Photo: El Estímulo

Before I begin, I want to clear something up: one part of me didn’t want to write this article.

The last time I covered a campaign, it was for the Constituyente last year. Back then, I was so upset about the whole thing, I couldn’t even write another piece about it (my colleague Carlos Hernández did instead). My draft was really angry and I preferred to let it slide.

I share Victor Drax’s views about what happened with the aftermath of that event, and the ones right after. I swore that I wouldn’t cover any campaign again until things really changed. So, why am I writing this? Allow me to explain, dear fellows:

There’s no such thing as a normal election campaign in Venezuela at this moment. Yeah, the three candidates are doing their events across the land, but the atmosphere isn’t there. People have too many problems to care.

One of the main conditions to have a true campaign where voters can look at the options and discuss them with each other is to have a free press, which we lack. Even if in previous elections there were some options left, right now there’s almost none: newspapers closing down, radio and TV remain self-censored, digital outlets are still under siege and journalists are harassed by either security forces or irregular groups.

And, of course, the “campaigns” suck, pure and simple:

These ads show a complete lack of understanding of the mess we’re in. Maduro doesn’t address it because he thinks everything is fine. He focuses on the “I’m the president and so are you” theme, including the pretty ugly sash.

Bertucci’s strategy seems to be the most competent of the three, as recent evidence shows. He presents himself not only as an outsider, but also as a political option for the immediate future. Even our country cannot avoid this growing trend.

And the more I see of Henri’s campaign, the more baffled I am.

These ads simply confirm the larger point: No matter how they try, they’re not very motivating, and this isn’t only a problem of the candidates. Frente Amplio (the new MUD disguise) is not having much luck pushing its agenda, either.

Seems like the part of me that didn’t want to write this is right after all: This campaign is hollow because there are no stakes. The calls for hope and optimism are too generic, the proposals are barely there and, dude, I would cover elections if there were any.

No AdWars this time. This is too depressing.

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  1. Maduro’s campaign is about as bland and generic as it can be because him as his clique know that the usual “Viva Chavez” Communist BS is NOT selling. He owns this mess and nobody believes (or even pays attention) to the usual cries of “Economic War” and “US Imperialism” anymore. Reading Aporrea, it’s grimly amusing to see some of the idiots there go through all sort of contortions criticizing Maduro while at the same time bitching about the US. I think He’s trying very hard to make things APPEAR normal, because he desperately needs to give that image abroad. They (the government) THINK they figured out the mess they got us in when they found out they can’t even service our foreign debt. I still think he’s stupid enough to believe that if he somehow manages to have the sanctions that don’t allow him to refinance the debt lifted, things will get magically better and everyone will come here offering us money. As if nobody ever noticed that the Chinese dumped here a boatload of money in infrastructure projects that were systematically mismanaged and had their funds stolen (to put it mildly) . He’s doing the usual thing everyone in charge of something does here: wait for things to somehow fix themselves.

    Falcon: Meh, “cero a la izquierda”, he’s either a turncoat or an idiot. The election is rigged, it became obvious after the ANC “election”.

    Bertucci: one word describes him: “Quixotic”. The first thing you learn here is that you NEVER go out on a limb alone and hope people to catch you if you fall out of the goodness of their hearts. Much less follow you. He might as well have been that guy that ran on the 89 elections “El Brujo”, but not as funny.

    • If the Palestinians fought to the death, they would all be dead and we would finally have peace in that region.

      You really are a fucking moron, aren’t you?

      The legitimate, peaceful segment of the Palestinian population has been robbed and hoodwinked by their leadership for decades. They could have had a great agreement that GUARANTEED them security and prosperity.

      But they kept saying no. So instead, they rightfully go like lambs to the slaughter. And rightfully so.

    • “do like the Palestinian.”

      So all the people in Venezuela should become drug smugglers, right?

      Because that’s that hamas and hezbollah, the groups completely controlling Paslestina are, simple drug cartels like the farc in Colombia.

  2. Fight like men that you are. Otherwise, you’re a bunch of slaves of the Communists and pseudo-Socialist – Chavista. You deserve this government even if that irritates especially the Democrats northbound.

    • If you and Jose are typical of the rest of the Russkie trolls, then the notion you helped Trump win the election is laughable.

      • They are the one and the same person, look how the same link pops up when you hover the mouse cursor over their nickname.

  3. A milestone, a bit off-topic, but: The black market has $1.00 at over BF 1,000,000.

    Q: Who would vote for more of that?
    Lemme see …
    A: Is this a rhetorical question?
    A: BCV people who have to pay back domestic debt in BF
    A: Citizens who owe money in BF, and have all their money in dollars
    A: People who own currency printing presses
    A: Those who do not know what foreign exchange is

    • Back in 2015 when I started following this, IIRC, the black market exchange was $1.00 = BF 1,000. It was shocking to see if go over BF 3,000. Maybe if I stop following it, the exchange rate will improve?

      Any news on the triple-zero bolivar soberano? The Petro?

  4. I watched the ads in reverse order. Maduro obviously spent more on it, and it was done by a good agency. Granting the fiction that these are actually elections, two things: 1) as in the U.S. people complained that independent candidates split the conservative vote, Bertucci competes with Falcon for votes for a change, that is, he splits the vote which has already been split by the vote / boycott indecision, and 2) there’s no agenda I see, and maybe that means that the voting population is generally regarded as being too stupid to understand an agenda or the effects of proposed policy changes, but all the ads are about “a better Venezuela” without any specification of how that is to be achieved once the candidate is elected. Not that Maduro won’t win, of course.

    The three ads presented may not be representative of all ads, so maybe some other ads do cover specifics like a) dollarize, b) end corruption, c) free political prisoners, and d,e,f,g … all the points talked about and well-known among the opposition. But assuming the three chosen are representative, then like the article says, they’re too generic. Bertucci, if elected, would be nullified on arrival; very simply no one in the regime – they do have the money and guns – would give him even a sit-down cup of coffee. Most probably, allegations of fraud in his election would be filed and substantiated by a TSJ ruling, and by default Maduro would remain president until new elections could be scheduled.

  5. Political advertising isn’t future policy. It really means nothing. It’s just advertising, image, marketing, etc. It’s usually unrelated to reality.

    But great political advertising isn’t.

    Reagan was elected in the States due to the results of what they call his “Tuesday Team.” This was a group of marketing and advertising professionals across the U.S. …and be aware that marketing and advertising are two completely different disciplines…who got him elected. (You can Google Tuesday Team, because the election is always held on a Tuesday.)

    Many ad agencies, marketing companies, research organizations, etc., … still to this day…claim to have been a part of the Tuesday Team. “Shining city on the hill” is the best example of that advertising/marketing that I can quote here.

    I worked for one of those ad agencies later, not at that time. I was too young and smoking weed instead.

    But the advertising was effective was because people believed that was indeed Reagan’s message and philosophy, not just something made up to win him the election.

    Tragically, the Venezuelan people behaved the exact same way with Hugo.

    They BELIEVED him, from day one and word one, that he was sincere. This is what the VZ people WANTED! A traitorous scumbag who attempted a coup and should have been executed for it a week later.

    Well, they got the misery they voted for, but it ain’t 1999 any longer. And the younger generation shouldn’t have to suffer for their stupid fucking parents.

    • Well, Ira, I voted in that election, and in my mind (and those of my peers), it was a very simple choice of ANYONE but Mr. “malaise forever because we deserve it,” Jimmy Carter.

  6. We cannot trust the mayority of people to be reliably and sufficiently informed knowldegeable impartial dispassionate about the people they elect to top offices or about the feasability or implications of the promises they make , they are vulnerable to being decieved , to being seduced by splashy sectarian emtionally arousing messages , to being bribed by the offer of benefits and hand outs which imply an irresponsible or irrrational management of the state and its resources ……thus the sorry product of most elections , the worst kind of governance….., if a candidate is chosen by that mayority that come out ahead in fulfilling its promises its almost by chance , not because people generally have a rational judgment on whom to elect or the merits or defects of their promised policies……..but because circumstances and a bit of luck allowed such promises to be kept. The good thing about the system then is that if people are deeple dissapointed and disatisfied with the performance of an elected government they have the chance after 4 o 5 years of turning them from office and choose others to at least try again , in this case that opportunity is no longer on offer , we have a regime that doenst believe in being turned from office and that is sufficiently unscrupulous as to fraudently manipulate the advantages their once big mayority gave them to remain in office for what they would like to be an indefinite period of time , the system has been sytematically destroyed and now we have a tyranny that despite having been the worst goverment ever pretends to indefinite rule …..!! When some day they lose their hold of power , as will inevitably happen , whatever time it takes ,we must make sure that no one future mayority can inflict on us the miseries that we now live or the chance of subverting the institutional order to attempt to appropiate the power of government for themselves alone !! Some thought must be given to this second idea……!!

    • “We cannot trust the mayority of people to be reliably and sufficiently informed knowldegeable impartial dispassionate about the people they elect …”

      That’s the reason the first years of the post-chabizta Venezuela won’t see any elections at all.


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