This is not your father’s tarjetón

When was the last time we saw a Venezuelan presidential ballot with no AD, no Copei, no MAS and no URD card? Sometime in the 19th century, maybe?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re about to see on October 7th.

As you’ll remember the neverending tejemeneje over the “Tarjeta Única” was settled with fudge: a “Tarjeta Unitaria” that MUD parties were at liberty to join or not to join.

In the event, among the seventeen parties that went for the Tarjeta Única were all of the main Puntofijo era parties…while the main post-1999 parties (UNT and PJ) stayed out.

The result is, from my point of view, unexpectedly positive. Capriles supporters will not be faced with the – to many of us, downright offensive – sight of his face next to an AD tarjeta on the ballot. And the MUD’s slow, halting progress towards making people realize that like it or not, the MUD is a political party while the remanents of AD, Copei, MAS, etc. are really factions within that party, marches onward.

39 thoughts on “This is not your father’s tarjetón

  1. “The result is, from my point of view, unexpectedly positive. Capriles supporters will not be faced with the – to many of us, downright offensive – sight of his face next to an AD tarjeta on the ballot.”

    Jijiji. I like to imagine Poleo reading this, shaking his fist and going “Quicooooooooo!”

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  2. Francisco: My concern with this is that since individual parties will not be measured by the vote, they would have little incentive to work to get Capriles elected. there will be no clear manner to tally political prticipation. If party votes are not measured, How would they decide the “quotas de poder”?

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    • There will be a Venezuelan Olympics after the election.

      Domino, Bolas Criollas, Coleo and Rayo. Round Robin style.

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  3. I’m watching HCR’s Facebook page and the photo albums are amazing. HCR has to keep pushing the ground game from now until Oct., imo.

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  4. Back in 2000, AD, Copei and URD were out of the presidential tarjetón. I’ll scan a copy on Monday…

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  5. If a replica of Chavez took power in the USA you can bet the Democrats and Replicans would cosy up very quick. They are, after all, two wings of the capitalist party, just as AD and Copei remain.

    But that doesn’t have the same ring as “Party of Unity”, I admit.

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  6. Certainly there is so much “unity” in the opposition that PJ and UNT are not even in the MUD tarjeta única. Only 117 days or 16.7 weeks to go. Carpiles needs to gain 2 points per month to have any chance of becoming the first US backed Venezuelan President of the 21st Century. Looks completely IRREVERSIBLE even now.

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    • Sonnet by Arturo / A. Shaw to the object of his affections

      How do I love thee? Let me count the 5×3=18 ways.
      I love thy red-laced boots to the depth and breadth and height
      My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
      For the ends of Being caused by ideal War.
      I love thee to the level of everyday’s
      Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
      I love thee freely, as other men strive for Right;
      I love thee purely, as they turn to Peace.
      I love thee with a passion put to arm’s use
      In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
      I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
      With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
      Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
      I shall but love thee better after death.

      With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

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  7. “Este es el estado donde hay la mayor pobreza de Venezuela, una gran contradicción porque esta es la tierra natal de quien ha tenido el poder durante los últimos 14 años.”

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  8. To call MUD a ‘party’ is like calling the Punto Fijo itself a ‘party’. If Puntfijo era parties are merely ‘factions’ within MUD, then AD and COPEI were mere ‘factions’ under Punto Fijo. MUD brings together parties in opposition to Chavez and the PSUV, whereas the Punto Fijo Pact brought together a coalition of opposition parties–and was founded on its exclusion of the PCV.

    Yes, yes. It is something that neither AD, Copei, MAS or URD will be on the presidential ballot. But doesn’t that only support the idea that the choice this October is a meta-choice? Between those who would continue the Bolivarian Revolution, and those who would overturn it?

    The difference is that Punto Fijo referred to a ruling regime, the coalition of parties in power, while MUD has yet to achieve an electoral victory, and doesn’t look like it’s about to. In fact, MUD may yet have a future as a ‘political party’, only insofar as it remains out of power.

    But if I’m wrong and Capriles pulls off a victory–after closing that double-digit gap–or, perhaps more likely, if Chavez should pass, who believes the parties within MUD would be content to remain mere ‘factions’? Or wouldn’t a comparison to Punto Fijo be justified? Or is it instead more likely that MUD would break apart after achieving the goal for which it was formed?

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    • “if Chavez should pass, who believes the parties within MUD would be content to remain mere ‘factions’”

      How about the parties/factions within PSUV? Aren’t MUD and PSUV flipsides of the same coin?

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      • That’s a fair question. What holds each together, for the most part, are their respective views in support or in opposition to President Chavez. However, despite the internal squabbles within the PSUV, it is united by far greater ideological coherence than MUD.

        This may be because PSUV has had some experience under its belt as a ‘ruling party’, despite being a fairly young organization like MUD. One difference might be that the PSUV could fall apart after losing power, whereas MUD could fall apart after gaining it.

        Despite the Tarjeta Única, MUD is an electoral coalition, not a political party, much like the Gran Polo Patriotico. I find it hard to believe groups like MAS, Radical Cause and Red Flag woud permanently ally with AD and COPEI, or UNT, Primero Justicia, etc.

        (BTW, how would one describe the ‘parties/factions’ within PSUV? I was not aware that the ‘factions’ within PSUV have been shaped/formed around old, pre-PSUV party lines.)

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        • It’s not about pre-parties, it’s about visions. Within PSUV, there is only a single vision: obey chavez. Within MUD, there is only a single vision: replace chavez. Once chavez is gone, that’s when we’ll see plurality return to the stage. chavez is the coin, PSUV and MUD opposite sides of it. With the dualistic world of chavez gone, the flat circle has a good chance of becoming a sphere, perhaps more chaotic, but much healthier.

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    • Punto Fijo originally referred not to a ruling regime (it was formed 1+months prior to the democratic presidential election of December, 1958), but to an agreement among the major Venezuelan political parties at the time to respect the presidential election results, and stop conspiring via coup attempts (2 in 1958 prior). Post-1958 the parties continued to respect the results, but frequently went their own way, forming different alliances and competing in the following presidential elections. The MUD is similar to the anti-Pinochet Opposition alliance in Chile, and post-2012 may or may not hold together depending on the circumstances. Especially important to this last point is that fair, unbiased, non-corrupt conditions be established for all subsequent elections. When Chavez passes, or is taken out politically by being criminally prosecuted for his many crimes, the only coalescing/vote-getting factor of the PSUV will also have passed, and its factions will form alliances with different parties. All of this is simply repeating the long history of Venezuelan politics, with the terribly aberrant difference being the rape/pillaging/selling/impoverishment of the Country by the Chavista Regime enabled by the corrupt squandering of the extraordinary largesse of an oil price windfall.

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      • Again, that’s what happens when you take your version of history from the Chavista propaganda machine. Puntofijismo was a term coined by Chavez to demonized what was a very heterogeneous and complex period of Venezuela History. There was a never a Punto Fijo organization, party or ideology. It was only the name of the house where the pact was signed.
        The original pact came, as net said, to respect electoral results and also some sort of common principles of government and the experience with the AD government in the 1940’s. The agreement created no organization, structure or hierarchies, it was a declaration of principles. This is the text, http://www.analitica.com/bitblioteca/venezuela/punto_fijo.asp By 1993 with the election of Caldera supported by his own party and a coalition of left-wing parties pretty much was the beginning of the end of the system created by the Punto Fijo pact.

        Yes, yes. It is something that neither AD, Copei, MAS or URD will be on the presidential ballot. But doesn’t that only support the idea that the choice this October is a meta-choice? Between those who would continue the Bolivarian Revolution, and those who would overturn it?
        Please defined the revolution again. I have only experienced a disastrous government that in many respects is a heightened version of the worst tendencies of the pre-1998 era plus an unprecedented concentration of powers and erosion of basic liberties.
        What happens if Capriles wins? I think it depends in how strong a political for Chavismo remains after the election. If it continues to be very popular force representing half of the electorate, the MUD should continue to exist to achieve some stability and avoid the return of chavismo to power, but what will happen is very difficult to tell at this point.

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        • Well said.Chavismo basically depends on one figure only, and, unless it becomes mythologized like “Peronismo” (feeble attempts have already begun), to the even greater subsequent ruin of Venezuela, it will probably become weaker and weaker, since its basic components are old AD/COPEI members plus corrupt military enjoying the ride. Once you remove their “bozal de arepas”, they will follow the arepa trail (and not a “socialista arepera” which only makes money because it doesn’t pay rent/electricity/any other overhead, uses Mercal below-cost ingredients, and, in the case of the one in IPSFA, may even use non-paid military labor). As Unsorted says above, the Far Left will probably not ally with more center-oriented groups (although we already have the example of “Bandera Roja”), but the Far Left pre-Chavez never amounted to more than 3% of the electorate, and probably is only slightly greater now. The PSUV is a ‘Party” built on Patronage/Payments/Threats, and once these are removed, there isn’t much “Left” (pun intended). .

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      • Thanks for spelling out another difference between MUD and Punto Fijo that I missed! The Punto Fijo pact was signed by opposition parties (with the sole exception of the PCV) prior to the election, as an agreement to respect the election and stop conspiring via coup attempts. The opposition has made no such promise. In contrast, Chavez has repeatedly vowed to respect the election results, even if the opposition candidate were to win this year’s election.

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        • Man, sometimes I don’t know if you are being naive or cynical. The CNE is by constitutional mandate an independent power, but he government has appointed members of the PSUV as its rectors. Aditionally, the CNE has violated the constitutional principle of proportional representation and actively and shamelessly gerrymandered several districts in the parliamentary elections to favor Chavismo. It has inexplicably refused to release the results of the amendment referendum. (In spite of having a extremely expensive and state of the art and very expensive election system) It refuses to sanction Chavismo for its patent violation of campaigning electoral laws. It constantly compromises its own credibility for the opposition to take the bait and cry fraud. Don´t you think if they have gave up to chavista pressure in all of these instances, and moreover has actively used its power to favor the government, they might refuse to acknowledge a victory of the opposition?

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        • Chavez “vowed” this because he expects his minions (especially the CNE) to once again fix the election, if not at the voting tables, then in the “Sala de Totalizacion”. And this in an already fraudulent voting process with: 15 TV stations (vs. 1-Globovision) and mass-read (although already beginning to somewhat come around) “Ultimas Noticias” pro-Chavez via placement of pro-Chavez Government ads/threats of fines-licence revocation-closure; threats to Government workers/contractors/”Mision” beneficiaries directly verbally and indirectly via the “Captahuellas” ; 5 million non-existent Registered Electors in an un-audited REP; outright cash payments to voters to vote: etc. etc. And, obviously, the Opposition cannot a-priori promise to respect the results of such a crooked process!!! .

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        • Well, Unsorted/Arturo/A. Shaw, Chavez has repeatedly vowed many things that have not come to fruition. I suggest you jump off that turnip love truck you’re on, in order to gain a better perspective.

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        • I wonder if chavez would repeat such vows if the CNE were as corruptly controlled by the opposition as it is now by him. Actually, no, I don’t wonder; I bet he wouldn’t.

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          • The 1952 Consejo Supremo Electoral actually organized clean elections and declared the victory of the opposition in the election of a Constituent Assembly that year. Pérez Jimenez disregarded the results and dismissed the board of rectors. So. even compared to 1952 the bar is much lower.

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    • Punto Fijo was an agreement not to support coupsters.nor guerrillas. As the PCV was all about coups and guerrillas and ultimately ending all political parties by violence it is not surprising it was “excluded”. Sorry, but poor dear Hannibal Lecter is not “excluded” from society.

      Again the fake duality used by totalitarian movements.

      Next you will call all these parties the capitalist parties because they naturally were for keeping private property and civil rights. They were mostly leftist or social democratic. Abolishing private property and the market amounts to abolishing society.

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      • This is ahistorical. PPF was signed in October 1958. The turn to armed insurrection by the Communist Parties in Venezuela and the rest of the region was a reaction to the Cuban Revolution – Jan. 1st 1959. At the time the PPF was signed, the PCV was signed up to Moscow’s line on gradualism, parliamentarism and cooperation with bourgeois parties to “create the conditions” for revolution some time in the distant future.

        The PPF didn’t exclude the PCV because they were insurgents, it excluded them cuz the State Dept. wanted them excluded. (This was, after all, just four years after the Arbenz coup.)

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  9. OT from http://www.facebook.com/HenriqueCaprilesRadonski:
    ¿Conocen los venezolanos 11 leyes que se aprobaron el último día de la Habilitante? ¿Dónde quedó la democracia participativa y protagónica? ¡18 meses de Habilitante tuvo nuevamente este Gobierno, el último día aprobó 11 leyes que nadie conoce! ¿Por qué no aprobaron en el marco de la Habilitante por ejemplo la Ley de Misiones para darle rango legal a los programas sociales? Este Gobierno enterró la democracia participativa, el debate con el pueblo para hacer leyes, ¡ya no discute sino impone! El 7 de octubre… ¡Hay un camino!

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  10. I think all this MUD tarjeta unica is not a good thing because it is a little bit of antipolitica attitude towards parties. But if it gets people to vote I guess that’s OK.

    On the other hand PJ and UNT attitude are nothing better than AD and COPEI in regards to this. The difference is that PJ and UNT estan agrandados, and not willing to tend bridges or anything.
    It seems like no attitudes have change. We learned nothing.

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    • What about Chavez’s part in the tarjeton?? Will the Chavista parties pledge to a tarjeta unica too? How many parties will be supporting Chavez? Because In case there are too many options to vote for Chavez, a tarjeta unitaria from the opposition will just make it harder to find Capriles’ spot at the moment of voting.. No?

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