Fix your collar, @hcapriles

There’s a lot to like in this expertly-made video. The message has been trimmed of all its fat. It gets to the point quickly, concretely. Capriles makes a strong case as to what happened last Arpil, and what is at stake this December 8th. It’s simple, direct, covincing.

It baffles me, though, why they couldn’t get the star of the video to fix his collar and ditch the five o’clock shadow. I guess when the country is going to hell in a handbasket, we have no time for such petty stuff.

Still, great work.

63 thoughts on “Fix your collar, @hcapriles

  1. He better starts giving sound speeches after that mess of interview with Giusti. either he was stoned, or lost every bit of coherence was left in him


  2. Production values: 18/20 (o también hay escasez de afeitadoras?)
    Messaging: 20/20
    Message: 04/20


    I don’t think it’d be possible to deliver this message better. But the message itself remains a dog’s breakfast.

    The reason people were able to vote with cédulas chimbas, or to do coercive votos asistidos, is that opposition witnesses were forcibly barred from doing their jobs. By guys with guns. Backed by guys in uniforms.

    That basic power imbalance is still there. There’s no amount of opposition witness training that can shortcircuit the fact that when a guy puts a kalashnikov to your head and throws you out of the voting center, you’re good and thrown out of the voting center.

    So I really have to call bullshit on this idea that we have what it takes to stop a 14-A style fraud from happening again. If what Capriles says happened in April really happened, there’s nothing he or any of us can do to stop it happening again.


    • Maybe part of that training is teaching people ways to record the being-thrown-out-by-a-kalashnikov-waving-soldier so you can later have more visible evidence of the fraud; or if the recording is really difficult (it can be, if someone’s pointing a gun at you) teaching witnesses a more organized way of reporting those abuses as quickly as possible (and maybe giving them the resources to do it). I have no idea what they’ll be teaching, since I haven’t (and sadly won’t, because I live abroad) attended one of those training courses they’re asking people to attend to. Have you? Guess not, but maybe you have and can give us an insight on what they are actually teaching before calling bullshit on it.

      Frankly, I think the key might be less int the literal read of “we will stop their fraud!” and more in the broader sense of “we will do anything we can to stop them and in the process, gather as much evidence as we can and expose them to our fellow venezuelans who might not be sure who to vote for”.


      • “Maybe part of that training is teaching people ways to record the being-thrown-out-by-a-kalashnikov-waving-soldier so you can later have more visible evidence of the fraud; or if the recording is really difficult (it can be, if someone’s pointing a gun at you) teaching witnesses a more organized way of reporting those abuses as quickly as possible (and maybe giving them the resources to do it).”

        There’s that word again: “resources”. Is it that hard to see that there aren’t any?

        If the MUD could’ve given cameras and the means to upload videos to their witnesses in April, don’t you think they would have?


        • Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know, since I don’t work with the MUD. Do you? If you do, you could give us some insight as to what they’re planning to teach to the witnesses.

          And I realize that handing cameras and uploading recorded videos would be a nice way to have evidence, but it’s one of the most difficult one to achieve. I think I wasn’t clear on that point, but I meant “resources” in a broad way, as in not only material resources (which cost money and must be hard to come by for the MUD) but also as different capabilities, initiatives and ways of doing things. And of those, there are a few.


          • You’re putting your finger deeper and deeper into the llaga without realizing it, Rodrigo.

            It is very much a problem of resources, of all kinds:

            1-Access to air-time

            You’d need lots of all six of these to properly train and organize a couple of hundred thousand oppo activists to work as a genuinely effective ground force on 8D. In fact, it’s about as hard to find any of those items in the oppo leadership world as it is to find milk in your local mercal.

            Para muestra un botón: an opposition that is short on everything is spending buckets full of cash it doesn’t have on the mayorship of…El Hatillo!

            The reason, I think, is the real elephant-in-the-room-nobody’s-talking-about: Capriles’s *discourse* is about the National political dynamics of a day-after if we win big. But on the ground, nobody thinks like that. Everybody is concentrated on winning their own little corner of municipal turf. They need it because it comes with a budget. And without a budget they can’t put their friends/party activists on payroll/contract which is how you fund a little local patronage machine in Venezuela.

            The reality is that this election, to the bulk of the people running, is much more about solving *their* problems than about solving their municipalities’ problems, let alone about sending a message to Miraflores.


            • I agree with most of what you say, Quico, really! Specifically about the part of MUD leadership and your last paragraph, which I think are part of the same problem (i.e. people that should lead are thinking more about their personal benefits than the long-run, broad goal).

              And while I give you without a doubt 1, 2, and grudgingly, 6, in 3 and 4 there’s lot of people I know (specially young people) that are working with the MUD and doing their best to bring those 3’s and 4’s to the campaign and the whole oppo movement. Maybe it’s not as common as I’d like to think, but I see them put all their heart to what they’re doing, and they are not devoid of criticism to the upper echelons of the organization, which I find reassuring. Which brings us to 5. I think right there we have the problem. I guess there isn’t a unified vision, which makes it difficult to put all resources (there I go again, using that word hehe) together to work towards one unified goal.

              I never said it’s not a problem of resources. I know it is. What I’m saying is that there ARE resources, even if the other side has MUCH more of some of them. I’m not saying it’s easy, neither. Alas, we have to work with what we have.


            • Vision and creativity are free.

              People are available.

              Organization can be built.
              People who are committed and work replace money.

              As for “air time”, that can be replaced by peer-to-peer distribution of the message – as for instance, video of chavistas seizing polling places at gun point.

              Some U.S. history here. In the 1850s, Kansas was a territory, soon to be a state, and pro- and anti-slavery forces contended for control. The first elections for a territorial legislature were held in 1855. On election day, thousands of armed “Border Ruffians” from the neighboring slave state of Missouri crossed into Kansas, seized the polling places, and cast 6,000 votes for pro-slavery candidates (there were only 1,500 registered voters). Sound familiar? When anti-slavery Kansas settlers protested, the Ruffians brandished their guns and said “Here’s the law!” Pro-slavery U.S. President Pierce tried to recognized the territorial government “elected” by the Ruffians, but a Congressional committee found that the elections had been “improperly influenced”.

              What’s the lesson for Venezuela’s opposition? The stake on 8 December is not control of local governments. Even if oppo candidates win, the Chavernment can strip local governments of authority and funding, and create parallel authorities to usurp their power.

              What is at stake is the legitimacy of the chavernment. The opposition must organize to maintain its legal rights at every polling place. If (almost certainly when) chavistas use force against oppo observers, those acts must be observed and recorded – on video if possible. Even audio records could be effective, and if nothing else, testimony collected and sworn to immediately.

              One possible ploy. This is drawn from Take Back Your Government by Robert Heinlein (the SF author, who was very active in California poliitics in 1934-1942). He had experience with political thugs at polling places, and he recommended that observers be either strong, husky men, or the smallest, frailest looking women available. Most thugs flinch at manhandling respectable ladies – especially before witnesses. Supportng witnesses should be present if possible, and include clergy, foreigners, or anyone else who is relatively untouchable.

              This will not prevent chavista violence, of course. But it will constrain it, and make it even more infamous when it happens. All chavista outrages must be systematically recorded and documented. After the election, compile a “Greatest Hits” video anthology. Distribute it on DVD and via the Net.

              If there is enough clear evidence, the chavernment will be discredited. This will be solid evidence that the chavernment is not a legitimate democratic government, but a gang ruling by fraud. It will sway some Venezuelans, many foreigners, and even some governments.

              That’s far more important than any mayoralty or city council.


        • Wlad,
          There is also a simple problem of people from the A, B and C+ groups living on their cocoons…not all but a lot. As I said earlier, there is an issue with too many cooks in the better-off areas of Carabobo. I assume it is the same elsewhere. People do try to move around people, but we could do much better than that. Just to give you an example: if he had 30 witnesses less at the school where the Salas vote in Northern Valencia and we sent 10 of those 30 witnesses at least after noon to one school in Southern Valencia and 10 to some school in Guacara – not so far away – we might have got a couple of hundred votes more.

          Things have improved and keep improving but I think our main leaders should be spreading the word more about these terms: it’s now not so much about “cuida tu centro” but about “be sure you go to help in another centre if the centre where you usually go is well-covered”. There is a lot of coordination required here.


          • “There is a lot of coordination required here.”

            Sure but it was only in the last election or two where the MUD finally was able to have witnesses at virtually every center and a duras penas, I’m sure. For the next level of efficiently marshaling their efforts I doubt the have the manpower, let alone the money, etc.

            Which brings us to Capriles’ message. It is basically a plegaria for “people power”, for bodies to show up and stay there. I’m not sure there is even that.


            • Well, I don’t think we have witnesses at virtually every centre. There were 47 centres where Capriles did not get ONE single vote in April – according to the CNE – and Maduro got on average 98 votes. Some of those centres had over 300 for Maduro against 0 for Capriles – theoretically. In some of them we had – theoretically – witnesses…people representing the MUD who apparently did not vote for the MUD.
              I’ll give you the two cases for Miranda:
              CONCENTRACION ESCOLAR LOS GUAYABITOS in Parroquia Santa Lucía: 121 for Maduro, 0 for Capriles.
              DESARROLLO URBANISTICO CIUDAD LEBRUN in Parroquia Petare: 78 for Maduro, 0 for Capriles.

              We have progressed a lot but we still more support for those and above all grey areas.
              If you usually vote in a place such as El Hatillo, ask around whether you can help some time in Libertador or in some rural area of Miranda.


              • “Well, I don’t think we have witnesses at virtually every centre. ”

                Then there is no use in trying to get pears from an oven.


              • Ratónfilo,

                On the contrary.

                I have said it a zillion times: the system is rigged at almost every level. And yet it is becoming more and more and more difficult for Chavismo to cheat, even if they get more powers in some other areas.

                Sorry, my fault: in 2012 there were 46 centres where Maduro got more than 10 and Capriles 0, for an average of 96 voters for each centre (thus 96 versus 0).
                In 2013 there were 43 centres only. We got a meaningful progress from 2012 to 2013.

                As I said: if you can help in a centre outside Hatillo-Chacao-Baruta Northern Valencia/San Diego, help there: with your car, with food, whatever.

                As Toro said, one of the problems now is that people are just trying to get some cambur in their local fiefdom.


    • Faith, hope and charity, all of them are lacking in your comment.
      And still those are virtues that move, and do change, the world.
      At the end it does not matter how much one knows or how smart one is, what matter is what one does with the little or the lot that one has.
      Capriles is certainly doing a lot with what he has!


  3. I saw this video earlier. I think it is very well done, and explains the process in a way that makes it accessible to nearly everyone. As for the collar and need for shave, that is part of the “everyman” persona Capriles is aiming for. Remember that the people who read this blog are already convinced. This video is not directed to you. It is directed to the Oppo rank and file who are tired and discouraged, and to the Chavistas who are secretly fed up with the Bolivarian Revolution.


    • I am tired, discouraged and this doesn’t convice me a single bit. Sad bit also you have to project yourself as being scruffy to reach the “everyman” persona. I see everyday construction workers, rank and file obreros riding in the bus that have their collars propperly fixed and have tight shaves or well-trimmed beards.


  4. you think it’s good? I think it is quite mediocre – and a bit long. 30-60 seconds should be the length. As for the 5 o’clock shadow and the cheesy outfit, it seems the PR people have decided “the people” want to see their president to “look like them” (look like a bum more like it…). They are scared of putting him in a suit because it looks too “oligarchic”. So sad…


    • You are right, Super. Its not mediocre, it is terrible! I hope people don’t believe this evil man who only tell lies and damage that nation. He is part of a trilogy of evilness in that nation. Very sad indeed that people don’t know enough how he had encouraged people to go out and be violent with consequences of death of his own people.


      • When you can’t be original, recycle! (‘trilogy of evilness’) fabricate! (‘he had encouraged people to go out and be violent’).


      • Not exactly what I was thinking….

        If anyone has “encouraged people to go out and be violent with consequences of death of his own people.” It would be Maduro and his PSUV Stormtroopers.

        As for the “trilogy of evilness” I don’t even want to get started…


  5. As I already mention: he could still have done something better and that is to mention that one should look for the BEST CENTRE one can serve in. This is already too late now but what people in Carabobo were doing, people I know, was to ask, beg, those who live in San Diego or Northern Valencia to go help elsewhere in the State, with their cars, with some time.

    They could go vote in the morning and then go in the evening to support the people in Tocuyito, in Guacara’s villages, in Puerto Cabello.

    This is where we are still not doing as we should do.

    Francisco’s thesis about the Kalashnikovs: well, yes, there were such cases but most of the cases were of motociclistas just hanging around menacingly…when and where more people showed up to confront them, they went away. I am not talking about Hatillo. I am talking about places in Guacara or Southern Valencia where my relatives were witnesses.

    We NEED to distribute our forces better whenever that is possible. We still have too many people who are not ready to travel 10 kilometres to help outside their cocoon.


  6. I saw that video a couple of days ago. The message is good and even more important is that its explained in simple terms. We need more videos like that


  7. I think the most valuable thing about this video is that Capriles is narrating all of it. In a country where the oppo has no media access and word-of-mouth (i.e. chisme) is your main way of spreading info having your leader and authority figure giving the instructions is vital. The difference between “Capriles dijo que…” and “están pasando un video hecho por unos bichos de la MUD que estudiaron animación donde dicen que Capriles manda decir que” is absolutely vital.


  8. Good points raised, Quico, re armed threat. Somewhat related to the need to record activities in the voting centers, far from cities:


    • more info on the video: Que un Chavista me explique esto

      En Cuba, un niño grabó con su teléfono celular, el momento en el cual sus padres eran arrestados por la policía cubana, simplemente por no haber permanecido dentro de sus casas durante un toque de queda, efectuado en conmemoración del cumpleaños de Fidel Castro.

      La pareja, que no aguantó más continuar con las presiones del gobierno castrista, decidió salir a la calle a pasear, pero al ser vistos por dos efectivos de las fuerzas de seguridad cubanas, fueron obligados a meterse dentro de sus casas. Como no acataron la orden, los detuvieron y hasta hoy no se conoce el paradero del hombre de la casa. A la mujer apenas le provocaron algunas lesiones y al notar que los estaban grabando con un teléfono celular, no la golpearon más. El hijo de 13 años de la pareja, gritaba desesperado desde la ventana, que le cortaría la cabeza a esos guardias. El vídeo fue rápidamente enviado a otros dispositivos y el celular fue decomisado pocas horas después.

      La represión que vive Cuba desde hace casi 50 años, es la que veremos en Venezuela, más temprano que tarde, e incluso ya comienzan a verse estos casos en la población venezolana. El 8 de Diciembre tienes la oportunidad de cambiar todo esto con tu voto, y el 9 de diciembre tienes la oportunidad de cambiarlo todos con tus propias manos, una vez que el CNE comprado por el chavismo, indique los resultados tramposos de estas elecciones, a las que desde ya han calificado como las elecciones más tramposas de la historia de Venezuela.

      Ver mas sintomas de Cubanizacion Venezolana en


    • And furthermore he has to fix more than his collar which is always the same. The inside can not be fixed in ths case. That beautifull nation doesn’t deserve someone like that but life is as that. Not a paradise, good en evil.




  10. Can MUD compete with early Christmas? Amazing that Maduro is moving to pay part of the Christmas bonuses next week in an effort to buy votes. Many people do not see this element of corrupting elections. And Maduro sounds such a fool to announce “early Christmas to make people happy.” He’s really hung up on the happiness theme. Idiot.


    • And Capriles is more of an idiot and evil. He wants the opposite of what you picture and so gain power in his interest which will not be your interest. I know for sure if he has power he will not know if you existed or not.


  11. There are some very recent newcomers to this very blog broadcasting blaringly negative messages and writing in an odd and disjointed style much as someone with very little practice at writing in english , could they be trolls ??. used to be that trolls hired by the regime where either native speakers or at least people who had some command of the language. they had to be if they were to earn their pay, now that the regime is fast losing its financial capacity is it starting to hire people who can hardly speak the language ?? look at the strange construction of the sentences of some of the newbloggers above . “and so gain power in his interest …” , is that english??


    • Yep, there are blaringly negative broadcasts by someone writing in stilted English about Vzla as ‘that country’. Methinks some Cuban, needing extra cash. Or it could be a recent immigrant to the US, whose services are paid for through the Vzlan consulate..,


    • Arturo was getting too expensive for the regime. And his ipad was making too many mistakes to justify the upper level of the pay scale.


    • The guy that used to write MADURO or DEATH and accuse the writers of the widest variety of perversions comes to mind.


  12. Elections in Vzla are like a soup eating contest where one of the guys is willing to drink straight from the bowl while the opponent insists in using the spoon. Different moral-ethics standards will bypass the purpose of the contest. We can’t base our bet on the fact that the bad guy someday will fail to cheat.


  13. En Maracaibo el candidato de la Unidad es Eveling Trejo, la mujer de Rosales. Manuel vive de la política desde el año 1973, es decir desde los 20 años y tiene 61. El la Villa del Rosario, Ely Atencio, que ya fue alcalde en el pasado con una gestión pésima, es el candidato de la Unidad. En Cabimas hay un candidato a concejal por la Unidad que estudió conmigo, bueno yo estudiaba a él lo pasaban porque era del centro de estudiante, ese nunca leyó un libro en su vida. Era una chavista hasta la medula que incluso viajó a Cuba en varias ocasiones. Intimo de Jenny Cedeño quien fue inhabilitada por corrupción. Al parecer tenemos que votar por los candidatos de la unidad para salvar a Venezuela, no sé ustedes pero yo estoy cansado de ese chantaje emocional. El mal menor y una mierda. Capriles fue electo diputado en el 98 comprando el puesto 4 de la lista por Copei en el Estado Zulia. Sinceramente creo que está mal de la cabeza, no entiendo como sus constantes referencias a Dios no levantan suspicacias, que cada quien puede creer lo que quiera pero de allí a decir que habló con su abuela, que está en una misión divina y que esto es una cruzada, no sé.


  14. If you are in a fight where your opponent is eight foot tall and has all the advantages , you play with the cards you’re dealt and make the best use of them you can and if you cant go for a knock out blow you wear him down , bit by bit , using every ruse and tactic at your disposal . No good crying because the fight isnt fair !! they never are , you just need persistence , a well thought out strategy ( which you will change once an opportunity allows you to improve it) and keep going , taking advantage of every mistake in your opponents moves. The idea is to wear your opponent down , to erode his self confidence , to exhaust his energies , to make him do crazy and stupid things . At some point the likelihood is greater that you can best him than when your started the fight .
    On Capriles deliberately scruffy looks , he does project this clean shaven nice family educated young guy look that spells sissy or pendejo to your average barrio dweller. its not my aesthetics but I can understand what they are trying to achieve . You look at someone like henry falcon or andres velasquez or the ex governor of zulia and those guys have ‘the look’ that many ordinary venezuelans can identify with . You look ( rather than simply listen to ..) leopoldo lopez , maria corina or capriles and their look project a nice catholic upbringing , good family , polite and upper class image that they must shed if they are to become more likeable to a non middle class audience.


  15. I was gonna mention the soprano sport jacket that I hate so much and the beard when i saw it the first time when syd posted it, but for the sake to support the message and the messenger I though everything else was great.

    Apparently it’s ok to look like you haven’t take a bath, I dunno what’s the deal with that but to me since there is much more in stake it’s okay that the guy doesn’t like to shave that often or dress the way he does.


  16. What’s wrong with Capriles popping his collar? This coming from men well past their 40’s…. I admit I really dislike the whole jogging suit ensemble every Venezuelan government official seems to wear these days and I agree the message could have been said in 30 sec or less…Here’s to hoping that he will take off the tricolor cap when he sees that guy who also wears a robe and a cape for a living. Venezuelans and their double standards!


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