Electoral stunts

Uribe and Lopez
One funny thing about primary electoral campaigns is that they tend to be full of stunts, more than general elections who need a little bit more of composure.  But when you trail in the polls and you have nothing to lose anymore, you either go to The Hague, or closer and cheaper, meet with Uribe in Bogota.

These stunts need not be a bad thing and actually do help focus the issues sometimes.  If going to The Hague was, for Venezuela today, useless, it was a good way to remind folks that the Chavez administration is a criminal one that has committed enough felonies to deserve at least a judicial investigation.  No poll yet has published whether Diego Arria benefited from that trip but he sure made a few headlines and forced the PSUV to reply even if it were to dismiss the stunt.  In other words, the stunt did anger chavismo which is not a bad thing in politics.

The stunt that Leopoldo Lopez pulled this week is of a more immediate effect because it connects the Venezuelan voter with the reality of crime in Venezuela and the knowledge by all that in Colombia next door, Uribe did improve things.  You may deny it if you are within chavismo but you cannot hide to yourself that your little buddies at the FARC are in trouble due to Uribe.  If he supports a Venezuelan candidate then this can only mean trouble for you some day somewhere.

Telesur, this paragon of objectivity, the CNN of our glorious Latin America XXI socialist wannabe did unwillingly reflect that in the video that I put at the end of this post.  The snippet lasted 40Sec, started by saying that Uribe "intervened" in Venezuelan politics (yeah right, Chavez, Telesur boss, never did interfere in Colombia), that the reason of the meeting was that Uribe is afraid that Venezuela is becoming a dictatorship (it is, Telesur should not even mention that word if you ask me), and finished saying that Lopez is corrupt and Uribe even more.  Quite a smashing argument from Telesur, I am sold!

But the meeting was more important than Telesur would like us to believe.  Even though Uribe is a busy man these days, he found 4 hours for Lopez.  And in these 4 hours he semi-publicly quizzed Leopoldo from oil production to how many cows are in Venezuela.  We do not know if Leopoldo replied to all but Uribe seemed pleased that Leopoldo was prepared enough though he took care to let him know that focusing his campaign on a single issue (crime in the case of Lopez) was not enough to defeat Chavez.

I do not know if that meeting is going to be good for Lopez, but it certainly was good for Uribe who shows that he is still on the top of his game, that he follows Venezuela as closely as he follows Colombia and that his office is a Mecca of sorts.

As for Lopez, he risks little.  He is trailing, a strong third maybe but still a third.  Such a meeting gives him a few plus: he is taken seriously by a notable leader of the hemisphere, that leader thinks he is viable and that he can be elected (and thus take office which chavismo is trying to muddle); he probably will get advice, and support from the Colombian community in Venezuela who likes Uribe.  But there are also negatives, after all Venezuelans do not like much "foreign intervention", even from someone like Uribe who could teach us a few things that we sorely miss these days.  Also he is not making happy the opposition umbrella MUD because of that "intervention".  But then again it seems that the MUD only likes what Perez and Capriles do, so why should Leopolod care much about the MUD angst?

In short, the kind of stunt good enough for a primary where you need to take chances to be seen as different.  Outcome uncertain but worth a shot.