While Chavez expropiates endorsements, Capriles poaches more former Chavistas

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TSJ’s move to give control of once-chavista political parties  Podemos and PPT to Chavez-supporting factions has stirred up the race for micro-endorsements ahead of the October 7th election.

Podemos’s new court-imposed big cheese, disgraced former Aragua Governor Didalco Bolivar, has already withdrawn the party from the Socialist International, after the group expressed publicly its support to former leader Ismael Garcia. He also registered Podemos‘s formal endorsement of Hugo Chavez for the October 7th election at CNE. The comandante presidente was pleased and responded with a hearty “welcome back” to his ranks. (Expect a presidential pardon for Alejandro Ramírez Saavedra anytime now.)

In the case of PPT, TSJ-backed Secretary General Rafael Uzcategui didn’t get the chance to support Chavez formally due to legal restrictions. So, he put instead his own name in the running. At least, he was honest about the reasons for this:

“…we agreed to put my name in as a candidate in order to have to have the possibility to change at a later stage… giving time to party members to decide if they want to back President Hugo Chavez.”

In a surprising twist, Chavista faction PPT-Maneiro is already unhappy with Uzcategui’s decision and they will appeal to the Constitutional Chamber the ruling that gave control of the PPT to Uzcategui in the first place. They already support Chavez, so the issue here is who really controls the PPT right now. The whole thing leaves together the amusing possibility of yet another splinter from PPT-Maneiro (now known as just PPT) – making for a fairly advanced stage of the old Six Degrees of Gustavo Machado game.  Alfredo Maneiro must be rolling in his grave…

Meanwhile, Henrique Capriles is getting some endorsements of his own, this time from former middle-ranking chavistas. One of them is the former head of the Venezuelan Consumer Protection Agency (then called Indecu, known now as Indepabis) Samuel Ruh, who has strong words about why he abandoned Chavismo: “This is a dictatorship and I never believed in dictators”.

It’s a particularly revealing about-face. Ruh was known as an out-and-out stalinist extremist when he was at Indecu. If guys like him are jumping, well…

But the biggest surprise was the support of former PSUV-Bolivar member Eloy Tarazona, also called “El Indio”. Who is he, you might ask? He was that guy openly calling for primaries inside Chavismo some months ago. When his request fell on deaf ears, he quit the PSUV. Then he went to the Supreme Court and denounced that Chavez has “abandoned his post”. He seriously considered the idea of running for President as an independent (with pre-launch posters included), but endorsed Capriles instead.

In the quiet words of Barney Stinson: True story.

12 thoughts on “While Chavez expropiates endorsements, Capriles poaches more former Chavistas

  1. Some of these former Chavistas have legitimate complaints about the PSUV. But, judging from their complaints, it makes no sense for them to endorse Capriles! I’ll explain.

    According to one of the articles you linked to, Tarazona aspired to replace Francisco Rangel Gomez, the current governor, as the PSUV candidate in the upcoming election. He explained his fear that if Gomez were to seek re-election, he would lose to Andres Velazquez, “who is the candidate of the opposition and that is what we do not want”.

    Stop right there. Does he not realize that Capriles also is of an opposition candidate? And (I assume) is even less radical than Andres Velazquez (one of the leaders of Radical Cause)?

    But Tarazona sought to replace Gomez not only because he feared losing the governorship to the opposition; he also complains that the current governor is “not revolutionary” enough! He says Rangel (who, Silva or Gomez?) “has rejected People’s Power and the community councils, which are the essence of the evolution of socialism. He is rejecting the nature of the revolution. This is a bourgeois governor….”

    Does Tarazona not realize that Capriles also is a “bourgeois” candidate? That he also is “not revolutionary”, and (I assume) rejects “People’s Power and the community councils”? That, if he had his way, Capriles would end to the “evolution of socialism” in Venezuela? That Capriles himself (whom Tarazona has now endorsed for President) “rejects the nature of the revolution”?

    I sympathize with their frustrations with Chavismo. If I lived in Venezuela I could be one of them. But then they go off and do something this stupid. Cutting off their noses to spite their faces!

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    • It’s not stupid. I mean, if you want-it-all-now, yes, but if you are smart enough to realize that Capriles will be less ruthless than Chacumbele, you have a long term reason to vote for him

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    • Why do you think Henry Falcon left Chavismo? His main stated reason was that there is no dialogue. Chavez’ way or the highway………

      In the PSUV you either engage in monumental ass kissing or you are toast, how can there be any progress in that environment?

      At least, these fence jumping Chavistas realize Mr. Capriles endorses Lula style socialism, which to them is better than what Diego Arria or Maria Corina would have offered.

      So I don’t get why you are puzzled!

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      • I was not at all happy with the way things were left between Falcon and Chavez. Of course I believe Falcon’s criticisms of the PSUV were entirely legitimate. It’s easy for me to say this, as I do not live in Venezuela, but I still would have liked Falcon either to have stayed in the party and fought to establish a greater space for dialogue, or to have joined the PPT, while remaining, generally, supportive but not uncritical of government policies.

        I don’t see how it does any good for leftists to dissociate themselves from the revolution so completely from the existing movement, to leave the “Patriotic Pole” for “MUD”, at least for as long as Chavez continues to do useful work for the Venezuelan people (and by people I mean, those poor majorities who suffer under previous governments).

        I do not doubt that Capriles would like to govern as a center-left politician, but, if elected, would he be strong enough not to give under elite pressure? How many in the opposition are supporting Capriles only to remove Chavez from office? How quickly would they lose patience with Capriles if after winning the election, and defeating Chavez, he were then to proceed to implement the center-left agenda that he is currently promising? If the powerful elements in the opposition coalition pressure him to move further to the right, would Capriles have the political strength to effectively resist them? Seriously? I imagine that Capriles would be far more vulnerable than Chavez as President to defend the state from a coup attempt, should the elites choose once again to make a grab for power. I’m pretty sure any leftist who supports the opposition would end up having deep regrets.

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        • There are many aspects to Henry Falcon, and I suspect that one of them was patience up to a point. That point was reached and he did what he considered he had to do. I am sure he looked around and chose what for him and those who follow him was the best course; not going to PPT seems now in hindsight to have been a good move for him.

          As a centrist politically, it is hard for me not to react with contempt for “the revolution” as espoused by Mr. Chavez. In my view, there have been some few “betterments” for the less economically advantaged, but at an unacceptable price.

          On the one hand we have given up sovereignty to Cuba, big time, and yet Mr. Chavez holds out “the Empire” as the great bogeyman out to take over Venezuela. I never saw Americans taking over Notaries and Registries and MInistries as the Cubans have. Militarily, I did know some of the American attaches. As far as I could tell they did not give orders to Venezuelan officers, nor did the Stars and Stripes fly above the Venezuelan flag at any military or civilian institution, period.

          There may have been an Israeli or two helping run security around the president, but all the officers were Venezuelan.

          The word expropriate was not a part of the Venezuelan lexicon until Chavez started using it. And for what? Give me an example of an expropriated factory that is running at the same performance or better than before being taken. Answer, none!

          Coups in Venezuela are planned by, executed by the Military, not by civilians. Civilians are usually brought in when the heavy lifting is done. IF anything, Capriles has to be on the defensive from reactionary military that would love to bring back Chavez (or his successor), not from right wingers looking to continue to push the country in another direction.

          By and large, the Venezuelan military looks at where the wind blows and acts accordingly. The current winds point towards the end of Chavez and a new dawn is coming. The military that are rabidly Chavista will for the most part fade into the background and continue to work to bring about the next “revolution”, while the rest will simply continue to carry out orders and look for the next mission.

          I think you need to re-assess your beliefs about the future of Venezuela. Capriles has a long, hard road to slog since he will be facing lower oil prices, important institutions like the Supreme Court and Congress in Chavista hands, plus some Governors still willing to fly the red flag. Our economy is set to explode from repressed prices thanks to artificial price controls, and to top it off our nation of “believers in change” will expect that change to come in 100 days. No one should envy Capriles!

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        • “I don’t see how it does any good for leftists to dissociate themselves from the revolution so completely from the existing movement”

          Maybe because the Chavez govt. is actually right-wing

          “How quickly would they lose patience with Capriles if after winning the election, and defeating Chavez, he were then to proceed to implement the center-left agenda that he is currently promising?”

          They didn’t seem to have a big problem with having a center-left government during the 40-years prior to Chavez.

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        • I think that your main confusion comes from taking both your version of Venezuelan history and the government policies after 1998 straight out of the chavista propaganda machine. Venezuela in the 1958-1999 was a welfare state governed by the center-left, not 19th century England.
          No revolution has happened in Venezuela. The government has spent a lot of money in social programs that have undeniably address the immediate needs of the poorest sectors of the population, but the core issues for development, as for example improving and equalizing the quality of education for all social classes in Venezuelan(that would be a true Revolution) have not happened, quite on the contrary. The effectiveness of many of this programs is very questionable and their administration is unaccountable to say the least. many of the social programs existed before him with a different name, ACUDE, CASA or ambulatorios So I will ask you to elaborate your claim that “Chavez continues to do useful work for the Venezuelan people (and by people I mean, those poor majorities who suffer under previous governments). What do you think about the crazy monetary policies that have triggered one of the biggest inflation rates in the world, which is suffered greatly by the poorest classes, the CADIVI subsidies to rich elites that I assume you despise?
          You are saying that we have to give up the rule of law, separation of powers, freedom of speech, rational economics and government accountability because Chavez implements some social policies, many of which are impossible to know how effective they are.
          “I’m pretty sure any leftist who supports the opposition would end up having deep regrets.”
          I cant think of how a change of government could make things work, I don’t think that the country could be worst run or by more incapable people than now.

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          • “I think that your main confusion comes from taking both your version of Venezuelan history and the government policies after 1998 straight out of the chavista propaganda machine.”

            That is probably the nicest possible way of calling someone a PSF ;) kudos!

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  2. So the other shoe begins to drop. The first shoe was the one in Hugo’s… foot.

    We chose well in the primaries then. That’s the job of Capriles and the MUD, and they are doing it splendidly. To win an election against an incumbent you have to convince a lot of people to vote for your option, which includes getting regional and national leaders to endorse your option freely. Better if they were from another party, best if they were government.

    For me, refreshingly similar to marketing and sales, in the marketplace of ideas and political offerings. For chavistas and military (accustomed to bullying and bribing for 14 years) and to PSF (who don’t believe in having a marketplace), sickeningly similar.

    Speaking of which, that’s the reason why Half-Dead Hugo, the man who can christen his daily going to the toilet as a historical “Battle” staged his little military pageant in full drag a few days ago, rolling out some toys for the military on the side. On one hand he must be trying hard to forget the important lessons that Miquilena taught him and saw him win the election the first (and probably second and third and fourth) time around. On the other he must be trying to once more bully Venezuelans.

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