With 24 hours to go until the biggest election in years, here’s an oddity: the Government doesn’t care who you vote for. Just as long as you vote.

After the opposition’s do-it-yourself election, the bar is high for chavismo to prove they still represent “the majority”. But how do you convince people against their hearts? Proposals from each of the candidates, presented three times a day on national radio and TV cadenas, are more a joke than a real constitutional project.

Chavismo’s done what it can to give Sunday’s election the look-and-feel of a major political event, but they’ve come up short in both substance and style. Superficially, this election is just another rumba chavista. With the catchy song, a dog dancing, and the infamous candidate La Máscara.

“We’re going to knock on the door of anyone who gets confused… Our message is to vote, to consolidate what we have accomplished.”

The farce element runs deep here. In reality  there’s no sense of anticipation at all, all candidates represent the same party. Out of the 537 constituents, perhaps 7 to 10 of them will make decisions: the other fivehundred-some-odd are purely filler, there to raise their hand on command. Which ones get elected matters exclusively to the individuals involved.

Still, you need to get people to vote.

But the real reason to vote has nothing to do with any cute song. It’s fear.

Venezuela has more than two million public sector workers, and each one is well aware that la masa no está pa’ bollos.

The time for subtle coaxing and coded messages is long gone. Chavismo’s get-out-the-vote strategy consists of threatening them mercilessly.

Maduro already said that voters must present their ID and Carnet de la Patria at the door of every voting center, “to see who votes.”  

“If we have 15,000 workers (in a public institution), all 15,000 must vote, no excuse”, PSUV leader Diosdado Cabello said as he explained the way the Carnet de la Patria allows the government to keep track of who’s voted and who hasn’t, in real time.

“We’re going to knock on the door of anyone who gets confused,” Diosdado went on. “Our message is to vote, to consolidate what we have accomplished.”

As for vice-president Tarek El Aissami, he is leveraging the CLAP grocery distribution: “We didn’t let you die. Now it’s your turn to not let the revolution die”.

And that’s a bouquet of subtlety compared to ANC candidate and brother of late President Chávez, Adán Chávez, who said “if we have to take up arms to defend the legacy of Chávez and Maduro, we will”.

The interior Minister, Néstor Reverol, decided that the threats will not be exclusive for chavista voters, assuring that now any meeting or protest that “can affect” the election is prohibited, adding that this “crime” will be be punished with 5 to 10 years in prison.

The economic crisis is part of the campaign. Maduro has assured us that, with the Constituyente, all economic problems will be fixed, even raising the minimum wage weeks before the election.

Some of the threats are startlingly direct…

Money talks, even in voting centers, but governor Vielma Mora took a step forward proposing that any “company or person” who doesn’t vote, shouldn’t participate in the Dicom foreign exchange system. As he sees it, that would be giving dollars “to right wing terrorists.”

It’s legitimately scary when you realize he’s not alone in this line of thought.

These threats have crossed the country and even reached Colombian borders. Roberth Guerra, a leader of Un Nuevo Tiempo in Táchira, denounced that “public workers of the border, dependent of the regional and national government, have told us how the authorities intimidate them they must sign a letter of resignation if they fail to vote, they have been threatened to lose their CLAP bags, and told that pensions for the elderly will be revoked.”

On July 16th, the opposition drew its line in the sand: 7.6 million. The goal for the government is to overcome that mark. With money tight, that won’t be easy. Intimidation is the only card they have left.

49 COMMENTS

  1. With all due respect, I didnt read this blog post. Discussing about any of the no sense that Maduro throws at us is frankly a distraction and a waste of time.
    Focus on how to get rid of the narcoregime ASAP should be our main goal.

  2. Lets pray tomorrow that nobody shows up. However, the monkey is the monkey and that is why Venezeula is a banana republic–just throw them a few bananas and they will do whatever. The vast majority of the people here want change–to be a modern civilized society– but the status quo is the lawlessness of the jungle.

    These guys will fall because they are broke, but how much longer will we have to suffer.

    • Ignorant remarks like yours guachararaca are not part of the solution but part of the problem.The reason Chavismo was so successful is because the elite underestemated the “monkey” you so despise.These people who are voting and participating are not “monkeys doing whatever for bananas” they are human beings and some of the most vulnerable in society.While we are all frustrated at the situation and desperate for change,that type of thinking is immature and makes anything you say lose credibility.Maybe you should do some research and think before you put your foot in your mouth.

      • I agree, Aliana. Well said! The “monkey” reference smacks of veiled classist racism in my view and is a nasty, ugly, and dehumanizing. Despite their political view those regular folks caught up in the grips of the regime for a variety of reason are still our Venezuelan brothers and sisters however misguided their views.

      • I hope you have kind words for the colectivos knocking at your door… Right now political correctness will solve nothing. We need Venezuelans who are ready to fight this out right now, not PC poets.

        And sorry, in times of war, some pretty ugly things will be said. You should hear what protesters are saying as they launch stones and molitovs at the GNB. It is only going to get worse from here on. Women, children and cowards, time to lock yourself inside because the shit is about ready to hit the fan.

        Time to grow a pair of nuts Venezuela. Sorry if I hurt anybody’s feelings, but it is going to get really ugly, really soon.

        Now once this is all over with, yes, we need to show to the most vulnerable members of society that you have to build yourself, your family and your community up with your own two hands–not be reliant on some government, which is usually run by crooks.

    • Guacharaca – What I make of your post is that there are people, like some in the GNB, who will mindlessly beat people and imprison them, there are people like Tibisay, the TSJ puppets, and the whole raft of morally hollow “people” who are no better than monkeys. The best you can say is that they are very expensive monkeys. Unfortunately, there are those who will follow them. I still recall the video Chavismo aired of the elderly woman in the ranchito standing at the door smiling, saying she voted for Chavez because he promised her a refrigerator. How many others did the same?

      To those who jump on Guacharaca’s post: how would you characterize the people who follow and can be so easily bought? Would you praise them? If some of them were posting here, what do you imagine they would say? Maybe something like: “Oh, you don;t have starving children so it is easy for you to tell others what to do! I need my KLAP (sic) bags, and I need my job! I don’t care what happens to others who are stupid terrorists of the Imperio! I care what happens to me! Now GFY! You understand nothing because you are pendejo!”

      *******

      This constituyente deal is not going to change the regime. It is another smoke screen, and it is a show of the cohesion of the regime. Something like a military parade in North Korea (a weak analogy- I am sure there are better, such as military parades in Cuba or elsewhere).

      Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has made the correct and significant leadership move by refusing to recognize those under sanction from the U.S.. The Europeans could easily do the same, as could OAS members. And that Francis guy parked on a throne in the Vatican.

    • “Venezuela has more than two million public sector workers, and each one is well aware that la masa no está pa’ bollos.”

      When people prefer a miserable 15-and-last salary that won’t be enough to buy more than 4 kilos of cheap meat instead of the possibility of improving their lives we can say that they have been throhoughly broken.

  3. Thanks for this post which confirms the thuggishness of the kleptocratic narco-military regime. Intimidation and fear can always backfire for it makes people act in unpredictable ways.

  4. No, on the contrary, anybody who supports the ANC is a horrible human being, or at minimum a mediocre human being and deserves to be called out. Things will get a lot worse once this turns to civil war. They destroyed this country either by design, or through their complicity…they could be called far worse. Lets call a spade a spade.

    BTW tomorrow is 30J

    • I hope it does not turn into a civil war, and I do not think it will.
      But this government is not leaving any time soon.

  5. This blog is kept from clear thinking through left wing views. May we remind the contributors of this blog that such views were the early stance of El Nacional when Chavez got elected (while El Universal held a clear anti-Chavez position) and such “progressive” views didn’t help the country at all. Aren’t you in the same line of thought, excusing the “people”? Well, the people will live to regret their continued support of the communists in exchange of a morsel of bread and soon the CLAPs and government salaries won’t matter anymore. Look at North Korea, where only the military and innermost party have food and basic needs covered. When I was a student, the song “Muerto en Choroni” gave me a clear summary of the Venezuelan mindset. That’s the country, maybe our anthem is out of date. We need to tell the people off, not to flatter them anymore! We need a Churchill to promise “sweat, blood and tears” not illusions of an easy future. We need a collective mea culpa, and then we might have a chance.

  6. Hang in there guacharaca. Quico labled me “morally bankrupt” because I had the balls to say that those whining about roadblocks in their neighborhoods should just STFU because it was highly likely at one time they supported Chavez and voted for his measures. Chavez clearly had the support of an overwhelming majority of the voting public in his early years. I doubt anyone here will argue that.

    The road to recovery for a drug abuser starts with admitting he’s addicted. MUD wants to restore constitutional order and the separation of powers yet their message is oddly devoid of any details of what it will take to restore a functioning economy. The reason is that most of the Venezuelan population consists of recovering socialists and MUD doesn’t want to discuss treatment remedies. I would characterize those you describe as monkeys as the hard-core addicts one finds in the basement, eyes glazed over, and the needle hanging out of whatever viable vein they could find.

    A good look in the mirror wouldn’t do Venezuela any harm.

    Que Quico 3, 2, 1….

    • ” Chavez clearly had the support of an overwhelming majority of the voting public in his early years. I doubt anyone here will argue that.”

      I argue with that, always had, for me, even indra and the economic elites in the late 90s stuck their greasy hands in the election that put the corpse in power for the first time, so he actually never won an election ever.

      After they started using the trampamatic machines, everybody knew that “máquina mata voto” and now it is “sentencia mata voto”

      chavismo never won an election, they were all one fraud after another, and tomorrow they will pull the biggest fraud of all, claiming that more than 20 million voted for that turd that’s the prostituyente.

      • You mean more than half of my family members didn’t vote for Chavez? And everyone here who knows so many Chavistas didn’t vote for Chavez from day one?

        Come on. This isn’t the time for wild conspiracy theories in 1999. What happened, happened.

        And Maduro’s win over Capriles…years and years after this game started…is mind-boggling.

        • “You mean more than half of my family members didn’t vote for Chavez? And everyone here who knows so many Chavistas didn’t vote for Chavez from day one?”

          Anecdotic experience doesn’t have any statistical meaning.

          “Come on. This isn’t the time for wild conspiracy theories in 1999. What happened, happened.”

          Dismissing history is what brought Venezuela to this disaster, you can call it conspiranoia if you want, that won’t change the facts.

          “And Maduro’s win over Capriles…years and years after this game started…is mind-boggling.”

          Máquina mata voto, it’s been that way since trampamatic’s debut, and billetes matan votos has been what came before.

      • Well then, what you propose (Chavez never won an election and was therefore a fraud) is even more damning to the general population as they’re guilty of doing absolutely nothing as he destroyed the country for over 15 years.

        No matter how you slice it, Venezuela is resposible for today’s shitshow, no one else.

        • Venezuelan people has always been lacking in initiative for political changes, most of them need a leader to follow, as they haven’t been taught to do otherwise, the blame’s on the education pensa, which befalls on the governments that were interested in keeping the people ignorant.

          “No matter how you slice it, Venezuela is resposible for today’s shitshow, no one else.”

          People who didn’t vote for chavismo in 1998 aren’t guilty of anything, as any voice they might have was simply muffled by the ecnchufados’ realazos and the petrodollars.

          In fact, people that probably didn’t EXIST in 1998 are the ones leading the protests against the dictatorship nowadays.

    • I’m so in tune with you Marco, as with others above who are getting insulted for “insulting” their own cultural mindset.

      There’s nothing wrong with some self-critique, and in the case of Venezuela, a lot of it is in order. Hell, I’m still in shock from 1999, that a supposedly civil people would elect a man who tried to overthrow their democracy from day one.

      Hey, didn’t that give the people a CLUE on what was to come!?

      Here in the states, we’re constantly under self-attack (our own attacking our own) for supporting the nutty far left mindsight of something for nothing (a la Bernie Sanders), or going in the other far right direction, electing Trump. Our supposed free press demands this self-critique. although it’s always tenuous. In VZ, a free press has been destroyed, and now some here wish to censor you, others and guys like me in the same way:

      I love CaracasChronicles, and offered to write an article. (They welcome contributions.) Of course, I’m no expert, and as a Gringo, my views are immediately suspect. (Mine somewhat less so, because people know of my extended time in the country and decades of following VZ politics.)

      However, the only article idea that motivates me is understanding this political self-destruction mindset of so many of the people. It’s inaccurate and mean to paint this with the “ALL people” brush, but it’s enough of the people to do the damage.

      My article proposal was met with skepticism in that it would simply come across as a “rant,” and I respect that decision since my writing style so widely varies. That is, however, if that’s the real reason my article wasn’t very welcomed. I suspect the real reason is that Venezuelans just haven’t learned to come to terms with their sins, but I’ll never understand why:

      Every culture on earth has their own demons to discuss, but for those of us here, VZ is all we give a shit about.

      Unless this discussion happens, regardless of what happens tomorrow and in the next few months, in a few decades, it’s gonna be…

      “Here we go again.”

      • Quico,
        Who exactly you think you are to close down an opinion, by calling someone “a horrible human being” I am someone who has world experience with 30 years in the worlds conflict zones. To that effect, your descriptive term is ridiculous,in my own understanding of a truly horrible human being, and you use it purely to close down debate through humiliation.
        An apology is needed, and Venezuelans truly do need to take this moment to look at themselves in a sober manner.

      • Ira, years ago my attorney in Maturin said something that has always stayed with me. And let me say right here, this guy is no blue-blood of european descent who’d look down his nose at the great unwashed masses. He’s obviously of well-mixed bood and so dark that in the states he’d be viewed as black.

        I was frustrated with a myriad of inexplicable obstacles that the government was forcing on businesses and asked him how the people put up with such shit.

        His response was, you need to understand, the only problem with Venezuela is that it’s full of Venezuelans.

        • Chavistas have used connotations to race throughout their whole period of rule, to be paralleled with the changing facial features of Bolivar away from the true Spanish ancestry.
          Truly pathetic, however it shows the mindset of the people the message is directed at. And this speaks volumes.

        • I think the analogy of a Banana Republic is accurate, as long as you then subtract the Republic of course.
          “the monkey is the monkey and that is why Venezeula is a banana republic”
          guacharaca has i believe, shown ignorance in a way he did not intend to, except the ignorance is not his.

          • Bingo!!! Crusader, MRubio, FGB…Soooooooo much fun being a horrible human being!!!

            I think it is the gringos/expats sitting in nice offices in el imperio and college degrees on the wall that are the most flustered by this. If you actually live in Venezuela you learn to develop “tough skin” and not go ballistic over knee jerk political correctness.

    • In the heat of things, we might use some words and names that could easily be manipulated for those inclined, to denote moral turpitude.

      My take from reading Guacharaca’s post (and others he made), is that he is not afflicted by that, as some contributors might be implying. While the reference of a human being as an animal might not be fortunate (in some cases), we as “thinking, at times rational” animals, are quite capable of acting a lot worse than them, and will continue proving it for the foreseeable future.

      Let’s pierce a secret veil (a taboo to even talk about it): There is racism in Venezuela. Probably less than in other Anglo countries, since maybe more than 80% of the population is of mixed race, but, yes, there is racism and prejudice.

      The regime in its ignorance, actively fanned the ugly face of race related hate. This is just an example: How would anybody call the desecration of the Libertador remains and absurd manipulation of his face features, so it now appears in all official propaganda, sharing Black & Amerindian looks with the intergalactic?

      A profound ignorant, with a combination of inferiority and messianic complexes, however with undeniable charisma, is what got most of the People to follow the Fuehrer (applies to several scoundrels in world history). Deep resentments bred by ignorance are at the core of the attraction of the Venezuelan Fuehrer to a totalitarian, criminal regime that now for all it is worth, can call Venezuela a starving colony (but will happily keep sucking its lifeblood).

      Not too long ago some characters in the regime went on record, against raising education and social standards, because the people can become “escualidos” . And isn’t escualidos another way to add more prejudice to the pot?. That sort of thinking, coming from a politician, should put him at worm level (this is a more “politically correct statement, because worms are not primates), and may we remind some of the potential critics that this is how the Cuban regime refers to their opposition?: “Gusanos”. Nice, right? But not enough “intellectuals” accuse the Castro regime of moral turpitude.

      So guacharaca my friend, keep posting and like the animal, making lots of noise. In the end, we know what you meant and we are not “monedita de oro” to keep everybody happy.

  7. Thank you, Gaby, for this piece.

    Aliana Perfecto, I agree with you.
    Epithets do not substitute reasoned argument. They reveal the speaker, not the object of their hatred.

    About the intimidation factor: as the currency loses value, threats of firing public employees become less and less effective. The risks are lower and the possible gains higher. Even fear is losing its power.

  8. What are the dynamics of spoiling a ballot in the procedure tomorrow. I understand that voting is by number rather than by name, but other than that, I don’t understand the process. Are there electronic voting machines in which it possible to register a vote in blank, i.e., a vote for no candidate? Would such a vote-in-blank remain secret, or set off some sort of “alert” about “voter error?” How does one spoil any paper backup, because I assume just leaving the paper backup blank is an invitation to have some functionary vote for you.

    Given the coercion being exercised, an explanation of how to most securely, definitively and, it is to be hoped, secretly spoil one’s ballot would be a great public service (hint, hint).

  9. The boiling frog effect caught upper/middle/lower classes alike in its insidiousness. Gaby, beating the Oppo’s 7.6mm voters is a foregone conclusion–they won’t physically do it, but it will be reported as done. Electoral fraud has been perfected/sophisticated since the 2004 Referendum, and for the ANC it’s a slam-dunk–no impartial overseers, no indelible ink, no designated polling places, a Carnet De La Patria card which automatically registers multiple votes (some say 3, some say more) for each voter, no reliable audit (if any at all), and the beat (-down) goes on. Anyway, the Govt. claims 4 ejes for voting for their ANC: UBCH (Chavista barrio/local organizations/consejos comunales/Colectivos) members required to bring 4-10 voters each; “workers” (5mm. Govt. at different instances + their families-no vote, no jobs); CLAP bag receivers (no vote, no miserably-inadequate food); and Carnet De La Patria holders (in addition to multiple votes registered, it has your Misiones/Pensiones/other Govt. freebies registered-the electronic equivalent of the paper Cuban rationing booklet- no vote, no freebies). In spite of all of this, they will still fall in reality woefully short of the Oppo’s 7.6mm, but only Tibi/Jorgito will know for sure….

  10. “Everybody who collaborates with the cuban invaders is a valid target for the patriots”

    The time is coming, chavismo is pushing the people to the limit where the “public employees that know the masa no está pa’ bollos” will have to choose between the guns of the colectivos, or the resistance:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6XkpZXvmdY

    PS: Expect chavismo to claim that more than 20 million voted for the prostituyente on sunday.

    • Starting at minute 7

      Best quote:

      Diosdado, Padrino, Reverol etc know that your (Nicolas Maduro) sacrificial blood cleans the culpability of this pack of wolves. Nicolas, you are a “gallina gorda, sabrosa, asada” passing through the middle of wolves. You will be their prey here real soon…

  11. This was Maduro’s last opportunity at a peaceful solution.
    The determination to hold the Constituyente ends any hope of a peaceful transition of power.
    Righteous anger. Righteous indignation. Righteous violence is not only acceptable it is demanded as the way forward.
    Just as Jesus set the example when he drove the money changers from the temple, it is the responsibility of every Venezuelan patriot to destroy every iota of support for this regime.
    Every Guardsman, soldier, police officer, member of a collective and public official is an enemy to a free and democratic Venezuela.
    Every part of the machine that is this regime needs to be dismantled. Every police station, government vehicle, government media outlet, court, prison or public building that supports this regime in any way should be targeted.
    Buildings can be rebuilt, infrastructure can be replaced, freedom is worth more than all of it.

  12. I wonder, once Venezuela has become completely and fully a colony of Cuba, will the US Embargo on Cuba apply to Venezuela as well? I’ve been watching this situation as best I can from afar for more than 10 years. Right now, the US government is in chaos, but that won’t last forever, We still have a working justice system. When The Clown-in-Chief is finally led away in handcuffs, and responsible government is returned to Washington DC, more effective actions against the narco-regime in Caracas will be taken (including an oil embargo). In the meantime, I just hope the FAN stays out of the fight, otherwise, the country will descend into full scale civil war. In my opinion, the Army holds the key to the future of Venezuela. The best case scenario is one morning, Venezuela wakes to learn that Maduro and his closet co-conspirators have flown out of the country. La resistencia in the street could force that, if the FAN stays out. (Just one man’s opinion). No matter where they go, at some time in future, Maduro and his gangster collaborators will have to stand in the dock at the International Criminal Court and answer for their violations of human rights. A lot of courage is being shown in the streets. Will the same be seen tomorrow among those at risk of losing their jobs staying home?

    • If you want to disparage a duly elected President, please do so on an American blog – and keep your coup rhetoric to yourself or run the risk of arrest.

      • It is Trump who disparages the United States. He is an international embarrassment. I assure you, I run no risk of arrest by the simple act of pointing out he’s totally unfit to be in government, in any capacity. I made no mention of any coup, but I did call for justice, so I have no idea what you’re talking about in that reference. He’s a criminal, every bit as much as Cabello and company. Why shouldn’t he be imprisoned for his crimes? Finally, if you believe collaborating with a hostile foreign power (Russia), assisting an enemy state in cyber warfare against the US, and using stolen information to throw an election “duly elected”, then you obviously need a few lessons in both law and history.

    • RWG 8 years of Obama saw absolutely nothing targeted at the abusive Chavista Government infact it saw complicit approval. More action has been attributed to defeating Chavismo in 6 months of Trump, so who could be demonstrated as the “responsible government” But then maybe you should live here with us to have an opinion that matters!

      • Obama administration sanctioned 12 individuals. And the DEA during that time declined cAses against dozens of these big wigs, and arrested maduros nephews. Do you remember that at all?

        It was difficult to take action against the regime until the opposition had a clear support of majority and regime was isolated internationally and unambiguously a dictatorship. They are totally isolated now so freedom to act is greater

        Regardless, forget trump and Obama and bush. What matters is the streets and people of Venezuela.

  13. In Tacheria yesterday the Seniat sanctioned a number of businesses with forced closures of between 20 and 30 days because they had participated in the national work stopage.

    Last night the Seniat’s office was completely gutted by fire.

    • They quite literally playing with peoples lives. Not only the lives of the owners, but also the workers. If you have a business here, it is because you have family here. You are retarted if you are a foreign investor now. You shut down somebody’s business for a month…There will be hell to pay by somebody who is really F*(&ing pissed off. Be prepared to see more of this. People have to resist this regime by any means necessary to show these malandros cannot govern this country.

      Police station burned down in Naguanagua (Valencia) yesterday.

Leave a Reply