Capriles pa’rato


Henrique Capriles’s pugnacio-conciliatory press conference tonight (it’s not easy to characterize his position) had one central message – the opposition still has one specific leader, his name rhymes with Cenrique Hapriles, and he’s going to be president of Venezuela well before 2019.

It was another tour de force in terms of sanity, warmth, wit and sheer political sense.

Capriles did not entirely rule out a run for his old job as Miranda Governor. But he sure sounded like his sights were set elsewhere.

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  1. I liked it when he threw the radicals and the dinosaurs under the bus, although it was about two days too late for that.

  2. I am 56 yrs old and have never seen in Venezuela a lider as charismatic, nice, sharp and well centered as Henrique.He will do an excellent job as a president!!!

    • Although l am not close to being 56, 😛 I agree with you, I think he has a lot of great qualities to be one of the greatest if he ever wins. I don’t want to lose hope, I think as long H is there fighting he will win because the world belongs to tenacious people. But I am scared of the Chavista machinery ($$$$)

    • A 7 words “Fuck You” to the 14,000 opposition witnesses who worked from 5 a.m. to midnight last Sunday to witness every part of the voting process, including counting the paper ballots as part of the hot audtis. You’ve outdone yourself, geronl: that’s an average of 2,000 fuck-yous per word.

      • That`s a Fuck Me. I was on a Totalization Room. I called 10 witnesses that stood there all day long, sometimes even without water,and they didn`t leave until they read those “chorizos” to me with their sad voices saying “¿tu no sabes nada hermano? asi sea para darle aire a uno” de pana. jodete. disculpame pero eso no se hace.

    • Chamo, i was there, and with my tired eyes after working all day long, i witnessed how people voted for the wrong choice for our country…and that’s all i have to say about that

      • Si Albert, it is really nice to hear that. I want to thank all of you who worked so hard to watch the process. I have to say I am out of the loop because I live abroad, but I don’t think geronl deserves a fuck you, I mean remember the “gentleman” we r dealing with too no? Is there a way to be an observer abroad? Like, in your consulate?

        • Couple of things, CitizenFeathers:

          On Sunday October 7th I, like many others, was at the polling place by 5 am and had spent the better part of the week (while at the same time attending to my work and family) getting many things ready so that come voting day, everybody, including people like geronl could cast their vote and do so in a safe and timely manner. I was lucky in that I did so in Washington DC, so Ireally didn’t have to worry about roving gangs on motorcycles out for blood, nor your garden variety thugs either. The worst I had to deal with was one smug Embassy employee. (BTW, the ones at the Embassy in DC are by and large decent people, all of them “con le proceso”)

          After spending the whole day, until 6 pm on my feet, I then was forced to wait to witness the vote counting because the CNE decided that overseas votes could not be counted until they emitted the first bulletin (cheapening the overseas vote in the process). So I, along with many others waited until 10:30pm and was there until 2 am ensuring that the votes were counted accurately and that the actas matched, etc, etc.

          So when someone comes along and make a stupid remark like that, well the response he or she got is the most polite running through my head at this point.

          To answer your question, yes, you too can witness the vote count by going to the consulate and asking to be let in. It is your right to be there.

          • “you too can witness the vote count by going to the consulate and asking to be let in. It is your right to be there.”

            Not exactly, my friend. After I voted at the Consulate of Toronto, and attended to electronic communication of some data to blogger Daniel, as per his request, I asked if I could witness the vote tally.

            Consulate volunteers, both outside and inside explained that, since I was not a (pre-)designated witness and the small room in the consulate could not accommodate all interested parties, I would likely not be allowed. Nonetheless, I was given a little hope (“come back near the end of the voting hour”) and so I left, coming back 15 minutes before closing time. Outside, I found the receptionist/public-interfacer-par-excellence, at the consulate of Toronto. He was sympathetic, but explained the situation in much the same way as did the volunteers.

            Unfortunately, the person who acts as a coordinator of information between the consulate and Venezuelans living in the province, was not accurate in her interpretation of the rules, making it seem as though it was, indeed possible.

            Total … I could not get in to witness the vote tally, unlike two previous voting instances, when registered voters were fewer than last Sunday, and when many were not motivated to bother voting.

          • Well, I’m sorry it went that way for you. By law anyone is entitled to witness the count. In practical terms, the space dictates how many are allowed.

            The “testigos de Mesa” are present throughout the voting process all day long, at the tables and must be present at the count. Ordinary folk like you & I are entitled to be present at the count, as long as there is enough space.

            Here in DC, the Embassy told us to make a list and cap it at 50. There were 5 voting tables, when we entered there were 10 chairs in front of each table. We had 37 signed up to witness. One guy showed up, bypassed the list, rang the bell and demanded to be let in to witness, and so he was.

            In your case if there was limited space this may have been the factor.

            I’ll say this again, while the personnel at the Embassy in DC are with “el proceso” they are by and large decent folk to deal with, and they do their jobs efficiently and in a timely manner. Maybe in Toronto this is not the case.

      • Same here, at the 5:30 monday morning scrutiny, facing the smug consulate personnel, knowing that chávez had gotten the “voto esperanza”. Double fuck

  3. I have tremendous respect for the man. A real hard worker, I think totaly sincere and he has vastly improved his oral presentation. I am sure he will make a great president in the not too distant future.

  4. what does the Assembly look like? years ago you were all wrapped up in counting senators and deputies or then only deputies…

    I still think Capriles’ major flaw is that he is associated with the 2002 coup. As a foreigner I don’t have the details straight and it didn’t weigh much, but I can see how to someone who believes the official Chavista version of events, that pretty much makes him a non-starter. The rift between Venezuelans IMHO isn’t only because they like or dislike Hugo, or look past his mischievous management ways, but also how they lived the last 14 years and particularly April of 2002, wasn’t Capriles the guy who tried to invade the Cuban embassy?

    • Dear Lao, Actually, the Cuban ambassador thanked him at the time for his service in keeping a lot of annoyed folk reined in. His presence was pounced on by 9very) interested parties and the party becaem that he was leading the charge, as it were. As usual, facts are the first casualty. Someone here must remember why it was exactly that he did jail time; was it trumped up in the wake this episode?

      • If memory serves, yes (sort of). He was placed in custody while being investigated on charges that he violated the sovereign space of a diplomatic mission. I believe in all he was in jail for four months, after which charges were dropped precisely because it remained unclear under what circumstances he had breached diplomatic inviolability. Ostensibly, again if memory serves, the issue was (partly) as you describe it. Basically a lynch mob (what you call “a lot of annoyed folk”) assembled outside the Cuban embassy, alleging that Chavez officials were taking shelter inside in the wake of the coup. As the hours passed and tensions flared, the crowd grew larger and more aggressive, smashing vehicles outside and generally defacing the embassy walls. Because the embassy was in Chacao (not sure if it still is), and Capriles was mayor of Chacao at the time, he went over to try to mediate between the mob and the ambassador. Of course, the question is why he opted to mediate instead of deploying the police to ensure the safety of a diplomatic mission, and that’s where it got all tricky because there was an issue of jurisdiction, as well as politics. While the embassy was physically in Chacao, diplomatic security falls not on local police but on State police. But of course, the State was in disarray, so there was a security apparatus vacuum. But even so, it was probably politically untenable for Capriles to be seen deploying PoliChacao to protect the Cuban embassy. So that’s why he tried to mediate, and the deal he brokered with the ambassador was that Capriles would climb over the embassy wall (there’s some dramatic footage of this), inspect the embassy to make sure there were no Chavez officials there, then report back to the crowd, which eventually dispersed once Capriles returned and, of course, once the coup collapsed. As you can imagine, there were all sorts of technical legalities involving international law during regimes of exception, jurisdictional competencies, etc. But yes, the precise issue for which he was jailed was the physical act of having breached the sovereign space of a diplomatic mission. And though he was indeed invited in, the issue was whether he should even have been there or instead moved to deploy the police under his purview to protect rather than inspect the embassy. Very complicated.

  5. My bad, there was no Assembly election was there. Well, anyhow what is the opposition up to in congress now? is the enabling law out of effect? can Chavez pass another one?

    • Lao, after the 2010 elections, the National Assembly has an absolute majority of Chavista deputies, that is, 98 out of 165. However, they don´t have the 3/5 majority required to push forth an enabling law. .. that is, unless they use the remainder of this year´s parliamentary exercise to somehow reform the statutes so that they can circumvent this impediment. This reform would require amending the Constitution, which, again, technically can only be done with a referendum. I say technically because Chavismo has been very creative in devising ways to step around the laws that they themselves created, when it is convenient to do so ( like the redistricting of counties, for example).

      • That’s too bad. Though it likely won’t happen, some re-institutionalization via congress and no more enabling laws would be good.. is there any viable strategy to get some new oversight over FONDEN for example, by supporting Chavez supposed announcement that he wants more control over his spending?

  6. I’d say that he should run as Sucre’s mayor, it would be a cheat for Ocariz if he took over Miranda.

    Maybe Carabobo, the Salas dynasty isn’t that loved now, and even with the fracture of Ameliach and Pto Cabello’s mayor I don’t feel them strong enough to keep the state.

    • Breaking the Unidad accord, signed by all candidates who ran in the Primaries, while convenient in this particular case, would nonetheless establish a dangerous precedent that could excuse other disgruntled candidates to run as well…

    • I see no problem at all. Petare’s MUD candidate JC Caldera is under suspicion because of the infamous video, and Ocariz is the best substitute for that empty seat. So, Ocariz goes back to Petare, Capriles goes back to Miranda and everything is fine.
      Furthermore, the three amigos – Capriles, Ocariz and Caldera – are from PJ, so that should make things easier inside the MUD.

  7. Well I must thanks Capriles for inviting people to envision a different and better Venezuela, for offering a new road, to prove that the alternative is viable, I haven’t lost my faith, today Capriles proved that this isn’t over this is just the beginning.

  8. I saw the conference. Sounded much better than on Sunday. Made it clear there was no fraud and that the government’s resources were absurd compared to the opposition’s.

    He will run for Miranda again. The opposition and himself believe if he retires from the state candidacy he will end up like Leopoldo Lopez: forgotten. So much like Manuel Rosales, loses and then runs back to the state government to maintain himself in a position of power and recognition.

    ..Or perhaps it’s a sure win and better not run the risk of losing Miranda. But I just don’t know, this thing of running back to your little whole doesn’t sound too profesisnal nor honorable to me.

  9. I was never a huge fan before I his concession on Sunday but he nailed it and has continued doing so. Takes quite a guy to squash ridiculous tampering rumors in Venezuela. What conspiracy theories are running around about why these two are being so civil? This is not the Venezuela I know (sadly).

  10. I did not see the press conference, but i am thrilled to read your assessment of it. We need a leader now more than ever, to give the opposition hope and command the battle for the gubernatorial races.

    I picture Capriles crisscrossing the country one more time, raising the hands of all the candidates, getting people excited. It’s either that or we will get overcome by despair, yet again, just like in 2005, 2006, and 2009, and get our asses kicked in the process.

  11. Still I insist that it is not his decision wether he runs for governor of Miranda. Ocariz has the final word on that and Ocariz must not be seen as a replacer or backup.

  12. “and he’s going to be president of Venezuela well before 2019.”

    I want to believe, I really do. But the last time I did (couple of days ago) reality kicked me in the balls.

    Anyways, maybe he should lay off the candidacy for Miranda and let Ocariz run (he was chosen by vote, the MUD should respect that) and, now that he is consolidated as the most important opposition leader, dedicate to tour the country campaigning (that’s a word right?) with the MUD candidates. Maybe what we need is our own caudillo (as much as I hate that fight fire with fire thing).

    • “reality kicked me in the balls.” more like kicked, hammered, guillotined, reattached and then kicked again in the balls.

  13. Have a look at your assessment of this guy prior to the primaries, and compare it to now. He gets better. Defeat makes him better. You’ve got your world series team here.

  14. In another Caracas Chronicle you congratulate Datanalisis!!!??? As Chavez won they predicted the outcome and if Capriles had won they would have also predicted the outcome. Is that what we hire a pollster for ???????

    • jeje, that’s true! That poll was what you call a classic “cover all your bases” situation: 49% Chavez, 39% Capriles, 11% undecided, with the undecideds breaking 80/20 in favor of Capriles. Ultimately the only thing the poll predicted was a close election, and that much, at least, did not pan out, largely because they assumed a much higher abstention than was the case. So insofar as they got the spread between Chavez and Capriles right, it was not by virtue of their data, and certainly it didn’t comport with their analysis of that data. By the way, tomorrow Ultimas Noticias is running another roundtable with all the pollsters to assess their predictions. That should be fun to watch.

    • Yeah I have a bone to pick up with them, I never understood why FT and Juan always threated Datanalisis so nicely. I have yet to asset how they perform their polls, the methodology, the questions made, the time, the amount of people.

      One moment they are with Datanalisis, the next moment they are with C21 and then they switch back to Datanalisis.

  15. Dear Lao Tse: if you are really interested I can give you an accurate account of what happened in the Cuban embassy. Send me a tweet to EduardoRG and i will be happy to tell you the whole story. As an opener I can inform you that he was tried by 18 different judges, acquitted 3 times(so much for double jeopardy) and from the very beginning condemned the so called “coup”

      • Sorry Lucia, I fail to see how the opposition comes out a winner. Chávez decreased his margin, big whoop. At this rate, we’ll reach him by 2040.

          • Agreed. It could have reached a plateau, for all I know. But you were implying the former. Anyway, my point is made. I look forward to read your more detailed piece on your mood and blog changes. Best wishes!

        • These results were devastating. No question. There are very serious questions about the way forward.

          But the way HCR ran his campaign, and — maybe just as importantly — the way he’s managing his defeat –represent extraordinary progress.

          Taking out a petrostate authoritarian when you have limited access to media — yeah, sometimes it takes a little time. And tenacity.

      • Boy, I did not like that article at all.

        “Although Venezuela’s economy is deeply troubled” – growth is a healthy 5%.
        “He gave Venezuelans a taste of what nonconfrontational politics would be like. ” – how is that a good thing? Venezuelans rejected that. They want confrontation.
        ” Compared with the last presidential election in 2006, Chávez’s support shrank substantially. ” – Compared with the Legislative election, we under-performed.
        “Capriles’s conciliatory, high-minded discourse and successful electoral strategy of appealing to moderate Chávez supporters constructively ” – successful? Where is the evidence of that?
        “Chávez is likely to interpret his 55 percent result as a mandate to do what he can to deepen his 14-year Bolivarian Revolution.” – it is not an interpretation, he HAS a mandate. The Venezuelan people WANT and EXPECT him to deepen his Revoution.
        “even though he sells the Goliath to the north a larger share of Venezuelan oil than ever” – I don’t think that’s right, but I’d have to look it up
        “But there is no reason the opposition should not continue to exhibit the same intelligence it has shown in recent months and simply focus on methodically building its organization and support” – Yes, there is a reason. In fact, there are roughly 1.5 million reasons.
        “To be sure, the situation in Venezuela remains highly uncertain. ” – I don’t see much uncertainty. There is a legitimate leader with a mandate…

        • Oh boy. Let me preface this by saying I have the deepest admiration for you, but please re-read what you wrote and tell me it is “cold, hard analysis”. We are all in a dark dark place now, but let’s not reach for the exit just yet. You kow that:
          1. Venezuela’s economy IS troubled – just wait for the paquetazo in a few month’s time
          2. you don’t KNOW that Venezuelans want confrontation. They want Chavez, and he is a mixed package made of confrontation, self pity, washing machines, self empowerment, sweet talking promises, etc.
          3. “successful electoral strategy”: Capriles’ is a RELATIVE one, the highest support (in % points) in a presidential election against Chavez. Not enough, but a RELATIVE improvement.
          4. “The Venezuelan people WANT and EXPECT him to deepen his Revoution”. see number 2. some want more socialism, some more washing machines.

          You get the idea. But this is somehow beyond the point. The opposition needs to concentrate, in my humble opinion, on how to improve the situation of the country NOW, and every day, with the tools it has, now and every day. The discussion should be focused on how to achieve these goals.

          • Thanks Manuel. I’ll expand on my mood and on what the changes will be to the blog soon. Let’s just say that I’m done with the cheerleading, and looking at glasses less than half full as “almost full” is not where I’m headed. I don’t think whistling our troubles away will get us anywhere.

          • I just you’re misreading the mood here. For the first time, after an election defeat, the opposition’s predominant gut response is to fall in line behind the leader, cuadrarse, and to soldier on with bloody-minded discipline. That, in itself, is hugely positive.

            Your unchained despecho response is so 2006!

          • Let’s hope you’re right Quico. The test of that, I guess, will be the very next local elections. Even if Chavez’ strategy is likely to include depriving regional governments of as much real power as possible, there MUST be opposition to each one of these destructive moves. Not only because of political calculations to counter Chavez: but because of the conviction that these moves will ultimately worsen the situation of each and every citizen.

          • Forgive me for saying this Juan but I think you’re seeing things through very gloomy tinted glasses. It’s understandable but it doesn’t let you be objective and so your analysis are not “cold hard” but biased toward the negative.

            I say this because none of your comments and analysis even recognize one positive aspect about the situation, not a one.

            Objective, cold hard analysis requires to be detached and dispassionate about the subject and that’s not your current mood, is just pessimistic.

  16. I still cannot recover… 1.5 million votes? How can people be so blind? (sigh)
    Capriles wonderful; for the first time I have nothing to complain about regarding the opposition’s work. Even if it is less disheartening to fault politicians than voters…

  17. I don’t like “plan B” because it gives Chavez enough time to create a “successor” (via referendum). Granted, no court in the world would respect a referendum within a given term (ie, it makes no sense that a referendum passed now or within the current term applies to the current term; it would have to apply to the next term). But I know that Chavez’ courts are really tipped in his favor, so I really fear that such a referendum will be tried. We’ll have to see what happens in the next 6 months to a year. And to be sure, Cuba has kept Castro alive for some small eternity so one must not rule out that Chavez lives another 6 years even if he’s in a zombie state the last two!

  18. Do you really think your form of Bourgeois democracy will be around by the time of the next presidential election? Doubt it highly> real socialism is coming…the councils are going to be the wave, workers and communal so your boy will be living in Doral by then teaching at Ronald Reagan High School!

    • Yes, it is inevitable that bourgeois democracy will be vanquished by communism (or was it fascism) due to the extremely high consciousness of the Soviet (or was it Italian? Chinese? German? proletariat. By 1940 I think it was.

  19. If a year before the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union I would have said that it was going to happen they would have laughed their heads off and sent me to the looney bin!

    • You are exactly right. About a month before the fall of the Berlin wall, a teacher of mine in a class in Germany- a very wise man- speculated that the wall would come down… in the next decade or so!

      • Of course, but HCF is no Perez Jimenez. He’s very popular, and his policies have a more direct (not better, not more positive) effect in the population he needs to win elections. You cannot start an armed resistance or civil disobedience movemente here, because it wouldn’t work, and it would not be representative of society’s views.

        The PSUV worked brilliantly, and ther must have been some gaps in our own work because we failed to reach our target. Now, are those gaps and failings those perceived by Juan in his anti-bubble post? I’m not sure. Could the MUD-CV fared worse? definitely.

        Should we be more confrontational? Biding our battles and picking our fights… Should we demand more from Capriles:Sure; he has a bigger responsability now.

  20. IMHO the campagin message was appropriate. The messanger was not. Let’s face it. Capriles was a nice candidate, but hardly an optimal choice. Even for me, catholic school boy, son of middle class professionals he was just another from El Este: well-off family, posh private school and UCABista. Capriles is the poster boy of the patiquin that the venezolano zamarro love to hate.

    But it is also true that the other candidates were even faultier. Pablo Pueblo was a mess. Leopoldo was dragged down by the legal issue and Maria Corina was in a worse position than Capriles: her background and personality was a non-starter for anybody outside Chacao and El Este profundo.

    So, Capriles was not the best candidate, just the better in comparison to the other options. If we add to that that the primary was mostly a middle class event, you understand how he got there. The middle class in the largest cities voted for him in the primaries and they voted for him again in the presidential election.

    If we want to actually win it all, we need a better candidate, someone closer to the base. Or at least someone more credible than a chamito del Este de Caracas. And we also need a better maquinaria. The PSUV machinery kicked our asses really, really hard. We understimated its power and overstimated our organization. We need to work harder on that. We need to work on the electorate the whole time, not only during the electoral campaign. That’s how you earn their trust.

      • That’s the problem. Our primary field was like the island of misfit toys. There was no perfect fit among the pre-candidates. We got the less damaged and ran with it. I think I mentioned back then that we needed someone from the moderate left. Unfortunately all we got was that nutcase of Pablo Medina.
        Even if Henri Falcon would have run as pre-candidate, he was far from perfect. The betrayal of Arias Cardenas would have caste a large shadow and it would have been a mood-killer among the hardcore opposition voters. On the other hand, I think that he is probably our best option for the next round…


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