Venezuelan Election Campaign, More Emotions Than Proposals

Nestor Rojas Mavares (dpa)

Caracas street. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — In what will be a “lightning fast” 10-day political struggle, the campaign for the April 14th Venezuelan elections began with lots of emotion but few concrete plans for addressing the country’s problems.

The proselytizing began on Tuesday and will end on Thursday, April 11, in the shortest campaign in Venezuelan history. This is why the candidates — interim President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles — have turned to moving the electorate’s emotions, according to analysts.

The first news images showed massive rallies, banners and music in the midst of mourning over the death of President Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5.

Capriles, while visiting the east of the country, proposed himself as “the solution” to the nation’s problems of inflation, shortages and violent crime, while Maduro made more headlines with his confession that Chavez appeared to him as a “tiny bird” that whistled and chirped to him.

“I stared at him and I whistled back. ‘If you whistle, I’ll whistle’ – so I whistled. The bird gave me a strange look, you know? It whistled a little while, walked around me, and then flew away – but I felt his spirit (Chavez’s),” he said. “I felt like he was blessing me and saying: ‘Today begins the battle, head forward on to victory, you have my blessings.’ At that moment, I felt him in my soul,” he added.

Caracas butcher’s shop. Photo: Caridad

Maduro made the disclosure in the state of Barinas, the region where Chavez was born and where he chose to kick off his campaign, surrounded by the late president’s siblings and other relatives.

Political analyst Luis Vicente Leon wrote in his Twitter account that “the supposed appearance of Chavez as a bird is to reinforce the mysticism of his campaign.”

“Maduro commented about the ‘appearance’ of Chavez transmuted into a ‘little bird’ to reinforce the mysticism supporting his campaign, but when haven’t the successful campaigns of the last 15 years not been kitschy and primitive? I think I missed something,” he said.

The director of the Datanalisis polling firm said what matters is not what “the opposition thinks of that ‘little bird,’ but how it’s received by the majority, who believe in destiny, read horoscopes and pray to ‘Negro Felipe’ (a popularly revered image).”

Vice President Jorge Arreaza (Chavez’s son-in-law) had previously indicated the direction that the government in power would take in its campaign. He said the late president “ordered” them to turn the pain of his death into electoral “action.”

“We’re in pain, but the orders, instructions, guidance and spirit that Commander Chavez left us and gave us was to turn that pain into action, into transforming action,” he said.

Arreaza added that the first step in turning pain into a “transforming action” was to ensure Madura’s victory in the April 14 elections.

Political analyst Edgar Gutierrez said that in such a short a campaign, the candidates will focus on emotions, therefore one shouldn’t expect to see debates around complex issues.

Caracas Street. Photo:Caridad

“In short campaigns, things that generate emotions are what move voters. There isn’t any debating here, only attacks and counterattacks,” he said.

Capriles met with former supporters of Chavez in Caracas today, before visiting the Barinas region. He told his new followers that Maduro has “no idea where he’s going or how to govern.”

“He has [been heading] the government for 100 days and they’re destroying the country, they’re destroying the 14 years [of Chavez’s government] because the truth is that the government’s candidate doesn’t know where he’s going. He has no idea of how to even fix a neighborhood water problem,” he said.

Capriles said Maduro had spent his six years as foreign minister “traveling and giving away the resources” of Venezuela.

“They put him in charge and he began to improvise, but improvisation is the direct path to the country’s destruction. Leadership isn’t inherited, it’s built day by day,” the opposition candidate concluded.

5 thoughts on “Venezuelan Election Campaign, More Emotions Than Proposals

  • For the record, Hugo Chavez led an attempted coup in 1992.

    There is no evidence that he was alive after his last surgery in December 2012. Not one independent witness saw or spoke to him since that day. The circumstances surrounding his death were not at all transparent.

    Maduro’s title and position today is not as “president elect”, so why do you insist on calling him that? He is “interim President”, a position which the chief of the legislature, Diosdado Cabello, should be holding, as per the Venezuelan constitution, but which somehow ended up on Maduro.

  • I know a lot about the Bolivarian revolution and its inter workings, the factions, the grassroots and its militants.The way he assumed power is per the constitution and like most so called democracies even the USA but with a difference they will have elections to complete the term.

    And other than the conspiracy theories put forth by many, president Chavez’s death could not have been more transparent other than you being in the room.

    Yes, president elect Maduro is close Cuba and many others and the only coup being planned is by the opposition ( didn’t work out to well before did it?!) , the US and its junior partners and the whip of the counter revolution will only speed up the completion of the revolution at this point.

    Your hate is kinda blinding but more so.

  • “president elect Maduro”???

    He has not been elected yet. The office he currently holds was assumed under a rather dubious constitutional cloud and the less-than-transparent circumstances surrounding the death of Hugo Chavez. Your enthusiastic embrace of the Bolivarian revolution has blinded you to the fact Maduro is heading a creeping coup in Venezuela. He’s Havana’s “Man in Caracas”, an errand boy sent by a grocer.

  • Here is president elect Maduro comment on it.

    “I admitted to something that’s very intimate. Everyone has their own perceptions. I have the right to feel what I felt. I felt the spirit of Chávez, he blessed me. To those that mock “Maduro’s little birdie”, let the Lord pardon their hatred, their badness! Bourgeois, inhumans, disrespectfuls!…

    What the opposition thinks or try’s to use in the campaign will not matter, they lose big time! They are 15- 20 % behind and losing support even within their coalition. Either way the opposition will No Volveran!

    As for that meeting, Venezuelan News Agency (@AVNve) was assaulted and kicked out of meeting of so-called “chavistas with Capriles” .

  • Chavez came to Maduro as a little bird? And then blessed him? H.L. Mencken said “People deserve the government they get, and they deserve to get it good and hard”. Maduro will likely win and the Venezuelan people will suffer for it. Heck, we elected George Bush…twice!

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