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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