8-D Races to Watch: Barinas

Riescudo_barinas_cityght in the heart of the llanos, there’s Barinas State, native land of the late comandante eterno. Barinas, along with the other heartland states are still Chavismo’s strongest bastion.

However, the capital city (which is also called Barinas) is drifting away from that trend, as the official results of the two most recent elections (last year’s regionals and April 14th’s presidential) can attest.

Now, the MUD has a huge chance of taking the mayorship, thanks mostly to a serious internal fracture in local Chavismo.

Incumbent mayor Abundio Sánchez, candidate for VBR and Juan Bimba.
Incumbent mayor Abundio Sánchez, candidate for small Chavista parties VBR and Juan Bimba.

Incumbent mayor Abundio Sánchez was dumped by the PSUV in his quest for a second term. But instead of simply going along with that decision, he went rogue and launched his re-election bid anyway, thanks to the support of two small parties.

Sánchez has put the blame for the split on Barinas State Governor Adán Chávez, brother of the “giant.” In an interview with El Universal, he said that he would be the comandante presidente’s choice if he was still alive.

Venezuelan Ambassador in Cuba Edgardo Ramírez, candidate of the PSUV and most GPP parties.

Chavismo reacted to Sánchez’s rebellion by kicking him out of the PSUV, and branding him as a sell-out and a traitor.

To keep the mayorship, another local was selected instead: the current Venezuelan Ambassador to Cuba Edgardo Ramírez.

His proposals can be resumed in this quote: “To make a great Barinas, people have to think first of a great Barinas”.

José Luis Machin, candidate of the MUD

Meanwhile, the opposition selected José Luis Machin as its candidate in last year’s primary. He was recently the head of Capriles’ 14-A campaign in the state.

He’s also a sociolgist and a local radio talk show host, but his program faced pressure from the authorities last year to be taken off the air. His main objective in case of being elected is to rescue basic public services in the city.