Repression is now a given. Today we were treated to the students of the Simon Bolivar campus in Caracas pushed inside their campus by the Metropolitana police. Since the police cannot enter the campus, they kept throwing canisters of tear gas above the fences and shooting rubber bullets by passing their guns through the chicken wire that circles the campus. I can hardly think of any thing more cowardly risible than what the Caracas police did today, shooting defenseless students from afar while perhaps this very same week end the police failed to stop as many as two dozen murders in Caracas alone. But when did fascism worry about current crime?
Unfortunately today student repression was not an isolated incident. It has been going on steadily for a couple of weeks now, even including torture for some Barquisimeto students. Not to mention the Monte Avila students dragged on the streets of Caracas...
The campaign for the SI has taken a new turn. As I predicted last August it has gone full swing associating Chavez with the SI. A vote for the NO is a vote AGAINST Chavez, and any chavista who thinks it is OK to vote NO this time will become a traitor "El que diga que apoya a Chávez pero va a votar por el No es un verdadero traidor." "Whoever says that they support Chavez but is going to vote No is a true traitor". Would you like to have your name end up plastering the walls the way I found this one today in San Felipe, sending Baduel to the shooting squad?
More on the Chavez Watch. Freeper cll has performed a partial translation of what NoticeroDigital.com posted today:
Chavez reiterates that 'everything indicates they're trying to kill me'
The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, reiterated today that, again, his most radical opponents have reactivated their assasination plans against him and 'everything indicates that they will be trying to kill me because of what will happen on Sunday'.
Next Sunday, Venezuelans will vote on a constitutional reform with which Chavez intends to install a 'socialism of the 21st century', which his opponents means the installation of a personal dictatorship.
~ snip ~
In the [campaign] event, he repeated that recently "a strange light traveled through my body, around here, where my heart is, and then around here", he said while pointing to his head.
"Most likely it was a sniper hiding 100 or 200 meters away in a Caracas building, who aimed a weapon equiped with telescopic sight guided by rays, of which he was alerted to by a TV viewer who immediately alerted the authorities".
His Cuban colleague, Fidel Castro, to whom he said he showed the video when he visited Havana, "told me it was a sniper who didn't fire because he could have gotten cold feet at the precise moment".
~ snip ~
Chavez concluded his story by singing a Mexican ranchera song, which chorus goes like this: "I fell from a cloud at 20 meters high, and that was my great adventure"
~ end (amateur) translation ~
For a more indepth analysis of what is going on in Venezuela in re the vote/election this upcoming Sunday and what polling data reveals: Caracas Chronicles is the place to read:
With time, Chávez has morphed from garrulous populist to sectarian socialist. Certainly, Chávez in 2007 is a far more ideologically oriented speaker than he was even a year ago.
But here's the rub: it was always Populist Chávez that folks identified with. Socialist Chávez vaguely scares people: he's too strident, too rigid. His speeches are too abstract to tug at the old identification heuristic heartstrings like populist Chávez could. If there's one point that all Venezuelan pollsters agree on, it's that Chávez is popular despite his ideological agenda, not because of it.
For a long time, people were smitten with him because they felt that he cared about their individual, personal problems; so much so that many went to great lengths to write those problems on a slip of paper and put them - literally - in his hands. But the more esoteric and strident his discourse gets, the more detached from the mundane problems of day to day life in a poor country, the less people feel his government is all about their problems.
Chávez doesn't seem wise to these trends. Instead of realizing he's in a tight race and focusing, the guy spent the last month traveling all around the world, picking big fights with everyone in sight, spending all his time worrying about FARC's hostages or an American attack on Iran, and generally not paying any attention at all to "the problems of people like you."
All of which helps explain why polls show a big majority think constitutional reform is about what's in Chávez's interest, not about what's in the people's interests. And why Datanalisis has NiNis trending No by a bone crushing 5-to-1 margin. Which is huge.
Comando Zamora is fighting the last war. The basic flaw in the its "SIgue con Chávez" strategy is that personalizing the campaign, in 2007, means personalizing it around a figure people identify with considerably less than they once did. In fact, it means centering the campaign on a guy people suspect is doing this for his benefit, not theirs.
It's going to be an interesting week..