Who are the U.S. and the
Venezuelan right wing supporting in the October 7 Presidential
elections? Capriles Radonski is Washington's candidate.
A few years ago, Maripili Hernández, a journalist and member of the
campaign staff in Hugo Chávez' first Presidential bid, described in an
interview the Bolivarian leader's deep-seated connection to his people,
"He knows Venezuela because be has walked it centimeter by centimeter,
he knows its scents because he has smelled them; he knows its flavors
because he has tasted food prepared by its humble women and he himself
has felt the same suffering the people have felt."
We recall this statement now, because this reality continues to most clearly differentiate Chávez from the opposition candidate he will face October 7.
Chávez is undoubtedly made from the same mold as his people and his opponent Henrique Capriles Radonski has the unmistakable pedigree of the national oligarchy, born with a silver spoon and educated to remain true to the interests of his class, the individual elected by business groups who now claims to drive 'the bus of progress' to cover up his allegiance to the violent fascist right wing.
From now on, skilled publicists and advisors hired by Venezuelan business interests - seconded by the private mass media - will do all they can to sell him as a kind of Robin Hood, a young, vigorous political leader who has pushed aside the discredited traditional parties of the Venezuelan oligarchy, a magician who will perform miracles and erase the differences between Chavistas and the escuálidos, (literally scrawny, common term for the opposition) since " We are all equal" and "We can all be millionaires..." Fortunately, there is plenty of unforgettable history to debunk these lies and myths.
Son of the Oligarchy
Who is Henrique Capriles Radonski? The "humble" candidate was born into the heart of two powerful families: the Capriles of Dutch descent, proprietors of a national media, industrial and real estate emporium, owners of the Capriles chain which includes Últimas Noticias, El Mundo, Líder, Urbe, Urbe Bikini, Dominical, Multicolor, among other companies; and the Radonskis (descendants of a Russian-Polish family), who opened their first movie theater in 1937, in Puerto la Cruz, and are now the owners of Cinex, which runs the principal theaters across the country.
Capriles, the prodigal son, entered the political arena in 1998. There is no need to explain how the support of his family, with its holdings in banks and communications media, catapulted him to the mayor office's in Baruta, a rich, anti-Chávez municipality east of Caracas. His "heroic" resume includes several telling efforts, but the most serious occurred in April 2002, during the coup led by Pedro Carmona Estanga, Fedecámaras and the interventionist governments of Bush and Aznar.
Capriles did not use his authority as mayor to control a fascist mob which surrounded the Cuban embassy and held the diplomatic delegation under siege, but did participate in the ominous detention of then-Minister of Justice and the Interior, Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, violating his human and civil rights.
Dressed as Little Red Riding Hood
Carmen Lara has very accurately insisted to her compatriots, "Venezuela has already shed its share of blood and is now due its share of intelligence, creativity, unity, dedication and love to sustain the Bolivarian process." This reflection also implies the necessity of sniffing out and resisting efforts to manipulate, enchant or trick the people, be it with Capriles' fictitious discourse or the most sophisticated of election campaigns.
The opposition candidate has more than enough access to the country's TV screens, as well as the giant ones at the movies. On these, with tricks and photoshopping at work, he has assumed the role of the wolf dressed as Little Red Riding Hood.
Let us recall his election campaign for the governor's office in the state of Miranda, when Capriles painted himself a man of the people, appearing on posters embracing the same Black men and women his class has so consistently disparaged.
Now the wolf has again put on a disguise and is talking of harmony, progress, equality and love. He isn't ashamed to call himself a progressive "like Lula" and, with fingers crossed, says he will not privatize the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, or persecute Chávez supporters, and will make the Bolivarian government's social missions more efficient.
The Little Red Riding Hood costume has served well in a clean-up operation to improve the oligarchy's image, presenting Capriles' victory in the opposition primary as a defeat of the AD and COPEI, the two dinosaurs of traditional Venezuelan politics. Beware of this theory! Far from representing something new, Capriles may be a new face, but he is the creation and continuation of these discredited parties, which misgoverned, sacked and mortgaged off the people's future. The only difference is that now the oligarchy presumes to appropriate other symbols, to confuse revolutionaries.
Before October 7, we will surely see Capriles paying tribute to Bolívar, wearing a red shirt every now and then, making false promises in poor neighborhoods and even offering a nod or two in the direction of Cuban and Venezuelan doctors saving lives everyday across the country's hills, forests and plains.
Just before launching his campaign in the opposition primary, Capriles was exposed, through Wikileaks, as a collaborator of the U.S. embassy in Caracas.
It was also around the time that Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez announced that the country had proven reserves of 297 billion barrels, leaving Saudi Arabia in second place internationally and allowing Chávez to state that "Venezuela has enough oil for 200 years." The U.S. wanted this oil and needed a president like Capriles to put it on a silver platter.
Consensus between the local economic powers and U.S. diplomats was established well before the opposition primary election. Capriles' advisors had obviously given him clear instructions: hide all ties to transnational corporations and distance yourself from the April 11 coup; give up your membership of the Tradition, Family and Property sect and in the leadership of the fascist party Justice First; deny all responsibility for any violent acts associated with the coup and opportunistically adopt some of the most popular policies of the Bolivarian government.
Meanwhile, his advisors tried to keep him as far away as possible from his death knell as a candidate: any confrontation between his ideas and those of President Chávez. Capriles has repeated many times something which is fundamental to his campaign, "I am not going to exhaust myself in sterile debates with Chávez."
The truth is that he knows he couldn't come close to the historical knowledge and solid Bolivarian, revolutionary ideas of Chávez. To avoid exposing his hopeless ignorance, Capriles will continue with his symbolic discourse which has nothing in common with national realities, repeating like a parrot that he is the driver of the "bus of progress," a lame comparison with Chávez who, 15 years ago, boarded the locomotive of history.
The moment of truth is coming for Capriles. How will the yuppie candidate demonstrate that the Pedro Pérez family living in the hills of Petare is the same as the Zuluagas who live in Country Club? How will he convince people in poor neighborhoods that, if elected President, he wouldn't reinstitute a "democracy" ruled by the capitalist business class, servile to the U.S. and exploitative of the people? Who will believe his tale that he won't privatize PDVSA, the company which today funds the incomparable social investment benefiting the people?
I think those advising Capriles are in trouble. That's why they are desperately lighting candles and paying journalists who specialize in writing about Chávez' health, to fill the nightly news and front pages with announcements of his imminent death, every week. They have spent so much money, with very little return on the investment.
Surveys done by both sides continue to show Chávez' popularity on the rise and just doing the math shows that the right wing can barely mobilize four million voters, far below the 7.3 million who voted for Chávez in the last election.
October 7, 2012, will be another historic day in Venezuela - the day the humble, courageous people of Bolívar, with Chávez at the helm, confront the pitiyanki oligarchy, with Enrique Capriles Radonski at the wheel of the "bus of failure."
June 01, 2012