Presidential Election Campaign in Venezuela Picks up Pace

Venezuela’s presidential election campaign picked up its pace over the weekend, with candidates President Hugo Chavez and Capriles Radonski presenting very different visions of Venezuela’s future development. 


Mérida, 21st August 2012 ( – Venezuela’s presidential election campaign picked up its pace over the weekend, with candidates President Hugo Chavez and Capriles Radonski presenting very different visions of Venezuela’s future development.

Chavez, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidate, called on Saturday for the creation of an industrial hub of development by the Orinoco River in the eastern Bolivar state.

This would see the Venezuelan state promoting the industrial development of the country, with Chavez arguing “one day there will be a railway uniting the Caribbean with the Amazon, and it will pass by the Orinoco River and there will be a great country as (independence hero) Simon Bolivar said”.

Speaking to thousands of supporters in a packed campaign rally in the town of San Felix, Bolivar state, Chavez also commented on the nature of the presidential election.

“The Venezuelan bourgeoisie is going crazy trying to recover power in Venezuela. They’re going to be stuck with the desire, because on 7 October we’re going to give them a knockout”.

Chavez criticised the opposition as representing the elite which governed the country before his election in 1998, arguing that “the revolution arrived…to stop capitalism, neoliberalism and the bourgeoisie”.

Meanwhile he described the Bolivarian revolution as delivering “a sequence of new projects, where socialism and revolution are what is new,” and his own candidacy as representing “peace and stability” in Venezuela.

The PSUV candidate repeated his call for 10 million votes to secure an overwhelming victory in the election, in order to “crush” opponent Capriles Radonski. PSUV activists around the country are aiming to each complete a list with 10 voters committed to vote for Chavez, in a “1×10” election strategy. In the 2006 presidential elections Chavez won with 7,309,080 votes, 63% of those cast.

Chavez’s Carabobo Campaign Command (CCC) reports that over 700,000 lists have so far been completed and handed to the CCC, which would be equivalent to 7 million votes committed to the campaign so far.

The mass rally in Bolivar follows a series of huge campaign rallies as Chavez visited each region of Venezuela, including the Andean region recently.

He is now set to intensify his campaign with a “state by state” tour throughout the country.

Investment Climate  

Capriles, the candidate for the conservative Democratic Unity Rountable (MUD) coalition, outlined his own approach to economic development during a visit to a bread factory in Carabobo state in central Venezuela last Friday.

Speaking of the need to raise national production of foodstuffs, he committed himself to creating a favourable climate for private investment. 

“Our commitment is with you, our investors and entrepreneurs, because that allows us to create more jobs. We’ll be a government that generates the confidence investors don’t feel today,” he said.

Capriles also claimed that his campaign had passed through more than 150 towns in Venezuela in his “town by town” tour of the country, of a total aim of 300.

Responding to media questions over polls that give Chavez the electoral advantage, Capriles responded “I don’t believe in rubbish polls, nor those paid for by the government”.

Almost all election polls in Venezuela, both those associated with the opposition and the government, predict a victory for two-time incumbent Chavez of between 15 – 25 percentage points advantage over Capriles.

Grassroots Mobilisation

The Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), the coalition of social movements which supports the re-election of Chavez and the deepening of the Bolivarian revolution, organised its own campaign parade through 20 parish zones of the capital Caracas on Sunday. Over 400 GPP organisations from Caracas and neighbouring Miranda state participated.

Andres Antillo, a spokesperson for the Dwellers’ Movement, explained that the event was to promote Chavez’s re-election by organised social movements.

“We think a street-based electoral campaign is fundamental, of mobilisation, struggle, colourful, with the distinct forms of the grassroots movement,” he said.

The activist added that events such as that promoted a different conception of an election campaign, arguing that by campaigning in streets and neighbourhoods “we can consolidate as a fundamental element the idea of a campaign pushed forward by the people and social organisations”.