Halfway through the National Assembly-convened “Popular Consultation” today, reports of irregularities, intimidation and violence have been shockingly few and far between. Venezuelans worldwide have been called to express themselves on whether they support a government-proposed Constituent Assembly to re-write the constitution, or whether they want a new National Unity government to lead a transition away from chavismo. The referendum, self-organized without the help of the government-controlled National Elections Council, is legally non-binding (but politically explosive.)

As of mid-day, just five reports of intimidation had been logged. Two in Cojedes, and one in Amazonas, where according to witnesses, SEBIN and CICPC units shot tear-gas canister into a voting center. In Catia, there were reports of the theft of a bag containing ballots, after colectivos also tried briefly unsuccessfully to stop people from voting. The final one, and the only currently ongoing, is taking place in Sucre State — as SEBIN stopped voting at a single voting center.

That’s a grand total of just one of violence or intimidation in Caracas. No reports in any other large city nationwide.  Worldwide.

The colectivos basically took the morning off. SEBIN slept in, too.

Fiesta democrática

For once, the hoary old cliché means something. There’s a party atmosphere out there….

Big lines have formed at voting centers around the world, in an atmosphere that’s generally described as convivial, with lots of praise for organizers for putting together a simple, well-run vote. There are lots of photos and videos on Youtube, many very moving. We just picked out one to give you a sense of the atmosphere in Caracas…

 

That’s Venezuelans expressing happiness about having to stand in line. Stunning.

SIBCI on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

State media is having a collective aneurism. Its response seems badly disorganized. Parts of the propaganda system is attacking the vote, other parts are reporting it straight, while other outlets go into total denial mode.

Here, for example, is the home page for VTV, the main state propaganda organ, at around 11 a.m.

The only election news it covers is the government’s lame-ass drill ahead of the July 30th constituyente elections. No surprise, VTV has been a real-news free area for years.

Likewise, Ultimas Noticias, probably the most infamous of the now government-aligned newspapers, decided to wish good morning to readers with this beautiful frontpage starring Jorge Rodríguez:

As for PSUV’s official twitter account?

Really weird picture of Diosdado Cabello’s face while talking to the media. Referring to the constituyente’s drill as a “big, popular party”.

The garishly Orwellian “Misión Verdad” at least acknowledges the vote is happening — but only to attack it:

But the Bolichico-run and government friendly El Universal surprises us by running the news relatively straight…

The multiplicity of approaches — “ignore it!” “no, attack it!” “no way, just cover it straight!” — suggests a government totally out at sea on how to respond to this mobilization.

The one thing that seems relatively clear is that Maduro’s speech last night calling on his armed colectivos to respect today’s Consulta Popular wasn’t just for show. They really do seem to have been called off.

That, in itself, is amazing.

Voting Worldwide

Venezuelans abroad, who haven’t been able to vote in years, are out in numbers all around the world. Let no one say the Venezuelan entrepreneurial spirit is dead:

Voting’s happening in all kinds of places. A bar in Berlin. A living room in northern Québec and a sailing club in Uganda. Somebody put together a voting center in Reunion Island — in the middle of the Indian Ocean. And of course, the big diaspora hotspots — Miami, Madrid, Bogotá — have dozens of well-attended voting centers on.

Se acabó la dictadura, chico. Yo me voy a tomar un ron.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Just lost my appetite, chavez TV showed a wide-angle view of Tibisey’s ass as she voted. I think I despise her the most of all the alta-chavistas. Worthless pile.

  2. I write this at 1:30PM, as I’m waiting in the car about 30 minutes…might be an hour…just to make the turn onto Bonaventure Boulevard for my wife to cast her vote in Weston, Florida.

    Turnout is off the charts.

        • 2:45, and still a half mile to go.

          After waiting an hour and 15 minutes, they send out people with signs and telling us to go to Ft. Lauderdale to vote.

          No offense, but this a typical unorganized Venezuelan fuck-up.

          • yes, I hear you, Ira. But consider this: ad hoc volunteering throughout the country and in the four corners of the globe, for a symbolic gesture. That’s something, don’t you think?

          • It is a fuck-up because it is succeeding beyond the organizers’ wildest dreams!

            (Is that an oxymoron?)

        • Sorry Ira, but what you’ve experienced is called an inconvenience. Venezuela, on the otherhand, is a fucking nightmare.

  3. We went to vote in Katy, Texas. THOUSANDS In line. Taking my wife back later. I am so impressed with the passion behind this event.

    • Lamentablemente mataron a dos personas.
      La locura y putrefacción cerebral de esas basuras es tal que no podían soportar la idea de que la gente se exprese, tenían que salir a matar a alguien.

  4. Cifras de Enrique Naime:

    Amazona 61.469
    Delta Amacuro 70.183
    Cojedes 141.969
    Vargas 164.944
    Apure 197.512
    Nueva Esparta 207.019
    Yaracuy 254.943
    Guárico 312.653
    Trujillo 314.011
    Barinas 332.118
    Mérida 357.729
    Portuguesa 360.610
    Monagas 372.562
    Sucre 386.252
    Falcón 397.972
    Táchira 497.382
    Bolívar 582.786 Anzoátegui 632.559
    Aragua 722.380
    Lara 750.871
    Carabobo 928.945
    Caracas 983.073
    Miranda 1.225.452
    Zulia 1.442.415

    Para un total nacional de potencial de *11.697.819*
    I HAVE KNOW IDEA IF TRUE.

  5. Cifras de Enrique Naime:

    Amazona 61.469
    Delta Amacuro 70.183
    Cojedes 141.969
    Vargas 164.944
    Apure 197.512
    Nueva Esparta 207.019
    Yaracuy 254.943
    Guárico 312.653
    Trujillo 314.011
    Barinas 332.118
    Mérida 357.729
    Portuguesa 360.610
    Monagas 372.562
    Sucre 386.252
    Falcón 397.972
    Táchira 497.382
    Bolívar 582.786 Anzoátegui 632.559
    Aragua 722.380
    Lara 750.871
    Carabobo 928.945
    Caracas 983.073
    Miranda 1.225.452
    Zulia 1.442.415

    Para un total nacional de potencial de *11.697.819*

  6. The will wipe their ass with our numbers. Will we be surprised? No. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s a great show of public opinion but nothing will happen.

    You lost me with: “Se acabó la dictadura, chico. Yo me voy a tomar un ron.” Pana, when the dictadura is over I’ll buy you a case of rum.

  7. anyone have a twitter site, where the lines can be viewed, both internally and internationally? I know Chicago has 7 locations that I believe will be closing in about 20 minutes.

    • More nerve?–Ernesto Villegas saying intl. media showing lines to vote for the consulta are really the lines to vote for the simulacro of the ANC.

  8. Another BIG strategic blunder of the Regime–a short while ago Colectivos fired on a well-attended Consulta voting center in Catia, killing 2, wounding 4, and maintaining Cardinal Urosa and a large group of worshipers hostage in Nuestra Sra. De Carmen church, all while intl. visiting observers/”the world” figuratively are looking on….

  9. As our unelected governor finished a pep rally and before the camera could cut away, I heard someone say, “this is a disaster”.

  10. Florida 93k , Spain 91k , rest of the US ?? ,unnoficial of course……..!! The higher the figure the more havoc the oppo can make ……….using those figures to contest the govts right to rule , it gives their actions more weight than if figures had been lower………..it strenghten their playing cards , not enough by itself to cause the regime to cry ‘I give up.’ …foolish to expect that ……but giving the oppo more force to move forward ……., dont expect miracles ….just more wiggle room in the days to come….!!

    • The important numbers are in Venezuela. And it seems that it has been improving all day. Our votes are, well, not irrelevant, but more like moral support.

      The main thing is going to be waking up tomorrow as an GNB, Army officer or Chavista middle-rank officer and have to realize that you cant lie to yourself or to anybody else anymore about how you are “the people”. That the people have told you, clearly, that they dont want what you are … well, not selling, more like ramming down their throats.

      Not that they will not try, and some will keep doing it, but many will have to face the truth and feel they cant keep with this anymore. Or so I hope.

  11. Interesting that there’s virtually no comment so far from alta-chavistas on VTV. It’s all interviews with on-the-street chavists and the theme seems to be peace, love, honey suckles and puppy dog tails, nothing about imposing their wills on everyone else via the ANC.

    I’m wondering if the opps call for this vote today caused the chavistas to shoot their wad here as opposed to doing so in two weeks.

  12. I’m calling bullshit on the chavistas It’s 10 pm here and they’re showing live shots from El Valle of chavistas still in line to vote in a farkin’ practice run. This has to be staged.

  13. We worked tirelessly before the 1998 election trying to convince anybody that wanted to listen, that HCF was going to be a disaster for Venezuela. We did not have to wait too long to witness the beginning of the debacle. It took a natural disaster (deslave) to see his deep psychological complexes, bordering on lack of humanity, when he rejected the help from the USA. There goes Vargas State down the drain.

    Fast forward 19 years, we are all more salt than pepper, HCF gone and a Cuban puppet is in power. More than 200K dead and counting, $2 trillion dilapidated and people eating from the garbage.

    From today’s event we can take home that we do not need somebody to tell us when can we have elections or how to conduct them. We don’t need an army to “secure” the elections.

    As Quico suggested in another post, maybe and just maybe, we do not need the State. This is a scary thought in this day and agae, and not only to us, when we see world powers becoming more authoritarian. In the end, good people, united for a common cause can move mountains. It is nice to be a small part and be a witness.,

    • Alternative scenarios:

      Scenario #1: — This plebiscite didn’t really happen, it was all camera angles and tricks, just an imaginary thing.

      Scenario #2: — You do not need a controlling government central authority, just establish well-regulated militias to maintain law and order, and let people work and dream and make their camera angles and tricks and imaginary things come to life. Make them come to fruition in a real and true society. The role of government is to provide an environment in which people are free to act and work and choose as they best see fit. Not more. You pool money to build roads and dams, and that is done by consensus and with the direction of those who know those things and study them. The idea is the same: to provide an environment in which individuals are free to pursue their dreams and ambitions. Not more. The citizens compose the country, make it a country. How can they do that if each is not free to act as an individual? Has anyone ever seen a group of people without individuals in it? Ever? The individual is the sine qua none of a home, a neighborhood, a factory, an enterprise, a town, a city, a nation. To deny that individual freedom of thought and choice in his affairs is to deny a nation, a city, a town, an enterprise, a factory, a neighborhood, a home.

      Which of the two scenarios seems more real to you, more valuable, more worth working for?

      • Some sort of utopia is not the answer for Venezuela (or any other country). The issue is with the inefficiency of the governing body – State – which carries a hugely bloated sector (case in point, CNE), and is not willing/able to run the environment where Venezuelans have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

        Respected State institutions administrating justice and a well regulated militia are part of another huge issue. Previous governments had an uneasy relationship with the armed forces, sort of a guardianship on the State which translated into all sort of concessions, in essence making the armed forces a privileged caste. Today, it was clear to all involved that election tutelage is completely unnecessary.

        And indeed it goes back to the individual and family unit as the basis of society. Even if not directly involved in government, the individual is part of the State through democratically elected representatives, which should have the individual best interests at heart. Or so we hope.

Leave a Reply