Henrique Capriles just gave one of the ballsiest, most effective political speeches any of us have seen in years. Tough, uncompromising and brutally blunt, he looked straight at the heart of the radical opposition and said “I get it.” Then he pivoted to his poorer supporters – the 70%+ of his voters in classes D and E – and told them “I’m doing this for you.” The oppo twitter-roots ate it up.
He called bullshit on a ton and a half of bullshit we’ve been itching to see called, beginning with a frontal attack on our appalling, neanderthalish, openly dictatorial new Defense Minister. And he made one thing abudantly clear: this is not a guy interested in glorious, noble self-immolations. He’s in it to win it.
This campaign won’t be a re-do of “Hay un camino” theme of last year. This is a new, much tougher Capriles. Game on.
UPDATE: Here’s the full speech available from YouTube. HT: 513crcMD
The liveblog is below.
8:20 p.m: Mentions all the places of the country he visited before. He will go again.
8:17 p.m: “Those who dissent from me, you’re welcome to build this country together”. He says the government’s intention was to force him to decline.
Tomorrow he registers his candidacy in the CNE. There won’t be a rally to support him. He will start his campaign on Tuesday. Details about his campaign in the next hours.
8:14 p.m: He’s admits he can make mistakes. “I want to call all the country: parties, unions, students, men, women, granmas, my fellow ex-candidates”. He tells Chavistas: “Nicolas ain’t Chavez. You know it”.
8:13 p.m: “I will fight. With all of you. Nicolas, you will have to defeat me.”
8:12 p.m: He remembers the devaluation of weeks ago.
8:08 p.m: Chavismo don’t have the monopoly of poor people’s support. This situation won’t collapse on its own. “What can I tell to those who trusted me months earlier?”. He will fight for Chavistas too.
8:05 p.m: He mentions the struggle of mothers, of students, of those starving or those who lost their businesses. “What can be tell to those still living in misery?”. Mentions the case of Miami Consulate and the struggle of those who went to New Orleans to vote by bus.
8:02 p.m: Thanks the MUD for its offer. Acknowledges the multiple obstacles he could face. “What we can tell tell to those victims of violence? That we won’t want to fight?”.
This Capriles is very different that the one we saw last year. He’s not holding anything back. He’s going fully frontal against Maduro, even calling him by his first name.
7:57 p.m: “Nicolas needed time because him and Diosdado didn’t get along”. The delay was to get support inside the Armed Forces. “Looks like everything is against us”. Calls out CNE’s president for using political slogans during her statement yesterday. “Don’t threat us”. “You’re sick of power and you’re afraid to lose power”.
7:55 p.m: “Only God puts and takes away”. Tells Chavismo’s supporters Chavez is not coming back and his legacy is there to be judged. Maduro is violating the Constitution and the TSJ’s decision transformed him from Vice-President to takeover President, following the Cuban model.
7:53 p.m: “I always have respect Chavez’ supporters”. Using death and grief for political gain is unacceptable. “Nicolas, are you now using what you learned in Cuba?”
7:49 p.m: “I don’t play with death, with people’s pain”. Insists Chavismo had this all planned in advance. “Just after the president’s death was announced, the CNE’s schedule was already done”. Rejects the Defense Minister’s statement and calls him a disgrace.
7:45 p.m: “Weeks ago, they told us Chavez had a five hours meeting with ministers”. Leaves aquestion: Who knows when Chavez died? Accuses the government to being weeks in campaign and using Chavez’s body for political benefit. “Chavez never signed those decrees”.
7:43 p.m: He mentions TSJ’s decision and Maduro’s sworn-in ceremony and points they didn’t have a minute of silence then. “Nicolas (Maduro) is on campaign right now”. All of this was already planned. “Nicolas lied to this country all these months”.
7:41 p.m: Before he announces his decision, some reflections. “The country is still on a period of national mourning”. He mentions that his granma always told him to be honest.
7:38 p.m: Here we go, folks. HCR is on stage.
7:35 p.m.: HCR will speak from the Caracas neighborhood of Bello Monte.
7: 30 p.m: Good evening! This is GEHA here. Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles Radosnki is about to announce his decision either to accept or decline the MUD’s offer to be its presidential candidate for the upcoming election of April 14th.
In case I don’t update soon, that means my electric power has been cut off, so Quico will have my back if that happens. Henrique won’t take any questions from the press.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.