Winning in Parapara?

A new analysis attributes much of the MUD's gains on 6D to improved performance in rural areas. But how did we do in Parapara?


Rural areasFederico Sucre and Hector Briceño have an interesting post over at the Interamerican Dialogue’s webpage. They claim the opposition’s win in last December’s parliamentary election was due to chavista abstention, chavista null votes, and the opposition making greater inroads into rural areas.

Between 2006 and 2010, the opposition increased its electoral growth rates in the country’s smaller cities and large towns, but failed to penetrate the rural areas. In the five years leading up to the 2015 parliamentary elections, the opposition experienced inverse growth relative to the initial 1998-2006 period, finally reaching the country’s most rural areas. The rural support translated into the opposition’s greatest increase in votes, greater than in any other areas or previous periods, marking the breakdown of chavismo’s traditional strongholds.

That;s true in general, but I was sad to verify that the opposition still gets beaten soundly in our old hunting grounds of Parapara, in Guárico state. There, chavismo won 2-to-1.

Despite the gains, the opposition still has one tremendous problem in rural areas: they don’t really have any media. Newspapers are gone, radio stations belong to Diosdado, and there are no private employers really. Everything is in the hands of the government.

So while overall the opposition has made huge gains in rural areas, there is still a lot of work to do.

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  1. The ending paragraph is partially true: yes, we don’t have much presence there, but the truth is that the smaller the town, the less likely campaign resources will be alloted to it. It’s simple spending-the-money-where-it-matters-the-most.

    If you compare the performance in parishes with 5000 voters, 10000, 15000, 20000, 30000, 40000 voters, you’ll see the percentage of MUD votes increase as the number of total voters increases.

    Put simply, it’s not convenient to invest what little money you have where the likelihood of a win having an impact in the big picture is minimal.

  2. Juan , are there any poll numbers on how absentiism distributed it self, ?? the abstention rate was 25% , of which apparently a large part were made up of former chavista votes gone sour on Maduro but not crossing over to the oppo . Some however were made up of people who just were too lazy to vote even if they were not chavista ( e.g. the oppo lazybones of which there are quite a few) , any idea of what part of the absentee population they represented??

  3. I’ll be glad to know what work is left to be done.
    At this point I think we are just talking about votes from people with learning disabilities, corrupt thugs, etc.
    In other words. We have hit the proverbial wall of diminishing returns.

    On March 27, 1997, 39 followers of Heaven’s Gate died in a mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California. These people believed, according to the teachings of their group, that through their suicides they were “exiting their human vessels” so that their souls could go on a journey aboard a spaceship they believed to be following comet Hale–Bopp.

    On November 8, 2016, 70 million followers or Donal Trump elected him as President of the United States. These people believed that Global Warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese as preached by their leader.

    According to archeological evidence found by the 2168 Mission, the last inhabitants of Earth practiced the ritual of Universal Suffrage to select their charismatic cults leaders in their strong belief of representation and human rationality. This has been speculated to be one of the key aspects that contributed to their collapse and eventual extinction.

      • I’d just like to see Common Sense !

        We have to reform the electoral process where the outcome is not a Charismatic Clown but a Competent Person. It shouldn’t be about Identity or Tribe affiliation but Reason
        We have to upgrade the requirements for candidates so we don’t have a bus driver for President and a Economist driving taxis for a living.
        We need to have a system where serious Political decisions are not taken hostage of what is popular for the next elections, the perennial game on mass manipulation.
        We finally have to break this cognitive dissonance and admit that Politics, Economics etc are complex subjects that the average citizen don’t and can’t fully understand let alone people that are not even interested in those subjects.
        Is that unreasonable ?

        Many of these things can be achieved in part by rising the bar on voting rights.
        It shouldn’t be that just because someone turned 18yo, that automatically makes them master on Political issues. It shouldn’t be that in some countries voting is compulsory where even illiterates are forced to vote even if they don’t have a clue for what they are voting on !!
        We need common sense. The expansion of Voting Rights of the 20th Century was a noble idea but in practice didn’t work as we should have learned after the Chavista debacle.

        • In other words what you propose is Aristocracy:

          The problem with aristocracy is that it will always
          turn into another kind of oligarchy
          like plutocracy, theocracy or partycracy
          and eventually into autocracy (dictatorship).

          All these systems suffer from a fatal flaw:
          by remaining in power too long
          the governing elites become corrupted
          and forget about the people.

          A big portion of the population becomes disenfranchised and alienated
          This will create turmoil that needs to be repressed
          and so they become tyrannical.

          “…the worst form of government except for
          all the others that have been tried.”

          …has the virtue of alternancy which “ensures” that no
          group stays in power for too long.
          Also by depending on the people,
          the same you do not trust to vote,
          it “forces” those in government not to forget about them
          or a charismatic figure will sweep them for his cause.
          sounds familiar?

          That is the “virtue” of democracy
          if you forget about the people
          you lose power, it happened in Venezuela
          and the result was Chavez.
          It is happening to chavismo and they are on their way out.


          The corollary of all this
          is that if you want guaranties that something
          like chavismo will not happen again
          the solution is not in trying to disenfranchise people more
          but less.

          The solution lies in lifting people up
          so that they are content and in no need of messianic figures.
          That means that society should work to solve
          everyone’s basic problems (health, education, employment, safety, …)
          through the government and with everyone’s help.

          • You are confusing Democracy with Suffrage.
            Just because you narrow the voting pool to a more selective, smaller set (say 1 million) doesn’t mean you end up with Aristocracy. If anything you end up with a Technocracy, which is not a bad thing considering that Apple, Google, Toyota are in essence Technocracies byproduct of selecting highly educated, qualified and experience personal.
            I think most people will agree that one of the oldest and most successful Democracies has been the USA.
            under their young Democracy, only Property Owners that paid Taxes had the right to Vote!.
            Under that system the USA went on to become a very prosperous nation building the first Transcontinental railway system. And at the turn of the 20th Century is was already building the Panama Canal over France’s failure and Ford’s model T were running on electrically illuminated streets.
            It was during the 20th when the new prosperous middle class started demanding Voting rights expansion and that opened the gate for the many things that are wrong with current Politics.
            “We have expanded representation far beyond that of any prior civilization. We have done so largely without considering the likely results and we ignore the results now that they are becoming evident. It is apparent that we now need a more far-reaching and more cogent analysis than Popper could offer, for if we do not reconsider and thereafter restructure our present systems of self-governance it is highly likely that we shall shortly return to the manifest ills of dictatorship in all but name.”

          • Technocracy like other forms of oligarchy eventually will derive into an oppressive system.
            Because the few that govern become corrupted and forget about the people.

            “… the new prosperous middle class started demanding Voting rights expansion …”

            Just like it happened in the 20th century in the US the people will feel disenfranchised and alienated because there is no outlet for their expression and their needs. They will demand inclusion or will support any new system that promises to include them like it happened in Russia and Germany in the 20th century.
            Which will result in oppression and instability.

            Those are the unintended consequences.

            Oh … and yes, suffrage is an important part of democracy.
            Those that do not have that right do not live in a democracy.
            For instance in South Africa where the whites lived in a democracy while the rest did not.

          • By the way companies:
            – are not democracies and …
            – people are not born into them and …
            – if someone does not like how they work they can simply leave.
            – Also they do not have to deal with crime, education, health, housing, infrastructure, laws, economy, military, …

            So they cannot really be compared to countries.

            Companies fare well when governed by a good visionary leader (just like countries) but when this leader has to be replaced, that is when problems start (just like countries). A crucial part of a government system is in dealing with this succession process.

      • Juan,

        I think I owe you an apology for not ignoring “Toro Volt’s” incendiary comment and for “feeding the troll”. It detracted from the point of your original article. On the other hand, it did smoke out another troll and force him to show his true colors. Nevertheless, if you are annoyed that the conversation went astray, it would be understandable. Sorry.

    • Dude, you remind me of when the African Americans were finally emancipated in 1863 but they were not allowed to vote until 1965 because they were illiterate and/or they couldn’t demonstrate “good character”. You may want to check the Jim Crow laws.

      • Yes, I would love to know illiterates opinion on Inflation, GDP, Free Markets, Taxation, Monetary Policy, LGTB issues, Foreign policy and History. Oh wait, we already know with Chavismo!

        As for race that is a subject you are pushing here. It has nothing to do with it.
        In fact most of Trump supporters are white.

        • Sal de ese cuerpo Sledge!

          Ahora viene el troll este con limtar el voto a “gente como el”.

          Te falto decir que Marcos Perez Jimenez fue la Verga de Triana para completar tu absurda tesis.

  4. Whatever bad is happening in Caracas (food shortages, blackouts, health care collapse, extortion, mosquito borne disease), the situation is markedly worse in rural areas. As resources dwindle, what is not being stolen by the regime is being directed to the capital. People may not get the news, but they understand this fact. How to explain the voting? I think you are right. Some people are voting where their next meal is likely to come from. At a certain point though, that trick doesn’t work any more.

    • Toro you are touching on a taboo subject , the sacredness of mayority opinion as the foundation stone of all legitimacy ……so don’t feel too surprised if people respond with alarm and hostility at the very congent questions you bring up. There is little room in modern minds to accept that Democracy has its limits as well as its virtues , its dangers as well as its opportunities . To warm your sore spirits let me repeat an anecdote about Bolivar (taken by a book by Juan Uslar on the war of independence ) . When Bolivar was at the gates of Caracas at the end of the Campaña Admirable the Spanish loyalists sent a local gentlemen as envoy to parlay with him on the conditions of the city’s surrender , during the meeting the envoy mentioned to Bolivar that he was known to favour the Pardos ( what today some would call The Common People ) to which Bolivar replied ” los halago por que los necesito…” ( I court them because I need them ) .and then pointing at his lips he added “la democracia en los labios” ….and then pointing at his heart “la aristocracia en el Corazon”. The incident is historically documented …

    • I suspect it is because you tend to over do your point. Once is interesting, twice is reinforcing, 125 times over a month across three blogs is trolling. You are committing the twin sins of trolling while being boring as well as being a boor.

      • Well I only raise the point when some else is referring to it , which happens a lot of times , so maybe the point gets mentioned so often because its always a live points to some in this blog. I don’t write for your pleasure so, if its so boring to you, next time you come across the same message just skip it , I don’t mind !!

        However if you think that the point is obnoxious or offensive to your own views and you wish to refute it , by all means offer your arguments , Ill be pleased to hear them with an open mind ……up to you!!

  5. It is very hard to deprive peasant farmers of the food they need for their own subsistence. Stalin succeeded (we think), but only while killing millions. North Korea has compromised, as did later Soviet regimes, by allowing peasants to grow their own produce on small plots. From what I read, chavismo has not yet achieved the ruthlessness and organizational efficiency to wrest away from the small growers the food they need for their own consumption. Perhaps chavismo will try, and re-invent the class of kulaks as a new facet of class warfare justifying theft of other people’s production for the good of the regime.

  6. Hannah Arendt believed that the management and handling of political issues (those very complex human issues where people had to use their criteria because there was no ready made professional knowldege or technical expertize which could do the job ) were to be handled separately from issues of economic or administrative management where professionalism and technical expertize did provide methods or skills for their competent handling) For handling of political issues she believed that democracy was fundamental but that for the handling of economic management issues it was essential to resort to technocratic non partisan organizations free from political meddling . She was very adamant on this ………She could hardly be accused of being an enemy of democracy.

    Someone else who in our own days proposes the separate functioning of the three different elements of a public order is Francis Fukuyama. He proposes that the functioning of an effective state is a job for technocrats and professional managers (he means the running of schools , economic growth, public health, roads etc ) , second the functioning of rule of law (administered by courts and tribunals separate from partisan politics) and then the functioning of a political system to ensure alternation in the top offices of govenment so that all public organs were accountable and could be replaced if they incurred in mistakes and excesses . Democracy’s main role was not in the running of the state agencies nor in the protection of the rule of law but in holding all accountable if they misbehaved so that failed officials could be replaced if they went feral.

    The first thing to consider is that having honest politicians who are full of great ideals and mean the best for the country is uselss or couterproductive if they are given the job of running the state agencies and they lack the technical management and organizational competence and EXPERTISE to do so. This is the stone on which all inmature democracies stumble, for the most part they are incapable of producing functional states …..states that work and produce whats expected of them ……

  7. I´m a relatively new reader-visitor in Caracas Chronicle. I am begining to understand there is an ongoing debate in this magnificent blog/seminar of the highest intellectual level for the enjoyment and enlightment of many readers in Venezuela and abroad. Toro Volt is a valuable participant. He may have a poingnant style for argueing but he has valid and important points of view. So far I haven´t agreed with him most of the times but I consider he deserves respectful and honest answers. It is not a question of “freedom of speech”, which obviously we must defend, it is rather a question of accepting ideas and reasoning contrasting our own discourse in order to enrich the analysis and stimulate thoughts.
    I don´t think this is the ocasión for discussing such deeply consequential subject as democracy and political systems. I take Juan Cristobal´s post as a useful presentation of electoral data. I don´t think he meant reviewing the concept of democracy. However and any way, let me recommend a reading that helped me a lot some time ago to explore the a.m. question: GOULD, Carol C.; “Globalizing Democracy and Human Rights”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 2004 ; Ch. 1 “Hard Questions in Democratic Theory”.
    Toro Volt, please, don´t give up on us !!!!

  8. I see a lot of people talking here about the right leadership based on technocracy and whatnots. For you few recent examples:

    Jaime Lusinchi: Medical doctor, lived in NYC for several years, also senator and General Secretary of AD

    Rafael Caldera: Jesuit, doctor in law, university professor, fluent in 4 languages. Arguably the most educated president ever.

    Ramon J. Velasquez: PhD in Social Sciences, Lawyer, author of many books. He rivals RC in his academic accomplishments.

    Hugo Chavez: Graduate within the top ranks of the Military Academy, although he did not achieve formal academic titles, he is arguably one of the most assertive presidents ever (sadly for us).

    Let’s not mention Romulo Betancourt or even Romulo Gallegos. Even Luis Herrera got a law degree in the Santiago de Compostela University.

    Carlos Andres may have been a little bit unsophisticated when talking, but he was sharp as politician.

    So, yes, electing a bus driver amounts to the level of decay we have but putting smart people in power sometimes does not yield the desired results either.

    It is the core idiot!. Our pragmatism mixed with an almost unavoidable tendency to populism and look the other way (as Caldera did) when the cronies were feasting on corruption (as they always have done and always do).

  9. Academics aren’t necessarily competent in the handling or management of effective or productive organizations ( be they public or private) , the knowledge that counts ( Hausman dixit) is the capacity to actually achieve desirable sustainable results through the optimal use of usually limited resources , in English its known as know how , in Spanish as experticia ……..One superstition of ours is to believe that simply having a professional title qualifies a person to handle public jobs well , Also there is too much importance given to leaders who talk nice and inspire grand emotions in people , and not enough credit given to expert professional teams working together that have learned thru experience to do a job well .

    A good professional may perform mediochrely in a mediochre organization or culture and outstandingly in a well run and outstanding organization and culture , the idolatry of the great leader capable of transforming everything does happen but very seldomly , now a days its teams of experts and talented people working together who get the job done , that’s why you see so many talented Venezuelans who here where nobodys but who having joined good institutions abroad flourished to international prominence .

    Creating those professionally elite teams is hard work and takes time but its them and not just great political leadership which represent the best chance of this country ever putting its act together ….!!


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