A campaign like no other


blindfoldedSo here we are.

After everything we’ve been through, we are faced with yet another campaign weekend. This Sunday, everything is on the line … again.

This campaign has been like no other – quite the cliché, I know, but it’s actually true. No other campaign has been held in the shadow of a dead President. No other campaign has been so short. No other campaign has been so … surreal.

In between talking birds, the Papal election, los Juanes, reusable sanitary napkins, Norkys and her “play,” and showbiz people trying to out-endorse one another, there was Chávez. Only Chávez. His presence (some call it an absence) loomed over this election … like always. It’s as if he’d never left.

But he’s gone, gone for good. The future is one where he will not be heard from again. And if one thing has been lacking in this election, it’s talk of the future.

We haven’t talked seriously about the grave problems in our economy. We don’t really know how we are going to solve the crime problem. We haven’t discussed the militia, education, or our crumbling infrastructure.

More importantly, the dizzying pace of events hasn’t left us any space to envision a country where we can finally meet, as brothers and sisters, and rebuild it together. We still eat polarization for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as usual. As we have for the last fourteen years.

That’s a real shame. Venezuelan voters are going into a crucial presidential election … blindfolded. We’re being asked to waver our future on two choices, none of which have been fleshed out thoroughly (although one candidate is clearly less of an unknown quantity than the other).

Is it any wonder that polls are volatile?

This does not bode well for the next few months. When a country makes a choice under such circumstances, you will find a lot of people regretting their choice pretty quickly. With all the unpopular measures the new President will have to implement, it’s a slam-dunk to conclude we have some rocky times ahead.

Sorry I can’t be more optimistic, but that’s how I see it. Gird your loins, folks. Things are going to get worse before they get better, no matter what happens on Sunday.

Regardless, please vote Capriles on Sunday.

PS.- We’ll have our usual coverage this weekend. We will try to have results out to you on Sunday as soon as we are certain of them.

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    • And “proportion of undecided voters (18%) is more than twice the gap that separates the candidates, which could affect the final result- Barclays”

    • The complete information:

      Maduro Lead Narrows to 7.2% in Datanalisis Venezuela Poll
      2013-04-12 17:03:20.377 GMT

      By Charlie Devereux
      April 12 (Bloomberg) — Maduro has 44.1% vs. 37.2% for
      Capriles in Datanalisis poll results published by Credit Suisse.
      * Telephone poll of 1,033 people carried out April 4-11 has
      margin of error of 3.04%
      * Support for Maduro fell from 52.1% a week ago
      * Capriles approval rating exceeds Maduro’s, Credit Suisse
      * Maduro had 46.9% approval rating, down from 52.9% a week ago
      * Capriles had 47.4% approval rating, up from 40% a week ago
      * “This is a statistically significant 9.3pp drop from one
      week earlier”
      * “We recognize that the recent trends appear to favor
      Capriles, but we still expect Maduro to win this Sunday’s
      presidential election”
      * NOTE: Snap elections called in Venezuela for April 14
      following death of Hugo Chavez March 5
      * NOTE: Before cancer surgery in Cuba, Chavez named Nicolas
      Maduro as his successor

    • In any normal race it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. But in this one it does. It’s clear that Maduro’s vote intent is higher than his approval rate. The reason is the points of difference between approval and intent belong to the bird-shaped ghost. What’s striking is that Capriles and Maduro are pretty much tied in popularity after Maduro’s poor showing as a candidate.

  1. Nice speech Juan. No doubt next week there will be an intense soul-searching exercise, further to a long overdue reality check.

  2. I think we flipped a someone to the opposition with the “disposable sanitary napkins are capitalist and you should be washing them by hand like our ancestors” clip.

    Capriles Presidente!

    • ojo! don’t shortchange the assets of the toalla sanitaria bolivariana. Not only is it recyclable, but it can provide valuable fertilizer for your tomato plants.


      • I mean this kind of thing is big in say, certain small, isolated communities of raku pottery makers on Vancouver Island, but Venezuela? My information is, probably not so much.

        • *shudder*

          Having seen those folks, I suspect the toalla sanitaria is about all they wash with any regularity. How can such a nice country with such wealthy folk on the island host so many damn dirty hippies?

        • It’s the same as arguing that blackouts and shortages are a sign of progress: trying to make a virtue of failure. That is the ‘ideological’ legacy Chavez has left his successors: trying to explain all this crap that people are going through in terms of some sort of great arc of progress.

          Have you noticed that the chavista commenters have largely gone dormant on this site? Nobody wants to defend Maduro. In electoral terms, he is toxic. He is going to lose.

          • Not only have they largely gone silent on this site, but one went so far as to call Maduro “stupid” or some such word.

            A far cry from the copious Kris Karlson Komments deriding any speculation regarding the Chavez death watch.

          • So in the end, these (foreign) chavista commenters based their arguments, not so much on a revolutionary project that over 14 years failed to deliver credible results, but simply on a strong man crush. #TheUnbearableIrresponsibilityOfInfatuation

          • Oh please. They’ve gone dormant in part because they’re exhausted from being chased out every time they raise their heads. But also because Maduro hasn’t done or said anything that requires “defending”. He is not going to lose, we’re as happy as clams.

        • BTW… I was serious about Cuban women using re-usable sanitary napkins. Before the invention of the disposable napkins, tampons, etc, the whole human race (well, half of us) used them. Most of you have heard the expression, “on the rag.” Well, that is where the expression came from. If you let the Chavistas have their way for long enough, they will eventually tell you that driving a motor vehicle is anti-revolutionary and that you should ride a bicycle instead, because you are too fat and need the exercise. That actually happened in Cuba.

          • In other words what the regime cannot provide you dont need (that used to include lap top computers ) or you’re better doing without , while whatever the government does provide ( rice cookers) is priceless . Thats the reason the Vopos who manned the Berlin Wall used to be recruited from that part of East Germany where W. German TV signals didnt reach , so they would not be ‘poisoned’ by exposure to views of what W. Germany’s prosperous consumer society had to offer its citizens.

  3. I remember that after elections, civil war broke out in Yugoslavia, which incidentally, destroyed the weak and nonexistent national unity of that country. Sunday is a of bloody sunday. I’m feeling it. I will vote as early as the center opens and the rest is asking God to do a miracle, not to win Capriles, who is sure to win, as did the 7-O, but that there is no fraud or violence or civil war. And of course, God give us strength for the days come hard, very hard.

    • What does Yugoslavia have to do with a country like Venezuela? Yugoslavia descending into war after elections? Violence has always been an isolated matter in political affairs in Venezuela. Even April 11th had a limited impact on material and victim terms; which was not the case in media terms. Capriles cannot win the election simply because “los números no dan”, and also because the impact of Chavez among the peasantry and the Venezuelan country is almost absolute. Why to focus on a largely urban campaign on and on? “Me no understand”. One thing is that the campaign was very short; but can Capriles seriously say he was not aware Chavez was dying since early 2012? Why after losing he did not embark upon a recognaisance survey of that deep Venezuela that does not vote for any change? A change that, for sure, even happening in the big conurbations of the north, will not trikkle down to the poor and forgotten towns such as Macuro, Maripa or Tumeremo.

  4. Last night on Jaime Bayly’s show he interviewed JJ Rendon, who while trying to be coy pretty much admitted he had worked on the Capriles campaign, and did so for free.

    He even stated he put some of his own money in.

    He predicted a Capriles win, based on Datincorp’s polls showing a 12 point spread in Capriles’ favor.

    I guess if you are running someone’s campaign you are not going to appear in public 3 days before the election to say your guy will lose.

    Datincorp are relative newcomers to polling in Venezuela, but Rendon did use them for Santos’ campaign against Mockus, a come from behind-overcome a 30 point gap effort that resolved in the final week for Santos.

    • Phew, I was beginning to wonder if my hearing had gone. It was good to hear an experienced assessor give high marks to that which was so easily dismissed by Blogger 1.

  5. Hei, Juan!
    Just heard you analyzing on NRK, Norwegian state broadcaster, radio. Forgot what you said, was so excited! 🙂

    Anyways, over the years I’ve lost all trust in the Venezuelan peoples ability to make good judgments. Maduro will win in a landslide.

  6. I was revved up by JJ’s interview. He assured that if we people go out and vote AAAAAANNNNDDD STAY for the audit, instead of going home y echarse, we WILL win!

  7. I totally endorse the Devil’s analysis about where we are by now, the key is the abstention between traditionally pro chavez voters. JJ Rendon is a legend but we can really trust in a newcomer like Datamatica? , with no experience at all in this messiness? I think that we might have a chance but only with the right levels of abstention.



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