Leaving it all on the line


There are many things Henrique Capriles is, but there are several he is not.

Capriles is not the most intelligent of politicians. Others certainly have a greater facility for gab. He is not the most experienced, nor is he the most cunning.

None of that matters. What Capriles has shown us in the past weeks, and in the past months, is that nobody works harder.

We’ve seen this man grind himself to the ground crisscrossing the country. We’ve seen him throwing himself into adoring crowds, wading into impoverished neighborhoods, listening attentively to stories of murder and rape, and hearing how everybody and their mother (me included) preaches he should do things this or that way. We’ve heard him strain his vocal chords until it becomes painful to hear him.

We’ve seen him go from impossible circumstances to where we are now. He’s given himself a shot, and we’ve seen him do it with humility and class, those rarest of qualities in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.

In the end, all we have is a young man barely into middle age, facing all kinds of obstacles and attacks, and for what? Fame? He has it. Power? It remains elusive. Money? Been there, done that.

What we are left with, when we take away the advisors, the masses, the hangers-ons and the naysayers, is a son. A public servant. A believer. A hard worker.

I was talking to some middle-aged Chilean ladies the other day, and they were asking me about Capriles as if he was Brad Pitt. There is an aura to him, and it’s hard to explain, so let’s just leave it at that. It’s simply … charisma.

Capriles is a star alright, but the right kind. His charisma is born out of hard work, sweat, and tears. Out of making lemonade out of life’s lemons.

You have to admire him for that.

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  1. While I would not go that far, at least we can dump raw charisma as another excuse of why the opposition lost so many elections, Maduro might as well be wood in spanish.

    Reminds me of the rejection of the drunk populism of “mi negra”. Give the people a little credit.

  2. I am not entirely sure it is charisma necessarily either.

    The man works hard. He’s faced steep, if not impossible, odds. He’s struggled against an opponent who has him outmatched in virtually every aspect of political machinery. He’s exhibited courage in difficult situations and he’s handled himself well.

    Maybe it is charisma…however, for myself, I’m prone to beleive that what he has done is earned a degree of respect from the electorate, grudging or otherwise.

    • No question. Capriles has grown in this campaign. He has shown he is clearly Presidential (his campaign-closing evening Globovision round table, after having been at rallies in 2 different states the same day, was magisterial).

    • I believe that he comes across to the masses– in his fervor, passions and physical form–as a strong athlete, a warrior, and this has a seductive appeal. His beliefs are worn on his sleeves and his ambitions are transparent. Although I happen to agree that his political acumen is not of the finest, I think we’ve never seen another candidate so personally subjugated to his vision and cause. And this seemingly selfless purpose merits appreciation and respect.

  3. I’m still skeptical of a Capriles win but I find very interesting the obsession Jorge Rodríguez, Mario Silva and even Nicolás Maduro are having these days with J.J. Rendón.

    Hope everything develops peacefully today and the coming days. Best of luck.

  4. I think he used to be an erratic public speaker but he has perfected it over time. 4 campaigns take their tolls. His speech when he accepted the nomination was perfect and so was the one during the march on Caracas. That used to be his weakness but no more. Hes good at that now and he gets even better by the day. In terms of intelligence ive always thought he has great vision. The fact that he appears to genuinely loves Venezuela makes him even more likeable. For the first time in the Chavez era we’re not just voting against the revolution. We’re voting FOR someone. Internationally hes helped restore our reputation. Many friends from other countries mention him and what a great man they think he is. Im very proud to have him as a candidate

  5. Well is has not been very peaceful by many of the right wing thugs, has it. Death squads et al.
    But you have no chance of winning, so keep drinking the Jim Jones Kool Aid and rest in peace.

    Video of the peaceful protests in Chacao a few days ago and what of the ones in Merida, eh!

    ¡¡¡El 14 a Capriles lo vamos a derrotar, y a partir del 15, a la oligarquía debemos expropiar!!!

    • I am very sorry to see this kind of behavior among Venezuelans…however this post it is about Capriles hard work to make sure that this is not happening for long in Venezuela…and about working hard which Maduro has not done…he has lived “las miles de la Revolucion”, Maduro no es Chavez and never will be…charisma and hard work are not qualities that we can attribute to Maduro…so I am sorry for what happen to these people, but think who is the candidate that has beg, implore for this behavior to stop…VEnezuela somos todos

    • Yeah, Cort, “Barrio TV” interviewees say that the Oppo peaceful protesters with molotov cocktails burned their own carpas in order to blame the “peaceful” Pueblo, when in reality the protesters were attacked by motorizados/others, in a hail of bottles/etc., with all their carpas burned/torn down, and with no help for a long time by any police/other authority. IF some “innocents” were caught in the middle, it was the fault of the original Chavista instigators.

  6. We dont know what the outcome is today , maybe not the one we would prefer , but he certainly deserves our respect for the all out honest effort hes made against all odds to keep the dream alive , In terms of history this election is only one episode in a long hard struggle , What I cant get off my mind is the conviction that if not now someday he will be our president and that when that happens it will be because we as a people deserve him as our president and not before . His rise to the presidents office will mark the coming of age of us as a nation . I and millions of others yearn for that day..

  7. Why do you say he is not the most intelligent Juan? Being the chief of the National assembly at 26 or 28, Major of Baruta for several periods, governor of Miranda for two periods and twice candidate to the Presidency. In a country like Venezuela? In a period like the one we have lived during the last 14 years?

    He has navigated brilliantly on those waters and that takes more than luck or even hard work. He has to think ahead.

    • I meant it in the sense that he’s not the deepest thinker among opposition politicians. Personal opinion, that’s all. Just like I’m not the most intelligent blogger about Venezuela, simple as that.

      • Come on Juan! Who said you are not the most intelligent blogger about Venezuela? You are all different and interesting, that is why we follow you.

        When I was younger I classified people a lot. I brought up with the “cebolla” (USB) logo branded in my front. I liked putting people in containers, and the “intelligence” container was quite an important one for me and for my environment.

        Age is a great thing because it allowed me to see things differently.The more I age, the more I realize that such a container does not really exist, that what I thought was “intelligence” it is so many things combined together: maturity, opportunity, education, hard-work, personality and chance.

        • Bruni,

          Beautifully put. Overtime I’ve come to the same conclusion, yes some people are brilliant but boy is that not enough. Your other characteristics are what really gets you there.

          I have to say I am in awe of Capriles work, commitment and stamina. I sure as hell would not have survived that.


  8. Juan says: “In the end, all we have is a young man barely into middle age, facing all kinds of obstacles and attacks, and for what? Fame? He has it. Power? It remains elusive. Money? Been there, done that.”

    Jeez Juan, is this seriously the best analysis you can provide? Have you attempted to give this even 5 minutes of rational thought? Perhaps Capriles is doing this to represent the interests of… oh, I dunno… the economic groups of which he and his family form a part? Perhaps this is why his political program and proposals fit right in line with those interests? His promises to return expropriated property, to halt land reform, to respect private property, etc. etc.

    Shit, even members of the very MUD coalition have admitted that who is really behind Capriles are powerful economic interests.

    It doesn’t take a genius Juan… Its like claiming that Mitt Romney’s political platform had nothing to do with his social and economic class position. He just advocated for pro-business, anti-worker, anti-social spending, low-tax policies because he was a “believer, a public servant, a hard worker.” Anywhere else and people would laugh out loud at such fawning comments towards a candidate without the slightest questioning of whose interests they serve. At Caracas Chronicles, however, apparently no one even notices.

    • GAC that comment was boring. Capriles is running as a social democrat. Romney was running to the right of Newt Gingrich.

      • Oh, right, I forgot. If the candidate claims to be running as a “social democrat” then we should automatically believe him, and not question his long history as a member of a right-wing political party, and member of the traditional economic elite.

        And I suppose we should just not listen to people within the MUD who also say that powerful economic interests are behind Capriles. Thanks for your laughably pathetic arguments. They make me smile.

        • Oh, I know. Because private property should be respected in all cases right? Like those cases of massive 5,000 hectare farms in which virtually nothing is being produced… Yes, even as the country is forced to import food, we MUST respect private property!!

          • Yes, like the case where MILLIONS of private property hectares, much of which was in production, were expropriated (no compensatory payments, of course), and “invaded” or given to “cooperativas”, and now produce NOTHING, causing a much greater Venezuelan dependence on imported food.–GAC, “Digno Hijo De Chavez.”

          • They now produce nothing? Well, I really wonder what those cooperatives do there then? Twiddle their thumbs?

          • Pretty much, as anyone who lives in Venezuela knows–while they’re waiting to collect their Mision check/Pension/payment to march/payment to vote/etc.

          • You live in Venezuela NET? If you did, you’d know that cooperativas don’t get “mission payments” or “pensiones” or anything of the sort. But, well, we wouldn’t expect you to know that.

          • The individuals “comprising” them do, since the “Cooperatives”, many of which ceased to exist rather quickly, generally produce NOTHING.

          • As I said before, even if that were true, do you think the owners of those lands should be able to do whatever they want with them, and leave them unproductive?

            Because that’s what Capriles supports.

          • And even if it were true that they now produce nothing, that is beside the point. Do you think landowners should be able to do whatever they want with their land… even leave it completely unproductive?

            Capriles does.

          • GAC : The regime claims to respect rule of law , the law does not allow the confiscation of productive private land , adequate compensation must be offered and paid , In actual fact the regime confiscates productive private law without paying compensation to reward its followers with land which productivity they cannot maintain. Because you have no direct actual contact with Venezuelan reality you are ignorant of what happens in Venezuela and therefore should refrain on opining on what you know nothing about . Do you know the name of the biggest hacienda in Merida (a huge track of land the size of a county north of the panamericana highway with a private airfield) , do you know who owns it ?? do your know how much he paid for it?? . If you knew the answer to these question then you would shut up. why dont you?

          • Actually I’ve been in Venezuela for years studying precisely this issue. But if all you can respond with is “shut up” then you’ve just admitted that you have no argument, haven’t you?

            Should landowners be able to maintain massive landholdings without producing them? Just answer the question Bill. We already know Capriles’ answer.

          • By the way, overall agricultural productivity has increased under this government, as has total hectares under production.

            So spare me the nonsense.

          • GAC, you seem to be a smart guy, but you surely don’t believe that INE (/ONU/WB)-provided nonsense about increased productivity/hectares-in-production??!?

          • Even the opposition recognizes this. How else could you explain that production has grown by an average of 2% per year (also recognized by opposition ag organizations).

          • You have not answered either NET’s question NOR bill’s, and then, you also make the ludicrous statement, “And even if it were true that they now produce nothing, that is beside the point.” Seriously? After you just raised the question about the huge acreage farms not doing anything, then your comment about the unproductive cooperativas? Also, when you make a statement such as, “…overall agricultural productivity has increased under this government, as has total hectares under production.”, you should probably cite some sort of source or some other sort of corroboration. Because, otherwise, pura paja.

          • If such growth were true, vs. a similar general population growth, there would be few/if any shortages, and surely not a much-greater dependence on imported food.

          • I’ve cited the statistics here millions of times. If you’re still ignorant of basic facts, informate:


            And yes, we are not discussing what has happened with cooperatives. We are discussing what Capriles position is on latifundios. He supports them, and says he will respect them. Do you think that is okay? Is that good for Venezuela?

          • “If such growth were true, vs. a similar general population growth, there would be few/if any shortages, and surely not a much-greater dependence on imported food.”

            WRONG. You are assuming that consumption has not grown. But the reality is it has exploded, as has been generally recognized by anyone who is remotely serious (e.g. not at Caracas Chronicles)



          • We’ve been through this before, and I’m only cooperating so that you don’t leave serious mistaken impressions for our foreign visitors: Both series of statistics are from the World Bank (remember, one of my college roommates was chief economist there), and based on LIES by the Venezuelan Government, since the WB accepts participating nations generally-truthful statistics at face value (Venezuela is an untrustworthy ROGUE nation on the world scene, in many ways). Finally, the first series of statistics on agricultural productivity has that pesky footnote you so often ignore-“constant dollars as of Jan. 17, 2013-before the recent massive Bolivare/$ devaluations).Fin de siecle!

  9. A shame GAC has spent years in Venezuela studying agricultural subjects and has blinded himself so thoroughtly to reality that all he can do is spout ( one of his favourite words) the regimes doctored statistics in vain attempt to argue the undefensible !! I wonder whose been paying him all these years for playing with fabricated stats !! and still he cant answer the question about who the biggest landowner of the panamericana region of merida is , a hint, he is about as rojo rojito as you can be !! of course he has nothing to say !! he is a waste of time!!


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