Venezuelans Go To The Polls. Will It Matter?

December 7, 2013


I am in Caracas and the excitement over the Mayoral elections is more or less that of an Iguana racing contest in a coastal town: Everybody goes, because there is nothing better to do. But nobody knows the iguana’s, so the betting is slow.

And in this case, Chavista candidates told Nicolas to please stay home and campaign, but don’t show up to raise my hand. So, the excitement is precisely that of whatever the local race may bring. In most places: who cares? How can one get excited about voting for Jorge Rodriguez, for example, the least simpatico and disagreable Chavista ever to hold office. He will likely win.

That is the type of election this is.

And polls claim that Nicolas’ strategy of declaring the war on commerce will work. Will work in that Chavistas that a month ago were thinking of staying home are now thinking of going to vote, as long as there are no lines and they can get something in return. Anything, but one carton of milk is not enough. Come on! We are a democracy! We have a price, but not that low…

So, gimme a break. I will go vote because I am a radical Chavista/opposition.The rest? The weather better be good, my candidate pretty and smart (sorry Potro, sorry Winston!) and I better be in a good mood to show up.  No threats please! And some giveaways are appreciated!

Which only means that the races will be close. Closer than the pollster say. They say that Chavismo has an edge. That Maracaibo and the Metropolitan area are in trouble for the opposition.

I say, that abstention will be the winner and will determine the winners. And that the opposition, Cadakazo or not, will come out on top in total votes. And I claim that rather than the 120 Mayors, an improvement over the less than 50 from the previous election, that the polls say, we will obtain around 140-150 cities, which still means Chavismo can claim a victory in the end with 175-178 cities.

So, the symbols are important. The Metropolitan Mayor, Libertador, Maracaibo, Maracay and Valencia will be the trophies that everyone will want to claim. And I think we lose Maracay and Libertador and that’s it.

But in the end it does not matter. The result will be “even” unless either side can win by 8% points and win some of the emblematic cities from the other side. Which I don’t think will happen, but abstention remains the wild card.

So, in the end it is likely to be a draw. Which implies Chavismo still has a level of support that the opposition can only wait for the Parliamentary elections of 2015 to try to do something about. Two long years from now, in which the revolution will try to press on its radical agenda, in the face of empty shelves, high inflation and Chavez’ weakling son as their leader.

Not a pretty picture, but in the end one that is not likely to change tomorrow even in the context of my predictions, which are considered to be on the very optimistic side locally.

But I call them as I see them. I don’t know whether to wish I am right, or wrong. That is how irrelevant Sunday’s results may be.

15 Responses to “Venezuelans Go To The Polls. Will It Matter?”

  1. moctavio Says:

    but I say it’s going to be neither good nor bad. That is the point.

  2. amieres Says:

    Me, on the other hand, I see the election as very important, not because is going to cause any immediate change, but because it defines the trend for the next two years. In that sense is crucial. a good result for the opposition means they are doing the right thing and is an indictment on the government. It means keep working hard and you can get the AN in 2015.

    A bad result would be demoralizing for the opposition. It would going back to the drawing board.

  3. moctavio Says:

    If by 2015 they can still gerrymander their way to victory, then we deserve it.

  4. Boludo Tejano Says:

    Which implies Chavismo still has a level of support that the opposition can only wait for the Parliamentary elections of 2015 to try to do something about.
    Which will be problematic, given the Gerrymandering of districts, where oppo districts are often much larger in population than Chavista districts.

  5. VJ Says:

    ElUniversal Política @EUPolitica 05:40 pm

    Aveledo: “Hay tendencia a acercarnos en participación electoral a un 60%” #8D

  6. VJ Says:

    En el Polo Patriótico notan una “abstención grande” 04:00 pm

    Entretanto, dirigentes del Polo, que agrupa al Psuv con otras toldas aliadas, se mostraron preocupados. “La abstención es grande. Estamos moviendo gente y desplegando las maquinarias revolucionarias”, dijo la fuente. Se refieren a la Operación Remate que a partir de las 2:30 pm tenía planificado el oficialismo activar para convocar a más personas a las urnas electorales, revisando las listas de las Ubch.

    Leer más en:–abstencion-grande.aspx#ixzz2mvKuM600

  7. captainccs Says:

    BTW, onions have gotten so expensive that instead of having “atún encebollado” on the menu now they feature “cebollas al atún.”

    Onions in the US, as best as I can tell from Google, are priced between 50 cents and $1.50 a pound. Onions in Venezuela hit BsF.100 last week. At the official rate that’s around $7.00 a pound. At the unmentionable rate it’s 80 cents a pound.

    Isn’t it amazing how the free market (the unmentionable market in Venezuela) is able to figure out market clearing prices?

    • captaincc, The unmentionable market is the real market. It is and has been like that in all economies with a parallel rate.

      Eventually the offial and parallel rates always unify at the parallel rate: never at the offial rate.

  8. captainccs Says:

    I came back from PLC yesterday. While there I had an iguana visit twice (it stayed outside, on the wall, soaking up sunshine). I also had other lizards visit, a few ‘limpia casas.” They scurry about a lot faster than iguanas do.

    Does the vote matter? It sure does for Chavismo! The opposition has been made a fool of for 15 years. The opposition has been used as the “tonto útil” (useful fool) for years, election after election to legitimize Chavismo in power. Even abstention backfired so the opposition is truly in a catch-22 position, damned if you vote and damned if you don’t. In any case, Venezuela being run like an absolute monarchy, the only election that counts is the presidential one. The rest are just local color.

    Where I was the staff is essentially Chavista. One of them has a granddaughter with leukemia. Some time ago the mayor visited her and on seeing the squalid condition where the two year old lived, he ordered a series of improvements and monetary help with the BsF2,000 monthly medical tests. Minimum wage is around BsF3,000 a month. Grandma commented that he was a kind hearted man but conceded that he just might be buying votes. He got four from that office.

    I was going to vote but decided that housekeeping after a month’s absence was the greater priority, and, of course, writing this comment.

  9. Glenn Says:

    The Venezuela stock market is primed for a government win with an increase of over 400% this year.

    Not the included most appropriate photo.

  10. HalfEmpty Says:

    But nobody knows the iguana’s, so the betting is slow.
    One of your funnier lines in awhile. Bravo.

  11. glenn Says:

    One thing for sure, tomorrows election will not put milk on the shelves no matter the winners….

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