Carlos Paparoni, a lawmaker who got shot with a marble during the recent protests, Carlos Ramos, a UNT heavyweight and head of Merida’s recall referendum campaign of last year, Lawrence Castro, a Voluntad Popular lawmaker and Ramón Guevara, the adeco who, according to a SMS I just received, is the “candidate the students support”.

These four guys are hoping to win the MUD primary elections this sunday, September 10th, becoming the anointed candidate to battle PSUV in the infamous, and still not-programmed, regional elections.

There’s a campaign and all. Paparoni ‘s popularity is getting strong in El Vigía, Ramos assures us that UNT will deploy all its strength for his campaign and Castro says he’s ready to take the country back, promoting the chavista-sounding #EldeLeopoldoEnMerida. Two weeks ago, Guevara asked the discontented opposition to “have faith and see these elections as the beginning of political change”. Last week even Ramos Allup came to Mérida, in support of his guy.

It only takes a quick look to their Twitter feeds to see pictures in poor neighbourhoods with seniors and kids, reminding everyone how bad abstention would be.

On the street, though, the vibe isn’t electoral at all. No posters, radio jingles or flyers, no one seems to care about who’s getting elected. The big news in town is not the primaries, but a vaccination campaign for cats and dogs.

Because even after primaries, it’ll be hard to tell who will rule Merida next. MUD has lost the people’s trust, and it can no longer do the single thing it used to be good at: keeping the opposition together.

The four MUD candidates represent, for some, classic sectarianism: Jesús Rondón Nucete, AKA “Chuy COPEI” (this is 100% legit), former Governor from 1990 to 1996, denounced the fact that MUD didn’t let him run in the primaries, because he isn’t representing a party of the group. He’s running all the same for governor as an independent, joining outcasts like Esteban Torrealba (MAS), Arquímedes Fajardo (COPEI) and Alirio Araque (NUVIPA).

On the chavista side, Jehyson Guzmán, former president of the Universidad de los Andes student federation, Higher Education Minister and current constituyentista, hopes to replace Alexis Ramírez as the regional pawn. He won’t have it easy; even with considerable abstention, Mérida is one of the strongest bastions of the opposition, partly due to Ramírez’s terrible, repressive administration.

But you don’t to have to be a Champion when the guys you hope to beat are too busy taking votes from each other or, worse, trying to convince their unmotivated voters that winning this election will actually mean something more than a moral triumph. I’ve never cared so little about elections as I do now, and I wouldn’t even know who the candidates are if I wasn’t writing this post.

And MUD’s attitude isn’t helping.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. The primaries will only generate even more bad press for the MUD given the inevitable low turnout. It doesn’t help that in most municipalities, there’s just one voting center per parish, giving considerable advantage to rural areas in comparison to urban ones.

    No matter what happens with abstention though, Mérida is Safe MUD territory, after they won it by 30 points in 2015.

  2. It is going to be a repeat of the 2012 elections. And mudistas will be happy to get 2 or 3 states to put their cronies in to keep business as usual.

    And they will also lose in 2019 mark my words, transition will be from Maduro to an alternate chavista candidate. Which ironically are now more opposition than the so called “opposition”. Country will proceed getting fucked for eternity.

  3. How in the world are any elections in VZ worth reporting about?

    It’s fucking over.

    Maybe if we had more articles about the idiocy of paying attention to any elections, and less on blaming MUD, we might get somewhere.

  4. Meanwhile, “Barbuda “totally temolished” after hurricane Irma levels 90% of all dwellings”.

    For material possessions, they have compromised their honour, and now they have neither.

    Was it worth Antigua & Barbuda? Was it worth?

    • Are you saying God destroyed Barbuda because they voted with Venezuela?Let’s see what you say when Miami gets destroyed.What about Houston? Fucking moron you are eh?

      • “Are you saying God destroyed Barbuda because they voted with Venezuela?”

        That’s exactly what I said! Spread the word! If you support Maduro, God is going after you with hurricanes. Cuba is next.

        “Let’s see what you say when Miami gets destroyed.What about Houston?”

        When Houston and Miami get 95% (yes, not 90% anymore) of property destroyed, we talk!

      • Hurricane s do not discriminate. Idiots do. Idiots in power prove incapable of dealing with nature. The loss if dwellings and craptastic infrastructure that was built with no idea of what a hurricane can do proves the low mental capacity.

        Siding with the chavistas only proves this in other ways.

        • Good point, Mitchell. Even reminded me of Ayn Rand.

          “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.”

  5. Why the people should care about the MUD and the chavistas fighting for whatever scraps the ANC wants to throw their way? Is a sectarian fight between regime-supporting sectors. And yes, that includes the MUD.

    I agree with an opinion said a while ago:

    “If the entire point of the protests was to get an unpopular MUD politician a Governor seat, they should have told it since the beginning. Maybe that way a lot of families would be complete this day”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here