How can people this inept win? By militarizing the mobilization effort, that's how!

PSUV Strategy Session
PSUV Messaging Strategy Session

For those of you keeping score at home, this is what Campaign 2013 is about according to Planet Maduro: The hateful opposition deserves our vengeance, love is the greatest form of socialist resolve, with Maduro peace will be assured, we must destroy bourgeois values, I am the son of Chávez, I am also a humble bus driver, you should honor Chávez´ legacy, we should work this out together, we have a right to delirium, my contender is a crazy heir to the nazis.

Bear in mind, the Maduro camp had three months to prepare a campaign…and this is what they came up with? A hodgepodge of messages with no discernible underlying theme or unifying message?

It’s almost as though they don’t care, as though they don’t think the “talking” and “communicating” part of the campaign has any firm relationship with their prospects of victory.

In fact, it’s exactly like that. What chavismo is relying on to put them on top has nothing to do with anything Nicolás Maduro says, and everything to do with a massive, unprecedented plan to turn the Armed Forces into the executive arm of PSUV’s Voter Mobilization Drive:

The original is here. (If you live in Venezuela and that link doesn’t work, well, that tells its own story, doesn’t it?)

We’ve never seen something like this: an explicit Guardia Nacional plan to lead the coordination between the Bolivarian Militia with PSUV’s precinct-by-precinct mobilization plan.

What we’re seeing is the culmination of a 14 year trend towards erasing the Chinese Wall that used to stand between State and Ruling Party, a bourgeois conceit chavismo never accepted in the first place.

It’s a plan that holds out the charming possibility that misión beneficiaries who fail to turn out on the morning of April 14th will receive a nice visit from a uniformed, armed miliciano telling him – not asking him – to go vote now.

Last October’s election was a mere dress rehearsal for what’s about to come down on us. After Defense Minister Molero’s alarming declaration at Chávez’s funeral, now we have the operational plan. That closes the circle.

As with any mobilization drive, the first step is to identify your voters, a task where control of the state gives chavismo a decisive advantage. All those misión databases and apartment waiting lists sure come in handy when you’re trying to ID the people you need to go to the polls.

Next, you put in the captahuellas, the fingerprint identification machines that allow you to track – in real time – who has turned up and who hasn’t (but only if the “you” in the previous sentence is the government, por supuesto.)

On the day, when you need to actually mobilize the tens of thousands of motorcyclists, taxi drivers and bus drivers to cart hundreds of thousands of people to the polls, having the man with the deepest pockets in Venezuela double-up as your mobilization director sure comes in handy. (So what if those pockets are full of public funds?!)

And finally, when it comes to bullying those people to turn up to vote for your guy, you just “happen” to have an armed militia at your service. Convenient!

People throw around talk about the government’s maquinaria advantage, but it isn’t until you get down to the nitty gritty that you realize just how crushing it is. So crushing, in fact, that it renders the rest of the “campaign” an afterthought – Nicolás can rebuznar as much as he feels like, he knows he’s covered.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.