Profiles in Courage


26972_2013021359You know when somebody else writes what you mean, only much better than you had? Commenter CACR just did that to me:

Look at this data from the CNE: 8 persons in the Hipodromo, a shelter for people who lost their homes to flash flooding, voted for Capriles in October. This is an enormous act of civic duty and courage, voting against the threat of losing your housing and the opportunities of a better life.

But whenever you turned on Globovisión or Facebook, you only saw the self-congratulatory pictures of people voting in New Orleans and elsewhere as a sign of courage, no recognition of what the many voters of Capriles from classes C, D and E had to go through to vote, how brave and independent they were.

Or the witnesses in western Caracas who had to hit the floor when motorizados came firing their guns to scare them. Perhaps many of them won’t do it again after seeing that the A, B, C classes care so little about them.

I don’t have a problem with people using their money to vote, but the smugness of the whole voting abroad moment is really hard to take.

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  1. I think that the point you raise touches on a bigger theme, that despite the titanic efforts of Capriles, the opposition, which is composed mostly by voters of the C,D and E classes, still take its identity and priorities from the urban upper middle class in Caracas.
    The chavismo is still majority, we are counting on having any shot tomorrow only on an important number of chavistas abstaining. Of course this is largely because of the price of oil, the lack of institutions, intimidation and Chavez’ charisma, but the failure of the opposition to construct its identity based on the characteristics of the majority of its voters doesn’t help either.

      • Don’t worry, I’ve been trying to have this very same conversation with several friends this week only to be called a “negative” person that lacks “faith”. Try to explain that Datamatica is not a real pollster and that all the serious ones are predicting a Maduro win and you might end up with someone throwing a glass at your face. Certain caraqueños get really testy and self-righteous around election time-

        • It’s not hard to see the smugness of your comment, people like you an Toro, that thinks they are some sort of guru, that thinks they have the ultimate answer for everything, even though your ideas does not bring anything new, like trying to sell a black and white TV to someone that has plasma. You don’t realize that there are some people far ahead than you.

          Then I remember that for these kind of people a simple shut up should sufice.

          • You didn’t troll anyone, Quico. With your post you showed intellectual integrity and capacity to tell the truth regardless of the cost. It’s pathetic to see so many of supposedly well informed and highly educated people who read CC screaming all kinds of idiotic ad hominems simply because they can’t handle being told the truth to their faces. Maybe they should take a hard look in the mirror next time they indulge in criticizing the supposedly inherent bestiality of “los monos chavistas”. Because you know what? They’re not behaving in a much more civilzed way either. They all seriously need to work on their critical thinking skills… or simply GROW THE F*CK UP.

          • what truth? what integrity? what capacity to tell the truth?

            ugh… I can’t stomach this nonsense…

          • The second part of your comment completely undermined the first part of your comment.

            Some legitimate issues have been raised about (1) the judgments being made in this post about people’s motives for voting, (2) the wisdom of the timing of the post, (3) and the basic thinking behind the argument. I don’t see that a compelling reply has been made on any of these points. Looking forward to it.

          • (1) about people’s motives for voting, Quico simply pointed out how irrational they can be, even in situations of extremely high stakes, when making a simple cost-benefit calculation would’ve shown that $150 is much better spent donating to Capriles’s campaign than voting; (2) the wisdom of the timing of the post can only be questioned if you assume that somehow people’s inability to be told the truth to their faces is reason enough to not express your opinion on a genuinely valid point; (3) the majority of commenters have utterly failed to address the basic thinking behind the argument, they’re enraged because someone dares to point out that the rational thing to do in some circumstances might imply to break the quasi-religious ritual of voting, simply becuase the resources consumed by the ritual could have been put to a better use in terms of helping their preferred candidate.

          • (1) he was saying more than they were irrational. He was essentially saying they were being egotistical. (2) you are assuming he is telling the “truth”, while you are not addressing the arguments against his proposition,(3) again, you are assuming he is right. I say his argument is irrational. It is an argument whose motives might also be questioned, coming from someone who has decided it is not worth his cost-benefit- analysis-while to vote. In other words, his “truth” may simply be a weak rationalization.

    • Spot on cacr210. Unfortunately the 100,000 votes abroad won’t be counted well after Tibi announces past the cockcrow. Sacrifice is having to survive under latas de zinc. Coral beach ain’t Venezuela.

  2. This just like the “Whitney White” spokespersons for the students’ organizations… So many young D, E folks out there giving their all at the University, and work and all you see is the children of rich european inmigrants… I mean it’s great if they’re all working tigether in the same movement, but why oh why can’t they use some pardo faces so that the pardo majorities realize that they are also included here and this message is actually FOR THEM? My wife (iranian) says: all I see is some rich kids playing the “I’ll be a great political leader” game.

    • Not in my Venezuelan family. If this capriles campaign is just a big trampa for the benefit of rich kids in Caracas, tell me now, because many people were under a different understanding.

      • I, too, have a different understanding of what Capriles means to ALL Venezuelans.

        While I agree that we need to actually see more faces from all strata, particularly the more impoverished, it’s a stretch to say that one only sees some rich kids playing the “I’ll be a great political leader” game.

        If Capriles were to win, I don’t doubt that we’d see jackasses popping up among the A and B segments, jackasses that have been under wraps the past 14 years. On the other hand, I’m also quite sure that Capriles, his work ethic, modesty and simplicity will keep the jackasses under control. Maybe I’m fantasizing. Maybe not. But whatever the case, I hardly think it’s appropriate to lambaste a segment, just because they don’t fulfill your vision for financial austerity in the face of civic duty. #ReverseDiscrimmination

          • I have never ever voted for Chavez or any of his minions, a matter of principles, but I know I’m one of the very few purebred oppositionist Afrovenezuelans out there, well educated, middle class… And believe, me I know because I’ve been a victim of both discrimination for racial (and assumed social class) and political reasons, NONE in better… Everytime the oppo said that BS about a “Venezuela without racism until Chavez showed up” they were just giving away votes to Chavez… Just as it is in the streets of this country, the European inmigrant and his children, should be the exception, not the rule in the political leadership, even if we just have to CREATE this pardo leaders the democratic forces desperately need.
            I hope we finally make it today but I’m deeply worried by the fact that these important lessons about symbolic inclusion of ALL VENEZUELANS, for real -real power, real representation, real recognition, not tokens- have not been learned well… I fear a flash in a pan democratic term followed by a comeback of Chavismo (under who knows what name) with a vengence.

          • True enough. Accion Democratica understood it much better than the opposition now. And they had some real-deal quality leaders who were (are) of several colors.

          • Me too, and it’s great to know that there are so many democrats out there with their feet well placed on the (dirt floor) ground of this country.

  3. I see the point. And living in Calgary where 153 opposition voters are chartering a plane to vote at the Venezuelan Consulate in Vancouver, yes, could the $300 per seat cost have been better spent in Venezuela? Sure. But how do you get the money there? Where’s the organisation on the ground soliciting these funds? The other side of the coin are the conversations we are having with our friends and – more importantly – relatives inside Venezuela. The majority we speak with are organising themselves in a grass roots get-out-the-vote, with every pick-up truck available ready to work from 4:00 a.m. till closing to get people to the poles. These are all class C, D & E people heeding the Capriles call and are going to work thier asses off as best they can. Yeah, the chavismo mobilisation will be better, but not for lack of enthusiasm of the Capriles voters inside the country.

  4. The Venezuelan opposition has the same problem as the Republics in the US. They are seen as the rich white party. The funny thing is that the Republicans may be white, but they are not rich. Over the last 30 years they have went after people conservative democrats in the south and have effectively now become a white rural party. Regardless of this change, Obama still won (despite the bad economy), because he was able to paint Romney as a rich out of touch guy. The good news is that Capriles is not seen as rich and out of touch as the rest of the opposition…but it is still a weakness nonetheless…

  5. Leer este post y estos comentarios me dan realmente tristeza. Que un clase media gaste su dinero para ir a votar me parece genial y me enorgullece. Bien podria gastarselo en wiskey. Que uno de bajo recursos esperando una casa lo haga también me da orgullo y esperanza de que Venezuela es aun salvable. Venezuela ha sido completamente dividida por el chavismo. Separa en clases y colores.
    Tener que explicar porque unos salen en facebook y otros no es preocupante. A ver gente. Que les parece el fácil y usual acceso a las redes sociales de unos y el terror a ser descubiertos de los otros?

  6. I’m sorry but I’m failing to see smugness in people voting abroad, and being recognized for that. But you know every one get critics for everything, if you voted, your are criticized, you didn’t voted you are still being criticized. Obviously everyone can not be happy.

    In the other hand, I will challenge your argument in this way, supposed you are the chief editor of Globovision, and you broadcast exactly what you said, now these people would face even more pressure from Chavista thugs to vote for Maduro, that would have exposed them even more, to the danger of receiving an ultimatum, to be threatened by another wacko, or worst to be killed in one of the statistical killing that happens every weekend.

    You have to ponder very well the implications of that decision, on how that will affect the lives of the people. People abroad are not likely to receive a retaliation from chavista thugs, these people, they are not safe.

    I’m sorry I just find the previous post and this point as pure nonsense. That we need the support from the vast majority of Venezuelans, sure ok, aja, last time I checked that’s how you win elections, with the majority.

    That the opposition needs to build an identity that can be taken by the vast majority of Venezuelans, that’s smart suggestion, but how taking the chavismo identities will help us win elections since we already established that the fake will always lose, hands down, that this was the main reason of why Capriles lost in october 7th, even if the margin were closest than before, compared to previous presidential elections.

    What the opposition needs is to be genuine, original in their proposals, to speak plain and clear, to talk directly to the heart of the Venezuelans, something that Chavez did for a long time. We don’t need to try look like Chavez in order to win elections, and I sense Capriles is good at it too.

  7. Take the $20 billion given to Cuba and you could have built 667,000 houses at $30,000 each. Housing crisis solved. Was supporting Castro worth leaving millions of Venezuelans without housing? It is certain that if Maduro wins Castro will be supported and Venezuelans will be homeless.

  8. smugness? Venezuelans colonising parts of florida is smugness?
    It is the survival of the nation’s finest in alien nations.
    Your croc tears put you squarely in the loser s camp.

  9. Anyone is free to exercise their right to vote. If some of us are abroad and willing to spend 00’s $ to mobilize against the odds! its their right. THe polititians in the country did no rally enough for the vote abroad and as a result the cause is probably missing 100-250k votes abroad (My calculation assuming one million abroad)

    This is an strategic mistake in a national vote.

    Now, identities and modeling issue in the land. The set of values that characterized for example the PDVSA 03 class, the self exiled, etc (stereotyping of course!) ve. the intimidated D,E,F strata stereotypical voter, are oil and water. Chavez and castristas have identified this ealry and exploited pampering the viva la pepismo, eudomarsantismo, bochinchismo as an strategic drive.

    THe opposition has failed to champion the others values of our gentilicio, and thus we are being marginalized. Agreed.

    It is not the responsibly of the A, B, C, voters to model, but rather of the intelligentsia, medios and political sphere. That is why we need to use this opportunity to truly educate, not as Capriles have been aught as of late, being more populist and irresponsible in his promised than the Castristas themselves.

    • Capriles got very good numbers in western Caracas. He won in Caricuao and la Pastora and several others, which, is you follow the chavista narrative, them must be rich neighborhoods packed with mcmansions and billionaires.
      Although, I maintain my position that we need to built a better narrative to include all Venezuelans, it would be petty not to admit that Capriles’ speech resounded with a lot of working class Venezuelans who had voted for Chavez and chose to vote for him instead yesterday. Chapeau, I hope people understands that what he accomplished is close to miraculous under the circumstances.


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