Electioneering by heart

Last month, the government unveiled a new logo and slogan to be used for now on in all their PR campaigns.  Simply called “Venezuelan Heart”, the idea is to present a human face to the Executive. But the argument kinda falls flat when you watch the brief video that explains the concept.

In the end, it’s not about the government at all, but about Hugo Chavez personally. Nothing more.

The campaign is probably influenced by Joao Santana, the Brazilian political adviser that helped Lula and Dilma to get resounding victories in 2006 and 2010 elections respectively.

This was confirmed during Chavez’s registration at the CNE and his following speech in Diego Ibarra Square. A brand-new logo and slogan was omnipresent throughout his rally and now on his personal website.

Chavismo will go for emotion and almost-religious fervor in the campaign, instead of running on its record. The two hearts complement each other at the center of Chavismo’s electoral narrative.

Before I go on, I must warn readers that this post will enter into Schemelian territory. Abandon all logic all ye who enter here. No complaints later.

The goal here is to establish the figure of Hugo Chavez not just as the key factor of the government or even the Bolivarian Republic, but as the very essence of the nation. He’s wants to make this election into a simple choice: it’s either sticking with him or absolute chaos.

Of course, the year-long telenovela that is his health condition will affect his campaign. Chavez could be physically limited, so he will depend mostly (beside a few tightly controlled personal appearances) on the “communicational hegemony” structure he has built over these years. Having a well-funded war chest (FONDEN and Chinese Fund included) will provide him the money advantage to outspend Henrique Capriles.

It’s true that he has used the sentimental factor before, but this time the high stakes for him and his political project force him to dial it up. He knows that the 14-year record of the Chaverment is filled with negatives, so he depending on the personal devotion of his base.

Unfortunately for him, his challenger is doing a very good job of getting voters by heart, too.

[Hat Tip: elfeto, for coining the term “Chaverment”.]

29 thoughts on “Electioneering by heart

  1. It should also be mentioned that, under Venezuelan law, it is illegal to use the flag or any other “homeland symbol” as part of a presidential campaign (or any other political campaign).

    Of course, as Chavez said, “a mis amigos, todo, a mis enemigos, la ley” (to my friends, anything, to my enemies, the law), so he doesn’t have to obey any law at all, only the opposition has to (see http://blancaeekhout.blogspot.de/2010/09/eekhout-denuncio-el-uso-de-simbolos.html and http://www.eluniversal.com/2010/09/03/v2010_ava_psuv-denuncia-violac_03A4423931.shtml). Chavez can do whatever he wants.

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  2. Interesting that there are two logos mentioning, not only the word ‘heart’, but associated with a graphic symbol of same to reinforce the concept.

    More interesting still is that one of these logos mentions Chavez’ name, while the other does not.

    Unless one believes the scenario described here, the logo without Chavez’ name could have been conceived to carry the campaign over, in the event that Chávez were not able to reach 7O.

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    • There are two whole independent symbols, one is for the government, the other is for the campaign of Chávez, see the difference? Ask the CNE ;)

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      • “see the difference?”
        yes and no.
        the symbols are not wholly independent. In my opinion, the logos have been conceived to have a causal relationship with one another. Here’s one way to look at it.

        Scenario 1: Chavez wins on 7O. His campaign heart logo drops by the wayside; the heart of the boli-govt, a logo with which the population is already familiar, takes up the beat.

        Scenario 2: Chavez dies after 7O. No matter. His VP takes office, while the heart beats on in the boli-govt.

        Scenario 3: Chavez dies before 7O. Whomever is named from his inner circle now wears the mantle of the beating heart with the single white Cuban star. The boli-government’s heart beats alongside.

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        • Hi Syd, I was being ironical, look at the smiley. Like Juantxon says further down in the comments, it is to circumvent possible restrictions on budget or time allocated for the campaign (should someone complain…).
          And yes, it could be a sort of “neutral” logo, able to be carried by whatever the conditions enable.

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  3. This sounds like a great concept, for a healthy person. I think it will backfire when his health issues cannot be masked any longer.

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  4. So are they saying that if Chavez heart stops, then the heart of Venezuela stops?
    Ok, then does this mean that as Chavez gets sicker, more electrical power failures will occur?

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  5. ALso interesting, the logo carries forward the “one” star simbiotic previously used when merging the veenzuelian and cuban flags. A reminder of the venecuba o cubazuela entity.

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  6. Chavez (candidate) = Heart
    Gobierno Bolivariano (gov’t) = Heart
    Gov’t propaganda don’t need to show Chavez; showing the heart, even if you don’t want it, you will think of him.
    Very clever.

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    • well, lately, everything you think about reminds you of Chavez, the pits on the street,when you pay too much for something, when you run out of money,when someone or you gets mugged,when you see an 8 year old killed by a bullet walking to school with his mom,everything.

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  7. The crassest and most vulgar of autocrats, running an obvious military narco-kleptocracy that tries to masquerade as a Revolution… now is trying to present himself as the Heart of Venezuela? As the one capable of holding Venezuela together and avoiding chaos?

    Nah, he dies and absolutely nothing noteworthy will happen except for his lieutenants fighting for the spoils, then running like mad and Venezuela regaining sanity. Nothing noteworthy will remain of his passing through Venezuela or of XXIth. century Sociolistismo, except a lost decade and a half, societal division that chavismo created that will eventually heal, and 150000 dead. Chavismo is but a cuerda de pendejos led by a cuerda de vivos with all the vices of both the Adecos and the Venezuelan military before them (they were that before they were chavistas) and none of their virtues. It’s high time that we reminded fellow Venezuelans of history, to build a perspective and make sure everyone knows that chavismo is nothing special, except in the levels of buffoonery and corruption. Removing their way of “doing politics”, or rather running organized crime is a necessary first step in averting national failure coz they are not even passable mafiosi.

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      • Competent vandals, looters and arsonists!

        Competent mafiosi keep their territory going… Really competent crime-lords become kings and build dinasties.

        Witness what the “conquerors” of the Arabian Peninsula and their dinasties in the XXth. century did with their fiefdoms, they have managed their fabulous wealth very well and are very rich, though there is no freedom in them. The Castros are on the road to build a dinasty on slave labor, repression, prostitution and theatrical pretense of doing a Socialist Revolution. The Kims are already a dinasty with three generations though their domain is starving and they might get themselves blown up because they are more serious about totalitarianism.

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        • The difference is that Chavez wins elections. The leaders you mention in your comment do not face elections. Toma tu tomate and invent another excuse.

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          • Still vandals, looters and arsonists, however “democratic” you style them to be. The “leaders” I mentioned have one over Chavismo in actually keeping their fiefdoms under their control, which I consider no virtue (though useful) of exploiters and slavers. And boy are you clueless! Did I mention elections anywhere? The Adecos won plenty of elections and they had to go, and that did not stop your adored chief from throwing a bloody coup in Venezuela.

            Anyhow, back to topic your leader is nothing special, and his followers are nothing special. For the most part a bad remake of the worst Adeco and military vices, with a new color. Led by something Venezuela and Latin America have had before, a military buffoon with deliriums of grandeur and a dozen of half digested books.

            That they win elections at any time in history means actually nothing. Let me use simile: Ford Sierra’s sold like hotcakes in the 1980s in Venezuela but that did not make them good cars, not even passable. Time told otherwise. And I predict that a decade from now, chavismo will be as influential as the cars: a bad memory of grief and money lost.

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        • I get your point Loro. Agreed.

          The alternative, a beeter more efective regime, would guarantee total cuban type, Kim type control. La “payaseria nuestra” will collapse when all the looting is completed.
          For the national good, I am not sure waht is a worse end scenario though. Sumision or Caos.
          The hardest-least probable scenario, is what Capriles discourse is meant for: reconciliation, unity, reconstruction, love, tricolor! …
          My wishes go for this result!

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  8. “Chaverment”–Pretty close to the truth–”Chavexcrement”. The strategy/symbol are good. There is nothing left for him to run on except emotion, which is what may resonate with his small segment of hardcore ignorant followers, not because “I am the only one who can hold the Country together”, which is far too rational/above their heads.

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    • Are you living in cloud cuckoo land (Google it if you do not understand) or what? All the signs are that Chavez will obtain between 9 and 10 million votes and all you can come up with are insults and the old adage that chavistas are ignorant – like me!

      I’ll ensure that I remind you mof your comment on October 8th when Capriles has been democratically beatn to a pulp – figuratively speaking.

      Mking such comments and insulting for teh sake of it will not gain any votes. When will you ever learn?

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      • “Cukooland” is a real non-fixed 9-10 million votes. But you are right about ignorant (both cases), unless you’re a paid Cuban or the usual paid or non-paid Leftist intellectual living in a nice safe “capitalist” democracy and pontificating about a corrupt/destructive/incompetent President/Government you would never tolerate in your own country.

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      • Arturo/A. Shaw: You’re more aggressive and infantile than usual. Did NET hit a nerve? Does the truth hurt? Are you getting nervous about the massive, non-coerced crowds that el flaquito is pulling? I’m all ears …

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  9. The video you linked shamelessly illustrates the lack of distinction between the person of chavez, the symbols of the government, and of his party.

    The slogan underscores the xenophobic and sectarian tone of his campaign. Corazon venezolano excludes by implication (corazon gay, foreign, jewish..un-venezolano). The opposition is the “other”, majunche, marico, escualido etc etc. The ideological home of all of that is self evident.

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  10. That “Venezuelan heart” is in pretty bad shape. Luckily there’s a donor and it’s a perfect match for the patient. Let’s hope the doctor do the right thing ;-)

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