Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Venezuela: The Blogosphere Discusses the Campaign

The wrangling between one side and the other on the internet and between the political positions in Venezuela are not a surprise, especially during an election year. Venezuelan netizens are discussing the legality of the election campaign of President Hugo Chávez and the plans proposed by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Both sides are analyzing the proposals, attacking the candidates, and both have their followers. They doubt the National Electoral Council, and investigate the financial support of the candidates. Government plans are being rethought and the speeches spread.

Meanwhile, the road to the election in October intensifies by the day. In a contested election in which the opposition has finally managed to make a space for itself, the blogosphere reflects rising expectations on both sides.

Ludmilla Vinogradoff points out the advantages of the Chavez campaign [es] and quotes analysis to mark the contrast between the visibility of the candidates:

…el ventajismo chavista se pasa de la raya. Armando Briquet, jefe de campaña del opositor Henrique Capriles Radonski ha sustanciado siete denuncias específicas con documentos y pruebas ante el Consejo Nacional Electoral, que demuestran las desproporciones, los desequilibrios y las violaciones a los reglamentos que comete el comando electoral oficialista en el mismo día del arranque oficial de la campaña presidencial.

Briquet contabilizó que el canal público Venezolana de Televisión, VTV, transmitió 6 horas y media del acto de inicio de Chávez y apenas 11 minutos de Capriles. Los diarios “VEA”, “La VOZ”, “Correo del Orinoco” y “Ultimas Noticias” publicaron avisos publicitarios de Chávez de la convocatoria del domingo pasado.

Chavez’ opportunism is over the top. Henrique Capriles Radonski's campaign manager Armando Briquet has substantiated seven specific allegations with documents and evidence before the National Electoral Council, which show the disproportions, imbalances and violations of regulations committed by the [Chavez] campaign on the very day of the official start of the presidential campaign.

Briquet documented that the Venezuelan public television channel, VTV, broadcast 6-1/2 hours of Chavez’ inauguration and only 11 minutes of Capriles'. The daily newspapers “VEA”, “La VOZ”, “Correo del Orinoco” and “Ultimas Noticias” published advertisements of Chavez’ public gathering last Sunday.

Also Daniel in his blog The Devil's Excrement points out what he sees as a breakdown of the law:

Thus, while Chavez finances his campaign in full violation of the law, in a manner that is punished with jail, the Superintendent of Banks goes fishing to see if any irrelevant amount of money is flowing to Capriles’ campaign via opposition leaders. This limits campaign contributions, as donors are afraid of being harrased for contributing to Capriles’ campaign, while all of the Government’s resources are at the service of Chavez’ efforts in blatant violation of the law.

Such are the unfair and unethical ways of the revolution.

Meanwhile in the Ultimatum Hiperboreo [es] Capriles Radonski's proposals are criticized:

Hace uno o dos días escuché una parte de un discurso del candidato presidencial Capriles Radonski. [...] En su discurso Capriles Radonski dijo (parafraseo de mi memoria): “Si el gobierno cree que el problema es el capitalismo, el consumismo, las películas y los medios de comunicación…” Todo candidato opositor debe estar pendiente y darse cuenta de que eso no es lo que el gobierno cree. Es lo que cree un porcentaje bastante grande de la población votante. Se podría decir, sí, que el Gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuela está en contra del capitalismo y del consumismo, y que el plan de gobierno del presidente Chávez —la revolución ideológica y cultural con contenido argumentado y sostenido por abundantes evidencias— sostiene la idea de que las películas importadas y los medios de comunicación son protagonistas centrales de ese problema. Pero también es cierto que un porcentaje de la población ha votado muchas veces apoyando esa visión revolucionaria. Y se trata de ciudadanos civiles y no civiles, no (sólo) [del] gobierno.

A day or two ago, I heard part of a campaign speech by presidential candidate Capriles Radonski. [...] In his speech Capriles said (paraphrasing from memory): “If the government believes the problem is capitalism, consumerism, movies and media …” Every opposition candidate should pay attention and realize that's not what the government believes. This is what a fairly large percentage of the voting population believes. You could say, yes, the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela is against capitalism and consumerism, and that the President Chavez’ plan–ideological and cultural revolution argued and supported by abundant evidence–supports the idea that imported films and media are central players in that problem. But it is also true that a percentage of the population has voted many times to support that revolutionary vision. And these are civilians and non- civilians, not (only) [from the] government.

Similarly, the blogger responds to accusations made about the fairness of the National Electoral Council:

En otro orden de ideas, pero en el mismo tema: me comentaron que ya están diciendo algunos opositores que el Consejo Nacional Electoral no es lo suficientemente confiable para llevar a cabo la elección presidencial que se acerca. Es decir, que en Venezuela hay democracia cuando les conviene a los opositores y cuando no les conviene, dicen que no hay democracia. Las máquinas del CNE sirven para hacer las primarias pero no sirven para una elección nacional. Jugamos según las reglas del juego, pero decimos —cuando seguimos perdiendo— que el juego está trampeado y que las reglas no sirven o que los otros jugadores son unos tramposos. Hay democracia cuando los electores eligen a un alcalde o gobernador opositor, pero hay dictadura y cleptocracia cuando los electores votan por la revolución. Y luego hablamos de la defensa de la democracia y de la justicia y del pueblo, etc. etc.

In another vein, but on the same topic: I was told that some in the opposition are already saying that the CNE [Spanish acronym for National Electoral Council] is not reliable enough to carry out the approaching presidential election. That is, in Venezuela there is democracy when it suits the opposition and when it doesn't suit them, they say there is no democracy. The machines from the CNE are good enough for the primaries but not for a national election. We play by the rules of the game, but we say–when we're still losing–that the game is rigged and that the rules do not work or that the other players are cheaters. There is democracy when voters elect an opposition mayor or governor, but there is dictatorship and kleptocracy when people vote for the revolution. And then we talk about the defense of democracy and justice and the people, etc., etc.

Meanwhile, Carola Chávez explains what she sees as contradictions from Capriles Radonski [es]:

[…] ahora más que nunca [estamos en] la necesidad de salvar al mundo, a los pueblos, de estos vampiros que lo arrasan. [Ése es] el compromiso de mi Presi expuesto en su plan de gobierno. Y la estupidez recurrente del aspirante a adversario: “El Gobierno nacional quiere salvar el planeta, la especie humana, yo les planteó a los venezolanos solucionar los problemas del país”. Una Venezuela en medio de la nada propone el candidato capitalista de la gente decente y pensante de este país.

[...] Now more than ever [there is] the need to save the world, the people, from these vampires who ravage it. [That's] the commitment my President [Chávez] stated in his plan for government. And the continuing stupidity of the aspiring adversary: “The Government wants to save the planet, the human species, I propose to solve the problems of the country.” A Venezuela in the middle of nowhere is what the capitalist candidate proposes to the thinking and decent people of this country.

However, Adriana Villanueva emphasizes the most important message [es] she found in the opposition candidate's speeches:

Ayer el principal mensaje de Henrique Capriles Radonski fue que al ser Presidente lo primero [con lo] que acabará es [la división del] país en dos: quienes están con el Gobierno y quienes se le oponen, catalogados por los oficialistas como “enemigos del Pueblo”. Capriles promete gobernar para los venezolanos, punto. Vamos a ver cuántos insultos recibimos hoy del Comandante quienes nos atrevemos a dudar de más de trece años de su obra de Gobierno, siendo la más notable, la omnipresente propaganda oficial alabando su gesta revolucionaria.

Yesterday, Henrique Capriles Radonski's main message was that the first thing he will do away with is the division of the country in two: those who are with the government and those who are against it, categorized by the ruling party as “enemies of the People”. Capriles promises to govern for the Venezuelan people, period. Let's see how many insults we receive today from the Commander who we've dared to doubt over thirteen years of his work in government, most notably, the ubiquitous propaganda praising his revolutionary stance.

Villanueva continues:

Por eso me gusta que ayer al candidato se le llamara con cariño: “El Flaco”, cientos de franelas que decían: “El Flaco Presidente”, recordando a la señora que le dijo: “Flaquito tú tienes cara de presidente”, que viene siendo la contrapartida promocional del “Primero Dios y después mi Comandante”, publicidad institucional que antes de que comience oficialmente la campaña electoral obligan a transmitir en los medios de comunicación.

That's why I liked that yesterday the candidate was affectionately called “El Flaco” ["The thin one"]. There were hundreds of t-shirts that read “The Flaco President”, recalling the woman who told him: “Skinny boy, you have the face of a President” in contrast to the promotional “First God, second my Commander” which was run in the media before the election campaign even officially began.

At the same time, Mitchelle Vidal interprets [es] the image shared by Alberto Rojas in his blog Caracas Shots when a mural urging non-violence was hidden by political advertising:

Photo taken by Alberto Rojas of ‘Caracas Shots', used with permission

Así quedó el mural realizado hace pocos días por un colectivo dedicado al arte urbano que cometió el pecado de clamar por la NO violencia. Uno de sus voceros era —nada menos que— Gandhi, ícono universal de la paz y tenía además textos que aludían a ser cortés y otras buenas prácticas ciudadanas.
Pero los amigos del gobierno lo taparon con una ristra de afiches de la campaña electoral del candidato oficialista.

Clarísimo el mensaje. Violencia contra la No violencia.

This is how a mural, created a few days ago by a group dedicated to urban art which committed the sin of speaking for non-violence, ended up. One of its spokesmen was no less than Ghandi, universal icon of peace, and it also had text alluding to courtesy and other ways to be a good citizen.

But friends of the government covered it with a bunch of posters of the candidate's official campaign.

Very clear message. Violence versus non-violence.

From the side of those who support the President's campaign, the blog Un Grano de Maíz [es] explains the difference the author finds between the two candidates and what he sees as the importance of Hugo Chávez's plan:

El domingo y lunes pasados se inscribieron dos opciones, dos proyectos de civilización opuestos como el agua y el aceite.

…con [Capriles] no hay otra opción que ser pieza subyugada en el soporte del despilfarro imperial, tabla de salvación de su crisis terminal.[…] La otra posibilidad que se presenta a la batalla electoral, es la que señala la vía para superar al capitalismo, busca formas de organización que potencien la fuerza social, nos integren como sociedad.

No es una mera propuesta electoral, sabe que el futuro del país, de esta generación y las siguientes, es superar al capitalismo, y sabe que es el Socialismo la única manera de hacerlo, es la continuidad de una lucha por la emancipación del humano que lleva milenios.

Last Sunday and Monday two options were places on the ballot, two civilization projects that are as opposite as water and oil.

…With [Capriles] there's no choice but to be subjugated to the support of imperialist squandering, the salvation of its terminal crisis. [...] The other possibility presented in the electoral battle points the way to overcome capitalism, looks for ways to organize that enhance social strength, that integrate us as a society.

It's not just an electoral proposal, it is the future of the country, of this generation and those to follow, to overcome capitalism, and socialism is the only way to achieve this, it is the continuation of the struggle for human freedom going on for milennium.

Finally, José Roberto Duque in his blog Tracción de Sangre [es] points out what he considers crucial in this contest:

El arranque oficial de la campaña abre un nuevo ciclo político en Venezuela (el crucial, el decisivo): es la recta final del proceso electoral. En ella se definirá con cuántos venezolanos convencidos continuará el proyecto de construcción de un modelo de país y de humanidad iniciado en 1998.

Pero hay otro momento de nuestra historia que debe preverse, analizarse, pensarse y discutirse con toda responsabilidad: el momento en que debamos poner en práctica lo aprendido en materia de organización del pueblo para el pueblo, en las formas de autogobierno, en la gradual demolición del viejo Estado y el salto audaz hacia otra forma de organización popular: el sueño de Chávez y del chavismo más consciente es uno donde el Estado, tal como lo concebimos hoy, abandona sus funciones mastodónticas y le deja al pueblo la misión de construir. ¿Qué hacemos con ganar y ganar y ganar elecciones si no ensayamos el cómo continuar y continuar y continuar como pueblo y no como aplaudidores de jefes?

The official start of the campaign opens up a new political cycle in Venezuela (a crucial, decisive one): it's the final stage of the electoral process. It will define how many Venezuelans will continue with the project of building a model for the country and for humanity that began in 1998.

But there is another moment in our history to anticipate, analyze, think about and discuss responsibly: the moment in which we put into practice lessons learned in organizing the people for the people, in the form of self government, in the gradual demolition of the old state and the bold leap into another form of popular organization: the dream of Chavez, which in its most conscious state is one where, as we understand today, it abandons its mammoth duties and leaves to the people the mission of building. What do we gain with winning and winning and winning elections if we don't test ways to continue and continue and continue as a people and not just applauders of leaders?

Duque concludes:

Es una tarea larga pero debe discutirse desde ahora. Un “ahora” que pasa por el esfuerzo titánico en procura de la victoria chavista del 7 de octubre.

¿Y si perdemos? Pues habrá que continuar la tarea pero en condiciones más duras, terribles y sangrientas. Pero habrá que continuarla. Nadie dijo que la Revolución es algo que sólo puede hacerse con un aliado en Miraflores.

It's a big job but it must be discussed from now on. A “now” that continues through the titanic effort in pursuit of victory for Chavez on October 7.

And if we lose? Well, we'll have to carry on with the task but in harsher conditions, terrible and bloody. But we must carry on. Nobody said that the Revolution is something that can be done only with an ally in Miraflores.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site