Democracy is a tombola

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You can win a bus with the new raffle of the Maduro campaign. Disclaimer: The model of bus may differ.
You can win a bus nuevecito de paquete with the new raffle of the Maduro campaign. Disclaimer: The bus model may differ.

On paper, all Venezuelan electoral campaigns are funded through private donations, as the Constitution bans the use of public money for political parties.

But the law is one thing and reality on the ground is quite another. With each new election we’ve witnessed how the State is the real political party and the PSUV and other Chavista groups (except perhaps the PCV) are kept as mere formalities.

This brief campaign won’t be different: Just check out the main members of the Maduro Campaign (formally called Comando Hugo Chávez). The key appointment here is of Rafael Ramírez, Oil Minister and PDVSA President as head of the campaign’s movilization and deployment. This is shameless enough to crush even Quico’s hardy optimist streak.

Still, appearances must be kept and so the Maduro campaign is asking for supporters’ donations. For example, giving away a day of salary or sending a text message. But, there’s always the old fashioned raffle, where people buy a ticket and get the chance of win a prize.

The “victory raffle” will have a very different prize: Instead of a car or a house, it will be a brand new bus. This is obviously connected with Mr. Maduro’s history as a bus driver.

But the detail that bugs me isn’t the bus or the three motorcycles (runner-up prizes), but the ten electric appliances “combos”, which come from Mi Casa Bien Equipada program. Somehow, there are leftovers of the plenty of Chinese products which are selling well.

The Capriles’ campaign (named Simón Bolívar, something that Maduro & Co. didn’t like because you know, Chavismo de facto owns all copyrights over el Libertador) have to face the fact that it won’t dispose of the same resources as last year. And those who really want to donate are probably thinking it twice, thanks to the Goebbelsian spectacle seen last month.

So, don’t be fooled: Along with the permanent use of the late comandante presidente’s name and image, the petro-checkbook will be again a pretty decisive factor in this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it campaign.

Even if that checkbook is now running on fumes.

1 COMMENT

  1. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to vote (and I will, for sure), just so I can tell myself and my friends and family, that I didn’t commit el pecado de omisión.

    • “Ahora, si hablamos de asesinatos, Caracas es la sexta ciudad con más asesinatos per cápita en el mundo, pero el asesinato como tal no es representativo de la criminalidad en general. ”

      What??!!??

      • Read another of Heck’s posts… scary stuff, disturbing guy.

        But the crime rate seemed worth another look.
        Venezuela conveniently hasn’t supplied data to the UNODC during the last decade so… we rely on NATIONMASTER!
        First, the data in nationmaster.com is from 2002.
        Second, there are a couple of caveats:

        (1) Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.

        (2) Data refer to people victimized by one or more of 11 crimes recorded in the survey: robbery, burglary, attempted burglary, car theft, car vandalism, bicycle theft, sexual assault, theft from car, theft of personal property, assault and threats. Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.

        The second point means getting your bike stolen will get reported as a crime.
        Being threatened will also get reported as a crime. In Venezuela, that would mean at least 45% of the population is affected.

        And I checked data for Sweden, UNODC, # incidents 2003:

        Assault 65,177
        Burglary 122,700
        Kidnapping not reported
        car theft 67,199
        robbery 8,575
        sexual violence 466
        Theft 389,088
        Homicide 83
        TOTAL 653k

        Population of sweden ~9 million

        Conclusion: give me a break…

        • Lets not forget that if people in Venezuela reported everytime they were victims of a crime, the stats would go through the roof, well, they are already through the roof, so maybe they would go through the Torres del Silencio (One stacked on top of the other) Roof. People in those highly developed countries report crimes as petty as getting an apple stolen from your markets farm, people in Venezuela just thank god they were mugged whitout being killed and try to forget the ordeal, why report it? The cop taking your testimony its probably a matraquero himself.

          • Crime stats have history , have movement , they change as years pass , their are never totally precise , what is a reportable crime in scandinavia may not be a reportable crime in the slums of ccs , Venezuelan crime stats are often the result of highly professional NGO studies and assesments backed up by ocassional govmt stats. The picture they show is one of an exponential rise in criminal activity , specially in violent crime , during the last 15 years . In contrast stats for crime in the US show a sharp drop during the last 20 to 30 years. There are studies ( A. Moreno) which show that this rise in crime is due in large part to a weakening of the social fabric of life among the poorest : responsible fatherhood is an oddity , most children are emotionally and materially abandoned by their parents from their earliest age , unions are prosmicuous and unstable giving rise to emotionally damaged children who take to crime as a way of proving to the world that by inflicting harm on others they are important , that they matter even if its in an evil way . Criminals now show a cruelty that wasnt there a decade ago. This effect is compounded by very rapid population growth which overwhelms existing services and infrastructure which havent grown apace. The second contributing cause to this rising crime rate is a broken down undersourced negligently managed law enforcement system made worse by a collapsed mismanaged prison and judicial system. We have the sad record of being among the most criminally violent countries in the world .

        • It’s so sad it’s not even worth arguing about.

          Intentional (reported) homicides in Venezuela (in 2003!): 11342
          Sweden 83

      • “En Canadá, el país donde nací, y en Alemania, se cometen alrededor de 10 veces más crímenes que en Venezuela.” The canadian education system has failed to teach one of its citizens about proportion and understanding of statistics, but honestly, going through the guys others posts, its almost surreal how biased the guys is.

    • This is the char they publish
      1. Islandia (Reykjavik) con 14,726.95 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      2. Suecia (Stockholm) con 13,455.08 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      3. Nueva Zelanda (Wellington) con 12,586.64 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      4. Granada (St. George’s) con 10,177.89 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      5. Noruega (Oslo) con 10,086.72 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      6. Gales (Cardiff) con 9,823.38 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      7. Inglaterra (Londres) con 9,823.38 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      8. Dinamarca (Copenhagen) con 9,460.38 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      9. Finlandia (Helsinki) con 8,697.37 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      10. Escocia (Edinburgh) con 8,428.97 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes
      11. Canadá (Ottawa) con 4,123.97 crímenes por 100,000 habitantes

      I agree about Iceland, I mean just look at that Bjork, who can be safe in there:

  2. I would have expected the head of the Supreme Court there on the campaign committee but I guess she will be needed if any more self serving rulings from the court are necessary in this charade.

    What a lame bunch. I guess Jorge Rodriguez is truly in the dog house.

      • Ach. Ganz toll, or whatever. I bet in any city of 3.5 million people you could find a bus driver who would say a bus driver would make a good president.

        May I just say, I happen to know very well a number of bus drivers: Maduro would make a crappy bus driver, and they would make much better presidential candidates. If Maduro want to spiel that spiel, let the people talk to him one on one, like they would their bus drivers….let him debate Capriles!

  3. Let me ask an ignorant question. Is this out and out money laundering? Do they really need to launder the money knowing that they control the judge, the prosecutor and the electoral council?

    • Using “Mi Casa Bien Equipada” stuff in the campaign raffle is basically peculation (embezzlement) of public funds. Known in Venezuela as “un delito de salvaguarda”.

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