8-D Races to Watch: Maturín

Escudo-de-Maturín3Last year, politics in the Venezuelan State of Monagas were shaken when then Chavista-leaning governor Jose Gregorio Briceño (a.k.a. “El Gato”) defected to the MUD.

But that gamble didn’t pay off, as internal division was one of the factors that kept the governorship in Chavismo’s hands.

Now, the tables could actually turn in the state capital’s mayorship, thanks to local Chavismo’s split. The MUD could get in Maturín an important pick-up as a result.

Back in 2008, Jose Vicente Maicavares won Maturín’s mayorship by a landslide.

He was back then a major ally of “El Gato” Briceño, but when he broke ranks with Chavismo, Maicavares stayed with the PSUV. He later accused Briceño of not keeping with his political promises.

His loyalty was rewarded with the chance of running for a second term, but his past has caused certain amount of distrust.

Enter Maicavares’s predecessor as mayor, Numa Rojas. His political relationship with Chavismo can be defined as complicated: he loves the late comandante eterno but the PSUV kicked him out in 2008.

He’s back in politics after a short penalty by the Comptroller General’s Office and now wants to return to his old job. And he’s boasting of having more than enough popular support to beat the PSUV-GPP.

With local Chavismo’s split, and based on the 14-A election results, the opposition thinks there’s a good chance of a win here.

Warner Jimenez won last year’s primary and he’s looking for a re-match, after his fourth place five years ago (running as an independent candidate).

His major proposal is to build a light rail (metro ligero) system in Maturín, to the point he has already made feasibility studies.

13 thoughts on “8-D Races to Watch: Maturín

  1. I don’t think the “internal” MUD division gave the governorship off I think you should tone down that claim. The math is not so simple.

    Votes from El Gato + the-woman-who-wouldn’t-step-down-and-got-just-2% were less than those of the delta amacurian PSUV paratrooper candidate (translation from Venezuelan slang for out-of-district candidates).

    The case can be made, and I subscribe to it, that if El Gato hadn’t have to fight a two front war (against Soraya was it?) and the PSUV he could have focused in just beating the PSUV. Also, local chapters of MUD parties could have concentrated on campaigning for El Gato in Monagas instead of fighting the national leadership of MUD parties who kept supporting Mrs. 2%.


    • You have a point there. It wasn’t that big deal on the final numbers, but the division was still an important factor in the full context of that particular race.


    • Do you think so? I heard a lot of nasty things about the Briceno clan from years before a separation from the PSUV…even about him sending the police to shoot at farmers and make them disappear. I don’t know if those rumours are true and yet…

      Something I wrote in 2010:
      “Since 2007 about 52 people have been killed by the state police of Monagas and most of the cases are very unclear and have to do with cocaine trade. If you speak Spanish, watch this interview of former mayor of the Aguasay municipalty and now candidate for the circuit where Areo and other municipalities are.”

      The Briceno clan has been in Monagas politics for decades, since their AD times. Still, one of them had the chutzpah to declare he was finally doing what former governments of the IV Republic hadn’t done in Monagas…and the son of a bitch was a mayor back then!


      • Oh. El Gato is no saint of my devotion. He’s ranking very close to Rosales on my willingness-to-vote-meter, below the average of white or blue adecos. But he was from Monagas and improved his state and his home Municipality (Caicara) during his tenure.

        He’s corrupt. I don’t know how close he could have been to drug trade or if he had a death squad policy, but I haven’t heard anything on those counts from my relatives in Monagas. Not that I’m particularly diligent about Monagas politics.

        But just like Rosales during his governorship, and in a lower degree of undesirability than Morel, El Pollo and Pérez Vivas, had El Gato won Monagas, MUD would’ve had more resources for this campaign, more public works to show off AND more importantly El Gato would have had more leverage to turn the gateros left in PSUV (like now running for reelection Maicavares), maybe even some more congresspeople.

        It’s Realpolitik at its best/worst.


  2. Interesting. My Maturinian background is close to zero. I wonder: how close is this Warner to Cedeño? I really didn’t that former Chavista. The guy is like prussic acid and has the closest to what I can see as actual skeletons in his closet.


    • Apparently, Werner is from Voluntad Popular and was an independent before. For what I found out, there’s no direct connection between him and El Gato. However, my knowledge of local politics is very limited, so perhaps I could be wrong.


  3. OT: Airplane tickets for foreigners to be paid in USD not VEF. Nice illegal measure CADIVI.

    First off, VEF (actually VEB, but not anymore) are the constitutional legal tender, so even if we had a sane governement and no currency rationing, one should be able to pay any obligation public or private with VEF (people in Venezuela HAVE TO receive VEF), so Airlines shouldn’t be legally able to refuse VEF handed to them. Even if prices are set in foreign currencies (think steel, airplane fuel) then VEF should be acceptable at the market exchange rate.

    Secondly, the INDEPABIS law states that all prices have to be set in VEF, so they shouldn’t be able to even advertise the price in USD much less demand USD for anything. Just these days the Chaverment was reporting the unacceptable findings of some malls setting rent and penalties in USD.


  4. I’m simultaneously optimist and pessimist about this particular race.

    The Downside: Maicavares got 60,97% of the vote and Humberto Gonzalez, the third guy and a dissident chavista got 12,12%. Since Pedro Cabello, the main opposition candidate from an adeco coalition got 12,25% we could have been third below two chavista candidates. He got more votes than the non-adeco oppostion candidate who was almost beaten by THREE chavista candidates. Chavismo encompassed 60,97+12,12+2,08 = 75,17 of the vote. That’s an epic asswhooping.

    The Upside: Warner Jimenez came in fourth with 8,28% of the vote as an Independant (or more accurately supported by microscopic parties). The guy has some personal appeal to beat all non-adeco candidates without any major party behind him. Best case scenario: we keep the 25% the first three oppo candidates got (including him), get some 15% from gateros and former-chavistas-not-maduristas totaling around 40% the remaining 60% from Chavismo is split 35%-25%.


Comments are closed.