54 thoughts on “The state of the campaign, YouTube version

  1. The Leopoldo commecial is good. It sells him as the opposite of Chavez as a person: Young, energetic, handsome and as a family man. Really effective.

    Maria Corina’s ads are so well produced, but she needs to explain her “capitalismo popular” idea in 30 seconds, not just mention it over and over.

    HCR are more traditional, but some ads show his work as Miranda governor. Well done.

    Pablo Perez is still behind on his commercials. Let’s wait and see on that.

    And Diego Arria needs an ad ASAP. Something about him, his background, to introduce himself to those who doesn’t know him.


    • I did not like the López video at all, for two reasons:

      a) It’s all about Leopoldo, all the obstacles he’s had to overcome. It’s all “inhabilitación,” all the time. I’m not sure how that’s relevant to voters who are not enamored of the guy already.
      b) I don’t know how jumping on a pick-up truck and dodging ofice chairs while wearing shorts makes one look Presidential.

      But what do I know… maybe it’s brilliant.


      • Neither do I, but then millions of Venezuelans voted for a guy who said he became a painter out of love for Venezuela (never mind nobody but his mother had seen his paintings).

        Dodging office chairs while wearing shorts, on the other hand, is a clear message.
        It’s like being a good dancer is supposed to be a symbol for being a good lover.


        • “…but then millions of Venezuelans voted for a guy who said he became a painter out of love for Venezuela.”

          Exactly. These commercials go for the heart (emotion), not the head (reason).

          For the record, I’m not voting for Leopoldo, but the ad maybe goes for non-political junkies.


          • LL isn’t even self-aware enough about his caudillo problem to avoid an ad as shamelessly vanity-driven as this one. Blecht!

            It’s *NOT*ABOUT*YOU*…no election ever is. It’s about the voters. You win when you learn to talk to them, about their problems. You lose when you talk at them, about how great you are.


            • In the quiet words of El Chavo: Bueno, pero no te enojes.

              In the end, the voters will decide if his strategy works or not. I’m not voting for the guy even if I liked the ad. I’m not the “target audience” of the ad. I like more content-based promos, but personality has been the prime element of Venezuelan political campaigns and as evidence, just watch the video posted on the earlier post. Things have changed since 1983, but more things remain the same.

              P.S. Have you considered doing a live blog of the debate, Andrew Sullivan style?


      • The way I interpreted it — simply, without delving too deeply — is that the obstacles are a metaphor for the barriers that the current regime has instituted in government and in the daily life of its citizens. LL, presumably, will be able to overcome those obstacles.

        LL is no “santo de mi devoción”. But the video is very well conceived and very well produced. The climax with LL jumping over the desk, impressed me.

        If LL’s debate is just as strong, and stronger than HCR’s, it could increase LL’s standing as a principal candidate, rather than as a question mark.


        • OK, I want to see the ratio of (heterosexual) men to women who would use such convoluted explanation as you did to explain that, after all, Leopoldo’s add is impressive indeed.


          • Kep: There’s a reason for the “Reply” link.
            If your comment responded to mine, then know that I want to see a good storyboard, better yet, an actual video that culminates in your jumping over a desk. Once we see this, you’ll find that most people of any sexual persuasion will clap at your performance.


            • Yeah, but will they vote for me? That’s the point. I don’t know, really. They could vote for Lusinchi and have been voting for Chávez, so anything can happen, but here the emphasis, as Toro is saying, is too much on Leopoldo.
              Lusinchi saying he is like all of us may have enticed a lot of Venezuelans to vote for him.
              Leopoldo being a good sportsman? I don’t know, specially because most Venezuelans are not that sporty, really.


  2. At first, I thought LL’s video was terrible. What does jumping over an old desk in the middle of Chacao have to do with anything?? What’s next, swimming across el Guaire? Rappelling down the Previsora building? Biking through La Piedrita territory? But then, it does show the guy is so much younger and fit that Esteban de Jesus. The pepsodent smile doesn’t hurt either. Maybe people are going to love it.

    HCR’s video was more effective, IMHO.


  3. I liked PP’s ad… for like ten seconds and then i did not like it anymore. I like the candidates when they talk about real stuff, but I am not probably the target of these ads. For instance, I liked a short video of MCM talking in Globovision, but I don’t like the vague message shown in her ad.
    Diego Arria probably don’t want to win. He sounds like a party pooper and voters don’t like that. Everybody knows that things are bad, but voters are looking for some “yes we can” attitude. I guess it is true that he just wants to remind us how f*cked up things are and keep us down-to-earth.
    I’m glad that the debate is gonna happen, but should I perhaps lower my expectations after watching this ads?


    • I want to talk more about Diego Arria because his position is unique in this contest:

      He is the oldest of the bunch. He has more experience in government than the rest. He worked in the United Nations, close to Kofi Annan when he was Secretary General. The case of the seizure of La Carolina works as an example of two terrible policies of Chavez: The illegal takeover of farms and the harassment of political opponents. He has also a history of corruption during his tenure as Governor of the former Federal District. He is well educated, with experience in the public and private sectors.

      He probably knows that he won’t win, but maybe he wants some issues to not be ignored of the discussion. I like his slogan “DAR por Venezuela” and he can develope a narrative out of that. If he want to make an impression, he can start with those points.


  4. My first reaction, no too much thought:
    1. HCR – Too religious for my taste, but I like the conciliatory approach. He can run too!
    2. LL – All about him and how he overcomes obstacles, but this race is not about that. Wow, he can jump hurdles!
    3. PP – Too old style. The big speech with the big loud deep big voice at the end of sentences.
    4. MCM – So lame! Very weak. Not what I was expecting.
    5. DA – Actually, even though that is not an ad, is what I wanted to hear. It might not be what people want to hear, but it’s what they need to hear.
    If I had to vote right now, I’ll be deciding between HRC & DA.


  5. I’ll admit I thought PP’s was pretty good. Better than expected.

    HCR’s whole beato thing is weird in that it seems to be from the heart – or is there a big enough voting segment of practicing catholics whom he’s dog-whistling? I can’t tell. He may actually have convictions in that regard, though – unsettling. (I prefer my candidates cynical, really – if there’s one thing the Chavez era has taught us is that convictions are dangerous.)

    In terms of messaging, you do get the sense that PP and HCR are getting very similar advice. It’s hard to distinguish between them, and both seem determined not to draw any sharp contrasts.


    • Perhaps he is being advised by some Maracaibo-born German economist or something like that. HCR’s got so far good ideas, but on that he’s overdoing it…average Venezuelans consume tones of Schmalz on a daily basis but take both their Pepsi and their church light.


  6. HCR: Even being him my candidate, I found the ad too much religious-driven. Nevertheless, I found his message of getting all Venezuelans together good. Probably not the best ad, but it will probably appeal to the masses.
    LL: Well, actually I like how it looked because it was well-produced and that’s so rare in Venezuelans political campaigns. However, the content was awful. It was so caudillo/personal driven ad. He was promoting himself instead of a solution for the country. It will be appropriate for pursuing a management position in a company with a crazy hiring process.
    PP: Even though it has a message and a proposal. It was vague and not appealing to the youth but more to old Adecos/Copeyanos. Too long, and I kind of beginning to actually hate this guy.
    MCM: I think it was well produced too. I like her. I like the people that she showed in the ad because that distance herself of the high-class image she projects. But, I want to know more about “Capitalismo Popular”.
    DA: Three things: 1) He needs and ad asap 2) He is losing his money, too dinosaur for this race 3) “Economia del voto” will prevent him to actually manage some votes, even for people who can actually sympathize with him


    • The whole religious thing could backfire for HCR but maybe his campaign is looking for voting blocks that he can movilize (evangelicals, catholics, etc.) He should tone it down a little bit. His message of unity is still central and working.

      Pablo Perez will run with an “old school” campaign. All about the man and the machinery, just look at his first commercial about his launch event in Maracaibo. If you compare it with the Lusinchi ads, they’re pretty similar.


      • Yeah, If he wants to look for those voters, he should. But then need to send those messages when he is addressing them or at least not as often as I can see. Weird enough, I always thought, or at least it give me the impression, that LL was more religious than HCR.


        • I love HCR’s use of religious imagery, no big surprise there. It’s out there, but it’s honest. It speaks to who he is. Considering the post-modern world we live in, I find it incredibly brave.


  7. Agree with Carolina and Toro on HCR’s religious fanaticism. It’s beginning to bug me. I have nothing against a person’s faith. But it should be private, not fanned out in public. Then again, the public expression of Marianismo is central to its creed. (Read: gain converts.)

    Disclaimer: had a first cousin (qepd) who over the years went from funny, warm and quick-witted to ‘entregadismo’ as a result of the charismatic process. Her repeated attempts to convert me to ‘la rosa mística’, etc. caused a chasm in our very long family relationship. She was no longer the person I grew up with. I mourned her earlier personality.


    • “I have nothing against a person’s faith. But it should be private, not fanned out in public.”

      I know a place where religion is private: totalitarian China. And Communist Cuba.

      The right to publicly express your religious beliefs is a core belief of liberal democracies.


      • The right to publicly express your religious beliefs is a core belief of liberal democracies.

        I don’t think anybody’s going to argue against that. The question is whether it’s a good idea for a candidate to do so. Is there’s an electoral up-side to it, or is he’s doing it purely out of conviction? Hmmmm….


        • I agree.
          Everybody has the right to practice and to express their religious beliefs as they please.
          I just think politics and religion don’t mix well and the president should not include religion as part of the agenda or his plan to run a country.
          How do you think the Venezuelan-Jewish or the Venezuelan-Muslim communities feel at this? HCR is talking about a “government for all”, but he is forgetting that not everybody is catholic.


        • Agree again with Toro and Carolina. If you’re running as a candidate for all, then keep that total population in mind, and that not all will share your fervent beliefs, however sincere. (And I believe HCR’s beliefs are sincere, born out of horrifying fear while in jail as a political prisoner.) In fact, some sectors in that population could be repelled by the repeated mention of mystical entities. So from a political perspective and the goal of aligning as many in the population as possible, is it wise to repeatedly mention aspects that are repudiated by certain sectors?

          Here are a few other aspects to fervent beliefs …

          If you repeat mention of mystical entities (God, the Virgin, et al) as the ones responsible for results not yet proven, what responsibilities do you have, as a politician in the process? When things go wrong, will you also be ascribing the failures to the mystical?

          I compare HCR’s experiences in jail to those suffered by other politicians, for a longer time. Nelson Mandela comes to mind. So, too, does Rómulo Betancourt. After their time in jail (and ojo, Betancourt was next to the torture chamber in El Calabozo), both kept their eye firmly on the political horizon and navigation towards it, without resorting to multiple displays of religious crutches.


      • JC,

        I agree.It is also the right of each to find it irritating, and express that opinion, but you are 100 % correct in saying that politicians have the right and should not feel repressed in expressing religious beliefs if they so wish to.If a politician chooses not to out of political expediency that is also his right.

        There is a disturbing trend, where people often feel pressured by those who do not
        believe to keep their opinions to themselves….but that is very self centered and
        authoritarian.If this were to happen , then only those who do not believe would be able to
        express their personal agendas( in the sense of basic orientation) in an open and honest way.

        The Liberal press has pushed this viewpoint now for sometime, and with great success, however there are still brave souls out there who push forward with their personal truths.


      • Juan, it’s not a matter of publicly expressing your beliefs; it’s a matter of using one religion, repeatedly, to brand (innoculate?) yourself, while entrusting responsibility for results to other realms.

        As for times in history where most religions were private, except for one:

        * the Medieval Inquisition (1231–16th century)
        * the Spanish Inquisition (1478–1834)
        * the reign of Mary I of England, aka Bloody Mary (1553 – 1958)
        * the Portuguese Inquisition (1536–1821)
        * the Roman Inquisition (1542 – c. 1860).


        • The fact that someone publicly expresses his faith is honesty and straightforwardness and in NO way indicates that he or she will not respect separation of Church and State.

          It is important of the public to know the candidates.If a candidate’s morality is in question, we want to know.What are his values? We want to know.

          Anything that might show the kind of person the candidate is is relative to his campaign.


          • I don’t think the word “values” goes hand by hand with religion, that’s the thing. The world is full of examples of bad people that profess an specific religion, as it is full of atheists with high and strong moral values.
            Other than curiosity, religion means nothing to me. Just as the zodiacal sign, the shoe size, their preferred color or….their sexual orientation.
            Show me his/her public resume, education, his/her criminal record, where and how they get funds from, capacity of work and the team he/she is planing to work with, for example.


      • Juan,

        I am Christian and I actually read the Bible regularly, as Syd noticed…even though I am definitely not a conservative and most evangelicals or Catholics would consider me rather agnostic or “humanist” or whatever. I can see your preocupation and why you consider that thing brave.
        I had been a couple of times in conversations in Europe where people were trashing Christians and suddenly discovered I was a Christian myself and their initial shock was something like when gay people were coming out decades ago: oh, oh, you are? Oh…ok, cool…trying to change subject. But then: I don’t push my specific believes onto others. I talk about them when it matters and I try, at least try, to act accordingly.

        But I see also what others, non-believers or “believers light”, see. It puts most people off if you just sound like trying to sell that to them when they didn’t ask you for it, when what they are expecting is to hear something else.

        People say religion and politics don’t mix. Actually: religion and politics have always been mixed, even if the result is lots of people getting scorched with the boiling drops falling upon them.

        Organised religion, in fact, was used by politicians and religious leaders used politics since mankind became sedentary. We are trying not to push it aside, but to keep state separate from religion FINALLY. That’s not communism.


  8. My views:
    HCR: Went for emotions, was the most effective at it IMHO. It displayed him “with el pueblo” as well as energetic, young and enthusiastic. The religious thing was possibly too much. Did´nt love the audio, the visuals were spot on.

    LL: It succeeds at showing a young energetic family man, driven and focused, but the content was really corny for my taste.

    PP: Much like HCRs, it showed him interacting with the people. OK overall, one thing “que no me cuadra” is politicians that “tap” people, they don´t shake hands or grab, they sort of tap them… but that´s just me though… The bit makes him look good, but it tries to hard to make him look like a humble man.

    MCM: Good commercial, different than the others, don´t think it´ll make a difference for these elections.

    Diego Arria: He needs to start campaigning soon, outside of Twitter and Youtube.


    • I understand your question, except that I think that the only “giant” here is the PSUV. I’m not too sure that AD, Copei, PJ or VP could be call that.


    • I wondered the same thing. With no party backing, Quién está por detrás? Who’s financing the campaign? DA’s tepid candidacy on twitter and youtube reflects small coffers. But MCM’s efforts show a richer purse. Where’s the money coming from?

      As for AD, Copei, PJ and PV, they may not be as large as PSUV, but I suspect their funding is not too shabby.


  9. All of these Bozo’s( clowns) should just give up now but it looks like the Huffington Post in the States is rooting for Maria Corina’s campaign since she got an article their today on how her campain was attacked.

    Did not see one of you crybabbies shed tears when their was a illlegal coup and a constant attack from day one on President Chavez from US imperialism.


  10. I am afraid, having seen this, that LL’s ad will get the majority of primary voters while HCR’s would have gotten the majority of election voters.


  11. WTF?!!!!

    LL is the only one that jumps the shark…, I meant, the desk? Nobody else is able to?

    La voluntad Popular no la PUEDE desobedecer nadie… tell that to the Bhurmese.

    Y’all know I am as atheist as possible, but actually the religious aspect of HCR bothered me much less that the self worship of LL: Nauseating.


  12. I JUST got who the LL ad is aimed at!

    People that want to vote for him but are afraid that it will be a wasted vote for an “inhabilitado”.

    “Just vote for me, I’ll get over this ban like I’ve gotten over everything else.


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