Archive for December 5th, 2005

Watch for the observer’s report today

December 5, 2005

Watch for reports from the OAS and EU observers today. Will they say
what they think? Will the Chavez Government turn against them tomorrow?
Will they become puppies of imperialism after today? Stay tuned…

A victory for Chavez? …Well, you know, you better free your mind instead!

December 5, 2005

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
we all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright

The Beatles (1968), Venezuelans (2005)

find it truly remarkable that people can even interpret that
yesterday’s results can in any way be thought of as a victory for
Chavismo. Not even the Chavistas are thinking that way and you can
accuse them of being inefficient and incompetent in many ways, but
Chavez and his cohorts have shown to be very good at political strategy
and they are not interpreting this as a victory. Seldom had I seen such
sad faces, as the victory of Chavista Deputies was announced or as
they were being sworn in as Deputies of the National Assembly.

And indeed let us look at what Chavismo said, did and promised for this election:

— Chavez and his supporters had
put up posters and said that they were going to get 10 million votes.
Misguided? Of course it was, this was supposed to be the promise for
next year, but to get there you had to get to a number in between and
that did not happen, their numbers went down, once again. Thsi graph of
abstention since Chavez first won the Presidency has to be worrisome
and scary to anyone in power, claiming to be popular, staging a
revolution and planning to stay for the next 16 years:

—Before the opposition withdrew, Chavez’s MVR and the Government
spent some two trillion Bs. in advertising, mobilization and the like.
Moreover, each and everyone of the Mayors and Governors of Chavismo was
asked to spend as much as possible in getting the vote out. The order
was that they had to get up to at least 40% of the voters to show up.
The Maisanta software not used since the recall vote was revived,
updated and distributed, this time with a password so that it could not
be distributed as freely as the previous version.

After the opposition pulled out, every single centralized and
decentralized Government organization and institution was ordered to
have their workers told to go and vote under the very clear threat of
losing their jobs. This was even explicitly said by a Chavista Deputy before the polls closed.

Depending on the institution the threats and pressures took a variety of forms:

Some institutions were very direct. Each Department head was ordered to
hold meetings where workers were asked to vote and, in some cases, told
explicitly to vote for Chavez’ MVR. This happened a lot at institutions
run by former military.

In other institutions, people were told to go and vote via e-mail or
phone in very direct fashion, they were not told how to vote.

The smarter and less radical (and principled?) bosses, like those in
the Ministry of Foreign Relations, simply called or met with workers to
comply with the orders from above, but simply told them that they had
to be careful because they did not know what the Government may or not
do to those that did not go and vote.

Now, just in case you don’t get the magnitude of this, there are 2.05 million Government workers in Venezuela,
not counting Government companies and foundations. Most of this workers
are minimum salary workers who depend on the Government for their
survival under what is locally called having an “arepa muzzle”

Keep in mind that less than 3.5 million people actually went to vote yesterday and that most of these public workers had to go and vote. Subtract 2 million from 3.5 million and you get the picture.

says that their polls show that only 17.7% of the people actually voted
and that remarkably, 30% of the “voters” yesterday cast their vote
after 4 PM, when polls were kept open illegally despite the
facts that there were no visible lines anywhere as the international
observes clearly saw and are likely to report tomorrow.

—Somewhere between 10 and 15% of the votes cast were void.

—And what will the observers say tomorrow?

this says is that most Venezuelans decided like in the Beatles song “to
count themselves out” of a process that has done little for them for
the last seven years. That they are fed up with this destructive
revolution. Subtract only half of each of these amounts as being true
and you get maybe some 12-13% of “true” voters, or less than 2 million voters, the
hardcore vote that showed to cast their vote for Chavez and his

Chavismo the message was clear: The popularity of the Government is
sharply down and if something is not done in the next 363 days, anyone
grabbing the imagination of only 25% of the population, may easily
defeat Chavez in the Presidential election. And the Chavistas are worried not only
about the opposition, but also about the enemy within, whether his name is Jose or Diosdado.

And you call this a victory? Well…

“You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright”