I was going to post this one in the news thread but I got inspired. I'll try to keep you guys posted on the final week and the week after the presidential elections, any questions I'll be happy to answer, but before anything, the state of affairs:
Well, Just one week for Presidential elections in Venezuela, where the incredibly charismatic but dumb as a table, sick as a blob of cancer, egocentric as napoleon, and cunning as a fox, Hugo Chavez, president for almost 14 years faces the young, charismatic, prepared, and with a surplus of popularity this year Henrrique Capriles Radonsky.
The campaing has been hard and arduous, for Capriles I mean, he has gone to every state and population with heavy ties with "chavismo" and amassed numbers that haven't been possible for an opposition candidate to manage in a long time. His campaing has been focusing on the human side, that Venezuela needs a change, that your policies being "Save the world" while your people experience scarcity, high rates of delinquency and povertie, lack of investment, and exodus of professionals, is stupid and need to change, without going into the pits to antagonize Chavez.
He's a Harvard lawyer who was elected for the old parlament, managed to rise to be leader of the institution before it's disolution into the current legislative power, was a mayor for one of the 5 municipalities of Caracas (the capital) third in population (the top 2 are monsters that by all rights, and to improve whatever administration is over them should be divided into 8 and 2 parts) for two terms, then the governor of the 2th most populous state, again where 4 of the 5 municipalities of Caracas are part of, and now is going for the big chair, after being elected by a stagering mayority in public national primaries.
The actual president, with a very expensive oil price, powerful trade links with China, Brasil, Argentina, Bolivia, Rusia and Bielorusia (whatever that one is), plus Cuba! Iran! and North Korea!, and a year with a mysterious cancer (probably hip bone sarcoma), 14 years in the presidency and the posibility to be reelected even more time, total control over the legislative, judicial and electoral powers, a media empire built on his personality cult and his abuse for mandatory broadcasts of radio and tv of every station and chanel for hours, his policies of taking over any private industry or property that he deems necesary, his hidden fund that swalows an important part of the oil income and benefits of the trade treaties, he's a imbecile romantic that integrates in his retoric that the "Nation" and the "Revolution" should be in front of the basic needs of the population.
He's a former militian with a rank of Leutenant Coronel, from the parashute corps who lead a failed coup in 1992, was captured and then released by the next elected president in a pardon (fuck you caldera), studied and then dropped out of some post grad policies class, got the power by an absolute mayority in 1998, changed the constitution in the 2000s to extend the presidential mandate from 5 years to 6, but just one inmediate reelection, got hit by a coup himself in 2002 where there were a lot of violence and inestabilty from the army's coup and oposition parties, but got restored to power 3 days later for very confusing reasons, mainly because he's the legaly elected president.
He's managed to hold popularity by enacting "Missions", or populist enterprises of education, health care, living spaces, work, and general support of the lower income population, but these missions are highly toxic for the country because they lack efficiency, acountability and results relative to the cost of the projects. It's hard to make people understand that this healthcare system is bad because even if it cost the goverment 4 times what it should, ignores the regular public hospitals and any other stablished structure, doesn't use Venezuelan, but cuban doctors, and it's not the level of quality that's being paid for, "He's doing something".
In the past 14 years we have voted for: (pardon by some confussion I mix up the order of any of them, and I'm sure I'm missing a governors and mayors one)
- His election
Easily won, last election with more than two credible candidates
- Constitutional change
Won again, needed 51%, I think that the constitution changing counsil was also elected, but I don't remember
- Obligatory reelection for the constitutional change
Just a yes/no, and won again
- Mayors and governors 1
Most states, as in all but 2 of 24 (or 25 I don't remember if the last one created already got elections here) got chavistas governors, mayors were a lot more diverse
- The constitution gives the people the power to revoke any popular elected charge with enough signatures and a election, we managed to get the signatures, and went to this election, that failed
This is the tricky one, the signatures had to be public in order to be valid, the goverment blacklisted everyone who signed and removed any public employee who participated and banned any of them from getting any goverment job in any chavista controled public office
We lost, by the way.
- The stupid oposition abstinent legislative power elections
Obviously we lost, and the goverment got an absolute mayority in the legislative power, with just like 10 opposition people of over 80.
- First complete presidential reelection
The opposition, without any public primaries sent Manuel Rosales, governor of the most populous state, and one of two that managed to win in the last elections, but as a public speaker, and goverment plans, and personality, and inteligence, failed. Too similar to the past presidents to manage to get votes from chavistas, or "ni-ni"'s as in the ones that aren't with the goverment or the opposition, mostly abstinents. So we lost, again.
- Mayors and governors round 2
In this one the opposition manages to get 5 states!!! of 25. But not any 5 states, four of them the top in population and economic power, and also the mayorship of the capital Caracas, (that sadly it's power was stripped down by some dirty political play). Even if it was a victory, in vote per vote basis we still lost at large.
- The constitution change for a bunch of laws, most notable of them the indefinite reelection for the president and president only
We Won this one! I didn't belive it but we managed to win with a small margin but…
- The mostly ilegal repeat of the bunch of laws, but only for the reelection one
We lost this one, so last victory was mostly moot, because he then went on to get special powers from the legislative power to make laws on his own.
- The legislative power, this time with less mistakes
This one we tecnicaly won, as in vote per vote base, we got more, but by creative use of the distribution of number of voters per seat on the parlament (or whatever is named in english) we were stuck with a minority in the legislative power, 1/3.
- The primaries of the opposition, who were notable for the turnout
Venezuela officialy has about 19million voters, the electoral registry is notably dirty with immigrants who only show up in the registries of the electoral power and nowhere else, dead people and a guy named "Superman Ramon" (not kidding), actual voters I think that are around 14 millions, plus around half million of fake immigrant voters.
In the primaries, where there was a good chance of creating another blacklist of voters, we managed to move 4millions voters. The blacklist was avoided by burning the electoral books of the elections before the electoral power claimed them.
For each of the elections, (except the first complete presidential reelection, who had over 6million chavistas, and about 4 opposition) the number of opposition votes has steadly grown.
Right now there are 7 candidates in the electoral ballot, Chavez, Capriles, and 5 nobodies, one of them channeling his votes to Chavez, and one of them managing to become a meme by going into an interview and not understanding the concept of inflation and asking the interviewer "una ayudadita" (a little help please!), so no real chance there.
There's another trap in the ballots, 4 of the parties supporting capriles retired their support, so any vote for them will be null and void, and another party changed it's support from capriles to one of the 5 nobodies, the even worse part is that the name of the party is "Unidad Democratica", the name of one of the most important parties that support capriles is "Mesa de la Unidad Democratica".
Also 2 of the parties that once supported Chavez but then went over to the opposition got suckered by some weird trap back to chavista control and HAD to support Chavez on the ballot.
There's a growing support for Capriles because his experience, youth, charisma, ideas, the promise of a change and Chavez lack of contact with reality, lack of real politics beyond "Saving the world" and "Screw empires (other than China and Russia)", lack of health, lack of accomplished promises, and general hipocricy.
The support is proven with the great numbers who show up in the meetings, even in "chavista" states, the change of actitude of people, and the fear and aggression that's felt in the officialist speach.
There's a real chance to turn around Venezuela this October 7th, to change into a better nation where everybody can acomplish their goals, where colleges get a fair budget even if their elected deans and rectors aren't affiliated with the goverment, where we have strong institutions, economy, health, infrastructure, and safety, where a fat man doesn't hog the airwaves for 5 hours in a row to talk about his life and how he's going to save the world.
Anyways, even if he manages to win, he still got mysterious sarcoma, he's not long for this world and in his egocentrism he didn't groom a successor, and his motto of "Without Chavez nothing" will be the end of his legacy. He'll be a symbol void of meaning for socialist wanabes for the ages, but nothing of value will last from his actions.
But if he loses, there's a lot of unrest and fear in the streets, rumors of mercenaries, buying of hats asociated with the opposition and capriles campaing by goverment sectors, a military police that answers directly to chavez, conections with criminal groups of the city and region (colombian drug lords), and open talking of civil war.
But I have hope, we are more than we have ever been, we are more prepared than ever, they are weaker than ever, and we (Venezuelan Peopole) deserve better than this.