization, the recourse to ideology, radicalism… Politics in the US is not on a higher ground compared with Venezuela, but legal and political institutions do function much better of course. Anyway, let’s focus on one election at a time 😉

      • “…but legal and political institutions do function much better of course.”

        And THAT is why there is no parallel. The institutions of Venezuela have been decimated and there is nothing standing between Venezuela and tyranny but this election and the will of the Venezuelan people to defend their freedom.

      • Mike,

        There is quite enough name-calling in this election without you adding fuel to the fire. Fortunately, most Venezuelans will not have heard that word, but I have and I find it insulting, so please refrain in the future from using such denigrating terminology. Thank you.

      • My ex brother in law is paying some pretty coin to his Venezuelan ex wife based largely on the use of that word, Mike.

        And no, gringo does not have the same connotation as spic.

      • In Venezuela gringo is hardly used as a pejorative term. Roberto N is right. Among leftist – and probably Mexicans – it ihas an obvious negative connotation, but for regulars folks the word gringo is not different to other terms like maracucho, guaro, gocho, portu or ché. Venezuelans don’t take race, nationality or religion as seriously as you probably do. Even some Americans wear that badge proudly, (like

        Please try not to be negative or offensive. I don’t hold against you your race, nationality, religion or political affiliation. However, I might hold against you racist slurs like the one above…

      • gringo is a cute name invented to call the united statesians something less aggravagting to the tongue. Spick is a deeply offensive racist word. Everybody that read the spick thing mentally lynched you. Are you a nig- no, no need for colorful explanations.

      • Vergacion, primo… I didn’t mean gringo in an offensive way, just the Venezuelan I’m-not-going-to-say-americano-and-I’m-too-lazy-to-say-estadounidense way, Don’t lose your bearings, man.
        I apologize to everyone else for my less than constructive comment that made Mike go
        crazy and throw demeaning epithets.

  5. Do you really need a “Daisy” ad right now? After all, the point of that was to plant fear in the minds of voters regarding a Goldwater win. As for planting fear in the minds of Venezuelans, Chavez just did that himself.

    You can’t put this in the same league as Romney’s statement, for many reasons. It was public rather than (intended to be) private; it completely speaks for itself, rather than needing spin to drive it home; and most of all, it’s a flat-out admission that his administration of the country has failed. One can argue (and I have no intention of doing it here) about whether or not Romney’s ideas would fail, but it’s a far cry from saying: “We’ve failed you – so re-elect me!”

  6. Bam!!!! On Romney’s head by the way…

    I am a believer in individual responsibility and in taking care of yourself, but what Romney did was an outrageous caricature and exaggeration of Democratic voters who probably pay more tax (percent and marginal), the kind that Chavez is known for and on a par with Obama’s one about Republicans clinging to their “guns and religion”. It should never have come out of his lips in any “public” place, his job is to show them that there’s a good life for them with a Romney administration, even if they don’t vote for him.

    If his job is not to worry about “them” who actually depend on government, even if they are more likely a 5% of Americans, then goddammit! he should never be President of the United States. He should never try, and I hope he is panned for even saying it.

    This comes from a libertarian (or classical liberal) who is tired to death of rich out-of-touch jackasses who believe that classical liberalism is about pampering those who are already rich instead of freedom.

    And I hope the other out-of-touch guy here, Chavez, gets a real hard ad quick. One tailored for authoritarians and fascists harping about the Fatherland while the city is burning. But comparisons, Chavez and Capriles can’t be compared in any manner with Obama and Romney.

  7. Gustavo, Quico and Juan,
    Please -please!- stop making any refference to US politics in your posts, It is absolutely worthless and the least we need right now is a lunatic discussion between a radical-homophobe-creationist-antiintellectual moron and an obama-criptocommunist-kool-aid-drinker clown. Se les agradece un poquito de por favor, we really need sane threads around these days,you know

    • I hate being this nitpicky, but Mormonism doesn’t teach creationism. In fact, their doctrine is strangely materialistic. I know it sounds weird but they literally believe that matter and the world are eternal.

      Sorry for digressing. And, yes, I agree re: comparing both campaigns.

  8. I’m no Obama supporter but Romney has as much of a chance of winning the election as Capriles beating President Chavez…none

    Aldo Cermeno, ex-governor of Falcon state and ex national secretary of one of the largest opposition parties, Copei, said on Friday that he will now support president Hugo Chavez and that opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles is “tricking the Venezuelan people” .

    Cermeno, speaking at a press conference in Caracas, said, “Capriles uses double speak… I think his campaign is deceitful towards the Venezuelan people”.

    Cermeno said that there is “tremendous” discontent and confrontations within the opposition around the country over the fact that Capriles’ party, First Justice (PJ) is excluding others from its presidential campaign, and “putting the interests of its party above those of the country”.

    Capriles was chosen as a candidate for the umbrella grouping of opposition parties, the MUD, in February this year, in primary elections that many, including members of the opposition, claimed were forged.

    “In the face of this…situation… I have made a decision… from my position as a democratic Christian, I’m going to go with the candidature of President Hugo Chavez, because he has sufficient willingness, sense, and magnanimity for the country,” Cemeno said.

    He added later that, “I’m convinced there’s no going back, my figures say that President Hugo Chavez will win [the 7 October elections]”.

    Cermeno also claimed that, based on a conversation he had with Capriles in Paraguana, Falcon, the discourse that Capriles has been using in public is “false”, and his message is a copy of president Hugo Chavez’s one.

    While publically Capriles has claimed he would maintain the social missions were he to be elected, and while has used left wing discourse of justice and equality, a document revealed by other opposition members showed that his real government plan is a neoliberal one that would involve opening up of the economy to more private investment, and the reduction of state funding for public services and communal council projects.

    “Between the photocopy and the original the people will vote for the original, and the original is Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias,” Cermeno said.

    “He who hopes to run a country, without recognising his own personal history, is using a mistaken strategy,” Cermano added.

    Cermeno was a member of Copei for 49 years, and was expelled from the party after his comments on Friday. Copei, in an official statement, clarified that Cermeno’s comments were his individual opinion and not representative of the Copei party and blamed Cermeno’s declarations on the national government’s “manoeuvrers…to distract and confuse Venezuela, as a result of [the national government’s] desperation, as they are losing”. Poll companies, both private and public, are giving Chavez a double figure lead over Capriles.

    Apart from Cermeno, recently three other opposition leaders; Hermann Escarra, David De Lima, and William Ojeda have also publically criticised Capriles and the difference between his discourse and his real government plan, Capriles had to fire a top campaign aide after a video showed him accepting a large bribe, and four small parties withdraw their support for Capriles.


    Source URL (retrieved on 01/10/2012 – 6:01am):

    • Who the hell is Aldo Cermeno and why should I give a rat’s ass about his opinion? Looks like De Lima couldn’t get a known opposition leader to fall for the $200K bait and went straight to the discount bin.

      The so called shock therapy is only a figment of chavista’s imagination. There’s no need for that. The main reason CAP II went for the shock therapy in 1989 was the considerably low oil price back then. Nowadays the prices are 3-4 times larger. Besides, it’d be politically unsound given the possibility of a recall election in 3 years and the critical socio-economical situation of the country after 14 years of mismanagement: high inflation, black outs, high crime rates, product scarcity and highunemployement / underemployement.

      There’s a clear alternative to shock therapy and chavista communism: capitalism + social engagement. That’s the path followed by Brazil. Lula did that. Dilma does that. The last time I checked they were admired and respected by Chavez. So, what’s wrong with such policies?

    • Ah, the eminent Aldo Cemeno, who is quite respected and famous for… ah, who is he again? He joins the list of other eminent dissidents from the MUD. Aldo Cemeno is about as important as Venezuela Analysis is a credible news source.

  9. So I went through and deleted all the posts that were exclusively about that other election, because they’re just not germane here.

    There are roughly 17,374,283,374 blogs covering the U.S. vote in obsessive detail.

    Wanna talk about it? Go to one of those!

    • Nice job in censuring us, although most of the “gringos” here are passionately anti-Chavez, except that Mr. Hernandez Acevedo made a statement that will bring out the Romney defenders and Obama lovers. Shocking!
      And Mr. GHA, please man-up and “live by the word and die by the word” and don’t come out with an excuse now that screams “I’m sorry, I din’t mean it”, no matter your wording.
      Now go ahead and delete this one too.

  10. Beautiful post. But will the Venezuelan media make hay of it? Romney’s gaffe was bad because the media picked it up. If the media in Venezuela doesn’t pick it up and discuss Chavez’ admission in detail then I’m afraid it won’t be as significant.

    It’s still an epic fail on Chavez’ part but unless the population has a week long discussion about it, then it will be pretty much a wash.

  11. I just want to leave something clear: This post, as any post I write doesn’t have the intention of being just some kind of “troll bait”. I’m not interested on that and never will.

    • I didn’t see the epic flamefest that apparently happened Gustavo and I truly think you had the right intent with your post, I applaud you for making it. I sometimes feel out of place here but your posts make me feel like I’m OK. It’s one thing I like about CC in that the views are mostly balanced, despite what some naysayers may say.

  12. I really do not think that someone from COPEI or AD or any other old party coming out against the MUD candidate will have any effect on the public opinion. These parties today carry little weight from what I see, hear and feel down here. “Nadie les para bolas” As several have already asked, who is this guy Aldo Cemeno anyway? I haven’t even seen his switch even mentioned as was Ojedas. The people have decided and this will change nothing. Capriles has just got to hammer away at Chavez’s government “program” to mop up the undecided.

  13. The fact that someone declares him/herself anti-socialist when it comes to Chavez and Venezuela, and supports a socialist (yes, Obama is a freaking socialist) when it comes to the U.S., has always baffled me. You people should think about which side of the political fence you wanna set your feet on.

    • Ricardo, I suggest that your comment is best suited to another blog, maybe “North American Chronicles” where gringos explain US politics to foreigners. Not this one.

    • From your perspective, Capriles is also a dirty socialist. Since you seem to baffle easily, I gently suggest that you and the other malkinites and drudge habitués that have wandered here of late wander right back lest your heads explode.

    • Agreed with Ricardo. Normally someone that is well read in politics, will not have that kind of confusion.

      You are attacking Chavez for his politics, criticizing the farewell state and yet you support Obama, or Lula or Bachelet, why? because they did things right?

    • Nagel, Toro and Guido discussed this a few days ago. I support Toro’s POV:
      Obama is not a socialist/communist. He’s – if anything – a social-democrat (center-left) à la european. Chavez, on the other hand is an old-school socialist (leftwinger). I guess the distinction would be clearer in a multi-party political systems, which US isn’t.

      Capriles’ platform is center-left, probably more in line with Obama than that of Romney, even if the opposition (MUD) encompasses not only center-left, but also the center-right, demochristians, center, liberals, conservatives and even some leftwing parties.

      A GOP-like doctrine will not find much of a support in our political landscape. Diego Arria and MCM tried something like that in the opposition primaries and got less than 5% of the votes. Probably a cultural thing, I dunno…


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