Lester deserved to lose (and he’s not the only one)

If the city where you're mayor looks like this, you can't be re-elected, much less promoted

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Last week, I went to Merida to visit some relatives.

When I was a kid, I loved visiting my grandma there. I loved the weather and the city.

The last time I went, three years ago, things started to look different. The city was growing, so traffic jams and crime were now part of the picture. The quaint little university town of yore had become a bustling little city.

Nothing prepared me for what I found last week: a city almost drowning in trash. Avenues and streets filled with piles of trash bags. Even La Culata couldn’t escape the problem.

On paper, Merida looked like an easy pick-up for the opposition. The incumbent governor  was sacked, and Chavismo was divided thanks to former governor Florencio Porras (backed by the PCV). The PSUV put the face of candidate Alexis Mendez in every space available. His slogan was clear: Loyalty always.

In the end, Mendez won easily by 33.770 votes. Loyalty won indeed.

The MUD can name abstention or the weak showing of Porras as excuses, but let’s get real: the blame falls on MUD candidate, Mérida mayor Lester Rodriguez, because he was a bad mayor, period.

He couldn’t just seize for himself the support Henrique Capriles got there last October. Chavismo milked Lester’s problem and used it to their advantage. Lester paid the price.

But as JC wrote earlier, Lester is not alone. Most of opposition incumbents lost their races in part thanks to their own faults. Some overstayed their welcome, others got lazy and groveled in contentment.

Let’s not mince words: good riddance to “El Pollo” and Morel. Sorry, Cesar, your defeat can’t be blamed on William. But if there’s a real loser from the 16-D, it is UNT. I was expecting their downfall from the days I lived in Maracaibo. They had it coming. They brought this on to themselves.

Meanwhile, if I was adeco, I would ask for Ramos Allup’s resignation right now, and leave the party (making one hell of a riot in the process) if he refuses. If I was copeyano, I would do the same. If this was their main pitch for the election, they’re in deep trouble.

Who knows what will happen to Proyecto Venezuela… could another party simply absorb it?

But Henrique, Henri and Liborio weathered the storm. Governance matters. They did their work right and resisted the strong siege of Chavismo. I witnessed that in Lara.

Even if it can be said that their Chavista adversaries were weak (Reyes Reyes was), those three governors can say they have earned their victories. In the case of Miranda, we don’t know how much money and resources the Chavernment spent to push Elias Jaua.

They wanted Miranda more than anything else… and their perfect victory was incomplete.

A couple of thoughts regarding Chavismo: Yeah they won big, but the results have some bad news for them. Abstention was kind of big for them too. Thanks to the machinery and the overwhelming campaign they pulled off (whoever created that tricolor heart, my tip of the hat to you, good symbol), they still won big. But the results confirm that when Chavez himself isn’t on the ballot, they’re not the unstoppable force they were the 7-O.

Ojo con los comunistas. The PCV’s results in Merida, Portuguesa, Amazonas and specially in Bolivar cannot be understimated. It’s better for the PSUV to keep the red rooster happy.

Finally, a big warning to Primero Justicia, Avanzada Progresista and Movimiento Progresista de Venezuela (Liborio’s current party), survivors of the 16-D: don’t get cocky.

18 thoughts on “Lester deserved to lose (and he’s not the only one)

  1. Many years ago, in this Caracas Chro blog, someone wrote (I think it was Quico) that the chiripero of socialdemocrats (AD, ABP, UNT, et al) and socialcristians (Copei, PJ, PV, et al) must talk between them to agree on some points and create the two big parties they were. I think its time to talk in the same way to merge in a one big party to face chavismo. MUD can be the starting point.

  2. All I have to say is that this article is unnecessarily unfair, just look around you and see the Chavista’s mess. I work in Sucre, and the whole state is full of rubbish (trash for some of you), vultures and motorbikes. There is nothing you can compare or even get closer to this incompetence. Despite that, I went to Margarita several times the last two months, and yes, there were parts of it which particularly looked like a barrio in Caracas, like La Isleta, but there was not rubbish all around. I’m from Caracas and I remember when Bernal put the new rubbish containers and flooded the whole city with rubbish until now; nobody complained. Whoever is complaining about the guy in Margarita, should be transferred to Caracas as a punishment.
    I’m ready to release my anger in Panfleto Negro…

    • Maybe, but in the case of Sucre Chavez sacked Maestre before the election. In a way, he looks as the hero by punishing the guy and then local voters gave Chavismo the benefit of the doubt about the new one: Luis Acuña. Sad but true.

      Caracas is a more complicated issue: Libertador is a whole different country. Very tough to crack. Ledezma was stripped of almost all his faculties but still could make some small improvements like Transmetropoli. In Petare looks like Mr. Ocariz is doing a good job. The huge problems of Caracas have decades in the making and the delay in solving them makes any solution more complicated to implement.

      All incompetence, no matter where it comes from can’t be tolerated. But looks like for many Chavista voters have other definition of it. For them, is pushed aside by the long-term promise of the Venezuela potencia or the improvement of their own quality of life. But still, many of the everyday protests around the country are from Chavistas, mission members or workers of public entities. Somehow, they’re also demanding their own accountability.

  3. In los Valles del tuy there is a huge problem with thrash also.. and they have the main garbage dump of Caracas in their premises (la Bonanza), most of the Alcaldes (Mayors) are chavistas and have very bad government results… sometimes I thing that Jaua´s campaign should have said “Para recuperar Miranda (de los Alcaldes Chavistas…) It would be interesting to see results Jaua vs. Capriles in Ocumare del Tiuy, Charallave, Cua, Santa Lucia and Santa Teresa.

  4. as a reader from Mérida I hate the way the city is growing: absolutelly no parking spaces, unplanned expansion, building too close to avenues (making new lanes imposible to build). The city is turning into one big mess, long gone are the days when everywhere in the city was “10 minutes away” I think this is true for EVERY city in Venezuela.

    • The total lack of cohesive planning is one of the great ironies of the “revolution.” The Soviet Union and east Germany at least had planned cities with good traffic flow, the robolution follows no plan at all, housing people in whatever random open area. Green spaces are turned into tent camps, shopping malls into residential blocks. Venezuela resembles a Neal Stephenson dystopia more than a socialist utopia.

    • For what I know, it’s the first two mostly. Lester has blamed the Chavernment for withholding the resources he needs to do the job. One thing, the special “operativo” started by the Enviroment Ministry is mostly a PR stunt to help Alexis to win the election. Few trucks to do the work and the workers wear “Alexis Governor” red t-shirts. I saw it.

  5. Personally, I do not understand what your problem with commercial COPEI, being that after all this time that Chavez has dedicated to destroying any positive memories of the “fourth”, do we will support him?

    Yes, bipartisanship was not exactly the best thing that happened to this country. But we must recognize that the poor copeyanos at least try to vindicate a time that Chavez remember like it was hell on earth.

    Something Fausto Masó said on one occasion, about the fear of opposition politicians say that it was something to do fairly well in the 90s.

    Does not take away the fact that AD, COPEI, UNT and other dinos must regenerate or die once and for all, pero al César lo que es del César.

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