Why vote?

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We’ve all heard it: we need to go out and vote on December 8th. But why? What difference will it make if your mayor is red or blue?

The answer is: it won’t. With all due respect to the hard-working folks at several of our most important municipalities, the era of innovative public policies at the local level … is over. With the looming fiscal crisis, the hyperinflationary warning signs, and with the price of oil going south, it’s simply common sense to expect a deep crunch in public spending. And where will the crunch happen? Where will they cut?

They will begin with opposition local governments.

Local mayoral posts will become a hotbed of protests against the government for “their rightful budget.” They will mobilize to get their fair share, and the crumbs they do get will be spent on paying overhead and labor costs and little else.

Sure, it will be a relief if your municipality wards off the red attack, but that’s cold comfort. In the meantime, the most pressing issues will remain the same or worse. Crime will remain out of control. Inflation will continue to soar, while official statistics go the Argentine way. Having a blue mayor will not replenish the shelves. Your garbage is probably going to spend unhealthy amounts of time on the curb.

However, there is one important way in which December 8th matters: it serves as a dress rehearsal for whatever is coming.

Capriles has already said it. In 2014, he and the MUD will go after Maduro. Whether it is via some sort of referendum or a Constituent Assembly is not clear, but that’s the goal.

However, in order for that to work, he needs to convince his opposition loyalists of his main case – that fraud cannot flip elections when the margin is comfortable.

I don’t know if this is the correct strategy or not, and I’m sure each person has their own opinion. What seems undebatable is that December 8th is some sort of litmus test on Capriles’ strategy, and his leadership.

Capriles could fail to deliver on December 8th. Maduro could win the popular vote, or the MUD could win by a whisker. Anything other than a 3-point victory (just to throw a number out there) will leave Capriles’ strategy on reallllly shaky ground.

If Maduro wins, how will Capriles be able to rally disgruntled, disillusioned opposition voters that the solution is electoral in nature? If, in the middle of a severe economic slump; with a dithering, bumbling fool as a President; with oil revenues drying up fast; how can you not win an election?

Sure, there is the issue of lack of media access, lack of funding, and the fact that there is still some money in the pot to be spent on goodies. There is also the CNE, etc. etc. And yet … how can Capriles convince us of the next step if we hit a wall in a couple of weeks? Can he recover from another close-but-no-cigar election?

I may be wrong, but I doubt he can.

December 8th really is a referendum on Maduro. But it might as well also be a referendum on Capriles.

1 COMMENT

      • I’m with GTA. You come so close to saying ‘don’t vote, sucker’ by laying the ground so thick with negatives that one thinks, is it worth voting? And yet, this post of well-reasoned arguments is necessary, in order to see the flip side.

      • I wouldn’t summarize as “Don’t vote, sucker”. I’d summarize it as “Forget about the mayors. This election is about Maduro and Capriles”

      • I don’t think this:

        “What difference will it make if your mayor is red or blue?
        “The answer is: it won’t.”

        “there is one important way in which December 8th matters: it serves as a dress rehearsal for whatever is coming.”

        “Anything other than a 3-point victory (just to throw a number out there) will leave Capriles’ strategy on reallllly shaky ground.”

        “Can he recover from another close-but-no-cigar election?
        “I may be wrong, but I doubt he can.”

        easily translates to this:

        “I think we should vote because, if not, we’re toast.”

  1. Venezuela is sliding into full blown communism now. It is sad that people let race and class hatred blind them so utterly that they embrace an ideology that has already wreaked horrific havoc elsewhere. They rush joyously to steal a TV that can’t be repaired when it breaks because the store is now closed, but have no milk or toilet paper and blame the CIA instead of the idiots they have elected. 90 per cent of murders go unpunished but they build expensive missile sites in poor neighborhoods because the gringos are going to attack the poor and steal their oil (which they already get by buying it). They have to import what they used to produce but see no danger in this. Beware the poor when they take political power! Hate and stupidity = destruction.

    • Hogwash, Dave Hill. The poor are not any more hateful, stupid and destructive than the rich. The most powerful players of Chavismo are all wealthy.

          • Geez… That was supposed to be an anti-clasist rant?
            Sounded to me like, “I don’t mean to be clasist, but fuck the poor”

          • I am quoting Dave.
            I suppose he, like Firepig, is not Venezuelan. Still, I do think there is a tiny group within the old upper classes who do think like he does. Associating with people that have such an attitude is utterly bad.

          • I know. You highlighted what I guess you also thought was a worrysome quote. I just didn’t open another reply to hammer the same issue.

            Those quotes are the reason chavismo feels like justice to their voters. Because at least one chavista is created when the doña in Easter Caracas refers to the poor in the presence of her housekeeper, or cachifa as she likes to call her, as “those people” or even better, “those animals”.

            Another reason is that the same people who live off of their parents or a trustfund in a fiscal paradise, are adamant that UCT can’t happen because then the poor won’t work, they’ll just want to party.

            It’s lord and serf mentality. “These people just don’t know their place”.

          • Oh but I am Venezuelan Kepler, and I still have a daughter there…do you?

            Was I born there no, but so what?I am also quite sure I lived there longer than you have had life.

          • what a silly rationalization, firepigette. Desperation must be setting in. Let me see if I get this right.
            You once arrived to Vzla as a young adult. Then you left that country with new husband in tow, to return to your native US, while leaving a grown daughter behind. That means there’s nothing about Venezuelan politics that you don’t know (…) You repeatedly promote that voting is a bad idea and that Venezuelans are all naïve, you being superior, of course. You earlier tried to hoodwink us with your routine of having 1,000 family members, mostly living in barrios. Then you were forced to admit you “misspoke”. You have distant family in or from Belarus, supposedly, therefore there’s nothing you don’t know about that country’s politics, either, which of course makes you an expert on extrapolating what happens there to Venezuela (…) Shall I go on? Or, do you really think you’re fooling people?

          • Xenophobia is uncalled for.

            I don’t know firepigette’s life story. Maybe she naturalized Venezuelan, maybe she didn’t. Marrying a Venezuelan and living here a long time would qualified her for it. On top of that she has family links to Venezuela, so I see no reason to refer to her as some bicho raro.

  2. Let’s for “try on for size” this idea that 8D is “a referendum on Maduro” for the opposition, with the outcomes of particular races secondary. Is this for real? Or is this just a thing HCR says cuz it sounds nice?

    If it was for real, you’d expect to see the opposition campaigning evenly throughout the country. You’d expect to find it campaigning hard in areas where its candidates for mayor are unlikely to win, but where large concentrations of class D voters live. Places like San Francisco, south of Maracaibo, and in Guatire and Guarenas. You’d expect it to put on a truly national campaign.

    Trouble is, nobody in Caracas – not even HCR – has the authority and the power to impose a national campaign on oppo candidates. Because there is no such thing as “a national campaign for the opposition” – there are only candidates for mayor in 335 separate municipalities, each running on the basis of the resources he or she is able to cobble together. And those resources are distributed highly unevenly, with candidates perceived to be unlikely to win struggling to attract even bare bones support in terms of organization, money and media presence.

    Which is why you see is the opposition sinking huge amounts of cash into marginal races, and more or less conceding areas where it’s not likely to win, but could narrow its losing margin from, say, 30 points to 10 with a bit of elbow grease. In other words, 8D as national referendum exists only on a rhetorical plain.

    Capriles doesn’t just lack the power to lead a movement able to destabilize the government in 2014. He doesn’t even have the power to make the opposition run the kind of campaign he says it’s running. I don’t even say that as a criticism, I just note it as a regrettable fact.

        • Well, that could be caused by a number of factors. But they *are* campaigning nationally, it´s disingenious to say otherwise. Just today, Maria Corina was in San Francisco while Capriles was in San Juan de los Morros.

          • They are as mobilised as they can be, withouth the resources for a media or national image campaign. My father has gone to all states twice over…

      • I agree with Francisco here. On the last post I was about to write how depressed I was by all the attention not only people in the globosphere but above all our “opposition leaders” were putting to 1% of Venezuela’s territory and about 10% at best of its population: greater Caracas. I know those guys are looking for jobs in their constituencies in El Hatillo and Chacao and such but still…

        Apart from the “Trio” (or Trilogía to Chavistas) of Capriles, López and Machado,
        the rest of our politicians do not seem to be moving their asses…just staying put in their wee wee feudal territories.

        • Well let’s put it in criollo “con que culo se sienta la cucaracha” they do not have the money! Remember campaigns can be expensive….

          • María, it’s hard, it’s very hard and given how transportation in Venezuela is so gruesome now – it always was quite a feat to travel around – it is really hard.
            And yet a couple of other politicians could make their voice be heard even in Caracas or Valencia about the fact they “think”, they “support” people in Punto Fijo or Maturín, in Barinas city or Boconó (all places with more than 100 000 people, by the way).

            Twitter is a very distorted mirror of Venezuelan society, but mirror nonetheless (one just needs to bear in mind how over-represented some groups there are to “normalize”)
            Still, try search there for “Maturín elecciones” or “Hatillo elecciones”.
            Take a look at how many hits include MUD politicians

          • Yes, campaigns can be expensive, but even if the opposition had more money and exposure for this campaign it will be focusing on the ones it can win, because the control of patronage networks is seen as necessary for survival by any Venezuelan politician.(Contratos y cargos para los panas) Venezuela has really not change that much in 200 years.

          • To be fair, as much as I dislike the back-room part of politics, the regaladera, doesn’t ‘contratos y cargos para los panas’ happen everywhere, even in (gasp!) latitudes norteñas.

  3. I have to disagree with you, in the current legal frame there is a big difference between having a red or a blue mayor, this is especially true in the big municipalities like Valencia, unlike governorships, these mayoralties have relevant internal revenue from some taxes, maybe not enough to cover their entire expenses without the situado, but certainly enough to do some important things, in Carabobo for example, there is a big difference between opposition held San Diego and Naguanagua, and chavist held los Guayos or San Joaquin, It’s safe to say that the blue guys do have a better record in keeping the streets clean and the lights working than their red counterparts. Even in Valencia the previous administration of Paco Cabrera was considerably more efficient than the one of AlcaParra.

    Naturally my comment would be rendered irrelevant if the goverment use the enabling law to eliminate their tax recolection or get rid of the mayors altogether, so in a way a victory of the opposition would leave us with little (if any) more power than what we have now, still, I think that the mayor’s elections are more important than the governor’s ones.

  4. Regarding:
    “And where will the crunch happen? Where will they cut?
    They will begin with opposition local governments.
    Local mayoral posts will become a hotbed of protests against the government for “their rightful budget.” They will mobilize to get their fair share, and the crumbs they do get will be spent on paying overhead and labor costs and little else.”

    Municipios have a bit less dependency on central government than Gobernaciones, because of several municipal taxes: Patente de Industria y Comercio being the most important, but also tax on housing, tax on vehicles, etc.

    Given the above, Municipios are an excellent platform to show ‘una buena obra de gobierno’ IF the mayor and his/her team are fairly competent (Ocariz being a prime example of this, Miriam Nascimiento (El Hatillo) its flip side). And probably the only way to convince people that an Oppo government is not a reincarnation of evil.
    Add to this communicational hegemony and that there are no programmed elections in about 20 months, and it fairly clear that adding new Oppo municipalities (and Juntas Parroquiales) is quite important.

  5. Oh you are so full of it!
    You are giving up!
    I imagine that you will cooperate with some guy raping your wife if he has a gun.
    You might even offer yourselves.
    And you might stand by while you muse about why the guy wants to do it: is he a poor guy? Was he abused as a child?
    Go ahead and remove this post.
    I am done with this site.

  6. Based on the strict logic of circumstances Churchill should have surrendered to Hitler in 1940 and Mandela to Apertheid rule in the 70’s , the thing is that even when circumstances dont inmmediatelly favour you , doing what your conscience tells you , expressing your beliefs and feelings whichever way you can is just part of human nature . I dont know if dec will bring a small or large win for the opposition or more dissappointment , Im betting on the former but whatever the outcome lots of people will feel good about expressing their position by voting. To give up without even attempting a gesture of dignity would be shameful . Its great to be calculating and pragmatic but sometimes the proof of your own dignity is just being stubborn and dogged. If a mayority is won then it will do much to make the regime feel weaker and vulnerable , if the results are stolen it will heighten peoples resolve and anger which can work fine for future efforts. Capriles is presently not just a person , he is a voice that many people need to hear to find their own way in a very dark moment in their lives.The govt is facing its worst moment , thats why they are trying so hard to suffocate their opponents freedoms !! .

  7. Maybe it is a referendum on how much more punishment a significant segment of the public is prepared to take before they vote their actual preference.

  8. Wow, this post really stirred up a lot of emotion. For one, I did see it as an analysis of why the vote is important at the national scale and in the long term (even if the local effects are subject to lots of gov restrictions) rather than an announcement that all hope was lost.

    I really liked the phrase that this is a litmus test, and that’s not just because I’m a chemist. Given the amount of media control, this election is in fact a good measure on the political feeling of the country, and also, the degree to which people want to participate, good results for the oppo won’t just mean that Maduro isn’t liked, it would also mean that people are (somewhat) committed to doing something. At this point, being against Maduro and doing nothing about it is not really going to cut it. Sure, the government has all sorts of electoral advantages, but it’s still a chance for people to actually voice an opinion, por cursi que suene. Even if they make chávez himself vote a thousand times all over the country to push their candidates or whatever, the votes cannot be taken away in a sense. And I feel this is important in the media polarization that is occurring, since it’s hard to get a sense of the true sentiment out there.

    Of course, there’s a big difference in perception between me, a foreigner who looks at this election as something that can only be observed, as a measurement, and someone in Venezuela who can vote, participate and campaign and who knows the results will actually affect their lives.

    In short, yo creo que en estas elecciones se le va a medir el aceite a muchas cosas. Pero eso es fácil decirlo cuando uno es ingeniero en otro país y otra cosa cuando uno es pasajero.

    • As you suggest it is not trivial to deconvolute potential reasons for voter abstention. As much as people see the results of 8D as a referendum, i see it as one mainly on Maduro, for the reasons you note, and secondarily if at all on Capriles. I don’t see why outcome of local elections should be strongly correlated with national results, people might just as well vote if they think their vote will make a difference in THIS election, why spend resources just to be counted if the vote will not have an effect? To make sure the system is not rigged? Not sure….

      The question of how the government will allocate resources depending on the outcome is of course important, but i am not sure much can be done by individual voters or by opposition in that regard. In fact el Hatillo and all other munis might as well go red, flattening the political landscape and creating a conundrum for maduro as he struggles to allocate resources and gets ALL blame.

      So an absolutely key question is: to what extent do voters blame the central versus regional governments for their plight?

  9. There are many perspectives of this election. Let me describe a few. First of all, there is the economic disaster in full bloom that as far as I can tell has no solution no matter what the election results are. The Chavismo promise, whatever it is suppose to be, clearly is not going to be very good for the majority of the electorate, and this reality is clearly reflected in Maduro’s rhetoric, which is mainly lies and scapegoating. How much longer is this strategy going to work politically? It can only work, maybe for the short term, but it does nothing for the economic deterioration, and if anything, it reinforces the impossible expectations of all those dreaming of a socialist utopian paradise. It is a common theme of the confidence racketeer, who disappears in the end with the loot. Except, Maduro hasn’t figured that out yet. It will be interesting to watch how the rule by decree and how all the crooked government institution, with all their power to impose their political will, how they plow the economy into the ground and continue trying to cover up the visible truth until the futility becomes a fiasco! If the opposition takes control too soon, the political polarization will continue, and it will stifle recovery and the Chavismo lying and blaming will continue unabated undermining any hopes of a rapid recovery. It will be a long-term triumph to discredit Cavismo and eliminate it altogether no matter how painful.

    • Yes, in this distorted reality the work of the honest only goes to serve the dishonest. It’s like the cuban exiles unintentionally propping up the castros by helping the ones they left behind. Communist parasites…

    • The tactic you describe can work if the government has control of the media (Chavizmo has sufficient) and if enough educated, capable people leave. Chavizmo is trying hard to achieve the latter, but it’s not there yet. In the most similar case in recent history – Zimbabwe – a third of population left the country. Zimbabwe is a more extreme case, I estimate no less than 2 million people still need to leave Venezuela for MUD to become unviable.

      • Take Belarus. Most people who wanted a change left.
        Nowadays their leaders spend a lot of time talking to the international media in fluent
        English (those who were not detained and beaten and all the rest).

          • Very good video. Learned helplesness “Indefensión aprendida” is actually one of the objectives of chavismo, a point explained by JJ Rendon in his El Poder de Uno speech.

        • When the time comes, that one feels unwelcome in their homeland, either the homeland has to change or one has to change homelands.

          • J Navarro,

            To the extent that is possible.Many people cannot leave.

            But I do agree that it is a matter of intelligence to at some point make a sane choice,but remember many are caring for elderly or are elderly etc.

            One thing I notice in Belarus is that a lot of people are only mildly against Lukachenko, simple because they KNOW they have no choice.

            Now things are changing there and there are a lot more enchufados than before, and being enchufado makes people fight less for what is correct.

            This is happening very much in Venezuela as well.I know quite a few “opposition” who are making money like crazy through contacts, and only giving lip service to being in the opposition.Others are more oppositionist but do not want to risk anything, not even a job.

          • As a young professional in Caracas, I know this all too well.

            I have the future ahead of me but also my family to think of. While I stay, even as a middle manager, I earn less every day due to inflation, so the prospect of a buying a house, a car and living comfortably seem like a carrot dangling in front of me, always just out of reach.

            Emigrating it’s the only alternative within my means to achieve this, since I don’t depend on 30 million other people to make the right choice. But I can’t make a high stakes bet, there’s people who depend on me. So I am saving, and doing my research so I can emigrate and work, and make an honest living. I will, however, vote and participate on the side of progress while I’m in Venezuela.

            I just wanted to make the case that people who emigrate aren’t the ones propping up these tyrants. It’s their neighbors, who don’t care to see them leave. Kind of like a toned down version of the adage: First left the businessmen, but I didn’t care because I wasn’t one, then left those with dual citizenship, then experienced professionals, then young professionals, etc. I guess this will end with Venezuelan buhoneros selling bootleg CDs and counterfeit items in the streets of Bogotá, Quito, Lima, La Paz, et al. Oh the irony!

  10. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe most probably only won the first election in 1980. Then they rigged all other elections and continue doing that today – at their free will. I am almost 100% sure the same thing is happening in Venezuela.

    • Nicolaas: do tell us what you would do, if:
      you were a Venezuelan adult citizen (are you?)
      you have ever voted in Venezuelan elections (have you?)
      you had almost 100% proof that the vote in a decade-worth of elections was (totally) rigged,
      not voting would, as previously proven, give up spaces to the reds.

      Snippets that denigrate the dignity of millions of Venezuelans need to be accompanied by an argument, by beef — wouldn’t you say? Moreover in a post that examines the issue.

      • Well, now I know why Nicolaas Smith wouldn’t want to answer my questions.

        He’s not Vzlan, nor has he ever voted in Vzlan elections. He has no vested interest in the outcome of any of Vzla’s elections, and has almost 100% no proof of election rigging, in Vzla.

        He’s just another blower of hot air, trying to promote himself/his book on accounting by extrapolating what he knows about a neighbouring country to his home territory (So Africa).

        Tiresome.

  11. I think I get the point of the post, but it still perplexes (and pains) me that “Why vote” is an actual question that has to be asked. As if there were other magical options for us to take. Last time I checked the amount of Venezuelans ready to grab a rifle and a Molotov cocktail to leave their homes and families behind and fight to death for their political ideas was rather small. If nobody (not even the reds, outside of a colectivo) is willing to go to war, then why it is the question of whether or not to vote so prevalent in our discourse? Exactly what do we want to elucidate with it? Besides, the question seems to imply that we’re doing the political leaders a favor by voting. That somehow, we should be applauded for getting our asses out to a voting center one Sunday a year to click on a touchscreen. How come voting is treated as such a pain? Why is it seen as a gift we’re giving to the candidate instead of as a responsibility we have as citizens?

    Asking ourselves “Why vote?” is akin to a football player asking himself “Why kick the ball?” or a fish asking “Why swim?” We must vote because that’s the most basic way we can be citizens in a democracy; it’s literally the least we can do. In a democracy we are all politicians, not just Capriles and Maduro. We all have a role to play. The question “Why vote?” seems completely irrational to me.

    • You are absolutely right of course, except that it does make sense to think “macro” here, in the sense that an individual response may or may not have an effect in the greater scheme of things, or may not even lead to the best outcome (for instance even if the argument seems perverse, chavista victories may have a greater payoff in the long run for the opposition since responsibility will be placed on them if things continue to deteriorate, and the rate of deterioration may (in some hopefully-not-too-generally-awful-way) accelerate; I can think of other game theoretic reasons why opposition victories in the short run may not help nationwide in the long run – but game theory does not deal with real people, only with Homo electus).

      In addition I am not sure about your argument that voters (a) do not incur a cost when voting, since they have to take time away from other concerns to do so, stand in line, pay a bus fare and travel who knows how far to an election center; (b) may be subject to intimidation and retribution (loss of perks or even employment).

      Of course in the event of a positive electoral outcome these arguments are mute and would sound silly in retrospect, but looking into the current black box of the venezuelan
      electoral system, I am not sure that every voter would or should agree with you.

      • We tried that kind of “macro” strategy in the 2005 parliamentary election… and it didn’t really work out for us, did it?

        Now, there is some cost to voting, that’s true. But I don’t think it’s as high as you’re implying. I have many family members who are public employees and, while it’s true that every time there’s an election they are threatened by their bosses to vote red or be fired, I have never seen an actual case (besides the Tascón/Maisanta lists, which are made of public information) in which they find out who people voted for. Yet every time many fall for the same bluff. As for the bus thing and the cases in which the voting center is changed arbitrarily far from your place of residence (which is not something as common as some people claim), we should also consider the fact that many times the opposition has provided help with transportation. When I lived in Venezuela I did it several times with my own car: people would gather at the Plaza Bolívar and any volunteer could just stop by, pick them up and give them a ride to their voting center. Also there were some buses paid by the opposition. This doesn’t really solve the problem, but it’s a significant help. In any case, I concede that for the specific case of the guy who lives in Caracas and somehow got assigned to a voting center in Caicara del Orinoco, the question of “Why vote” makes sense. But is that really the case of the average voter?

    • People were not retorting to violence in Eastern Europe to get rid of the dictatorships.

      People need to vote. Still, they need to do more and not only the 3 leaders López, Machado, Capriles. People get tired of marches. We need to introduce new ways…like a ribbon or something (just one of many things we can do), things that can be easily organised and are not annoying as the pot banging…things that show “I reject this government”

      • True, non-violent mass action can be taken besides voting. And it will be more or less effective depending on what we decide to do. Some sort of protest can help, especially if it’s something other than the ridiculous pot banging and bailoterapia, but these things only make sense to me in addition to voting, not as alternatives to it.

    • The key words, Alejandro, are “In a democracy”. These are even more key in a representational democracy (as opposed to a direct democracy). If the voters stop feeling that their voice is properly represented, the natural reaction is to start thinking, “pointless!” So the question regarding “why vote” is valid in trying to rationalize oneself to the voting centers when emotions run low. Think depressed people trying to think of reasons to get up in the morning…

    • Out of 335 municipalities, how many are chavista safe mayorships? I don’t actually know the figure, but it must be more than 200. Maybe 250. Basically all the rural municipalities, except for a handful in Táchira.

      Now, from a LOCAL point of view, whether we lose a given chavista heartland alcaldía by 90-10 or we lose them 60-40 makes no difference. From a National point of view, to be able to claim a nationwide popular vote victory, we need to bring our vote totals nearer 40% than 10% in those places.

      Now, puzzle through the incentive structure of someone who’s either an outright opositor or a deeply disaffected anti-Maduro chavista in those areas. Areas where they’re outnumbered in daily life all the time. Areas far from big city media where what happens at the centro de votación stays at the centro de votación. Areas where the oppo witness operation always falters, and in the absence of any effective oppo campaign on the ground could just fail.

      What good reason does an opositor in Parapara have to turn out to vote on 8D? Why would they? Why take that big a risk to ensure a slightly-less-embarrassing-defeat-for-the-local-adeco-who-barely-even-campaigned-(because-the-guy-has-no-money-no-media-and-no-ground-game)?

      I think chavismo will rack up big lopsided wins in these areas. Wins that are more lopsided than Maduro’s win in those areas on 14A. Basically because the opposition voters won’t turn out. And I think that makes the prospect of a nation-wide vote win vanishingly small.

      • I think that the chances are thing too. And even if it happens it will be very tight. But, even if it happens , thanks to SIBCI and self-censorship most people won’t even now, because most people in Venezuela don’t read newspapers except Últimas Noticias who will publish the results ad Desirée Santos Amaral wishes. The chances of this election becoming a referendum on the Maduro presidency are pretty slim to nonexistent.
        I think it is important to vote and call for vote, discouraging voting will be suicidal in case Chavismo down the road loses enough votes for the opposition to win a landslide fraud-proof victory. But that is such a long term, cerebral argument that it doesn’t stick for a lot of people. I don’t think these elections will make much of a difference.

      • In any case, even if the opposition campaign is geographically localized instead of nationally coordinated (which is, I would say, debatable, but I take as an assumption), that doesn’t imply that the results can’t be seen as a national referendum. Considering that the total campaigning budget of the oppo is constrained, the thing we need to answer is: where does an additional Br. have a greater impact in term of number of votes? In municipal elections (where turnout tends to be low), it may well be that the returns to campaigning are larger in places where opposition is already relatively strong, and you just need to convince people to get off their asses on 8-D. Just sayin’.

        Of couse, cases such as El Hatillo, with oppo-against-oppo campaign, are a completely different story.

  12. It is hard to change when so many from the same opposition are ‘ enchufados’ in one way or another.A new level of consciousness is needed there.

  13. My two cents.
    First of all municipal elections matter for 3 reasons:
    1.- Opposition needs to expand its base as much as possible. People like winners.
    2.- Every political space is important in the political struggle.
    3.- Opposition needs to demonstrate they can be a good alternative to the red style of politics.

    That chavismo will mistreat blue municipalities is no reason to dismiss the election. Politically it has no bearing on a decision to vote or not to vote. If you oppose the red government and want a better country then you need to vote.

    “Capriles has already said it. In 2014, he and the MUD will go after Maduro. Whether it is via some sort of referendum or a Constituent Assembly is not clear, but that’s the goal.”

    Sounds like a crazy plan to me. Whatever the result on 8D I do not believe enough political capital can be generated to be able to invoke a referendum or a Constituent Assembly by 2014. Among other things those two options can be easily dragged out and eventually blocked by the reds using the TSJ, AN, CNE and military. Also re-polarize the society by revving up the political confrontation too soon and you may actually be helping Maduro.

    A lot more needs to happen before any of those options become feasible. The rule of thumb is: chavismo needs to be defeated first and then those legal options become a possibility. In that sense 8D is an important milestone but far from a definitive one. To me is just a step in a long journey ahead.

    Of course I may be wrong. Maduro could continue blunder after blunder and self destroy faster than imaginable. The resulting chaos could bring anything.

  14. just don’t vote ok, what difference does it make… says guy in 1998 who has no clue about a future communist regime, enacting all kind of regulations to make the poor even poorer while the well connected and a few business will hoard the oil revenue like there is no tomorrow.

    no vale yo no creo…

  15. I totally desagree with your position. I think that today more than ever, the election of an opposition Mayor is more relevant than before.
    First, they will become the “MUD’s local managers” to implement what ever strategic decision will favor gaining more strength as opposition party.
    Second, they will act as a retaining wall against the implementation of ” government comunas”
    Third, they will be able to expose publicly , the central goberment unjustified lack of funding, and show as Ocaris has done Petare , that thru innovation and management you can get things done with little support from government.
    These are only some of the reasons since I don’t want to extend on these comments.
    But at the end it is “Vital” that every body shows up to Vote! for our local leaders to again prove to the world that we are a mayority.
    Regards
    Pedro

  16. “Better to Die on your feet than to continue living on your knees” Emiliano Zapata………Its time for the real revolution to rear its head. You can only debate for so long before its time to force the agenda.

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