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Jorge Rodriguez: The Arrogant Loser*

By Tomas Sancio | Venezuelan Politics

09.08.05 | Even by the CNE's own projections, very few people went to vote. According to the El Nacional headlines, less than 30% of the people voted yesterday. Although I don't have any data as to why they didn't show up, it must have been either because they didn't trust the CNE, because they had other stuff to do on a Sunday and/or because they didn't know who they were electing. I am among those who don't know what the "Junta Parroquial" does, even if they are supposed to be our direct representatives.

If you hear Jorge Rodríguez (the CNE President) say it, the absenteeism was lower than the historical maximum of 76%. In other words, the person that doesn't pay attention to calls from organizations like SUMATE to clean up the voters registry and calls a paper by Harvard Professor Ricardo Haussman "Daffy Duck theories", is now keeping solace in the fact that there were previous elections in which even less people showed up. The "joke" came up because Haussman mentions in his paper the "black swan" theory.

Daffy Duck looks a bit like a "black swan". Find it funny? It probably would be funny if that joke wasn't on the millions of voters that felt cheated in last year's Presidential Recall.

You can only make fun of others if you feel supported and you have a winning streak. Rodríguez's arrogant thinking ignored the needs of the people that were working in the election centers and extended the voting hours in the midst of empty tables. Yesterday, the CNE President set high standards for himself and failed miserably. He is now taking the route of the mediocre people and saying that others have been worse. In effect, Rodríguez has wasted the country's money by setting up an expensive party (who needs the electronic fingerprint readers?) for 100 and less than 30 showed up.

But this man cannot feel comfortable: unless you want to admit that the opposition is a majority, a very high amount of Chávez supporters did not vote out of apathy. The CNE wouldn't have cared if it were only the people from the opposition who didn't show up. Now, they have to figure out how to gain the right momentum to get enough voters to push their candidates for the upcoming National Assembly elections. Will the Assemblymen trust the "perfect" CNE President this time around?

Silver Lining: According to the first results published by El Nacional, Chávez and his people were not able to wrest control from Leopoldo López (the Mayor of Chacao) and Henrique Capriles Radonski (the Mayor of Baruta). Living in Baruta, there are some things that I don't like about the Mayor's work (why aren't there basketball hoops in most of the cracked courts) but overall I find that he has done a decent job. Hence, I voted for his people. Some people find this contradictory that I "support" the CNE, please read here.

*Original title The Arrogant Loser

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