Their words, not mine

The weekly roundup from a well-regarded intel firm:

“Disagreement among opposition leaders regarding the primary date resulted in the MUD choosing a date closer to the end of its November-March timeframe for primaries, announced in February. While it is positive for the opposition to have finally agreed on a date, its relatively late timing will make it harder for any opposition candidate to build a strong candidacy and raise his profile, especially in a context where the government has tight control over the media and has an overwhelming advantage in terms of resources. An additional constraint is that the Chavez-controlled national electoral council has yet to set a date for the election and has the ability to call for early elections, potentially shortening the campaign season. The 2012 presidential race will likely be tight given the country’s political polarization and continuing economic problems Still, the outcome will depend more on Chavez’ political standing and his ability to deliver on economic growth and social programs, rather than who the MUD puts forth as a challenger. At this early date Chavez looks favored to win.

21 thoughts on “Their words, not mine

  1. It may be a well-regarded intel firm, but it looks like something they could have copy-pasted from any columnist/blog/media outlet in Venezuela. I mean, it is no different to what everybody is saying…


  2. And who are the sources for Eurasia group in Venezuela? They have repeatedly bolstered Chavez’ card… He was going to win the 2007 referendum, the big races in 2008, the 2010 parliamentary vote, and so on, and so on. They favored Chavez to win a long time ago, notwithstanding anything the opposition might do… It would seem that Eurasia has no people on the field down here -since it is well outside their regular areas of study-, and they might get their analysis from a secondary source (I have an inkling on who it might be, since political analysis is not a large community, though it might be big business).

    Eurasia group is not a think-tank, mind you, is a consultancy firm for investors, and as such, their assessments tend to be risk-averse and skew to a narrative of power over change. They did not see the “Arab spring” coming, or many other conflicts, despite their much ballyhooed “J Curve” model (perhaps due to Mr. Bremmer’s -Eurasia’s head and a former scholar on the fallen USSR- conviction that “state capitalism” is taking over the World economy…).

    So I take this with a huge grain of salt…


  3. the date is not as important as you might think JC. The issue that really bugs me is the fact that there is no agenda. It seems like the MUD is not gonna do anything from now on because as they have the stupid date for the primaries, they don’t need to.

    We need an agenda for a campaign, topics, debates, etc. This is the main benefit of a primary. It obligates our candidates to differentiate themselves beyond the thought of I’m better than Chavez. It’s not happening, and that is worrying.


    • Oh, no, Juan Cristobal, I’m not criticising the post: I’m looking at the source. As you say, they are a well regarded firm.

      In any case, pessimism might be healthy in proper doses…


  4. Juan

    thanks for that. and they do not even go into the lack of trustworthiness of the MUD which i listed as my main reason why we are going down the drain.

    you know, these people who pay think tanks, they would save a lot of money by just reading our blogs.


  5. About seven or eight years ago, I was in charge of a significant project in the Republic of Georgia, when they had their “Rose Revolution”. My company had a subscription with one of these “well-regarded intel firms.” They were supposed to keep me up-dated with current intelligence and analysis of the political and security situation there. As the protests began building, and it became clear that the situation had evolved beyond the capacity of the government to maintain the status quo, I contacted the office of this firm to request information. I was directed to a young woman, who was “in charge” of the Trans-Caucasus Region from her office in London. She was unable to tell me anything I did not already know. Furthermore, in an hour-long conversation with her, it became clear she had no sources of information, other than the media, and I ended up briefing her on the events of the previous several months. She had little real understanding of the history and nuance of the political situation there. As the crisis unfolded, she called me nearly every day, not to brief me, but to receive her briefing. My most effective source of intelligence came from an ex-police officer who was on my payroll, and who still had extensive contacts there.

    Since then, I have shared similar stories with other managers about the efficacy of these “Intel firms”. So, forgive me if I don’t lend much credence to this report.


    • Yes, I can agree. And it’s not only think tanks. You would be surprised about what kind of organisations got unprepared by such things as the Arab revolution now and what is more, the fall of Communism and so much more.

      This thing about “experts” getting money for nothing is not new.

      Had the Internet existed during Belshazzar’s reign, he would have consulted to find out what that mene, mene tekel upharsim meant, as his consulants were absolutely unable to tell him.

      Of course, David would have told him what mene and all the rest meant.


  6. JC

    “its relatively late timing will make it harder for any opposition candidate to build a strong candidacy and raise his profile, especially in a context where the government has tight control over the media and has an overwhelming advantage in terms of resources.”

    The same argument can be used to argue that the government will use the advantage of more time to cut down and discredit the oppo candidate even more.

    With the few resources and media access the oppo candidate will have available, he/she is less likely to sway the voters by presenting detailed plans and making new promises.It is more relevant that the candidate is seen as being a real alternative to Chavez and dictatorship.

    If the opposition does not provide a United front against Chavez,we will lose- it is that simple whether people disagree about the candidates or not.They should not be more important than getting Chavez out of office, after all Chavez is not even a real candidate, of we pretend he is a real candidate, we will lose.He is not just another candidate, he is arbitrarily imposing himself.This is not a fight between democratic choices.A vote against Chavez is a vote for resistance against dictatorship.

    All I see on these blogs is self -centered bickering and criticism of the opposition’s members instead of what could be called a powerful strategy.

    Also as you say, the outcome will depend more on Chavez’s political standing than on the oppo candidate.


  7. They also prediuct that Humala will win the second round in Peru, so we’ll have a reality check quite soon.

    I tend to agree with firepigette that Chavez has alienated over half the population, and thus cannot achieve 50%. As long as there is a credible “unity” candidate, a hard effort by the opposition as a whole will result in victory.


  8. I disagree. I wrote earlier this week that the later date benefits the eventual MUD candidate. I realize that’s not a popular position around these parts.


    • Boz, I liked your post, for once I see a clear cut explanation of the potential benefits. We could argue in some of the points, but basically you have a position that seems reasoned and logical about why late is better.
      My problem with the MUD is that they didn’t even defended February as the best date, it was just what they were able to negotiate. Aveledo should read your blog and whoever writes the press releases for the MUD. Their announcement was so pathetic I still cringe. Thanks for the post, I will be more than happy if you are right on this one and we are wrong.


      • I completely agree with you on this. If there are positive reasons on why the later date is better, then why so little effort in sharing this with the rest of us… Are they on vacation?


        • Although I believe that the only major problem with the Unidad lies in their utter discretion, I do not see how outlining every single strategy assessment could be wise.


          • Let me be a bit more nuanced: delete “the only major problem” and put “the biggest problem”…


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