Venezuela's local elections will take place in November. The governments of municipalities and states will be elected. We already saw during the referendum on 2nd December 2007 on Chávez's constitutional reform how the opposition won mainly thanks to the votes of the urban areas.
In the map above, you can see in red to pink shades the parishes where Chavismo got 50% of the votes or more in Carabobo, a central state. The data is according to the first, provisional and more detailed of the two reports the electoral authorities have submitted until now. Pink areas are areas where Chavismo got between 40 and 50%. Violet to blue areas are parishes where the opposition won. Violet means the opposition got from 50 to 60%, blueish hues mean it got more (up to 88%).
We still do not know the definite results. The electoral authorities in Venezuela, the CNE, has just stated it won't release more results because "the final decision is known anyway" (i.e. the referendum was rejected). The opposition leaders are playing along with this. They have the tallies, but we, the normal citizens, really do not know for how many centres. The opposition did not have representatives everywhere, that is for sure.
As Quico and Katy at Caracas Chronicles have said in different occasions, the whole issue seems fishy at best. In a nutshell:
- Over 10% of the votes are unaccounted for
- Votes from abroad were all ignored, even if every embassy proceeded to count them, they were not added to the results (and we know most Venezuelans abroad reject Chávez government)
- The voting centres in Venezuela that have not been added yet are either in the countryside or, if they are located in urban areas, are mostly located in places where the opposition did not have many observers
We do not know whether we really got the percentage we got, more or less. If we do not, we will not be able to demand clear accounts for a next time.
Carabobo is one of the most heavily populated states in Venezuela. It is well connected, it is central. Still, we see even here a clear distribution of voting preferences between urban and non urban areas. A couple of exceptions are to be found in some areas like Bejuma, which is very rural, but still relatively better off than municipios such as Libertador.
Within the urban areas one can see very clearly how Chavismo still had the majority in poorer areas, although the difference is minimal. Even in Miguel Pena, a huge and very poor civic parish of Valencia, we see the difference is small.
|Juan José Mora||31,17%||Morón||32,19%|
|Diego Ibarra||33,79%||Aguas Calientes||27,37%|
|Los Guayos||43,77%||Los Guayos||43,77%|
|San Joaquín||45,36%||San Joaquín||45,36%|
|Puerto Cabello||46,92%||Bartolomé Salom||50,26%|
|Juan José Flores||47,14%|
|San Diego||73,53%||San Diego||73,53%|
Now, based on the data presented by Esdata, a group of citizens who have decided to investigate the whole electoral process, we painted yellow dots for the centres not taken into account by the authorities for their first and only detailed report. They are mostly in "red" parishes (still red at least according to them):
Mind: the opposition won in Carabobo, all blue areas are heavily populated urban areas, with more school centres than the red ones. The urban areas where Chavismo won were mainly Miguel Pena, Los Guayos and some minor areas. Thus: the voting centres unaccounted for are mostly in "red areas". What happened there? We do not know. In Caracas we know some traditionally pro-Chavez areas like Petare voted mostly against him. Now, in Caracas there was a higher amount of observers everywhere.
Anyway, now the opposition needs to focus on addressing the problems but also proposing innovative ideas for the poor in such areas such as Miguel Pena, Los Guayos, Puerto Cabello and Guacara. We need to pay special attention to areas with a high density of still-Chavistas.
Now, we also need to consider conquering such areas as rural Libertador or even more rural Carlos Arvelo.
Opposition leaders cannot keep going on with the arrogant precept that "Caracas (or Valencia) is everything and the rest is jungle". That is not fair, it is not even true, it is simply stupid.
We need to be 10 times more cautious than the last time. In 2004, in Carabobo, for instance, there were huge protests because of the results. People wanted a recount. The military prevented them from checking the paper trail, though. Soldiers surrounded the place where ballot boxes were kept and they took the material away. Unlike national elections, there were no EU observers or the like. Since then, Acosta Carlez has ruled in Carabobo. He is extremely unpopular, even among Chavistas now and the opposition has chances of defeating him or any other candidate from Chavismo in Carabobo, but it still cannot be too cautious.
The opposition needs to offer an authentic plan to recover the state and show a real concept of sustainable development. It cannot just compete by using populist messages. The opposition needs to show this time it can be very different from Chavismo and denounce personality cult . It must carry out a very innovative campaign. The opposition also has to show people have to go for a plan and actions, not for a cacique.
Ps. For those who speak Spanish, there is a good article in El Pais on the upcoming elections