Sunday’s De Facto Primary

elias-beisbol-finalOne thing’s for sure: in the (now very likely) event of early presidential elections, the CNE calendar is going to be a circus. The thirty days stipulated between the time the president steps aside and the day of the vote is tight, tight, tight. There’s definitely no time for an opposition primary in there.

But if Henrique Capriles underperforms on Sunday vs. Elias Jaua in Miranda State, the much vaunted “Double-Play” will be a political fact: there’s no way R.G. Aveledo can line up the opposition ducks in a row behind Capriles if the guy can’t even win convincingly on home turf.

If we end up with a hobbled Capriles and no time for a fresh primary, my sense is that Sunday’s election will turn into a kind of de facto primary, with whomever does best coming to be seen as the natural candidate against Maduro. Which makes the stakes much higher this Sunday.

President Falcón, anyone?

31 thoughts on “Sunday’s De Facto Primary

  1. I agree with the article, bit by bit (hoping there will be a victory in Miranda). I only have to say that I just noticed that Jaua is using -for his “otro beta” poster- the outline of a Johan Santana picture -the Venezuelan left-handed ace-…


  2. Stupid MUD and Capriles. Running for Miranda when primaries were made and another person was chosen, in my opinion they deserve to lose basically for doing exactly what they were criticizing Chavez and PSUV all this time, not being democratic on their party decisions.

    Now Jaua can put Capriles to shame so that makes it a double fail in a very short period of time, seriously, that attitude is deserving of more Chávez for years to come.


    • Yeah, asshole, who does he think he is, wanting to get elected and serve? Everyone knows the great politicians always step aside before their time is up.


      • Sorry Juan!
        But ErneX has a big point here. The truth behind Capriles’ decision is a pragmatic reason: Primero Justicia did not want to lose its “cota politica” by controlling the biggest state, the equivalent of the Principality of Wales in Venezuelan politics.
        In other words, Ocariz wasn’t the gallo to hold the avalanche prepared to recover Miranda by the Chaverment. It was pure pragmatism that does not have anything to do with serving.
        The guy should be Ramón Guillermo Aveledo now, giving press conferences and being the notorious face of the oppo.


      • You call for primaries and the people elect some dudes and “dudettes” to run for the states. This same people elect another dude to run for president.

        Dude that ran for president loses, decides he can’t stay out of the game and in a not really public and transparent way the dude gets to run again on the state he used to govern. None of the people that voted for the other candidates on the primaries was told this could happen because everyone was also stupidly blind and believed the guy was going to win. This same people that decided this guy should run again on his previous state disregarding the fact that primaries were held and another candidate was chosen believes he’ll win again.

        Like I said, this is exactly the kind of crap the MUD and most of the opposition keep complaining about the regime/PSUV is doing, Chávez picking the dudes by himself. That’s why I think we deserve more of what we currently have because it’s clear to me the opposition hasn’t really learned anything on these 14 years.


        • Ocariz isn’t complaining, so why should you? The fact is that Caldera’s stupid ploy changed the game for everyone in MIranda.

          If you’re so upset with this, you have a choice. His name is Elias Jaua. You can also stay home.


          • I don’t give a damn if Ocariz isn’t complaining, my point is that even if Ocariz accepted this the people went to vote and elected someone. There wasn’t a disclaimer saying “in case Capriles loses the big thing he’ll run again for Miranda”. That’s my point, pretending to be democratic and different but then resorting to cogollo decisions. And no I’m not voting PSUV/Chávez in my life.


          • ‘Ocariz isn’t complaining, so why should you?’
            This is a disheartening comment. Of the kind that makes one wary of the oppo’s alleged democratic profile.
            In real democracies, it is beside the point to distinguish between candidates and citizens. Because all are citizens, and every citizen has the right to run for office.
            Obviously, Venezuela is not a democracy. Either by chavistas or oppos standards.
            Poor, poor country.


            • Dear Ana (and I take this liberty because we met sometime, about twenty years ago):

              You are absolutely right, and, besides, you said the “magical words”: real democracies…

              I know some of them exist, somehow, somewhere… but, more to the point is this question: has Venezuela ever been one of those?

              The answer is: categorically, NO, and we all knew it all along…

              I’ll never forget one of your father’s “bon mots”, in fact, to my tomb I’ll take the last line of a vitriolic (and so juicy as a ripe “manga”, so I can still taste it) essay he wrote after the 1992’s coup, answering the “holier-than-thou” article of Guillermo Sucre in Octavio Paz’ “Vuelta”: (I quote by heart, but I will swear I have it right): “No olvidemos que no hay peor cuña que la del mismo palo, y hay palos que son adecos hasta que se mueren”… (the reference, obviously, was to Sucre Figarella, “el zar -adeco- de Guayana”, Dr. Guillermo’s very powerful brother…).

              Even someone as brilliant and incisive as your father was bound by the times he lived in. I still admire his scintillating prose, his Spanish “mala leche” when he wrote about almost everything (I proofread and edited an article by him on football for a World Cup in “El Diario de Caracas”, long time ago: an unforgettable and wonderful piece about time and death in football, if I’m not mistaken), but even he was wrong dismissing Guillermo Sucre’s article, as time (that passing thing that brings death, in football as in life) has demonstrated…

              The problem in Venezuela, Ana, is NOT “alleged democratic profiles” now. That’s, and please don’t take it the wrong way, to be as simplistic as the so-called philosopher that called sir Juan Nuño a liar because he was never able to find any book by Lichtenberg, that unique (and quite crazy) author your father was fond to quote… can’t remember the name of the prick right now… but you surely do, don’t you?

              In Venezuela, in these days, pragmatism it’s simply a matter of survival… To quote Orwell: “All animals are equal… but some animals are more equal than others”… To the letter of the law, we Venezuelans have been equal for a long time… but that is, exactly, what this “régime” has undermined…

              I hope I’m not offending you, but you DO know I’m right: this is not a “real democracy” yet… The opposition is being forced, by the international community and some high profile thinkers as yourself, to play, let’s say, by the rules of Baseball… while the government and its accomplices are playing American football… Hands tied behind our backs, we are still fighting…

              Sometimes, you know, silence is better than words…

              Sorry to say it, but your words, “poor, poor country”, accurate and right as they are, are just another tie to the knot that will hang we by our throats…



      • I have a few friends who voted for Capriles on the past presidential election that weren’t really thrilled about voting for him but did it for the “greater good” that his victory would mean. After seeing the “kikiriwiki” that happened after losing the elections and running now for Miranda they said they aren’t going to vote.


        • That’s failing to see the big picture. Capriles NEEDS to run for a public offfice so he can actually be eligible for President. That’s how Venezuelans politics work. On the other hand, if Ocariz had had run for governor, then the Sucre municipality would not have a mayor candidate. Then multi-salta-talanquera William Ojeda would run probably as a red candidate… no no no, total disaster. Some decisions have to be made from a pragmatic political point of view.


      • When the MUD primaries registration period was up, both Zulia and Miranda were fundamentally set up the same way: governor goes to get nominated for president, mayor goes to get nominated for governor, and a lame duck plays filler for mayor. The single difference between both states was the popular vote: Miranda went down that way but Zulia didn’t —consensus had already been reached.

        After Pablo Perez was hammered into paste by Capriles in the primaries results, UNT rolled back the scheme in Zulia: Enrique Márquez was sent back to the National Assembly and both Eveling and Pablo opted for reelection. They were allowed to. The consensus card enabled them to do it.

        Had the MUD considered paramount the Miranda voters, they should’ve looked for a replacement for Juan Carlos Caldera —Ocariz is as good a candidate as Capriles to beat Jaua in the polls. But they chose to back Capriles’ wish to roll back the scheme in Miranda.

        Yeah, politics often becomes politricks in order to stay in the game. But, do I fingerpoint at the MUD? Absolutely not. The reason: the Miranda voters DID NOT DEMAND THEIR VOTES TO BE RESPECTED. By forgetting about this important fact, they gave the MUD a blank check to rearrange candidacies in Miranda as they saw fit.

        Just as we have rights, we also have duties. The Miranda voters did not exercise them in time. Please, shut up already.


  3. I think if Capriles is shown to not be the best candidate to beat Maduro, he would gladly step aside in favor of the person best suited. This is no time to be playing prima donna.


  4. To start with, we need to wait until say Thursday or Friday, to see if Chavez springs another “miracle” on us or not.

    If the operation is real, then we still can’t count him out, regardless of all the political theater we have seen so far. The man needs to die or decline to take his post, neither of which can be foreseen at this time.

    How can anyone tell whether or not he assumes his post on Jan, 10, 2013?

    You can only assume, and we all know what that leads to.

    That being said, I thought way back when Falcon separated from the PSUV that he should have been the candidate for the oppo given that he could be the natural bridge ‘twixt the two sides, at least in a more natural way than Capriles could.

    I think I’d rather Falcon than Capriles this time round, quite frankly. If Capriles loses on Sunday, or fails to win convincingly then all bets are off.

    Damn straight, this Sunday will be the second primary this year!

    A stray thought just crossed what passes for my mind these days.

    Imagine this is all a pact between Chavez and Capriles. “Let me win, and I’ll bow out. You run again and win and I ride off into the sunset “invicto”.

    Where’s that bottle again?


    • I think he’s going to try his best to be able to take his oath january 10th name Maduro again as VP and resign shortly after. We’ll see.


    • North Corea vibes all along, the closing clip they ran after Maduro talked is mind boggling “Chávez somos todos”.


      • Yeah, I can’t stop thinking about how it must have been **exactly** the same with Lenin.

        “Chavez is this cab line. Chavez is the cables and the cars; Chavez is PDwhatever!” . . .

        “Man is Chavez, Woman is Chavez, Child is Chavez!” Not enough?

        “We are all Chavez! Chavez is the awakening of the people!” Aaaaand idol.


  5. Will this sunday even matter?
    Pandora opened a jar releasing all the evils of humanity — leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. Wish you all the best this year end. Be safe.

    Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
    Man never Is, but always To be blest:
    The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
    – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man


  6. My choices, to pull a fast one would be PP or MC. Both HCR and PP are governor-occupied and if PP decides to bide his time for this (potentially very turbulent and destructive) period of administration, MC has all the dark-horse qualities and would be hard for NM to attack effectively in the short period available. And, as an engineer by training also has the freedom inherent in the advantage in not coming from professional politics.
    But all in all, NOT HCR again, with hats tipped for the good job done up to October and all. But no more.


  7. Expat:

    Moved and impressed, I frankly thank you for the “double classical” quote: Alexander Pope and Greek mythology, all in one: classical and neoclassical… Chapeau!

    Some deep and informed insight should be always welcome… at least by some odd-ball like me… Specially in “sites” like this, where there is no psychological depth or, at least, a “working” knowledge of rhetoric. Here, there are only “words”, “opinions”, “encuestas”, just “strategical analysis”, and, yes, quotes about Briceño Guerrero’s seminal work based on a (quite good but “partial”) translation and not the whole three essential essays he so painfully and clearly wrote… Some quote him here in what they write, but few have read the whole “El laberinto de los tres minotauros” as a full reflection about our country, about our place in the world… We Venezuelans are, at best, “three headed monsters”, like Cerberus the dog… we speak a “triple” discourse… I wonder if anyone here got that, ever… I doubt it…

    But I digress…

    “Politics”, as a word, refers to “Polis”, the “city” (in this specific case, the “Caracas” the site is supposed to “chronicle”… from time to time, when the “writers” come to visit from Santiago, Montreal, Paris, New York, London, Burkina Faso, Montevideo… anywhere but Caracas herself -yes, Caracas is a female, damn English grammar!). The only “local” writer is in Barquisimeto… that distance says a lot…

    But “politics”, no matter what you will, means just that: things that affect citizens that LIVE and have LIVES in the city they are writing about (or country, let me be flexible -kudos to Aveledo for his guts!-): that means the place where they belong… body and soul… not just “intellectually”…

    In this site, that “sense of belonging” used to be so deep, so strong and true… that was what made it so interesting and so so good and comforting… as well as the sense of humour (now displaced for eventual quotes from “Chigüire Bipolar”, with its childlike and superficial jokes…).

    But that was so so long ago only few readers remember… Then (when Juan Nagel had to be “Kathy” to keep his job: does someone recall those times?); over ten years ago, it was just a marginal little blog… Now the owners are “authorities” (“opinadores de oficio”): they get to be interviewed on CNN or write (well paid?) pieces for international media… I really don’t know, and hardly care… Venezuela is hell, and Caracas is its central circle… and I survive there… on a daily basis…

    The problem is that, for a few years now, all the “reasoning” in this site has become “chess player” options: black and white squares, kings, queens, knights, bishops… and towers made out of ivory… “Politiquería” instead of “politics”… The “texts” are based on news got from reading about them, instead of hearing them re-told in a “por-puesto, for instance)… “This is the candidate”, “this is the way to win”, “vote for Capriles”, “Capriles betrayed us”, “this is a ‘de facto’ primary election”… Opinions, opinions, opinions… Parole, parole, parole… No soul, no heart, no body… Just “incorporeal” ideas and ideals…

    Chess is, if anything, an image of “intellectual” war, with no gray “spaces”, without three-dimensional, “non-square” places to reflect on what’s going on… and without the real, so so red blood that is shed everyday in Venezuela… “Caracas Chronicles” has become a place for calculations, mathematically perfect, but without soul in them… Readers, as voters in Venezuela, are just pawns of a “higher” game, played in our behalf… PSF’s or not, the site is, mainly, a place for political tourists… Statistics, not individuals, that’s all we Venezuelans are here… So so sad… I miss the time when it was just a little blog for “we happy few, we band of brothers…”

    But still, and notwithstanding, Venezuela IS a PLACE (so so dear to my heart), and not a eight by eight “square” for intellectual games…

    And yes: Pandora (the “work” of Prometheus and Epimetheus, if I remember well, endowed with “all the gifts of the gods and goddesses” -that’s the meaning of the name- ), closed her box before “hope” (a female “daimon”, that is, a primordial being, not a “Christian demon”, mind you) got out.

    How do we should interpret that, Expat? Is there no hope left, or is hope the only thing left inside the little box I call “soul”?

    I don’t know, and I am not waiting for an answer… Some “expats” like you are awesome: you still have soul enough to “ponerse en los zapatos” of the ones who did not (or could not) get away and, from that safe distance, give “authorized opinions” on what’s going on. You, at least, grounded your intervention in the psychological reality of our country…

    “Will this Sunday even matter?”, you ask. I don’t know… but let’s see what happens… I really don`t know what will happen, but I will be VOTING… not just writing an “authorized” opinion… I’ll take my “por-puesto” to the voting center, spend three or four hours in the “cola”, play by the rules, unfair as they are… I’ll participate, even with loaded dice… Hopelessly or hopefully, I still don’t know. But, in any case, I’ll be able to say “I was there”. And that makes all the difference…

    All I wanted to do was to thank you for your words… borrowed, I know… but… “hope springs eternal…”, as Pope wrote and the Greek knew. It’s all I’ve got, and I will cling to it…

    Best regards, and thank you again


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