The circuit most likely to bring our 102nd candidate is Zulia 3, but to give you a broader sense of the places where the opposition would need to win for the 3/5ths majority to become a reality, here are two other circuits that could be 3/5th Tipping Points.
a.k.a., Caldera’s Final Spinning Place
Where the hell is that? Este de Yaracuy, San Felipe, Nirgua
Yaracuy is another deeply rural state, just the kind of rural area where the state’s economic weight is felt the most. This is Rafael Caldera’s home base and, amazingly, the distant echoes of his influence are still at work in this race.
The MUD candidate is Alejandro Arzola, representing Convergencia Nacional. Do not adjust your sets; that really is still a thing. Rafael Caldera’s post-COPEI personal vehicle party is still getting guys nominated and elected in Yaracuy. It’s downright feudal.
Arzola’s blog – he has a blog! – leans on local issues a lot. (A lot of MUD candidates really go down that route, don’t they?) Access to water seems to be a big theme out there – and not just in this place.
PSUV’s candidate Haydee Huérfano. Here I can’t say much. Her speeches don’t seem exactly innovative – “wooden phrases” is how people in Romania used describe this mode of communicating, where a series of ideological slogans would be strung together and be called a political discourse. Her Twitter feed has some more slogans, but there’s nothing so crass as a political idea anywhere near it. Her Facebook page is about the same. Probably the most telling thing about it is her choice of profile pictures:
Her entire pitch seems to me: Vote for me cuz I’ll give you stuff and I pal around with Diosdado. ‘Mmmmmkay then.
A.k.a. Even Beach Paradises Vote
Where The hell is that? Carupano/Araya
Municipios: Cruz Salmerón Acosta, Ribero, Andrés Eloy Blanco, Andrés Mata, Bermúdez
Say “Carúpano” to a Venezuelan and 9 times out of 10 the first thing that will come to mind is “beach” – the place is famous for having some of the nicest in a country full of great beaches.
A few people might say rum – Ron Carúpano is justly famous. The more cynical may say “poverty” – Sucre state has always ranked as one of the poorest in the country. And if they’re properly “darks” they’ll say “slavish devotion to the governing party, whichever party that might be.”
Again, the kinds of places where the opposition has to fight and win the 3/5ths majority are…not exactly the kinds of places you picture when you think of the Venezuelan opposition.
The MUD candidate is incumbent César Rincones, an adeco who – this is becoming a theme, isn’t it? – is campaigning hard on local issues. Again, access to water is a big issue, and Rincones seems to talk about it all the time.
Rincones was a deputy from 2000 to 2005 and has been the incumbent since 2010. He was actually the last opposition politician to chair the National Assembly’s comptrollership committee – a post that used to be reserved for the opposition even when it didn’t have a parliamentary majority, por razones obvias.
Since 2011 PSUV’s candidate here, Edwin Rojas, has been Vice-Minister for Internal Security Policy and the Rule of Law (Política Interior y Seguridad Jurídica) – a title whose very existence must be some kind of dark joke.
Ever heard of Gran Misión a Toda Vida? I hadn’t either, but it seems to have been his baby.
He’s very proud of having destroyed 16,000 guns handed in by gangsters in 2012, and so are we given how it ended the crime problem and everything. Before that he was General Director for Crime Prevention and coordinator for the Commission for the Police System, CONSIPOL.
He’s never held elective office.