The Devil Live At The Globovision Debate, But Technology Did Not Cooperate

January 23, 2012

Thanks to Leopoldo Lopez campaign group, who thought blog coverage of the debate would be useful and thanks to Daniel including me in the plan, I was able to be at the Globovision debate tonight live. Unfortunately, Digitel failed to cooperate and the organizers failed to provide the required technology, despite the fact that at the Universidad Metropolitana, where the debate took place, there were plenty of wi-fi networks available.

The debate was structured around questions and then candidates could come back and say how they disagreed with answers or how they would do things differently. It would be meaningless for me to do a blow by blow of the debate, even if I do have the notes. Instead, I will give a summary of how I saw it and will comment at the end on Leopoldo Lopez’ hinting that he and Capriles will be joining forces.

First, the biggest loser in my mind was Pablo Perez. The Zulia Governor was certainly not very impressive, with meandering arguments and very general, vapor filled arguments that meant very little. He may have the party machinery, he may have the funding, but he was absolutely unimpressive, so much so, that Pablo Medina looked his equal and I don’t even plan to talk about what Medina said or did not say.

The most impressive, edging Leopoldo Lopez, was Maria Corina Machado. She had many arguments and specifics that I appreciated. While I don’t buy the “Capitalismo Popular” simplicity, she did show that she understands the economics and the vision of what is necessary to make a country click. I particularly liked how she affirmed that as President she would have the tools needed to rescue the judicial system from the Chavistas. She did not answer the last question properly, the moderator asked each candidate to say what they would say at the end of their term, while she said all the things she would do. But then she mentioned in that list, returning expropriated properties to their rightful owners, kicking Cuban military out of the country, freeing political prisoners and eliminating cadenas. Wrong answer to the question, but good answers. The lack of a nationwide structure will stop her from doing well, but she has certainly been impressive the last few weeks.

Diego Arria was consistent in his program and what he has said all along, that he only wants three years, that a Constituent Assembly is needed and this is not  a “normal” situation. He has done a good job in making his points and he will not go much beyond here, but he ran to make these points. Kudos to him for being the only one to differentiate the problem of the rural worker from those of the city worker.

I just did not like Henrique Capriles. He was vague. I did not get a felling he has vision or understanding of what makes a country grow and work. He is the front runner, but maybe I don’t get him for the same reasons I don’t get Chavismo, I just don’t know what he is about. He can tell me many times what he did in Miranda. But being President is more than about servicing people and solving current problems, you have to look way down the line, He did not mention one concrete or semi-concrete proposal to that effect.

To me Leopoldo Lopez was second to Maria Corina. I would have liked his summary question to have more punch, even if his answer was the most realistic, saying that he had partially solved problems in six years in office. But overall, he showed that he understands economic terms as well as Maria Corina, the two candidates that showed some economic and visionary concepts (Diego Arria did not even try to go there). I also like Lopez’ emphasis on making things in Venezuela, so as to eventually become an exporting country.

Leopoldo did throw a curveball at the end by suggesting that he and Henrique Capriles would somehow join forces in ways  yet to be announced. We will have to wait and see what the announcement is. Clearly, if Lopez is not going to do well, it makes sense to withdraw. And if he gives his support for Capriles, he will not only be showing his inclination for supporting unity, but also that he is willing to sacrifice in a classy way to make something happen. He has to be given credit for that. Even if he just withdraws, giving up for the common good is uncommon in Venezuelan politics. This is not a moment for selfish politics, too much is at stake.

A very interesting experience, Daniel was able to tweet live, even if I could not blog, but cool to feel the politics up close. I will tell you who I will vote for before the primary, but no matter who wins now, I will vote in October for the opposition candidate.

50 Responses to “The Devil Live At The Globovision Debate, But Technology Did Not Cooperate”

  1. CharlesC Says:

    Machado strikes again- I saw the photos and the articles in the newspaper of the children with handkerchiefs over their faces and guns and was horrified just as Machado was.( I hoped someone would mention this on one of the blogs. I hoped that others would speak out against it too)Thank goodness for Machado-she
    spoke out clearly and truthfully:
    All praise for this brave, honest, true Venzuelan Maria Corina Machado.
    Wake up, Venezuelans!!

  2. CharlesC Says:

    Maybe it is because the opposition “precandidates” are raising a few(and I do mean a FEW) questions about Chavez and his weird government -maybe this is why the press in Venezuela has ventured out and written a few (again a FEW) articles that are critical of Chavez and the venezuelan what I call authoritarian clown government.
    Point is- most newspapers have drifted into just reporting in a praising with front page and big banners all of the nonsense from Chavez and his quack government workers-never questioning or analyzing and never NEVER asking is this legal or true.
    For example -When Chavez says “Venezuelan people all support Iran” – I don’t believe that, does any readers here believe that. Why dont someone take a freakin’
    poll -if you doubt what I am saying. Yet, every freakin’ day Chavez says this/
    I could go on citing exampes – point is-CHavez does not represent Venezuela
    and Venezuela bows down to any BS from Chavez served to them…

  3. Syd Says:

    Well, isn’t this special. We have two Americans opining on the politics of Venezuela, using their own countries as a moral reference point, while sermonizing on the political direction that Venezuelans must take, or our “attitude.. will later come back and bite us (sic) in the face”.

    What a fantasy!

    • CharlesC Says:

      Since when did you stop being an “american”, Syd?
      What does me saying Chavez is a criminal have to
      do with US as a moral reference point?
      What’s your “fantasy”?
      Yes or no, do you believe Chavez is a criminal, Syd?

      • CharlesC Says:

        Also, Syd. How about Castro-is he a criminal?

        • CharlesC Says:

          Just incase you don’t know-here;s an example
          of what a Venezuelan thinks of Castro:
          “viejo maricon y retardatario, ultimo rastro de una izquierda maldita que le costo a rusia y a china comunista unos 40 millones de muertos por el hambre en aquella epoca(el salto cultural o algo asi), viejo maricon y senil, que no se da cuenta del momento que vive el planeta, y el otro retardado que le encnta oir loas a su persona, maldito ego.”
          and this one:
          (Fidel today referred to Chavez as a genius)

          This is exactly how I feel about Castro and Chavez.
          How about you,Syd?

      • Syd Says:

        Charles: I am going to make a bold assumption that you are not a stupid man, that you know perfectly well what I meant by “american”. Inasmuch as you are a U.S. citizen, you have grown up with the embedded concept that you are an American. Second, I don’t engage in conversations with reactionaries. Period. I suggest you seek another person to engage in your peculiar games. In the meantime, I think you’ll find the like-minded of shared Floridian geography on babablublog.

        • CharlesC Says:

          Very true, I especially like Babalublog.
          Returning to Venezuela- I think the only good red is a dead red. Call me reactionaiy. I seek redemption for the crimes against the Venezuelan people.
          If you don’t think the Venezuelans need saving (whether many of them know it or not or even believe they don’t need saving-) from the evil scourge of Chavez
          and all of the side-effects does that make you a reactionary.
          Oh, is it socialism lite everyone wants -you think so?
          Yes, I am american – half french, a little indian, german, irish, english…I consider everyone north and south equal citizens of the New World-ie the Americas -not as so many here try to imply US is “on top”-I am not a narcissistic,
          ethnocentric, narrow-minded -whatever. Just because I do not embrace communism or socialism does not mean I worship capitalism…I think you and others can be quite realistic most of the time-but, certainly not all of the time. Likewise, neither am I..
          I think it is a safe assumption that you are very smart and usually strong logic and extremely good at researching and remembering and your writing is top of the line- you could be an editor.
          I care about people’s lives and how they have been ruined Chabruto.
          There must be a serious house cleaning in Venzuela-agreed?

          • CharlesC Says:

            Syd, do you want to be an american?

            • CharlesC Says:

              Syd, here is a quote from Babalu today.. Is this “reactionary”?
              I think it is just plain, clear reporting.

              “The courts and the judicial system in Ecuador has been systematically taken over by Rafael Correa in a fashion similar to what dictator Hugo Chavez has done in Venezuela”

  4. firepigette Says:


    Machado is definitely telling a much harder truth than Capriles, which is:

    Chavez is a criminal, truthfully and simply put.Not only is he a criminal but he is mentally ill, and highly dangerous.

    I would hate to see anyone win the candidacy who cannot accept and pronounce the truth and nothing but the truth.Not only the truth of who Chavez is, but the about the interest groups he supports.

    In Europe or the US, the consequences might not be so dire to have a such a ‘lite’ guy like Capriles, but it is my strong intuition that his tactics, will not have the strength to combat Chavismo.

    • CharlesC Says:

      “Chavez is a criminal, truthfully and simply put.Not only is he a criminal but he is mentally ill, and highly dangerous.”
      Absolutely-100% correct and this is why it disgusted me so much when
      Mr. Toro was around the chavistas (and saying we can’t attack Chavez)who “love Chavez”….

      • firepigette Says:

        I agree with you Charles…this is the type of attitude that will later come back and bite us in the face.

        I go back to MLK’s idea that a leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

  5. firepigette Says:


    Despite our disagreements I think you are asking some valid points.

    When you say,

    “Isn’t she just being populist for a smaller sector that she thinks is bigger?”

    Here you are actually defining why MCM is NOT a populist.She appeals to a smaller segment of society who is asking hard questions and defying the status quo and the general malaise into which Venezuela has slipped into.I believe it is only someone like her who has the strength to pull people out of it to a place where they can face hard facts.

    Populism is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “political ideas and activities that are intended to represent ordinary people’s needs and wishes ” Folksy-average guy stuff….and largely popular with the general public and not with the elites.

    • Kepler Says:

      Was MacArthur a populist? Were most people in the US thinking anyone round the corner was a commie?

      Let’s imagine some of the people backing Machado are better-off and better educated, like Daniel Duquenal. Who is “ordinary people”?
      Couldn’t he be part of the ordinary people even if a minority?
      OK, let’s imagine ordinary people is anything from a meaningful minority
      to most…which would make indeed Machado’s group NOT ordinary (as they are less than 5%)

      Still: Machado is pandering to a minor group,
      I don’t see she is telling more “hard truths” than Capriles, only that the truths she tells are the ones one smaller sector wants to hear.

      If that is not populism (because that sector earns more and is less than 5% of the population), at least it is clientelism…which is populism of the minorities, so to speak.

      If she were to tell the truth fully, she wouldn’t get more than 20 votes.

      • CharlesC Says:

        Ok, you are beating a tired horse, Mr. Kepler. Hair-splitting and
        onion peeling. How about lay off Machado.
        She did not have the organization and the “largeness” of presence
        and get’s emotional -and tough guys like you call her weak..
        I think she has a true, human spirit and is not a
        game-playing poitician. I do think she would be a good
        President. I believe the no.1 reason she does not get more
        most votes is people are not focused= people are dazed,and
        confused in their minds by the insanity of being under Chavez
        for all of these years…

  6. firepigette Says:


    The problem with populists like Chavez and perhaps Capriles ( to a lesser extent ) is that they are people who live beyond all belief; they are bundles of ambition with no internal identity holding them together: pure politics.

    Populists don’t tell lies, they *are* lies , : there’s nothing there at all.Very difficult to confront a populist with another populist…..someone who appeals to the easiest common denominator, even if the guy is well meaning.More than liking their arguments will just cave in on themselves.

    • Syd Says:

      FP: Are you voting in the MUD primaries?

    • Kepler Says:

      How do you define populism, Firepigette? Not telling the truth?
      Is Machado telling the truth when she just says Chávez is a thief? She is right there but that is not the only part of the truth either, like it is not the only part of truth to say education, real education, is an urgent need for the average Venezuelan.
      Isn’t she just being populist for a smaller sector that she thinks is bigger?
      For the Maria Alejandras of this Caracas?

      The time when I see a Venezuelan politician say Venezuela is an underdeveloped, POOR nation, when I hear him/her say petrol prices need to go up, we need to become competitive, eliminate the mafia in student places at university and make every signed public contract available on the Internet for general control I will believe someone is not a populist.

      A populist is not just the person who says things we do not like or doesn’t say things we want to hear.

  7. Bill S. Says:

    CNN International is reporting that a Spanish newspaper has published an article which says that Hugo has cancer that has spread throughout his body. He will probably die within 9 months.

  8. island canuck Says:

    Another blow for Chavez. His legal mind has died of a heart attack:

    Falleció el procurador general de la República, Carlos Escarrá

  9. Ira Says:

    Well, LL is out.

  10. CharlesC Says:

    Just for a moment-consider if Chavez continues in power. Does anyone know what Chavez has planned for Venezuela.
    Let me give you some to think about:
    1. Tens of thousands of Chinese living and working in Venezuela very soon.
    2. Many more thousands of Moslems and Russians not to mention Cubans,
    Peruvians, Bolivians, enter Venezuela.
    3. What about the possibility of an actual war-somewhere-?
    4.For example-Chavez expects Haiti to repay Venezuela -with food?
    Are you serious-does anyone believe this will ever happen? All of this was/is bribes
    to build an imaginary army loyal to Chavez…
    5. How is this joining with Cuba going to work for Venezuelans?
    6. I really believe Chavez may just let the election go down -if it happens and
    a few months later-simply walk back in via a coup.(If he is alive-which he may
    very well be…)
    7. Who is accounting for where the billions in arms purchased from Russia
    (small arms) are going-where are they now? Many in Cuba, how about
    How many more crazy thoughts are in Chavez’s brain?
    Isn’t it time for el pueblo to consider that Chavez is so absolutely insane
    that he just might get everyone killed …

    • Syd Says:

      No offence, but I think it’s time for your meds.

      • CharlesC Says:

        Russian naval base, Russian military airbase, Iranian missle base permanently manned by Iranian military, Russian city ,
        Chinese military base with maybe 10,000, chinese workers compounds housing thousands of Chinese-these are the future plans via Chavez.
        Venezuela is not Venezuela anymore-and will not ever be Venezuela again-if Chavez stays in power.
        Yes, I take lots of meds-throughout the day and night.

    • Ira Says:

      Thankfully, I don’t see any possibility of international armed conflict. And I really don’t think Chavez expects to get repaid from Haiti.

      Even Chavez realizes that his ideas of military folly are ridiculous.

      He may have the toys, but I think he’s smart enough not to play with them. He knows he can’t win, even with all that he’s spent.

      • CharlesC Says:

        Ignoring the threat of Chavez is like letting a monkey play with a loaded
        gun in your living room with your family around…
        Look at relations with FARC,and Cuba, the drug, human, arms trafficking
        and direct involvement with criminal,terrrorist gangs throughout the world
        including Central, S. and N. America..

  11. moctavio Says:

    Look, I was talking to a friend today, he told me that Capriles comes across totally different in person. What I perceive is that he talks about being President as if he was going to be a Mayor or a Governor. I dont agree with that. Mayors and Governors spend in Venezuela most of the time solving problems. But the President has to do much more. A President needs a vision of where and how he wants to take the country, what type of country he wants, what are his priorities. I do not hear a single coherent thought from HCR about that last night nor have I heard much like that from him. Most of what I hear is a gradualism that I find worrisome. I looked through my notes and other than vague notions like oil is the motor and the like, he did not say anything about the economy, what and how.

    Having said that, it seems to work, I just don’t understand why. Maybe it is the same reason why I don’t understand why people like Chavez after thirteen years. Maybe joining forces with LL is also a good sign.

    I admire and respect all but one of the candidates and will vote in November for whomever wins the primary. This post was about last night’s debate and that is all I could say about what I saw, When I write my post on who I would vote for (I will not vote actually, because I will not be in Venezuela on that date) I will talk about what I like and admire about each candidate. But what I wrote above is exactly what I saw and thought last night. In some sense, I am glad Leopoldo has joined forces with him, at least there are some thoughts and ideas there that may come through now.

    Understand that as I wrote long ago in cc, I did not like MCM as a candidate, but I have to say she has performed admirably well. When this all began, my preference was LL, HCR, DA, PP, MCM, yesterday it was LL, MCM, HCR, DA, PP. MCM gained, but HCR also lost in my mind share.

    Today…read post before the 12th.

    • Juan Cristóbal Nagel Says:

      That’s a good answer. I don’t agree with it, but it’s a good answer.

      • moctavio Says:

        Actually, the question that I would ask Capriles’ strategy and image advisers if they ever talked to me is: is what and how he says things a strategy in itself? Note that I am good friends with some of HCR’s economic advisers, who are top notch, and I have expressed my misgivings very clearly to them in the same terms.

    • “Having said that, it seems to work, I just don’t understand why. Maybe it is the same reason why I don’t understand why people like Chavez after thirteen years”

      Capriles and Chavez share one common trait: they appeal to our “pueblo” because they ARE a lot like our pueblo.

      They sound like the majority of less educated people in our country. Same expressions, same basic language they can understand and relate to.

      Somewhat educated “sifrinos” like MCM, LL, or Arria don’t ring true to the average Venezuelan.Their language it at times too fancy. Their rhetoric too elaborated for the masses to grasp. (even if it’s too simplistic and too freaking political for elite, educated people, such as those who read elite blogs like this one)

      Capriles probably figured out that to beat Chavez, you have to talk to the people in their language. Actually, have several levels of discourse, depending on the venue, or at least find a middle ground between elitism and popular slang:

      When campaigning in some barrio, o en el interior, “epa chamo como esta la vaina? si, mi pana, yo se que la vaina esta jodida..” almost at that level.

      When talking to journalists or some TV show, polish it up a bit.

      But the majority of uneducated, simple Venezuelans can “feel” who’s one of their own, and who isn’t. That’s what Chavez also has.

      • Syd Says:

        I would agree with these observations, Carlos. MCM comes across as very human, when he’s with the pueblo. That’s a strength. I suspect there are some very conscious decisions on his part to project and perpetuate that image. Take his wardrobe, for instance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he purposely chooses the wrong tie to wear with his suit.

        He’s no fool, that’s for sure.

        I chuckled at the end of the ‘debates’ last night, when I saw him raise his arm high, his index finger following through in a visual symbol of number one. He was the only one doing so. (Seize the moment.) He did it again, after committing to the alliance with LL, today, the photo in El Universal showing, once again, HCR’s direction: Number one.

        • Every politician has to become a master of disguise, if he/she wants to get anywhere. They do it here in the USA, Europe, Venezuela, everywhere: pretend to be who you really aren’t, depending on who’s your voting audience at the time.

          Talk the slang, make jokes, if you can, dress appropriately, or under-dress appropriately, depending where you are, a barrio, or that United Nations meeting in Brussels.

          But in Vzla, the pueblo seems to have a nose to differentiate such political actors (LL, MCM..) from more authentic pueblo like themselves (Capriles or Chavez)

          Tigre no come cachicamo..

  12. Juan Cristóbal Nagel Says:


    I understand how you and Daniel continue to find Capriles underwhelming. I don’t really know why it is (other than perhaps he is not wonky enough, or too comeflor) but here is a question:

    Even if you don’t admire his answers or his vision, at least you have to admire how he has put himself in the spot he’s at today, right? I mean, it’s not by chance that he’s leading by a mile. It’s not that he’s riding someone’s coattails, or that he has an enormous party to back him, or that he’s the darling of the media. No. There is something about Capriles – about his person, about his campaign – that is clicking. Big time. That takes talent, preparation, work ethic, and luck.

    That, in its own way, is as admirable as Leopoldo’s charisma or Maria Corina’s guts.

    • Syd Says:

      Juan, you’re answer is a post in and of itself. Well said.

    • firepigette Says:


      Personally I think many people are afraid of Chavez, and would prefer a comeflor for this reason, even though the comeflor might be too much of a compromiser.

      However HCR might be viewed as a practical option….though It would be way down on my list of great outcomes.

      Whether or not we admire somebody or not is not really the question here.What works is what we have to concentrate on.

  13. colon Says:

    Capriles dum dum
    Lopez too ambitious
    Perez drinks rum
    Arria too vicious
    Medina is a joke, and
    MCM the smartest in
    If the cancer does not hit hard in the chin
    The CNE will get Thugo to win

    18M in the REP na’guara…

  14. firepigette Says:

    I love your well written summary Miguel, and agree with your perceptions pretty much.

    I might take it a step farther and admit that I worry about Capriles being way too weak, and easy to compromise or manipulate…

    • A. Barreda Says:

      Although I’m on the record implying that HRC might be a “diente roto”, I wouldn’t go as far as calling him a marionette or a pushover. He showed some feistiness, and had some serious words against Diosdado (“Tengan cuidado los Diputados de la AN con ese Pdte que eligieron,no sea que pierdan la cartera!”).

      I would like to learn more about his world view, but that’s probably a luxury that we cannot afford in our political landscape… On second thought, it’s probably better a guy who knows his limits y no se mete pa’ lo profundo, than an ignorant blabbermouth, a self-procclaimed socialist that attributes the phrase “A spectre is haunting Europe…” to Nietszche…

  15. island canuck Says:

    I’ve said it here before – I really am beginning to BELIEVE that we have a way out of this mess & chaos.

    HCR for pres & LL for vp with maybe MM as another top minister. Can you see the photo ops. Young faces with lots of energy promising to set the country right. There is no way Chavez can beat that no matter how much money he pisses away.

    “Andres Velasquez” – are you kidding???
    Ok, I get it – it was an attempt at humour.

    • A. Barreda Says:

      Yes, it sounds far-fetched now. Truth be told, I was looking for a candidate with some left-leaning background in the primary, somebody who would give a voice to the working class. A token, if you will. However, that never happened. When PM got in, I was expecting he would take up the mantle, but he has an entirely different agenda.
      I guess it doesn’t matter anymore…

  16. A. Barreda Says:

    I share your concerns about Capriles. It seems that he has done a great job as Governor, but I still find him lacking in umpf and presidential-like content. Is he just another Enrique Mendoza? A great-governor yet not presidential-grade material?
    Nonetheless, how many politicians of his age have such qualities and 8 years of experience as elected official? In an ideal world, we would have Lopez running an amazing campaign based on his performance in Alcaldia Mayor, or even Andres Velasquez running after a second term in Bolivar, but that’s just wishful thinking.
    I do hope Capriles improve, especially with some support from Lopez on a new role. Could it be that Lopez’ input is the missing ingredient that Capriles’ campaign need?

  17. CharlesC Says:

    I enjoyed listening tonight and feel so good knowing that
    Venezuela has some good people who want to right the
    wrongs done by Chavez. Very strong and united.
    I especially think Machado shined tonight, and Lopez
    outdid himself with display of energy and excitement…
    As mentioned Arriras and Medina were very respectable
    and solid and steady.
    Caprilles is the “I want to be your best friend” and we willfix
    all of the broken things. As I said elsewhere “Caprilles is a uniter.”

  18. Syd Says:

    thank you, Miguel, for that wrap up, nicely written. I agree with your observation of Capriles. Unimpressive, weak in conviction.

  19. Eventually, all of the opposition candidates should unite, in one form or another, to rally all troops and defeat Chavez. That’s the main goal.

    This would be a transitional government anyway. Many of today’s problems, exacerbated by 12 years of the Chavismo Regime, will not go away overnight… The economy, inseguridad, corruption, lamentable education levels, and all of our deep woes are closely inter-related.

    It will take decades to recover from the profound damages inflicted by Thugo the Dictator, and his numerous hala-bola accomplices.

    And that’s just to go back to what we had before with the adecos and copeyanos..!! More freedom, yes, but also tons of corruption, poverty, lack of education, and quite a few murders every weekend too, as we’ve always had.

    Therefore, many of these new anti-Chavez politicians should unite. They are not very different from each other anyway. And they probably don’t have much of a clue as to how to run an entire Country, anyway.

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