The mystery is now over: Hugo Chavez is travelling to the CNE headquarters to register for the upcoming Octber 7th Election in top of a truck. He left Miraflores Palace a little after 4 p.m., Venezuelan Time.
At 4:45 p.m. he arrived in the CNE. He coming inside at any minute now.
He’s inside at 4:53 p.m. Looks good but huge. He’s surrounded by his entourage and wears the tricolor jacket and red beret.
5:00 p.m. The act is about to begin. Chavez is joined by daugther Rosines and his inner circle, including VP Elias Jaua, his brother Adan and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.
5:02 p.m. Chavez makes a political speech while presenting the formal requirements to the CNE board. Capriles didn’t do that yesterday. He’s praising the electoral authority and vows to recognize the results. I wonder why…
5:07 p.m. It’s over. Chavez has registred his candidacy. He’s with his family, expected to come outside at any minute now. He shows his inscription outside the window to his followers in Diego Ibarra Square. He’s showing more movement than in the video presented days earlier.
5:20 p.m. He’s expected to appear on stage at any minute now.
So far, the difference between Chavez’s registration today and Capriles’ own act yesterday are big. Just the idea of Henrique doing what Chavez did is just unthinkable. Chavez gets away with a political speech in front of the CNE.
5:27 p.m. Chavez in on stage. He’s in a podium filled with flowers. Globovision is having an ordeal to do their work. A speech is inminent. He’s singing with Venezuelan folk singers (including the signin’ parliamentarian Cristobal Jimenez), doing a contrapunteo.
The slogan of the Chavez campaign will be “Heart of My Fatherland”. Looks like the idea of running on his 14-year record has been discarded.
5:42 p.m. The contrapunteo ends. Chavez salutes the crowd and presents Former VP/Foreign Minister/Defense Minster Jose Vicente Rangel, who will do a speech. Ummmmm…. Why JVR of all people? He says that the choice in the upcoming election is between Socialism and Capitalism, between the fourth and the fifth, between Chavez and what he calls a person that can’t fill a 7-minutes speech (Hinting at Capriles).
5:49 p.m. “We have a full, complete Chavez here”. He dismisses Sunday’s opposition march. Chavez hugs JVR and will begin shortly.
5:52 p.m. Chavez praises JVR and starts to sing the national anthem. He sings the short version, instead of the full anthem that he usually does at rallys. He sings another song.
6:02 p.m. Unless he says something newsworthy or just plain weird, I’m out. As SFPD detective Harry Callahan said in “Magnum Force”: A man’s GOT to know his limitations.
6:11 p.m. Here’s a general picture of Diego Ibarra Square at this time.
6:20 p.m. In case you are not watching or listening, then don’t worry. He’s saying more or less the same thing he does: “We’re awesome, the opposition will bring chaos, it’s me or disaster, etc.”. He will run on the same playbook he has used forever, with sentimentality dialed up to 11. Rosines is with him at the time. The heart theme says it all: “I love you, love me back by reelecting me. Everything will collapse if you vote for the other guy”.
6:44 p.m. Chavez calls Henrique Capriles “insipid and flavorless”. Looks like they won’t go for the “Frijolito” angle this time. Then he says him is the only thing which guarantees our independence. In Cuba, Russia & China, they’re laughing hard all the way to the bank.
6:54 p.m. Here’s Chavez’s full speech at the moment he registered his candidacy.
7:50 p.m. Chavez is still talking. Nothing newsworthy so far. Half of the people in the square have left already. Two full hours. Bocaranda said that his doctors allowed him to speak only 90 minutes. Looks like he completely ignored that advise.
8:00 p.m. Henrique Capriles Radonski is on Globovision, apparently live.
8:02 p.m. He’s very happy for yesterday’s march. It surpassed his own expectations. “Power is not a privilege, it’s a responsibility”. He calls himself a public servant. He insists in call his supporters for help, in order to solve problems. “The government is only speaking to itself, not to the country”
8:04 p.m. There can not be peace, when violence is taking lives everyday. About the difference between both acts: “El que tenga ojos, que vea”. Insists that yesterday’s march was one million people strong. He’s proud to have the people’s backing, via primary.
8:06 p.m. He loves the “casa por casa” tours. He loves to listen to people. He likes to solve problems, not picking fights. “If long speeches could solve problems, we should be the best country in the world by now”. The government refuses to talk about the issues.
8:10 p.m. “The problems of Venezuelans should be the problems of the President”.
8:16 p.m. Capriles speaks about Chavismo’s early hopes when they took over in 1999. The discourse of Chavismo today is totally different. Recognizes that Chavismo identified the issue of poverty, but they ended up stuck in words and not actions. “Venezuela has everything except a good government”. The violence has been multiplied five times and says the government wants citizens gets used to violence. Vote is the power to change. “I’m don’t want to bring the past back, but I’m committed to the future”.
8:22 p.m. “The real choice this October 7th is between life and death, between been stuck in the present and looking to the future. The government is too busy trying to destroy me.”
8:26 p.m. Chavez is still speaking right now. His medical team won’t be pleased.
8:28 p.m. Capriles speaks about his work as Miranda Governor, the position he left last week. “Miranda was an example of a government dedicated to solve problems”. Things got done, even if the national government took their resources away.
8:33 p.m. “Education is the way”. Capriles is channeling Tony Blair’s mantra. He promotes his employment plan.
8:38 p.m. If the CNE says you won, what will you do on October 8th. “Abrimos el dulce de lechoza”. There will be no political retaliation. He won’t see people as enemies. He remainds people he will assume on January 10th, 2013, when the real work begins. “I have never lost an election before”.
8:39 p.m. Chavez finishes after almost three hours. What he was trying to prove? The state of his health condition. IMHO, he didn’t clarify all the doubts. He can walk a bit and talk a lot, but is that enough?
8:43 p.m. Back to Capriles. If oil prices go down, our economy will suffer. Talks of a private sector-government partnership. “All things the government has done in the economy has been damaging”.
8:46 p.m. Asked about if he will recognize the results, he trusts the will of the people. His focus isn’t the CNE but the people who will work in the tables. “The people will speak on October 7th”.
8:52 p.m.Even if there’s still a segment left, I have to leave it here. What happened today? Chavez gave a proof of life in the form of a three-hour speech full of nothing. Capriles is not worried by the attacks against him. Chavismo couldn’t match yesterday’s demostration, even with all the State’s resources at its disposal. JVR is still a major player inside Chavismo. Ukranian striker Andriy Shevchenko can still score at 35 and I ate a delicious sandwich for dinner. This was my first official live-blog here, I hope you enjoyed it. All left for me to say is thanks and good night. Buenas noches. Gute nacht. Bonne nuit.