Saturday, 18 June 2011

Why are the alternative forces still so weak in "rural" areas?

That was a question someone asked at another blog.

Here I just edit a bit what I wrote there:

Why? Because

1) the “national leaders" of alternative parties -I don’t mean the candidate for president but, say, any of the top 10 leaders of every party- don’t go there. They don’t go even to small cities, but for some exceptions. When you say “rural” most people from the three big cities, Caracas, Maracaibo and Valencia, think of Calabozo, which is actually a small city but a city nonetheless.
2) the alternative forces are represented in those areas by a dinosaur from old parties AD or COPEI or by some big landowner with no connection to the people.
3) although those areas have got only crumbles from the government, those crumbles – at $110 an oil barrel – are more than what they got in the nineties and the vast majority of those  living there don’t fully know how much money the country is getting now. They get Mercal – which matters more for them than for you or me-, they get better schools than what they got in the nineties even if those schools are crap and getting crappier by the day
4) the people from Caracas, Valencia, Maracaibo who do visit those areas do not feel at ease, they know nothing about those areas, about their particularities, about the regional and actually national histories , so even a very badly informed person as Chávez can impress those people with “local knowledge”.
The city of Acarigua is considered "rural" for most people in Caracas. It has more than one hundred thousand voters. 58.04% voted for Chávez candidates in 2010, 35.63% for the candidate led by old dinosaur party AD
Guanare, close by, has almost 100 thousand voters as well. The military got 56.1% of the votes, AD 38.75% and PPT 2.40%.

5) because 70% of Venezuelans do not have Internet, cannot watch cable, do not read much  and the alternative forces think they can tweet Chávez away.
6) because alternative forces are short of money and they do not share logistics, they only agree on a unique candidate if need be, so they are like 50 parties duplicating lots of efforts, something unique to Venezuela and Somalia.
Those are some of the reasons.

So: people in those areas voting for the alternative forces are doing so in spite of the leaders of those alternative forces.
Something more: the alternative forces have got demographics completely wrong. Most people in Venezuela live in secondary cities. And we are still not going there. The Mesa de la Unidad and PPT got 52% of the votes in last year's elections. Still, if they want to have a chance for 2012 they really need to take a different approach. They should avoid wasting a single minute of campaign in Chacao, in Baruta, in Northern Valencia, in the posh areas of Maacaibo and they should spend all the time and effort in reaching out other places.
Municipalities that have the most voters (in red: those with 30% of all voters, red-pink: where 50% of all voters are)

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