Riding coattails onto aircraft carriers…

HMS-Prins-of-Wales-Queen-Elizabeth-class-aircraft-carrierAircraft carriers are strategically crucial but massively expensive to build, so it’s not surprising of the ten nations that have real aircraft carriers, eight possess only one. In our metaphorical Venezuelan theatre of electoral war, we’ve long had just the one portaviones worth its salt, and its name rhymes with Cugo Pávez. 

A recent article by El Universal’s Angel Oropeza made light of the fact that, of the 17 elections Venezuela has held since 1998 (4 presidential, 3 parliamentary, 4 regional and 6 referenda), chavista voter turnout for elections in which Chávez wasn’t on the ballot is, on average, 40% lower. The closer you’re associated with that magic name, though, the less likely you’re to suffer from that drop-off.

Which is why Chávez elevated the portavión strategy to a shameless art of epic proportions.

When Chávez acts as the main warship from which to deploy planes, lesser aircrafts will not have to rely on their local bases for staging operations, they can all fly safely knowing they are ultimately accountable to the big, bad, mother ship.

Now, it’s easy to overdo the outrage on the Coattails strategy.  Leaders of all political persuasions support their allies on the stump, in hopes that a hefty endorsement might translate to added votes. This is both customary and normal. (Though, customarily, they do that while they’re, um, still alive.)

Here, for instance, we have a picture of Chávez throwing his weight behind Hugo Cabezas for the 2008 Trujillo gubernatorial race.


But later iterations of this strategy presented a problem, given Chávez’ absence during last year’s regional campaign. This inconvenience was sorted out by attaching the President’s Heart of my Fatherland logo to any and all PSUV candidates’ imagery. Again, a totally legit marketing move.

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Once these candidates won, they made no qualms about celebrating their triumphs as a Chávez victory first and foremost.

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But even the most brazen of ass-kissing candidates retained a shred of pride by picturing themselves alongside the Chávez portavión.

Which brings us to this, our current presidential race graphic, where not a mustache is in sight:


For someone claiming to be the son of Chávez, Maduro must have one hell of a reverse Oedipus Complex, or just suffer from desperately low self esteem. I realize that a lot is on the line for Maduro and the end can justify the means. But who really subjects themselves to the self-effacing humiliation of not being pictured in your own campaign poster? Isn’t that a tacit admission that you just don’t have what it takes to win on your own? Is there even a precedent for such loser tactics actually garnering winning results?

Well, this is Venezuela, the land where anything can happen.


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