La memoria es frágil, infiel y tendenciosa

The above video is of Manuel Rosales’ closing march in Caracas, in 2006. It was a memorable, heavily-attended apotheosis of people. A few days later, Rosales lost the election by twenty-six points. Look, we all love a march, and today’s was a beauty: full of enthusiasm, and with a great speech from Henrique. But let’s…

Signs of the Times

As Capriles closes his Caracas campaign with one big rally, you can’t help yourself from reading the tea-leaves in stories like this: 29 de septiembre de 2012.- Un extenso fraude electoral a través de manipulaciones informáticas, estarían fraguando algunos sectores de oposición dentro del Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), según alerta la activista Fresia Ipinza, directora…

Annals of chavista headline writing

Yesterday, two opposition activists were shot dead during a rally for Henrique Capriles in Chávez’s home state of Barinas. (Another died later) How did the international media reflect this act of campaign violence? Reuters: “Two Venezuelan opposition activists shot dead” AlJazeera: “Two killed in Venezuela political clash” CNN: “2 killed as Venezuelan campaign turns violent” BBC:…

“Best Voting System in the World” Chronicles

And now, this week in crazy: Luis Piedra, director de la Oficina de Planificación y Organismos Subalternos del CNE, anunció que el partido político Unidad Democrática decidió apoyar a la candidata Reina Sequera, por lo cual sus votos se sumarán a esa aspirante presidencial. La tarjeta de Unidad Democrática ubicada en la tercera tercera columna…

The real star

As I watch this video that summarizes the unadulterated emotion of the Capriles campaign, I keep thinking it has only one real star: the hat. When Tibisay Lucena demanded Capriles stop wearing the hat emblazoned with the colors of his, of our flag, she was really only reinforcing the basic message of chavismo for the past…

MIA

Hard to look at this chart and avoid the conclusion that the Comandante Presidente’s health has taken a sharp turn for the worse in recent weeks. The guy just doesn’t have the stamina for a presidential campaign – he could fib his way through most of it, but he’s just running on empty now…

As goes Valera, so goes the country

Henrique Capriles is holding a massive rally in the small city of Valera, a place I’m sure many caraqueños have driven past a number of times but never stopped. It’s a curious place to hold it since Trujillo is one of the most chavista states in the country. But look deep down and you understand…

Margarita Airport users can’t get a break

The situation at the Santiago Mariño International Airport (which serves Margarita Island) has not improved after its recent change of management. In fact, some problems are getting worse since my last post. First, the airport is not spared the electric blackouts. Thanks to its electric plant, basic operations continued at least twice this week. But passengers…

Calling for Back-up

So I went out and messed with the Guardianistas once more. On closer inspection, the only thing that appears to be 21st century about Chávez’s 21st-century socialism is the presidential Twitter account. The economy is still run along the same rigid lines that crippled eastern bloc economies for much of the 20th century. One after another,…

Gabriela Montero, a brave artist

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero is a spell-binding Venezuelan pianist. In a wonderful post over at HuffPo, she paints the Venezuelan reality in bold colors and doesn’t hold back when she says stuff like, “I am not a politician. I am a musician. Far from wishing to stoke the flames of partisanship, my music is an…

Watch that inevitability narrative shift…

Finally somebody gets it. It’s not “Chávez is comfortably ahead in the polls.”  It’s “while Chávez has a big lead according to plainly biased pro-government pollsters, serious independent pollsters show startlingly incompatible results.” Take it away, David Luhnow (behind the WSJ paywall, alas): The split pits Venezuela’s two most respected polling firms against each other.…

How the Opposition Got Its Groove Back

Over on the IHT, I review the way Capriles has radically overhauled the opposition’s brand, broadening its appeal both geographically and socially. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget how big an achievement this really is. It’s easy to forget how far down the rabbit-hole of hyperpolarization the opposition had fallen, to…

Could our freakout become their October surprise?

It’s an underexplored question: our presidential elections happen to come just 30 days before Gringoistan heads to the polls. Which means in a Plan Aterra scenario where the devil’s excrement hits the FAN, our freakout could well be remembered as their October surprise: a theme I explore in a return blog post over at The New…