Photo: quepasa.com

Last year, days after the December 10 elections, I was in the newsroom of a Zulian newspaper I used to work for, when a colleague who works in the current events section asked loudly if anybody knew who Willy Casanova was. She’d just read his name in a press release and everyone present was surprised by the question. In shock, a colleague from the politics section replied: “He’s the mayor of Maracaibo.”

I also thought the question was unbelievable, until I realized weeks later that she wasn’t the only person in the city who didn’t know about this politician who rose to power during the electoral feeding frenzy of 2017. A work published in April by Tu Reporte showed that a staggering number of maracuchos didn’t know who’s in change of the city. Some even linked Casanova’s name to some president or priest.

I realized weeks later that she wasn’t the only person in the city who didn’t know about this politician who rose to power during the electoral feeding frenzy of 2017.

Although the article looks like the spawn of some media lab trying to harm him, it’s only a matter of taking to the streets to realize its veracity. In fact, maracuchos tend to blame Nicolás Maduro or governor Omar Prieto for things that are the responsibility of the Mayor’s Office, such as garbage collection and public transport. And Casanova doesn’t seem concerned about this at all.

The few things you can read on regional media about his administration is through press releases, a perfectly explainable phenomenon if he wants to go unnoticed. His story with chavismo started in 2003, as founder of the Zulian Francisco de Miranda Front chapter, whose main task was carrying out cédula issuance campaigns in slums, participating in launching the Barrio Adentro program and replacing traditional light bulbs for Cuban energy-saving bulbs; in 2005, he took over as national director of the Food Ministry; he was the founder of the Social Battle Rooms, created to bring communal councils together and he was also Communal Economy vice-minister, participating in the Presidential Committee to manage the emergency caused by the rains in 2010.

The few things you can read on regional media about his administration is through press releases, a perfectly explainable phenomenon if he wants to go unnoticed.

When he became mayor, he promised a “robust” change in the city that included the creation of markets in each parish, the integration of new buses to the public transport system and better garbage collection. As of right now, only the flies can thank him, as they multiply by the millions in the waste mountains spread across the city.

The first time I saw Willy Casanova was on regional television, when he was candidate for the National Assembly in 2015. He was asked about the Olivares brothers case, one of OLP’s most emblematic murder cases in Zulia, and amidst his anxiety, he simply talked about Chávez. A sorry spectacle for us all.

Back then, I was sure that guy would never do anything of note with his life, but I was sorely mistaken. The man is a career-politician who seems to enjoy his anonymity —the reasons for such a peculiar behaviour I leave it for you to conclude.

 

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16 COMMENTS

  1. “When he became mayor, he promised…”

    I sense a problem with that.

    Did anyone ask him “Mr. Mayor, how are you going to pull this off?”

    It is problematic enough when you offer solutions and have the resources. Its another thing in ChavismoLand to promise (with a straight face) the moon and stars… and have nothing.

    Today, I am going to tell my employees that next week, I am going to put in a cigar bar and an enormous buffet line at the shop, stocked with the finest Dominican cigars, 20 year old Ramos Pinto Tawny port, and charcuterie and seafood galore. Then, I am going to wait… do you think they might forget?

  2. Valencia’s case is even worse. Its mayor, Alejandro Marvez, is also a young man who is a literal nobody and hasn’t held any relevant positions before. Governor Lacava virtually admitted he was a puppet candidate during the campaign.

    Nobody knows who he is. For the people of this city, there may not be any mayor at all as far as they’re concerned. And they are mostly right. After all, it’s all Lacava’s show.

  3. When a totalitarian regime controls the country, there are no means to fund civil government and you are foraging for food, does it really matter to the average person who claims to be mayor?
    The Police are under control of the regime instead of local authority. The national guard is oppressing the people. The collectives are terrorizing the people. All of the aforementioned entities are corrupt and complicit in murder, torture and various other human rights abuses.
    The only reason I would want to know who it is that claims to be in charge would be to execute that person along with the rest of these bastards when the opportunity arises.

    • Which is exactly why they prefer to stay low pro…they have to know that what they are doing is dirty and one day it will come back to haunt them. We have one here in our town too, a nobody who hasn’t got a clue, repeats the same stupid shit, can’t say a word to him cause he’s too busy repeating the same shit over and over or writing messages on his cell phone. Within a couple of weeks of coming into the position, while cruising with his entourage in a brand new SUV (never had these boys seen such a magnificent and powerful truck and they cruised around everywhere at breakneck speeds!) while passing someone on a blind curve, ended up losing control and killing everyone except him. Including his girlfriend /secretary. It’s that damn direct light. It burns you every time.

  4. CC should have an essay contest.

    “How I think (insert regime member(s) here) should be executed.”

    Give people some hope for the future.

    • John: It may help to start a psychological attack on those responsible for all of the pain, suffering, torture, terror, etc., created in Venezuela…Chronicle the Caracas devils. The ex-pat community could start a Libro de Pecadores that contains biographical information, pictures, deeds, anecdotal data, anything that would help a Nuremberg (God, let it be soon!) type post-Chavista court identify the guilty. This compilation should receive the widest possible distribution, especially in Venezuela. Seems it would reduce, at least somewhat, the enthusiasm for evil by demonstrating their vulnerability. Men who allow women and children to die, never mind be the impetus behind their suffering, are gutless cowards. Trick would be how to do this and allow the contributors to remain anonymous, avoiding reprisals.

    • @ John..that would be a fun essay contest for readers but probably not so much for CC employees. I am pretty sure that CC employees would be rounded up quickly and taken to a prison to begin free re-education classes lasting months or even years.

  5. Anonymous–keeping that necktie loose. Social Battle Rooms–now battling hunger/sickness/darkness (lack of electricity), scabies (lack of bath water). Promises fulfilled: more public market providers (buhoneros/bachaqueros/Colectivos); new public transport (cattle trucks); less street garbage (more people eating from dumpsters)….

  6. Reconocelos punto com was doing some documentation in the early years but somewhat that initiative got de-activated.

    In a country where little to none social costs exist to the corrupted, actually, ask long as you pay for the scotch and the steak, no one asks… AND everything is joda, a serious approach a la Simon W. http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/site/pp.asp?c=gvKVLcMVIuG&b=395195 even better the Jewish avengers
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/26/second.world.war will be hard to achieve.
    But necessary.

  7. the same thing is happening in Valencia, no one has seen or heard from the new mayor, the city is still drowning in uncollected garbage and pretty much all problems have gotten worse but many people don’t know who he is, he only got elected because he was under Lacava’s wing. Ironically, Cocchiola who spent so much money so that people would learn his name until he finally got elected became byword for the disaster that is Valencia that he did not create but was completely useless to solve.

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