Sunday, 9 March 2008

Eight months to go, Carabobo

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%

Urama 23,49%
Diego Ibarra 33,79% Aguas Calientes 27,37%

Mariara 40,02%
Carlos Arvelo 37,88% Belén 36,49%

Güigüe 36,93%

Tacarigua 39,45%
Libertador 42,82% Independencia 35,60%

Tocuyito 45,11%
Miranda 43,31% Miranda 43,31%
Los Guayos 43,77% Los Guayos 43,77%
San Joaquín 45,36% San Joaquín 45,36%
Puerto Cabello 46,92% Bartolomé Salom 50,26%

Borburata 41,88%

Democracia 32,80%

Fraternidad 54,48%

Goagoaza 45,31%

Juan José Flores 47,14%

Patanemo 42,21%

Unión 50,37%
Guacara 51,76% Ciudad Alianza 79,74%

Guacara 46,55%

Yagua 46,85%
Bejuma 55,80% Bejuma 58,06%

Canoabo 45,40%

Simón Bolívar 55,26%
Naguanagua 64,05% Naguanagua 64,05%
Montalbán 55,45% Montalbán 55,45%
Valencia 59,21% Candelaria 57,68%

Catedral 62,01%

El Socorro 69,77%

Miguel Pena 46,04%

Negro Primero 14,07%

Rafael Urdaneta 55,11%

San Blas 67,04%

San José 88,03%

Santa Rosa 49,14%
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


  1. Hello there,

    My 2 cents:

    Before a plan can be made, one needs a vision that incorporates one's belief systems.What are your values?What is your philosophy ?
    What is the direction and purpose?

  2. Hi Kepler,

    Great posting and your Spanish blog is excellent.
    You know that I am living in Valencia and this governor is really crazy.
    Every time before elections he is giving benefits. Cheap loans, labor, giving houses for free, etc.. etc..
    The gang bosses in the barrios controls almost everything.
    How can you change this? It is easy saying that even the chavista's don't like him. But with gifts he wins them back.

    Anyway Chavez will lose a lot of support in November. No doubt, the days are over for the Latin Mr. Danger.


  3. Anonymous,

    In this post I was rather talking about the election "competition". I have written some more in other posts.
    My vision is sustainable development for Venezuela: getting it off the oil dependency, greatly improving the standard of living of people on a real basis, maximizing their happiness and freedom and security (we have the most dangerous country in Latin America by far, the murder rate is higher than in Colombia due to normal crime), reducing social inequality.

    For that we need to establish the state of law, guarantee continuous
    accountability of all factors not only at election time, promote respect and education.
    You can see more concrete stuff on the proposals for Venezuela :
    I need to put more ideas there, I do it from time to time.

    A love for democracy, for the respect of human rights, is essential.
    I am tired of those who
    think one given political system and dogma is the panacea for all.
    I believe the best system is a capitalist system with a very strong social network, but I welcome competition between different ideas, as long as the holders of those ideas are respectful of democracy and human rights and are aware their ideas are not the solution for all. I am convinced alternation of ideas and parties in power is absolutely necessary.

    Here in this blog I do not want to promote more this or that party, but propose some ideas that might
    be useful for getting the real job done: making Venezuela a safe, developed, just country.


    Hi, Alpha, thanks. I know that Carles guy is really a disaster. He has done a lot of harm to the region. I will post later more on Carabobo.


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