It is interesting to look at the recent elections (search for Federacion de Centros and you get all of the news) at the Universidad de Los Andes because in some sense they are a reflection of the mood in the country, down to the details of denial and lack of information on all sides. The so-called Federacion de Centros is the organization that is equivalent to Student Council at any US University. In Venezuela political parties field candidates in these elections. There were three candidates, two for the opposition and on for Chavez’ MVR. In the end one of the opposition candidates Nixon Moreno, came in first place with 37.5-39% of the votes, followed by another opposition candidate Covelsi Sanchez who received 29-32% of the votes and in last place Tareck El Aisami, Chavez’ MVR’s candidate with roughly 27-28% of the vote. Mr. El Aisami was seeking reelection for a position he won running away during Mr. Chavez first year in power. Thus, the Chavistas were trounced 66%-71% to 27-28% in a segment of population where in any other country the “left” should win running away. There are a number of interesting facts about this election:
-Since the first day, there have been no more reports by either side on the percentage of the votes. Typical of Venezuela, since we know who won, who cares about the numbers, why publish them, count the votes or report them (I care! They are meaningful!)
-The loser Mr. El Aisami, refuses to accept that he lost.
- The Chavista Governor of Merida State Florencio Porras, while admitting Mr. El Aisami’s defeat, refuses to recognize him as the Chavista candidate, saying instead that he was “ the candidate of an alliance which included the youth of Chavez’ MVR”. Oh, I see! He was chosen by the youth of MVR but can not be interpreted as a loss for MVR. Weird logic, no? He even said: “I do not see much of an impact from this loss”…..Yeah, yeah, yeah
- Moreno was backed by MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) and a small group from Accion Democratica. Coselvi was back by extreme-left party Bandera Roja, the Social Christians of COPEI, Primero Justicia, Accion Democratica and Patria Para Todos, which supports Chavez at the national level.
-Even more interesting, the Chavistas have suffered similar losses in the Universidad del Zulia and Universidad del Tachira. Despite their relevance and significance to national politics, little is known about these results nationally.
-What I find fascinating about these results is the quantitative similarity between them and those of national polls that attempt to probe the popularity of Hugo Chavez.
Chavez does not like polls, these are real votes!!