September 15, 2006

The Poll War has begun

Well, the rumor-mongering about supposed poll numbers is only starting, and it's certain to gather pace in the coming weeks. Reports that a Datanalisis poll started ten days after Rosales was annointed oppo establishment candidate showed him trailing Chavez by over 40 points were quickly followed by this "report" claiming a Gallup poll found Rosales 30 points ahead of Chavez in poor areas of the center of the country. Frankly, if Gallup is polling in Venezuela these days that is news to me. Sounds fishy to me, though...

By now, these little information wars fought through impossibly contrasting poll numbers are almost a tradition in Venezuela. I will do what I can to bring my readers as-reliable-as-manageable numbers as quickly as possible, but I'm only human so...

September 14, 2006

New pictures in that other blog

Katy says: For those of you interested, I have a few more pics in the Chavez reelection blog.

Stop Him Before He Speechifies Again...

Well, I've been surfing YouTube for clips of Manuel Rosales campaigning. Basically, the guy seems to have two modes: soporific and hyperventilatory.

Here's an example of soporific:

Now, playing this clip, even those of you who don't understand Spanish will have no trouble grasping why his candidacy, erm, faces an uphill struggle..that tone! Those of you who do understand Spanish really owe it to yourselves to bajarse de esa nube.

In his more meditative mode, Rosales is as boring and vapid as politicians come. Somebody with a discourse that is at once this trite, this technocratic, this platitudinous, this abstract and, to top it all off, utterly devoid of emotional punch just cannot compete with a charismatic, cash-flush Chavez.

And then there's Rosales in rabble-rousing mode:

In this more engaged register, the guy is just a paleo-adeco, a kind of cro-magnon, a living fossil of the political culture Venezuelans overwhelmingly rejected when they voted for Chávez and continue to tell pollsters they reject today. The only connecting thread between the two Rosaleses is how utterly vapid, how ethereal his discourse is in both registers.

We are badly, badly off track if we think this guy can compete with Chávez, folks. Our only hope now is a highly unlikely revival of Rausseoism.

Three from Planet Guacharo

1-Much as I'm drawn to him, and even though he was trying to gently nudge Acción Democrática away from its abstentionist line, this picture of Rausseo getting all buddy-buddy with AD's (nominal) head honcho Henry Ramos Allup is a hard one to stomach. Whatever happened to triangulation?

2-CNE's design for December's tarjetón (ballot paper) tells you all you need to know about its outrageous partiality. Pro-Chávez parties monopolize the highly visible, easy-to-locate upper part of the ballot, while the main opposition parties are consigned to the nether-regions, below a constelation of no-name, 0.0002%-of-the-vote "parties." Rausseo gets the rawest deal of all - just about in the middle, a spot only a forensic investigator could find easily. Yuck.

3-And, just for good measure, chavista tax inspectors have suddenly discovered that Rausseo's theme park is up to no good, and ordered it closed, tossing out the 2,000 vacation makers who were enjoying a day out.

September 13, 2006

Storm coming?

Katy says: Some worrying economic items today:
  • Inflation is up, and may reach 20% by year's end. Finance Minister Merentes is saying that this is a consequence of excessive liquidity and of problems in food production, but that government spending has nothing to do with it. Yet today's El Nacional headline says that spending on Chavez's social programs, "misiones", is 8 times what was budgeted for them. Perhaps if the government allowed the Central Bank to operate more freely there wouldn't be so much money floating around. You can't take away most instruments of monetary or exchange-rate policy from the Central Bank and then wash your hands when inflation shoots up. O lavan, o prestan la batea... But the again, Mr. Merentes is not an economist, so what does he know?
  • Oil prices continue to fall, and in spite of Venezuela's constant plea to cut production quotas, OPEC decided to keep production steady. So, if according to chavistas, Chávez was responsible for the spike in oil prices, can we pin this drop on him too? I wonder why he's making oil prices fall?
  • London Mayor Ken something-or-other announcing that poor Venezuelan taxpayers will subsidize wealthy Londoners' transportation needs. In the words of Conservative Angie Bray of the London Assembly, "I'm sure the 35% of Venezuelans who struggle below the poverty line, many of them critically so, would be shocked at the cynical siphoning off of their main asset to provide one of the world's most prosperous cities with cheap oil. "
  • Brazilian experts seriously questioning the economic, technical and environmental feasability of the gas pipeline across South America. Among other things, they say that it is not certain that Venezuela has the amount of gas it claims to have, that Chávez's price is ridiculously low, that the pipeline would cost much more than what has been said so far, and that supplies would not be assured if Chávez were to leave office. They basically conclude that the project has progressed with more political and less technical objectives. Only one word comes to mind: duh!
  • Fedeindustria chief (and one of Chavez's favorite businessmen) Pérez Abad says sales from small and medium enterprises are down the latest quarter, perhaps the first sign of the forecasted slowdown in the Venezuelan economy in 2007. Something tells me the opposition will be blamed for this one when it finally materializes.

Is it just me...

...or do the words "Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro" send a shiver through your spine?

Buried in this typically tropical/hallucinatory bit of reporting on Chávez's 911-was-an-inside-hit rant the other day, we find this gem:
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro raised the same theories in an earlier speech Tuesday, and called for an independent investigation.

I guess Maduro wants 911 to be independently investigated by Luisa Ortega Díaz...

September 11, 2006

It has finally happened

Katy says: When I asked people to send me pictures of ads for Chávez in government buildings or paid for by government entities, I promised myself that if I got three pictures, I would start a separate blog where I could store them. Well, today I got my third picture.

I've decided to start the Chávez re-election blog.

My goal is for this to be an unsophisticated blog, without many links or trinkets. It will simply be a place where I can put all the pictures I get and provide some context for them. I will not be posting much more than that, since I would rather continue abusing Quico's invitation to be a guest-blogger and post here. I will not be documenting newspaper ads showing the government's abuse, since Bruni is doing a marvelous job at that already.

And remember: pictures should be sent to me, at katycaracas at hotmail dot com. I guarantee strict confidentiality.