Thursday, 13 May 2010

Portuguesa: who cares?

Portuguesa state

Population density for each municipality

Portuguesa is one of the most ignored states in Venezuela. I wrote some months earlier about Amazonas as State of Oblivion. Portuguesa is probably the "State One Overlooks". It is located in the Western Llanos. The Northwestern part is rather mountaineous, whereas the rest is flat as Llanos goes. It is mostly agricultural and poor. It has around one million inhabitants, 60%> of them live in 3 or 4 cities: Guanare, Araure-Guanare and then Biscucuy and other smallish cities or villages.

Guanare main square, non-originally called Bolívar Square

It was more in the news in the early eighties, when a politician from there, Luis Herrera Campins, became president of the country.

There are very few educational or cultural organizations there and that reflects on the profile of most of its leaders (or minicaudillos). Chavismo has absolute control of the region. The most important opposition parties in Portuguesa are the old AD and COPEI, unlike in the main urban centres, where Primero Justicia or UNT are the main oppo parties (followed by PROVE in Carabobo). UNT gets to less than 3% of the voters and Primero Justicia to less than 1.5%. I don't think there is much chance the opposition wins one single circunscription seat there.

I must own up I know almost nothing about local politics in Portuguesa. I just opened a Portuguesa newspaper and read what two opposition "leaders" were saying. Basically they were disqualifying each other. One was talking something I keep hearing time after time in Venezuela: they don't recognise natural leadership. I wonder:

  • how do you measure "natural leadership"?
  • Why did they not organise primaries?
  • What does it mean for Venezuelan politicians "to deserve a seat"?
  • Why don't the parties that are in Caracas try to reach those regions?
  • What thoughts have they given to the sustainable development of that region?
  • Is it possible for them to support education to improve entrepeurship and political awareness there?

There is not a single opposition mayor in Portuguesa.

The electoral circumscriptions: not a chance if we go with a divided opposition that has no programme or law proposals aimed at the regional development (not that Chavismo has any programme at all, but they do have the petrodollars)

The Wikipedia article for Portuguesa state sucks big time. The Spanish one is hardly any better.
That is very telling about the level of interest this region gets.

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