Keeping it simple


I woke up to read my friend Setty’s account of his few hours in Caracas. So far, he senses a lot of enthusiasm for Chávez on the street, and less so for Capriles.

Look, these types of anecdotes are fun for a quick discussion, but they are just that: anecdotes. They are not more valuable than the guy that comes home from a Capriles rally saying that “the street is the best poll.”

Let’s keep it real: Chávez is the favorite, but Capriles has momentum, as most polls show. If Chávez wins, it’s because of the economy. If Capriles wins, it’s because his campaign has tapped into the unfulfilled promises of 14 years. Both scenarios are possible at this point, and … that’s all I have to say about that.

Anything else is mind-gaming hogwash.


  1. There are few things to say. I agree with setty in that chavistas do show support more explicitly. I think caprilistas are somewhat more apathetic, or perhaps they feel they don’t need to do that or that the fear that someone will attack them.

    Nonetheless, like you said, both candidates can win and chavistas know this. Fear can be felt among their ranks.

    On Tony’s note, chavistas know that it is abstention that takes votes away from them. They are doing incredible efforts (and spending a lot of money) in making sure they have the logistics to mobilize voters those days. This will be relentless.

      • Geronl has opposition resonance chamber derangement syndrome. He never noticed oil is at $105 a barrel, unemployment is down, 50%+ of poll respondents say their family’s economic situation is now regular-hacia-bien or bien, and the government gave away 3 million appliances this year. If Chávez wins it’ll come as a genuine shock to people like him…

        • I spoke to a well informed friend the other day who told me something along these words: “Yo no entiendo pk la oposicion esta tan emocionada: La Economia esta creciendo a 6%, La inflacion la bajaron de 20% a punta de importaciones baratas y la mitad de Venezuela cree que le van a dar una casa con la mision vivienda, al Venezolano lo que le importa es el ahora”. Certainly was a screeching halt to any hope I had.

  2. “If Chávez wins, it’s because of the economy. If Capriles wins, it’s because his campaign has tapped into the unfulfilled promises of 14 years. Both scenarios are possible at this point[.]”

    Hard to summarize the situation with fewer words than that.

  3. Re: the economy

    Maybe you did not read Varianzas well. They say that in the last few months the number of people that think the economy is not going well is increasing and that now it is above 50%. About 10% more than Capriles voters.

    I do not understand people who insist in writing that the economy is doing better. If you want an anecdote I can tell you that my order board is nearly empty. And that ALL of my clients and providers in agribusiness are in a trouble of some sort.

    Whatever numbers the BCV sends they affect a small group of people, already linked to the regime, already voting for Chavez. The economy effect, as it may exist, is highly overrated in this election. To compensate for crime, shortages, unemployment, and inflation you need much more than an alleged 5% PIB increase.

    • But Daniel, come on, oil is at $105 a barrel, AND the fiscal deficit is 15% of GDP. That’s a whole lot of money out in the streets. Maybe they’re not buying your stuff, maybe they’re using it to buy dollars, I dunno… but there’s money out there.

      Hopefully Varianzas is right, though!

      • Juan,

        I think Daniel is right on this one. Yes, the money is out there, but it is leaking out of the country like water through a sieve. It goes to buy imported goods, not goods made in Venezuela. The importers are getting rich, but people who make things and provide services are hurting. Their employers and businesses are finding it harder and harder to cope with inflation, power outages, increased bureaucracy, corruption, punitive labor laws, etc…

        The importers do not keep and invest their money in Venezuela. They keep it in dollars in their Miami and Panama bank accounts.

  4. As someone who has conversed with Setty also,its even worse than he says…

    I suggest you turn out the lights your party is over.

  5. Dear Sir or Madam (Greene), What exactly is ‘worse’ in your book? As for turning the lights out, recent history suggests they may already have been ‘turned out’ by the powers that be, all happenstancédly, mind you.

  6. There is an obvious benefit asymmetry in showing support to Chavez rather than Capriles. It’s one of the benefits of being the incumbent.

    What counts is what people do on Sunday… Chavismo knows this and so does the oppo, each are doing their thing to either increase or decrease that benefit asymmetry in the voting booth.
    Setty should know this.

  7. HCR´s latest Facebook post: “Como irrespeta este Gobierno a nuestros empleados públicos y al resto de los venezolanos colocando toldos de un Partido en la entrada de las instalaciones públicas. Me escriben muchos de ellos, desde distintos estados, para decirme que mañana están obligados a ir a un acto político en Caracas. ¡Paciencia! En lo que terminó este Gobierno luego de 14 años, obligar a nuestros trabajadores a llenar actos, pura amenaza y miedo. El 7 de octubre nuestros empleados públicos les darán la gran lección. En nuestro Gobierno ninguno de ustedes será obligado a usar la franela de un partido, ni a asistir a actos políticos, ni donar su salario para financiar un partido. La decisión del 7 de octubre es de ustedes. Voten por el Progreso sin miedo, el voto es secreto. ¡Hay un Camino!”

    • Come on everyone! Party like it’s 1922! Someone ought to do an ethnographic study on trolls, the results would be fascinating.

      • La Historia del Ratón

        Cierto día, un hombre entró a una tienda de antigüedades y se quedó mirando una bella estatua de un ratón, en tamaño natural.
        Muy entusiasmado con la belleza de aquella obra, fue hasta el mesón y le preguntó el precio al vendedor:

        ¿¿ Cuánto cuesta…??
        La estatua vale $50 y la historia del ratón cuesta $1.000
        ¿Quéee? ¿¿Usted está loco…?? Llevaré sólo la estatua.

        Feliz y contento, el hombre salió de la tienda con la estatua bajo el brazo. A medida que caminaba, se dio cuenta, muerto de miedo, que miles de ratones salían de los basureros y hoyos de las calles y comenzaron a seguirlo….

        Corriendo desesperadamente, el hombre llegó hasta el muelle de un puerto y con toda su fuerza, lanzó la estatua al mar…
        Incrédulo, vio que toda la horda de ratones se lanzó al mar siguiendo la estatua. Muriendo todos ahogados…

        Aún sin reponerse, el hombre volvió donde el anticuario y el vendedor le dice: Volvió para comprar la historia…??? ¿¿Cierto..??

        No caballero, quiero saber si tienes la estatua de Chávez…

    • Dang, is that a good movie…

      Shows, among other things, how beautiful ideals like anarchism and (arguably) communism can so easily become excuses for doing what everybody who gets the option to tell bunches of people what to do and how to do it and why or they’ll shoot you or lock you up does: keep that privilege.

      No Gods, No Masters!
      No Hypocritical Apologists!


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