An emotional moment in Venezuelan history

Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate;
va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!

For a long battered opposition it has been the sweetest of days, charged with promises as we have not had in a long time. And I am not minding merely a change of president. After more than a decade of serious punishment  where all received that curse, even those who received a prize, we have sensed this afternoon that we payed our dues, that we may have made penance for our mistakes and maybe we are ready for the promised land, for atonement.

The man responsible for that, for that immediate joy is Henrique Capriles Radonski. But his power of catharsis comes from the steely minds that have finally taken over the duty to rebuild our country into something else than the tropical mess for which we have been so willing to make excuses for.  I am speaking of Ramon Guillermo Aveledo as the main sword carrying angel, but also of governor of Zulia Perez, tall, orange shirt, in the back line of the stand where Capriles spoke to the the nation, but also to Caracas.  It was a day of "but also" because all converged to the magic moment when a skinny guy who is not a great orator, but a precise and to the point one, enthralled a country.

I mention Perez because he is a symbol like many of all of these people that have in the last few months released a lot of their personal ambitions. They have worked hard, really hard, inspired by a selfless Capriles. They have all understood that Chavez is an angel of doom that has overstayed his welcome and who will finish off our country and our dreams if we allow him to remain a day more.  I am in awe that all, from Perez to Lopez, have buckled up and went all out to elect Capriles. And he has payed back because no one ever has worked as hard to become president of Venezuela as Capriles has done since last February. No one, not even the Chavez of 1998 comes close.  That is why Capriles has been filling the streets of Venezuela to an amazing extent in the last two weeks, just to end up in today's apotheosis, the largest, biggest ever political meeting in the history of the Americas.

Maybe in some revolution in some big city there were more people in the streets than today. But I doubt it very much and I even dare someone to make the case for such an event.  Chavez can leave in peace: today's meeting puts him in the history books in a positive way.  I like to think tonight we finally can all of us owe something to Chavez, a common embrace toward a better fate.

Pourquoi le prononcer ce nom de la patrie ?
Dans son brillant exil mon coeur en a frémi ;
Il résonne de loin dans mon âme attendrie,
Comme les pas connus ou la voix d'un ami.

I never watch political speeches.  On occasion a Chavez cadena to find fault with him. But of all the folks I ever voted for, I never listened to more than half a speech and maybe a full debate or interview. It has always been enough for me to measure the man.  And yet in the last few weeks I have caught myself listening to Capriles speeches.  They are short and folksy and not to my vocabulary level. But their precision, his choice of topics, his crafted delivery if not fashionable, betrayed to me a more powerful mind than I already suspected.  It requires a great mental discipline to lower yourself without losing your dignity nor being condescending.  I certainly have not come to share all of his ideas or his solutions for Venezuela but I respect his ability for dumbing down his speech for people to understand without requiring the vulgarity that Chavez cannot do without.  I suspect that Chavez political vulgarity was an hypnotic asset at first but then Capriles finally has turned it into a liability.

But I digress: what I meant to say is that I have been surprised at how effective his speeches are.  Today for the first time Capriles was even able to bring emotions in me. Yes, I am not too proud to admit it. And even if it troubled me I quickly understood why.  See, like Capriles I am a caraqueño even if I have sent myself into a Yaracuy exile since Chavez won office. Even if I have lived for years outside of Venezuela. When your first memories are El Avila, you cannot forget.

Capriles was in front of his city, his people, and taking the measure that the immense crowd that was in front of him was nearly all from Caracas.  We forget that there has been no recent president from Caracas.  Since the XIX century there has been only the months long tenure of Romulo Gallegos, which ended in tragedy.

I think that Capriles had a felicitous mix of feelings. He felt the power he now holds. He felt the pulse of his battered home city. And that is what I heard, a speech about how Caracas, my Caracas, has been degraded over the decades.  And how it pained him as much as it pains me.  It worked. Capriles spoke to me. I know it as a fact.

Seguid el ejemplo que Caracas dio

Certainly we cannot assume that a monster meeting like today is enough to win an election. Though I am sure that a high percentage of the assistance has voted for Chavez at one point.  But I do not want to be as cynical as Juan at Caracas Chronicles that has become to Datanalisis what VN&V has become to Consultores 21.  I think that polls in Venezuela are ill equipped to measure momentum, though all have "detected" a rise of Capriles numbers.  But there has been one phenomenon difficult to measure, sense or explain: after 13 years people were so sure that Chavez is here to stay that the waking up may be of dramatic proportions.

Something is going on in the country and I am not going to speculate.  Tomorrow I will publish my final estimates and I advance that I am still giving Capriles a mere 600,000 votes more than Chavez in spite of today's show in Caracas.  But I have seen San Felipe.  I have watched Maturin and Maracay and San Juan de los Morros, and Valencia. And those were no accident.  Something is astir. It is not about Caracas, nor about a given provincial capital. It is about our fate.

The biggest electoral march / rally / event in the history of the Americas

The official Reuters picture of the Bolivar avenue, from the back. The stand is far in the horizon. On the right is the stream arriving from the East of Caracas, all the way through Plaza Venezuela, Solano and Miranda avenues

As I put in a tweet that has been re-tweeted a few times, I dare anyone to prove me wrong  that there has not been in the electoral history of the Americas a event of such amplitude. I am not quite ready to put "political event" since some confused revolutions can bring boatloads of people in the streets. I can assure you of one thing, from past experience in Venezuela, today Capriles has put AT LEAST a million and a half people in the streets of Caracas. What you see in the opening picture is the Bolivar avenue which can contain if absolutely full, like today, about 150,000 folks. But those are the ones that came early, for hours people tried to come and go, or just walk a portion of the different set routes. The Libertador, the Solano, the Miranda, the San Martin avenues were full, and more. For hours.

Below some of the pictures sent by readers, for your enjoyment. Internet in San Felipe has been EXCRUCIATINGLY SLOW today so I had to give up on some edit and maybe have not received all the pics I was supposed to receive. Update later as needed. I only identify readers with initials. IF you want your name complete, put it in the comments :)

JM sends a view from the rear, below Reuters. Sorry, for some reason I cannot straighten the picture...

This view from PD is more to the right and gives you the perspective... They were waiting for Capriles without even having ways to know whether he was on stage. Devotion, ain't it?

AE sends us a view from the entrance of Los Caobos.

AE also illustrates how the main slogan of Chabez, "corazon de Venezuela" was trounced by the Capriles campaign.

ES tells us how far and crappy is the regime's propaganda reaching, probably along a Mision Vivienda crappy construction.....

ES also regales us of a little street scene as El Pueblo needs some sustain for the long march.

PD saw the Venevision crew watching the march. Through Globo signal? And since it was so big, the crowd also stopped to watch itself......

SH sends a TV news view picked on Internet, at Chacaito

Today we may witness the biggest electoral event of Venezuelan history in Caracas

If you can follow it, I will advise you to do it.  At least in Globo and occasionally on VTV which will manage to find any gap in the procession to prove that nobody showed up, even if VTV viewers of Caracas could not drive around today due to the congestion..  Reminder: I will publish pictures sent to me.

Carter Center and Chávez's latest tricks

I asked the Carter Centre to answer about the trick with the ballot, among other things. I haven't got an answer yet but I will keep you posted.

The murder of Venezuelan citizens and the Chávez regime

Every week, several hundred Venezuelans get murdered. Venezuela's murder rate has gone from 19 x 100 000 inhabitants in 1998 to over 65 x 100 000 today. The minister of Interior doesn't give a press conference every time two people get murdered. But yesterday the ones who were murdered were clearly killed when Chávez employees shot them during a political rally. The Chávez government  decided to minimize the incident at all costs. You can hear in the clip how minister El Aissami talks to the national Chávez TV for several minutes to say basically as little as possible and pretend the government cares: he said two people died in some incident between Barina and Barinitas and that the police was investigating.
Some people say this is one of the killers 

Why doesn't he do the same thing for the 17000 to 19000 other people who get murdered in Venezuela every year? Because he only did this as preventive measure. The government does not want to mention those who got murdered were peaceful opposition people and those who murdered them were Chávez employees.

Chávez followers murder 2 opposition politicians | Chávez-Anhänger bringen Oppositionellen um

During a political rally in Barinas state, Chávez officials blocked the road through which opposition people were going to pass. Two of the opposition leaders got out of their vehicles and asked the Chávez people - state employees - to let them through. The others shot them.

The current national government will probably say there was a provocation.
In Barinas, Gewalt gegen Demokraten

Während eines politischen Aktion im Bundesstaat Barinas sperrten Chávez-Beamte die Strasse, durch die die Oppositionellen passieren wollten. Zwei der Oppositionellen stiegen aus ihren Autos ab und forderten die Chávez-Anhänger auf, sie fahren zu lassen. Die anderen schossen sie tot.

Die gegenwärtige Nationalregierung wird wahrscheinlich sagen, dass es eine Provokation gab.

How is Chávez's military government using state resources for the elections?

How is the Chávez goverment using state money to try to get re-elected? In a thousand ways or more. But one I am hearing about now - and not for the first time - is by using PDVSA vehicles for mobilizing their voters for election time.

If you happen to be in Venezuela right now, you can go to the area I show below. There, you will see one of the main petrol distribution centres in Carabobo state. And there you will see right now several hundred vehicles waiting to be distributed across the region so that state employees can drive them around to get their (multiple?) voters to vote for the caudillo.

They did that already in 2010. Now the vehicles - paid with our money - are waiting there again.

View Larger Map

When Chavez recognizes his defeat: tales of a rudderless campaign

Yesterday we had two quite extraordinary events that really reflect how bad is Chavez doing and how clueless he has become.  In chronological order.

Chavez had the bad idea to make a provocation in Monagas. True, it was the state where he was the most voted in 2006, I think, but after the major PDVSA oil spill over in Maturin's drinking water and the clumsy attempt at the regime to hide the ecological crime and force people to drink it anyway, he all but lost the state. That is, it might still be chavista enough for him to squeak a 1% victory but with the governor running against him now, and a lot of the local pols that know better, Chavez chances are dim.

Capriles a few days ago held a massive rally in Maturin, the battered capital. Even folks like yours truly were stunned. Thus Chavez felt the need to reply.  It is always a bad sign when one side feels compelled to campaign in the final days in what is supposed to be their turf. Usually, when that happens it is because they want a smashing victory and thus try to increase their margin there.  This is not the case with Chavez, his campaign is trying to avoid the humiliation to lose Monagas.

And Chavez made things worse.

First, it became known quite fast that the turnout at Maturin, as respectable as it may be, was made by at least half of out of towners when not out of staters, so to speak, if you forgive my made up words.  Not only Maturin at large snubbed him, but apparently army Hercules like planes where used to ferry in a few people.....

If that were not bad enough, to be so clumsily found out in bringing people to Maturin that may have never set a foot in their lives in Monagas, the speech made things worse, way worse.

"El 7 de octubre no se trata de cualquier cosa lo que está en juego. Puede haber gente nuestra que pudiera estar inconforme por fallas de nuestro Gobierno, que no arreglaron la calle, que no llegó la luz, que se fue el agua, que no conseguí empleo, que no me han dado mi casa. Eso podrá ser cierto en muchos casos y yo asumo la autocrítica (...) y uno de mis compromisos para el próximo período es mayor eficiencia en el Gobierno [...] no está en juego si asfaltaron o no la calle, si me han dado la casa o no, o si peleamos o estoy bravo con los dirigentes regionales. ¡No! Lo que está en juego es mucho más que eso camarada: Nos estamos jugando la vida de la patria".

"On October 7 is not a small thing at stake. There might be people who might be unhappy about our failures of our government, that we did not fix the street, that there are power outages, that the water is gone, that I got no job, that you have not given me my house. That may be true in many cases and I assume the self criticism of the governmet[...] whether the road was paved is not at stake, if I have have been given a home, or if I'm angry at and fighting with regional leaders. No, what is at stake is much more than that comrade: We're risking the life of the fatherland. "

That is, not only Chavez recognizes that his government has not been very good, but he asks people to vote for him for the sake of it.  A little bit as if Carter had asked the US to vote for him because next rescue operation in Iran would turn out differently.  Chavez knows he is lost.

With a cheap and tacky look......
Wiser men would have taken to bed after that, but not Chavez. To make sure he nailed his point he returned to Caracas to spend until the wee hours of the night in a link to China which was sending a satellite for us in space. Already wits asked whether the satellite was going to be used to count the number of potholes in Venezuela's roads.....

I will spare you the dythirambic account of the regime of this satellite launch, you have AVN for that if you can stomach it.  The point here is that I wonder if Chavez, really, really thinks that people are stupid enough to think that a new satellite will solve their problems when the launch of the first one has done little to improve their lives, unless they  went to play video games at the regimes cyber cafes....

I am sorry, but people, even the chavista lumpen, cannot be that stupid all of the time.  Chavez is losing it, and not only at the ballot.

Chávez, Putin's puppet, and other stories

Chávez, Russia's puppet: a bad joke?

The president of the oil company Rofnet's, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and former KGB agent Igor Sechin, gave Venezuela's military strongman Hugo Chávez a present from former KGB agent and current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. The present is a puppet. What else did you expect?
Chávez must be very excited

Sechin said he came for a new project to building houses at the Fuerte Tiuna - it seems like that little area is the source for a thousand projects for foreigners to build houses in the country - and, last but not least, to invest in the Carabobo 2 oil fields. He also mentioned Russians could invest 20 billion dollars for 40 years cooperation in Junin 6. Right.

Rotten Food for Dollars

Meanwhile, an opposition deputy from central Carabobo, Neidy Rosal, reports there are 179 thousand tons of grain in 30 ships waiting to be disembarked in the haven of Puerto Cabello. A large part of that load will become rotten...and a lot of people involved in importing will get huge amounts of subsidized dollars for that cargo...which will allow them to have huge profits for stale food Venezuelans won't eat. This is still the Pudreval affair that goes on and on in Venezuela but it has become just recurrent news at a local newspaper. I am still not sure how much of the whole thing (the port's collapse, the rotten cargo) has to do with sheer incompetence from the port's functionaries and how much utter corruption from different groups.

Fatherland or electricity

Finally, the caudillo said in one of his latest speeches that what is at stake in Venezuela now is not whether we will keep having the power failures that plague the country in the last years or not...what is at stake is "the Fatherland". You bet.

The 1 million vote avalanche

Some folks are talking openly about a 1 million vote advantage for Capriles. Maybe.  So, for the fun of it I tried to think about a scenario that could work out. NOTE: this is NOT a prediction, just a mind game.

I operated exactly in the reverse of my normal prediction method.  This time around, after finally updating my total voters per state, I figured out an abstention and what should Capriles get in each state until finally he gets 1 million more votes than Chavez.  After enough twikering I reached the table above.


VN&V final campaign coverage and exit poll: help requested

We are in the last campaign stretch and I am asking readers to help for the following, while informing of other activities:

1- Caracas event next Sunday.  I cannot attend. But I would like very much to publish pictures from readers in Caracas attending.  So if you are going to attend let me know so we can figure out ways to publish pictures you may be able to mail me live.  NOTE: I cannot publish all and any picture because a) my internet in San Felipe sucks and b) we do not want to make the page too heavy for other victims of Venezuela's bad internet.  So I will ask you to chose the pics you will send me for publication.

Also, I would like very much to have someone in EACH starting point, in particular a soul brave enough to march in Oeste part, not because of its danger but because it is the longest part.

If you plan a live tweet or facebook of your Sunday, let me know so I can advertise your tweets.

2- I will do a live tweet from the formal final closing ceremony in Barquisimeto. More details on that later. I am organizing my schedule as I may have my own press card :) We may even do a group picture of readers that may attend.

3- I am also considering a VN&V exit poll. For it to be meaningful and to be ready to publish at 7 PM a result of "tendencia" we need to have an observer in at least 25 voting stations.  If you or one of your friend or relative is in a polling station let me know so we can work out a system. It does not matter whether you are a Capriles witness or an actual "miembro de mesa".

Communication would be through a safe new tweeter account to be provided. If you have no tweet we can manage an SMS system but I would prefer not as less safe in Venezuela.  You can be the link between me and the witness or miembro de mesa if you can find one.

The contact will give me one tweet at opening time to confirm that installation went well and how many people are indeed registered at its voting station.

A second tweet around noon as to how many people have already voted.

A third tweet when your voting station closes.

A last (?) tweet when you know Capriles and Chavez total.

If needed additional tweets if your table is audited or if some trouble were to happen.

Of course, I will not reveal anything of the polling station info you will be attending.

I will be doing the math as results arrive, for participation  etc...  Note, it does not matter whether you are in a pro Chavez or pro Capriles district: what I will watch is whether the opposition vote increased since 2006 and whether the shift indicates a possible Capriles victory. Example: you are in El Cafetal where Capriles CANNOT lose. In 2006 the results were 80% participation  80% for Rosales. Well, if October 7 there is 85% participation and 85% for Capriles then this is significant although not definitive.  But worry not, I will do the math.

As you may imagine this is a lot of work to set on my side (special tweet and gmail accounts, excel tables for each center, excel tables for total results, etc, etc...). So, before I get started on it I need to know by Monday if indeed I can get at least 25 people to inform me. No more than 5 overseas, by the way.

Breaking news! Consultores 21 ratifies electoral findings of VN&V

The last poll before election of Consultores 21 is out and as expected the rise of Capriles kept going on and now he is leading OUTSIDE of the error margin of 2,7%. Capriles is now leading  48,9 to 45,7. That is 3,2%. Incidentally my spread number on September 17 was 2,2 for Capriles. Thus my conservative number being below the one of Consultores 21, I am happy.

Yet this poll is for the second week of September, a full week after the latest one of Datanalisis, and post Cupira, post Amuay. So there is all possibility that Capriles may get a couple of points more before October 7 and considering his spectacular events in Tucupita, Maturin and Maracay, all indicates that yes, he is gaining  further traction.

There are bad news for Chavez. The young vote is going 56,3% for Capriles. Chavez only wins in the 45 year old and more group. Clearly; change is wished for.  The other even worse news is that when people were asked who they would vote Capriles lead by only 0,8% whereas when asked to drop a ballot in a box, sight unseen, that advantage rose to 3,2%, half of "undecided" suddenly voting for Capriles, none for Chavez. Clearly, a fear factor exists and if we are to believe Consultores 21 it is about 3-4% of the voting population.

Will there be another major poll before Sunday? Right now we can hope for one from Mercanalisis and Keller, and maybe a "correction" from Datanalisis which has been admitting that they think most undecided will go to Capriles if they vote and thus their result would become a statistical tie. After Sunday, no more poll publication allowed, at least inside Venezuela. Though I am sure that pro Chavez pollsters will have no problem breaking the law in Internet. But even them admit that the spread in favor of Chavez is not that big anymore.  However VN&V will break the CNE embargo by publishing its last estimates next Monday <evil grin>

Venezuela and the military caste (II)

Venezuela, still under the rule of the military caste

You know Venezuela is far, far away from being a democracy when you have to see that the military caste plays such a role in the election process: today the guys with the boots and the guns declared in a press conference that the different political players had told them they would respect the army and accept the results that the National Electoral Council announces.

In Venezuela election day looks like this: every voting centre has armed soldiers who regulate how many people can enter at what time to cast their votes.

Does the British or the German army have to do this kind of thing? No.

Still, for interesting developments, look at what Francisco announces here and Miguel here.

Holy cachapa! This was Venezuela in 1982-83!

If you speak Spanish and you know Venezuela you will recognise a few or all of the names.
Oh, dear!

Capriles in San Felipe

I played hooky from work to have a feel about the welcome of San Felipe to Henrique Capriles, as he was visiting to close his campaign here. I was not the only one, it seems. After the triumph he got yesterday in Monagas I wondered what would be the reaction here. I mean, I would have never guessed a year ago that an opposition candidate, ANY opposition candidate, could have had such a triumphant  reception in Maturin. But then again, even in Monagas, 14 years of corrupt chavismo and weeks without running water due to PDVSA take a toll.
Warming up the crowd

The format of Capriles visit was simple. He would arrive at the local private airport (no regular flights, only private small crafts) and have a caravan through San Felipe until he reached a central downtown spot for a speech. Then off he goes to another state (Aragua), as he is making closing appearances TWO states a day.

I called my contact in Caracas for some info but soon enough I realized that whatever happens in Caracas has not much bearing with the local organizing committees. So I went on my own, but still with the general description of the event. There were, I think, about half a dozen rallying points around San Felipe. That way people would be spread around the town and have a better chance to come and watch the guy as he went by. And those who wanted could go to a short speech on 5ta Avenida. I chose the big intersection of Ravell and Cedeño, where the McDonald and Burger King are located. Good parking, cold beverages guaranteed. It is the tropics, you know and at 11 AM you think about such stuff.
Avanzada Progresiva parks next to McDonald

The wait was a tad long and unfortunately there were less interesting pictures to take than usual. It was, after all, possibly the most bourgeois rallying point though from the entertainment picture on the right the crowd is quite mixed. Yes, writing a known blog allows you to climb on stage for a picture. My contact were not that useful but good enough for that. I did send some tweet pics here, here and here.

The atmosphere was really cheerful. Though not free of incidents as an asshole chavista felt compelled to drive through the intersection with his Chavez posters plastered car. The car stalled, screams came and eventually oppo folk had to push his car uphill to clear up the intersection. He did not look a happy camper and I wondered what would happen if the situation were reversed...  Surely tonight he will regale his red shorted comrades with tales of oppo violence even though he was the perfect agent provocateur.

He will arrive that way
Finally Capriles arrived and hysteria took over. You really need, if you can, to attend such a small town event where the celebrity is much closer to you than at a big city rally.  I have tried to capture it in the short video at the end, where you can even see Capriles catch the symbol cap of his campaign, wear it for a second and throw it high up in the air for anyone to catch.  Some must treasure that more than a bridal bouquet I guess.

I think that after what I saw today (including what I saw in the streets on my way there) Capriles is going to win San Felipe handsomely. Maybe not Yaracuy as a whole, but San Felipe never looked so enthusiastic in the 14 days I have had to observe it.

By the way I finally got my own baseball cap today. It is now at 100 BsF, up 40 from the original 60. A sure sign that the Capriles value is going up.

Added later. The video of Capriles speech downtown San Felipe. You can see the huge crowd for such a small provincial city.

The Varianzas poll is out: too close to call

Yes, I know, I do not believe in pollsters in Venezuela but those are becoming the news themselves so I need to cover what is going on.

Yesterday Datanalisis got out its last poll before election with the contradictions already detailed here and here. And so it is Varianzas turn today, which strangely chose Noticas 24 to come out with its poll, a web site compromised with the regime now. This detail set aside it is still an interesting poll to look at because it really shows that Venezuela has become such a polarized society that we are left with the expectation of a major event of any type to start see it moving one way or the other. Let's note alos that Varianzas has had a good track record recently and that YVpolis considers it the least biased of all pollsters in Venezuela. By the way, YVpolis bases its current prediction only on pollsters overall study and gives a narrowing margin of 4% still in Chavez favor.

Varianzas says that it is 49,7% for Chavez and 47,7% for Capriles, but the spread falls in the margin of error and thus the election is in fact too close to call. Like Consultores 21 but in reverse though Consultores is a little bit more optimistic in favor of Capriles. However if you go into the details there are a few points of Varianzas that are worse considering and that in my opinion have not worked their way fully through the voter conscience.

For example 50% relate the Amuay disaster with the regime handling of the country, whereas 8% only link this to the opposition.  Of course, that 8% is the chavista moral lumpen that is ready to believe anything that pops up in VTV garbage shows. And thus we have a number for the fraction of the electorate which is truly receptive to chavismo hyper negative campaigning, rather reassuring if you ask me.

It is also to be noted that 10% more think the economic situation of the country is bad than those who think otherwise. Where is the alleged positive effect of the recent misiones? More people think that Chavez will not deliver on mision vivienda than those who think he will, by 11%!

All in all, it looks like the country is aware in its majority that things are not going well, that Chavez is not the future and yet they are unwilling to change their voting pattern, resulting in this dead heat.  I hate to quote myself but I wrote on September 4  what I paste below

One thing we need to understand is that in ANY political culture where elections are held regularly 40% are ALWAYS on one side and the other 40% are ALWAYS on the other side. The composition of that side may vary, may include more than one political party (in France the left has always got more than 40% but on occasion they were as many as 4 significant contenders). Elections are thus decided on two factors, where the 20% lean and how many of the 40% of each side will stay home on election day. There is in general very little transference between the 40% blocks and when that happens to a significant amount able to decide a momentous election it is in time of perceived major crisis (the apparition of gaullism in France in 1958; the Reagan democrats; Chavez in 1998).

Now, for the psychological part. The stability of those 40% blocks reside on many things but one thing is the difficulty for people to admit they were wrong for so many years. If you have voted for Chavez each and every time since 1998, voting next month for Capriles ain't gonna happen. What is going to happen is that it will be the first time you do not vote for Chavez and stay home deliberately.

I am a little Varianzas all by myself  :-)

PS: I should add here that one of my neighbors told me that he would not vote for a jew.  Maybe I have underestimated the reach of chavismo antisemitic display?

If Chavez were to win....

"My work here  is done"  Forward comandante
Now that this pick up from the web set the mood, before I start this post we need to distinguish between Chavez winning and "winning".  In the "winning" scenario Chavez steals the election and we can all imagine more or less what would happen next: a profoundly destabilized country and the road toward an Arab-like spring at best and a civil war at worst.

What interests me today is the possibility of an actual Chavez win next October 7 even if in previous posts I have discarded it. But elections are full of surprises.

We need to start considering what electoral scenario would lead to a Chavez victory. It requires major blunders in the opposition camp. It requires the chavismo electoral machine to find its groove. And even if Chavez were to win, it would be a weak victory, a far cry from 2006, no more than a 52 to 48 score, and a sick president that I am willing to bet would not be able to finish his term. In other words, such a victory would not be a sign of strength but a proof of animalistic survival instincts.

We need to assess the mood of chavismo on October 8. This is important because a victory would be kind of a surprise for them.  You do not believe me? Look at recent events, from Chavez himself warning that a Capriles victory could lead Venezuela to a civil war, to accusations that the opposition is preparing a coup (how, with what, I would like to know) and even a neo-liberal economic plan. Such is the despair and self doubt inside chavismo that they have even hired the services of people that used to be inside chavismo, that went to the opposition, and that went back to chavismo when the opposition did not want anything with them (compare Lara Governor Henri Falcon and a failed activist William Ojeda and you will understand what I mean). And two Sundays ago armed goons were used once again to block a Capriles rally in Western Caracas. Clearly, a government that feels a genuine victory around the corner does not resort to such primitive and violent strategies.  This is a dictatorship in decline and it shows.

We do not need to be Cassandra to guess what would happen if Chavez wins. After that big scare that they almost lost office, seeing that their numbers keep going down and that a final defeat is just a question of time, the only option left will be chavismo sponsored violence.  There will be arrests. Capriles and others will be jailed or sent into exile (see what happened to Rosales). Expropriation of people suspected to have supported the Capriles campaign will be sped up. Globovision will be closed once and for all. The "poder comunal", that lame excuse to make all dependent from Caracas while emulating Cuba's spying CDR,  will be set up without bothering with laws to this respect so as to eliminate any power in local elected officials. And I assume that scheduled local elections still go on. Centralization will reach a further paroxysm. All will be designed to erase the political power and resources of the opposition, as it happened in Iran after last elections.

And then civil war will come anyway. The reason is simple, the economic disaster that Chavez has courted will finally arrive and Chavez will be unable, unwilling, incapable of facing it. Around that time he probably would be near death or dead and thus without a democratic opposition willing to assume the challenge of recovering the country there will be only one option left, a succession war inside chavismo. The factions will be united at first in a violent repression of economic victims but that can only lead to a deeper division inside chavismo that would lead us to a civil war of sorts, or an outright one, starting from inside chavismo.

Sorry, I have lost patience with polite discourse.  This weighs heavily on my heart. More than ever it should be clear for us that there is no possible recovery of Venezuela as long as Chavez is in Miraflores.  Removing him certainly carries risks, but leaving him there carries worse risks.  Your pick.

Datanalisis as an evil empire metaphore

Well, Datanalisis last poll before the elections came out today, though not yet from direct source. Apparently Chavez is still leading by 10 points.  Unfortunately there are two things wrong with it: the undecided number is still too high for comfort and, well, the poll is one month old in its sampling. That is, pre-Amuay and the different events of this September. Source 1 and source 2.

Readers will remember that recently I was wondering about the inconsistencies of Datanalisis, putting Capriles dramatically ahead in his home state of Miranda while trashing him nation wide. On mere political sense their conclusions and results do not make sense.  Such a result, a 10% nationwide lead, requires that Chavez wins basically all states but Miranda. If anyone thinks that Chavez will carry at least 3 of these 4, Zulia, Nueva Esparta, Carabobo and Tachira, then we live in two different countries. NOTE: I am not rejecting the notion that Chavez may win, I am saying he is not going to win by 10 points.

Even if Chavez were to win in 3 of the four states above, could he win by more than a 5 point spread? Where else is he going to find the votes to make it 10% nation wide if he lost Miranda and will not have comfortable margins in Caracas, Lara and Anzoategui?

There come a time when we must wonder how come there is still such a discrepancy between polls. One side has to be wrong, big time. But then again one side may not be playing cool. I am not implying that Datanalisis is sold out to Chavez, but I hate to have to report the rumor that I received from two independent sources that some pollpeople are playing a Chavez victory to buy cheap Venezuelan debt hoping that an eventual victory of Capriles would send the stock up and allow them to make a killing. Maybe Datanalisis is not involved, maybe it is, but I think that it is quite likely that pollsters like Hinterlaces are. Or are getting paid directly by chavismo.

Personally I stick with my current prediction of Capriles by 400K. That is a 51 to 49, edging the 52 to 48 depending of abstention. Right now I am already tempted to increase this but I am waiting a further week for my next state table trend.  And today I am comforted in this. Chavez did manage finally a rather good rally in Portuguesa, a state that I have given to him handsomely. But Capriles did manage a very serious, if smaller, rally. However that rally was in Barinas state, Chavez home state. That is, anyone attending a Capriles meeting in Barinas city, is equal to two attending Chavez in Portuguesa.

Ergo ligantur .

Capriles to name his VP? An electoral blunder in the making?

I am not sure what is going on inside the Unidad campaign but the announcement that Capriles may decide on his VP before election day is, in my view, a possible major blunder.  Quickly a few reasons:

1) there is no need. In Venezuelan constitution a VP can be removed at will by the president, just as if he were a mere minister.  In fact, he is less than a prime minister because in countries where there is a prime minister removal of this one implies automatically that all the other ministers cease in their functions. In Venezuela all the other minsters stay in office when the president decides to change the VP.

2) the Unidad is still a fragile coalition. True, it will hold together until October 7 no matter who Capriles picks, but no matter who is picked, someone will not be happy about that. The lack of motivation of a given group could cost Capriles several thousand votes in an election which is still closer than what many may think.

3) naming a "running mate" is offering Chavez a second target for insults and criticism, in that order probably. Capriles has developed a thick skin that looks more and more Teflon like.  A running mate at this point in the game could become a nasty chink in the armor.

There are other minor arguments against that could be added but I will settle on these 3 for starter. Besides, who would he name? Leopoldo? And have Zulia pissed? Perez? And compromise the governor seat in December? Aveledo and offer the chance to chavismo to say that Capriles is tied to the past (in spite of all the immense merits of Aveledo who has one of the most modern poltical thinking of Venezuela today)? A born again opposition like Falcon and risk to depress the radical wing of the opposition?

I stop now, but you read it here first.  I hope that I am proven dead wrong but I am really afraid that this might be the first blunder of a campaign so far almost flawless.

Benzin, um darin zu baden

Viel billiger als Mineralwasser: Benzin

Die SDZ schreibt über Benzin in Venezuela. Der Artikel ist gut, allerdings etwas ungenau. Da wird zum Beispiel gesagt, dass schon lange kein Präsident sich mehr getraut hat, den Benzinpreis zu erhöhen. Das ist nicht ganz korrekt: Rafael Caldera hat die Benzinpreise im Jahr 1996 erhöht und nach Caldera haben wir nur einen Präsidenten gehabt: den ehemaligen Putschist Hugo Chávez. 

Chávez ist derjenige, der keine Cojones hat und zwar weil er weiss, dass einer der Treibfaktoren der Gewalttagen beim Caracazos die Benzinpreisserhöhung unter Carlos Andrés Pérez 1989 war. Damals haben die Linksextremisten die ohne Vorbereitungen angemeldeten Sparmassnahmen von Pérez ausgenutzt, um eine Konfrontation mit den angriffslustigen Militärs und Polizisten zu suchen und Plünderungen zu provozieren.

Meine Stadt hat über 1.2 Millionen Menschen. Sie hat nur eine richtige öffentliche Bibliothek und die ist so gross, wie die Bibliothek eines kleinen Dorfes in Andalusien. Das Geld, das zur Zeit für die Subvention von Benzin ausgegeben wird und vor allem den Besserverdiennden dient, könnte für tausend Bibliotheken eingesetzt werden. Die Venezolaner haben aber andere Prioritäten.

Carter, Carter, Carter, give up!

Ceaușescu and Carter

Shah and Carter

Chávez and Carter

Hm...was auf Deutsch verpasst

Die Schweizer hatten vor 20 Tagen dies geschrieben. Es war schon ein guter Überblick...nur war das Feuer in der Rafinerie von El Palito noch nicht ausgebrochen.

Hier brennt's

From Palestine, with love

I like Amos Oz's writings a lot. And his words here.

Taking stock before the last 10 days of Venezuelan campaign

Today we enter the last real week of campaign because next Friday will be the start of the "closing statement" week and campaign flavor is always different then. Thus it is a good excuse to write on how things are going on.

One of the best photo journalism opus in Venezuela's recent memory

The cover picture is the quarter page picture of El Nacional front page today. It is not only rich in symbols as to the state of the campaign, and the country, but it is also personal because on my road to San Felipe I almost always drive in front of El Palito refinery of PDVSA and every single time I am offended by the "rojo rojita" gas tank since 2006. Now, this fabulous composition taken from the slums above the road shows PDVSA in flame, AGAIN; the poltical abuse inside state companies; the gigantic ubiquitous campaign poster of Chavez as he looked several years ago; and the lame "para vivir viviendo" of Mision Vivienda. Too bad the details on the left cannot show the gigantic pot hole that I barely avoided last time I drove by.

This picture is no accident, it has to be a divine writing on the wall for Chavez campaign.  This one has been plagued by mistakes, bad reading of the country's mood, natural disaster made worse by administrative disaster, and real disasters that can be blamed ONLY on the regime. Of course that does not mean Chavez has already lost the election, his pull is of a religious nature and certainly in a normal country he would have been fired by now. But that does not stop people who aspire to journalistic credibility to still publish rather inane articles that, even though possessing valid points, cannot resist the usage of old cliches and even write idiocies like " Capriles [...] has the light-skinned features characteristic of the old ruling class". Really, Reuters.....

But I am not upset by pieces like those of Reuters because they do reflect the relative success of Chavez campaign in becoming the conservative campaign, the one afraid of change, the one willing to keep living in shit and cliches rather than try something else. Even journalists buy into that, amazingly....

Still, it is clear that Chavez campaign is sinking and now his hope is to stop the hemorrhage of votes, stop the abstention growth within his camp. The nasty attacks launched in the past two weeks are a reflection on this, except that they forgot the maxim for a successful negative campaigning: define yourself first, if possible with at least one positive element, before you enter negativity otherwise you risk a major backfiring when people realize you are so negative because there is nothing good in you. And so far it seems to be backfiring.  What Chavez campaign is lacking is any positive offering for the future. There is not a plan except a vaguely worded "save the planet" for a guy that cannot save his own country. More of the same worked in 2006 but in 2012 it seems kinda o' cranky...

On the other side, even if promising stuff that I personally think Capriles will never be able to fulfill, we have an organized, methodical, always on cue campaign. Capriles has been remarkable for his steady style, in speech as well as in action. And it pays. Now at least one pollster gives him ahead, and probably two are about to join Consultores 21 in the next few days.

Also, nothing is left to chance, as far as this is possible today. The monitoring of voting day ballot counting seems to be getting into place barring the now exposed vote fraud of chavismo in the past. International relations are taken into account and obtained a powerfully symbolic reception of Capriles by Santos of Colombia, giving him at least 51% of the Colombian vote in Venezuela. The smell of victory is in the Capriles camp, although it bears repeating that 14 years of degradation of civilian values in Venezuela surely will charge a toll.

Thus we enter the last week of campaign with a chavista camp in the defensive in spite of all the billions in vote buying scheme while the resource scarce opposition is actually on the offensive, hoping to reach a semi miraculous 1 million vote advantage over Chavez.

El fracaso del Plan Nacional Simon Bolivar: fracaso revolucionario

Estoy involucrado en uno de esos múltiples proyectos que empresas tienen que hacer a través del gobierno con pocas opciones de éxito. Y menos cuando están en campaña despilfarrando reales comprando votos. Muchos de esos proyectos, sea registro de productos o desarrollo científico con la LOCTI, requieren justificar que el proyecto se inserte en el Plan Nacional Simón Bolívar cuyo Primer Plan Socialista (PPS) cubre el periodo 2007-2013. Pues bien, me topé con esta joya aqui abajo, olvidada por muchos:



IV-1. Enfoque

V. Para compensar las desventajas propias de la actividad agrícola se tomarán acciones en el ámbito nacional y en las relaciones internacionales. Entre tales desventajas están la rigidez estructural de la oferta agrícola, la estructura agroindustrial concentrada como demandante de materias primas y proveedora de bienes de consumo intermedio y final, los subsidios a la producción que utilizan los principales países exportadores y es sesgo importador que se introduce por la abundancia relativa de divisas del país.

Si, han leido bien, el primer plan socialista bolivariano tenia entre sus prioridades disminuir las importaciones agricolas de Venezuela.

A cambio y en la vida real, lejos de la paja bolivariosocialista hemos tenido Pudreval(es). Si, al plural posible porque a cada rato se consigue mas comida podrida por allí.

A cambio ahora importamos, según quien oiga usted, del 50 al 75% de nuestra comida. Como lo dice y lo repite el candidato de la esperanza, ahora el pabellón criollo solo tiene de venezolano los plátanos. En cuanto al candidato de la patria no le tiembla el pulso a poner a una tonta sifrina en cuñas de televisión para informamos que una de las maravillas del Mercosur es que podemos importar comida barata.  El "subsidio" de los países exportadores no viene mas de sus capitales, vienen directo de Caracas.

A cambio perdimos la "abundancia relativa de divisas". CADIVI a dejado de pagar muchas de las importaciones que sin embargo había aprobado y corremos el riesgo de que ya nadie nos quiera vender comida por mala paga en lo que nos a ha vuelto el PPS. ¿Tendremos suficiente platanos?

Cuando los libros de historia de las dos ultimas décadas se puedan escribir, será extremadamente fácil documentar el fraude que fue la revolución socialo-bolivariana.

¿Datanalisis en el banquillo?

Parece que la ultima encuesta de Datanalisis en Miranda no le ha dado mucho provecho. Es verdad que darle a Capriles 16 en Miranda y Chavez 10 nacional le arrugan las cejas a cualquiera. Adapte mi entrada en inglés para Reporte Confidencial y la reproduzco aquí abajo, casi 24 horas después de que salga en RC. Esperemos que alguien se lo mande a Datanalisis, a ver si nos explican un poco el por que de sus resultados.

Las contradicciones de Datanalisis

La verdad es que uno no sabe que pensar de lo que esta pasando con Datanalisis. Siguen publicando encuestas que dan a Hugo Chávez hasta un 13 % de ventaja pero ayer le dan una a Henrique Capriles en Miranda donde podría ganar con 16%. Eso, sencillamente no tiene sentido.

En mi blog he venido publicando mis propios estudios de tendencia electoral. Con mucha cautela estoy calculando una victoria de Capriles con apenas 400,000 votos. No viene el caso discutir aquí mis métodos, muy personales y que solo me comprometen a mi, pero si vale la pena ver mi ultima tabla de “tendencias” a nivel de estados para ver que Datanalisis tiene serios problemas con su metodología.

En otras palabras, para compensar a un 16% en Miranda Chávez TIENE que ganar en Zulia, Carabobo y Lara, y con mas de 5% en por lo menos 2 de ellos. Y para llegar a un 10% de ventaja nacional con 16 % a Capriles en Miranda Chávez necesitaría ganar en todos los estados y con mas de 10% en la mitad de esos.

La tabla anexa abajo tiene cuatro columnas, la primera con el registro electoral del CNE hace unos pocos meses, cuando empecé mis cálculos. Los cambios desde entonces no afectan mis cálculos. La segunda columna son mis predicciones en cuanto a la ventaja que tendría Chávez en cada estado. Cuando en un estado Chávez tiene más de 5% del registro electoral de ventaja, lo considero seguro y lo pongo en rojo. Cuando Capriles tiene ventaja aparecen los números como negativos, y al igual que para Chávez, cuando su ventaja es de “mas” de -5% pongo el estado en azul. En azul o rojo claro son los estados con tendencia pero que pueden cambiar de aquí al 7-O.

En la tercera columna puse mis estudios más recientes donde muy conservadoramente me arriesgo a dar a Capriles unos 400,000 votos de ventaja o sea a penas un 2,2% de ventaja. Creo que hoy es más amplia pero siempre trato de ser conservador.

Ahora bien, en la ultima columna vuelvo a hacer un calculo rápido usando las encuestas de Datanalisis. Trato de cambiar mis cálculos para Miranda para llegar al -16% y los otros estados para compensar y darle a Chávez un 10%. Uso algo de sentido común, pensando por ejemplo que la ventaja de Chávez va a ser mucho mayor en Portuguesa que en Zulia.

Pues bien, no lo logré. Todavía no llego al 16% en Miranda a favor de Capriles y ya, solo para darle a Chávez un total de 4,2% de ventaja tengo que darle todos los otros estados. Simplemente, Miranda es el segundo estado en votos y una ventaja de 16% es difícil de compensar con los otros estados a menos de poner márgenes parecidos.

En otras palabras, para compensar a un 16% en Miranda Chávez TIENE que ganar en Zulia, Carabobo y Lara, y con mas de 5% en por lo menos 2 de ellos. Y para llegar a un 10% de ventaja nacional con 16 % a Capriles en Miranda Chávez necesitaría ganar en todos los estados y con mas de 10% en la mitad de esos.

Eso, ni Jorge Rodríguez es tan ingenuo para creérselo.

Oil tanks, thunder and explosions: Is it something in the air?

PDVSA now not only red-red but more often than not on fire

Two tanks at the huge El Palito refinary were burning last night. According to Ramírez, head of the state oil company PDVSA and Minister "of the Popular Power for Energy", a thunderstorm was the culprit:  lightning strokes hit two oil tanks and that was it.

A couple of years ago we heard about a huge fire after lightning stroke the Venezuelan refinery in Bonaire. There have been other minor incidents when we hear it was lightning again (when it is not an iguana or some other South American animal).

A friend in Bonaire told me back then people in that island were saying PDVSA Bonaire didn't have the proper equipment like lightning rods to prevent these accidents from happening. When the fire broke, it didn't even have the required foam and other equipment to extinguish the fire and the Dutch authorities had to help.

What is the truth about these lightning accidents in Venezuela's refineries? Do you know? Is this just bad luck or more of the bad maintenance issues that have plagued Venezuela's oil industry since 2003?

Why did Colombia's president Santos receive Capriles?

The real reason was to send a clear message to Chavez:

“Listen Hugo.

We know that you are an insufferable asshole and that your campaign methods would send you straight to jail in any semi civilized country. We, your neighbors, and I speak for most of the continent, are not fooled even if we can do nothing about it. However, if in spite of all your treachery Capriles manages to win, we are going to recognize him. Don't you dare steal the election!

I, for one, will not allow you to fuck up what I am trying to negotiate with the FARC. And stealing elections and sending Venezuela into more chaos is not going to help me. So, help me God if you mess up in October 7 at night. If you play dirty be assured that all the files that Uribe left me will be used as necessary. I do not give a rat's ass about who wins, really, but whoever does, he wins.

Got that?”

Der Untergang?

Chávez hatte vor, in Los Teques zu erscheinen, war aber nicht da. Stattdessen kam sein Vizepräsident, Elías Jaua. Gestern wollte er in der Küstenstadt Catia auftreten und eine Rede halten, er war aber nur kurz dort. Ich bin nicht sicher, dass das, was Aussenminister Maduro sagt, das entspricht, was man als Untertitel zeigt. Die Sache läuft aber anscheinend nicht so gut für die Militärs und die Boliburgueses. Daniel Duquenal hat interessante Kommentare zu den letzten Wochen des Wahlkampfes. Ich bin vorsichtiger, aber irgendwie werde ich langsam optimistischer.

Ah...ich hatte es fast vergessen: der Llanosführer hat seit fast eine Woche keine Tweets mehr geschickt.


What are we going to do with Datanalisis?

Datanalisis used to be a respected pollster. But lately one has to wonder.  It is not that they are one of the last "serious" pollster to still give Chavez a solid lead. Why not? But it is their contradictions.  For example yesterday they published a poll for Miranda state, the home state of Capriles, giving him a whopping 16% lead.  But elsewhere they are still giving Chavez a 13% (1). Is this coherent?

My short answer is no. My long answer is on the table in the right. I have taken the table I published on September 17 and put the last column in a scenario accommodating the numbers of Datanalisis according to my hypothesis. That is, I started increasing the Chavez votes here and there, keeping up still a certain logic, keeping some states more chavista and some states less.

Well, giving less than 16% advantage to Capriles in Miranda and not even 5% nationwide to Chavez, I already get a rather ridiculous table.  Imagine what would happen if I give Capriles 16 and Chavez at least 8..... (2)

Of course, I could have reviewed my initial starting assumptions, increase voter participation, etc, etc, and create perhaps a more plausible scenario. But I think my point is clear: there is something wrong in Datanalisis approach and they need to come out clear or risk losing their reputation in barely two weeks.

1) I add this link to Entorno Inteligente on the datanilis result.  It is exactly the same as the one link above except that now the redaction is pro Chavez, shamefully. "El candidato de la patria". Clearly, for publishing two versions of the same data, either they are sold out to Chavez or not that "inteligente"

2) I stopped when I reached the results of the table. I had to give Zulia, Lara and Carabobo to Chavez to get this result. Trying to reach a 13% for Chavez nation wide would have required that I give 5% lead in these three states. Now, considering it all, does anyone at this point believe that Chavez is going to carry these three states by at least 5 points in each? If so, well, you are even more deluded than Jorge Rodriguez. Please, note that yours truly has not given 10% to Capriles in Miranda while Datanalisis happily gives him up to 16%. Gimme a break!

Leopoldo Lopez press conference to foreign correspondents on readiness for O-7

Lopez, between Reuters and RCN
Being these days for work in Caracas I got a call from my contact and off I went to attend a press conference of Leopoldo Lopez to the foreign correspondents in Venezuela, as to the readiness of the Unidad/MUD/opposition for October 7.

I certainly was interested.  Not only Miguel had the chance to talk with the guys in charge of making sure that chavismo does not steal an opposition vote, but when I interviewed Lopez a few days before the primaries he told me that his function in the coming campaign was going to direct all the effort to organize the logistics for election day. In politics one should never miss the opportunity to do a follow up, the more so if it comes from the big boss.

I am not going to bother you with the details.  First, Miguel has an excellent account published in three parts when he was last in Venezuela (part 1, part 2 and part 3).  The more relevant part for today's press conference was part 3 of Miguel, on how to defend the vote. Second, it would be too long. Lopez speaks fast, with a high data intensity, and at one point they asked him to slow down. Besides, articles are starting to appear and I am lazy (already here, here and here).

Explaining the danger zones
Let's start to illustrate what a daunting task it is in what is a nearly lawless country. Lopez informed us that the opposition needs around 210K "witness" to monitor 13,810 voting centers. That is, one inside to watch out for possible fraud, one watching the lines to see who is legit or not and one to help electors confused by this or that. The drama here is that the people that the CNE supposedly picked at random either have not the proper training or are strongly biased toward the pro Chavez option because the selection is not that random.  And amen to the military in charge of order....  That is why in some centers there has been 100% participation, 100% votes for Chavez.  Nobody was sick, nobody pushed the wrong button by mistake. But there was no opposition witness.....

To this you must add that the opposition has identified more than 800 remote sites where there is no cell phone coverage, and where sometimes there is no roads to begin with.  But it gets worse, there are about 300 centers which have a high risk of violence, that is, centers where the opposition witness could be, well, hurt. This is no joke, Lopez being willing to state that the regime was playing the violence card.  At the rehearsal of two weeks ago, the witness at Caracas 23 de Enero where threatened with death if they dared to come back. Interestingly, the EFE dispatches that are the first to circulate on this reunion forget to mention any of these facts, focusing on those that make the election look like a normal election.......

According to Lopez, Venezuelan election are way worse than Russia in state abuses. He all but dared anyone to prove him wrong.

But if this was the negative part, the meeting had also plenty of positive news. First, the opposition has nearly 100% centers with at least one witness.  Even in Havana!  If I got it right, the two witness centers are getting close to 90% and they are still hoping that they will make it to three witnesses almost everywhere by election day.  You need to note that it is not just a matter to sign up, you are trained for that. You can imagine the logistics behind of all of this and all on a shoe string income when compared to the billions wasted by the regime in vote buying and what not.

Also I really liked Lopez tone. It feels confident, that the opposition will win, that we are all doing our best.  This is perhaps the best news of all, that this time the opposition activists are really motivated, as political activists have never been in decades.  I know, I know, he is a politician, but there is something about the way you behave, the way you reply to questions over an hour that betrays how confident you are. Lopez is at least confident that all that was possible has been done. And that, my friends, is already priceless.

PS: I did a live tweet so for those interested I pasted it below as more details appear.


Not even in russia there are abuses like in venezuela.
The journalist of EFE, of course, is more interested in el paquetazo, switching of alliances than the organization of the opposition. Geez
There is probably no election in the world where the state is at the service of one electoral option like is the case in venezuela.
There is no electoral observation. What we will see is electoral tourism. But observation is no guarantee of good results.
The objective is to convince CNE and the army play fair on october 7. The Capriles camp will play fair.
“el gobierno se esta jugando la carta de la violencia” the regime plays the violence card. His words.
Like one in Elorza, sorry, there many centers in Elorza.
In districts like Elorza there is also problems like guerrilla.... Chavismo in last elections got 100%. No one was sick....
It is a huge labor where EVERY DETAIL, every one is essential
the opposition witnesses on “el simulacro” in 23 enero were threatened with death during the event.
Too many party boss “help" people to vote, people that can very well vote for themselves.
Practically 100% centers have one witness properly trained. The objective is 3. They are almost making it to 2 and hope for 3 by E~day
Special problems: about 800 voting centers without phone signal; about 300 centers with potential violence; jails; embassies.
Chavismo strategy was to carry people. They only managed to carry 900,000 people. They failed in their strategy.
The rehearsal vote "simulacro" strategy was to make sure that their guys would show up. They had a near 100% success.
Teams at all levels. From national to local. A structure for constant communication during voting day essential.
Many process involved. From bringing voters to the polls to make sure that the results are transmitted accurately.
Stressing how important to monitor small voting centers. We are talking of centers where may have to go on "burro", donkey back.
The on to the real meat: how to guarantee votes are ALL COUNTED. The complex logistics.
A clear resume of the situation starts, reminding among other stuff the overwhelming media advantage of the regime.
Getting ready for live twitting of Leopoldo Lopez to foreign press about electoral preparations.