Ad wars: #CongresoCiudadano edition


This is the first promotional video I see for the upcoming Congreso Ciudadano.

Whatever your opinion on the initiative, this is no two-bit, one-person show. Lilian Tintori, Gaby Arellano, Antonio Ledezma, Maria Corina, Smolansky, Nitu, and music by Los Amigos Invisibles … this group can be many things, but they are not irrelevant. In fact, they represent a broad cross-section of opposition world.

What do you think?

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  1. I waited 15 years for the opposition to come up with a message like this…. That is why I fight for. I oppose the government not because I am a hater, its because I love my country and all it entails. We love life more than them, and that’s why we will win. I hope this is no isolated message and all communications will make me feel how I felt after watching this

    • !5 years to call for a massive gathering to ask us what’s cooking, what we need and/or want…? For God’s sake! Where have they been all these years? Doing what? They should be coming to us to propose a definite Agreement Covenant with a Government Plan, a what-we-are-all-commited-to-doing from this moment on to recover Venezuela. A sort of Pacto de Punto Fijo as far as commitments is concerned. They should by now have a very clear and lucid road map to lead us through. They are the ones that by now, I gather, know como se bate el cobre in Venezuelan politics. The great majority of us ciudadanos can only contribute wishful thinking. Just read the opinion columns in the papers and Internet: mostly idealistic ideas of what-should-be (deber ser) rather than a call for síganme los buenos in the best Chapulin Colorado fashion. Of course, I am refering to a well thought and discussed plan for action, considering all errors commited so far (experience it is called) and the knowledge gathered of the internal strings governing politics in Venezuela. Congreso de Ciudadanos? Coman mamey…

      • I know Agreement Covenant sounds (is) redundant. I wanted to play with the idea of an Agreement to Agree (on common, main, core objectives).

  2. So how will this video be viewed by the majority of the population? It is impressive but is there enough of the right kind of media available to spread the message?

    • Glenn, didn’t you get the feeling of having seen/heard this before…? Somewhere, sometime… I’m certain of having seen a million versions of this same approach! Used by the regime during the last 15 years. I fully agree with you in that this is another instrument that does not sube cerro. It’s more navel contemplation…

      • Edmundo have you “subido cerros” yourself? Do you live en el Cementario or Propatria? Have you walk the Nva Granada or El Valle? It may be wishful thinking but at least they are trying to get people together…and they are trying to get to those people that maybe have gotten something (crumbs??) from the government but with a very high cost.

  3. What a difference between this and the previous efforts from MUD acolytes. It’s about time that the makers of this ad conveoyed a broad representation of Venezuelan reality, rather than a select group of sifrinoide-sounding young actors playing a role. Now, let’s see how well roll outs are carried through.

    Call me cautiously optimistic.

    • Dear Syd, you’re still in time of not wasting your cautious optimism… Look closely: the video is no different from a great bunch of previous versions, used specially by the regime. Sure, there are more images of plain citizens closer to Venezuelan ethnic ADN, but is that enough to make the message more credible? A leader in any field must be CONVINCING, and all this come&go by the opposition “leaders” conveys no confidence. Call me crudely pesimistic. Sorry. It makes me sad too.

    • of course he’s not joking, it includes all of the people of the oppo that he likes, and none of the ones that he doesn’t like. but agreed to everyone that pointed this out, this is definitely not a broad cross section. please.

      • Broadness is in the eye of the beholder. There are at least five political parties (Vente, VP, Copei, PV, VP) supporting the Congreso, along with people from outside political parties, student leaders, etc. I meant that it was broad instead of being just Capriles and his gang.

        • Juan, I know you are not a journalist, so I guess you have no mandate to be objective, I somehow though get the feeling that you are being a little bit too partial on your comments on Capriles. You seem to have a genuine and profound dislike for him and you are contributing somewhat to the radicalization of the opposition disagreement. I think we can all agree on the fact that we should be acting together. I understand the chasm might be too great by now. Maybe as long as we agree on an electoral unity, it is ok for us to be divided. I however think it is not fair to say that one side is at least doing something, while the other isn’t. I think they have two very different objectives, or at least methodologies when it comes to bringing about change and progress. You might not agree with Capriles’ but I think that your are disregarding reason and going with gut when you refer to him. Refering to Capriles and his gang is disparaging and you are implying his gang is not a broad cross section. I think it is, but if it isn’t, I know he is trying to make it so.
          I must admit that this has made me come back to your blog less and less. I respect your opinion, but I do feel attacked for being Caprilista, which I say with pride. You are an economist, if I am not mistaken, as am I. I believe that what made your blog great was that you used to weigh all the possibilities and gave a well informed account of the situation. Maybe I am wrong, maybe since I used to agree with you, I just thought it was that way. I feel your blog has become a propaganda for #lasalida, and if that is so, it is withing your right. I just miss coming to the blog everyday.
          Still, I believe it is still worth my while to come once in a while.

          • Fabiana,

            Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Maybe I’m overdoing it. I don’t have a genuine dislike of him, I am simply disappointed by him, by his inability to grasp the gravity of the moment. Those are two separate things.

            However, I do not think it’s fair to say we’re for #LaSalida. We’re on the record attacking #LaSalida, perhaps just as much as Capriles.

            One of the things I was shooting for when the new period on the blog began was to be more of a consensus builder. I think the nature of the events is making me go the other way, and I have also noticed lately a bit of a shrill tone in my posts. I’ll think about it … and I appreciate you calling me out for it.

            Finally, I referred to Capriles’ “gang” because, latelty, it seems that Capriles is not interested in forging a consensus with other elements within the opposition. In fact, he seems more eager to engage chavistas than people on his own side. That has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.


          • Fabiana, one last thing. This,

            “I must admit that this has made me come back to your blog less and less. I respect your opinion, but I do feel attacked for being Caprilista, which I say with pride.”

            is troubling. You sound like a well-informed, smart person. You should not be afraid to be challenged, or to challenge those who criticize your beliefs. Don’t run away from honest confrontation. Question your assumptions. And if you’re a Caprilista, ask yourself if he’s saying the things he needs to say.

            Just some friendly advice.

          • I appreciate your advice Juan. And I guess I didn’t express myself adequately. I am not afraid to be challenged, I actually love it. I was just a bit concerned with always seeing what seems to me one side of the story only. I understand you are disappointed, I know a lot of people are. Maybe his message doesn’t get out the right way, or it just isn’t share by many.
            I really like your response and I think I will be coming back more often, I just hope to see less attacks and more constructive criticism towards Capriles. He is not perfect, I don’t think anyone is, but I do give him credit for wanting to sum people to opposition and not just looking at each other while waiting chavistas, or former chavistas to see the light.
            That’s all. Thanks again.

          • Me alegro, de verdad he internalizado tu comentario. Voy a pensar en qué tan justo estoy siendo cuando escribo. O quizás es cuestión de salpicar a los otros también. Lo que pasa es que me da vaina andar criticando a Leopoldo, por ejemplo. #FineTuning

          • Does he have a message? I believed for some time. He repeats “education, education, education”, but he doesn’t give us the details.
            He condemns the government when it talks about oil prices and he will do the same about devaluation.
            He says initially we have to wait until 2019 and now, after being pushed for it, he says we need something better but he was incapable to offer something alternative to the guys who were claiming for LASALIDAYA (and I rejected those as I knew they didn’t have a plan)

          • [I however think it is not fair to say that one side is at least doing something, while the other isn’t.]

            This, to me, seems to be the core of the problem. There is a generally held view that the position of Capriles & the MUD is one of just waiting for the next election. This is a view held by large swaths of people, one that I see even from the brightest commentators here. It seems to stem from several causes:

            1.- No PR or even worse bad PR by the MUD on what is their understanding of the situation and their vision for a way out of it. In this Capriles doesn’t help because he is terrible at expressing his views. One of his virtues while campaigning was that he was disciplined and could stay in message, without straying away. But when he has to ‘wing it’ or express without a prepackaged message he fails badly. He needs a PR consultant 24/7. The MUD on the other hand, hasn’t articulated publicly their vision either although they seem to have one agreed by most with exceptions (MCM, LL, AL).

            2.- For many people any long term strategy is equal to doing nothing, akin to: ‘lets wait until 2019’. They are desperate and want solutions now. In that sense, clearly visible actions now make them hopeful that this time results may be possible, something is being done. Slow moving strategies are unacceptable.

            3.- A misunderstanding of the nature of the conflict. The only asset the opposition has is the support of the people, a few support it vehemently, other decidedly, others are lukewarm, others come and go. It is about half of the population. The regime has about the same level of support, plus all the oil money, the government jobs, becas, missions, gifts, the media, the military, the judges, the police, the ‘laws’, the Tupamaros, the CNE, the ‘moral power’, the lies, the authority positions. It is a one sided contest. The opposition is at a huge disadvantage. The government has no scruples at all and it will not be swayed by appeals, protests, manifestations.

            The only hope the opposition has is increasing the people’s support and that does not happen overnight. Since the government can not be swayed it is the people that needs to be swayed. The actions of the opposition need to go in that direction, at least for now. Only after having a big decided majority can pressure be put on to the government. The government knows this and will fight it tooth and nail, with persuasion, money, gifts, lies, slander, bribing, persecuting, intimidating opposition leaders, using any and all tactics. For them is fight to the death. They may even go as far as reversing some of their destructive policies to give a reprieve to the people (if only they were capable).

            4.- An overestimation of the possibilities of voluntarism. They believe that even if they are a few, and have very limited resources, if they protest harder, are louder, walk more, talk smarter, results must follow in the short term. That the government will have to listen. They ask why don’t they do anything about the CNE?

          • … why don’t they do anything about the CNE?
            Because little can be done until there is more strength on this side. In that sense it bears remembering this principle:

            It is not that we need an honest CNE to defeat the regime. It is that to get an honest CNE, first we need to defeat the government.

          • We also hear this a lot: “At least they are doing something”.
            While complete passivity is seldom a sound strategy, doing something can, sometimes, cause more damage than waiting. This year presented a good opportunity to increase significantly the ranks of the opposition. With an economic crisis looming large in the future the discontent with the government is bound to increase to unprecedented levels. No military commander would rush an attack on a superior adversary when on the horizon an ally army can be seen approaching slowly but surely. The logical move is to wait and mount a joint coordinated attack. #LaSalida represented that rushed attack that couldn’t wait for the economic crisis to hit. History is plagued with examples like this where military battles were lost due to rushing.

            This is an extremely difficult struggle and the plan needs to be drawn with a cool head not with emotions. Above all unity is paramount.

          • Your analysis is accurate and worthwhile, in my book. Forgive the troll; he has done very good work in the past, and hopefully will return to his war-torn iPad.

          • Thanks pollinob.
            I don’t mind the trolling, I just didn’t expect it to come from that side.
            I just wish someone as eloquent as Quico could instead help articulate these ideas better than I am capable of.

  4. In order to grow cells must divide first. The key to growth is to keep the bond that unites both halves, if not the growth will be chaotic, a cancer.

    Perhaps both groups in the opposition can coexist collaborating but also competing.

  5. I’ve seen stuff like this before.
    Congreso Ciudadano? And we see Milos Alcalay and María Corina Machado and López’s wife?
    Well, if they really needed to appear…
    Shouldn’t they have been a little bit more concrete about the rule of the game? It sounds like another meeting for feeling good.
    For me it was too kitsch. That is not the same as “del pueblo”.

  6. Does the word “ciudadano” resonate broadly in Venezuela? In some countries, people think of themselves as belonging to “el pueblo”, and of “ciudadanos” being more middle class. Perhaps this reflects the “ciudad” origin of the word, but in some places I think that origin is still reflected in how people self-identify.

    I don’t know the answer to this, just wondering a-print.

  7. Terrible ad. It doesn’t raise anything inside me. I agree with presenting solutions. I liked the clarity with which Julio Coco was speaking in his first videos, now that was inspiring. He deflated afterwards but that initial impact was unique. Stop gathering politicians and famous people to send say some words in front of a camera that were obviously rehearsed and edited. It seems fake and doesn’t create impact. It’s like a huevo sin sal.

  8. conchale, que dificil es esta audiencia!

    No one ever gets it right. I congratulate the ones involved in organizing and in participating and assisting, also anyone discussing and promoting the event. Qeu sea poco, que sea exclusivo, que sea sectario,…
    well it is another intent and another effort to steer public opinion and make a point.

    Much better than nothing, and much better to doing nothing and waiting for anyone to do something and then critique.

    Kudos to the congreso ciudadano, and kudos to all the ciudadanos haciendo politica en venezuela.

  9. A huge majority of people in Venezuela have no qualms about lying, stealing or killing, they are in full power now. Those that do have qualms had their chance and messed it up! Maybe in another 100 years they might have a chance again! Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try everything short of lying, stealing or killing, just that the odds are very heavily stacked against them. after hundreds of years of history, one might say these are genetic traits by now, very hard to get rid off!


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