Chávez boasts his own importance while Capriles speaks of teamwork
Even though the official sector undermines Capriles Radonski's message, expert believe that the red party does see him as a threat
One gloats with being able to ramble on for endless hours. The other retorts, saying that actions speak louder than words. Two contrasting styles, one common goal: winning the elections.
In dissecting the rhetoric of candidates Hugo Chávez and Henrique Capriles Radonski, psychologist Axel Capriles found that both the incumbent president and his intended successor base their respective messages on five key points.
Me, myself and I
In Chávez's case, according to Axel Capriles, the foundation for his speech is "himself." "Chávez as an embodiment of the people, expressing their desires and interests, an indispensable leader to secure the continuity of the revolution."
The psychologist points out that "he poses as the heart and soul of a political movement founded on the cult of personality."
Capriles identifies the second point as the "struggle for independence" as opposed to the slavery allegedly instilled by the Empire and bourgeois. "In fact, Chávez launched his campaign comparing it to a new Battle of Carabobo in which Venezuela fought for its independence," he adds.
The third element is already a staple for Chávez. Fourthly, he will seek "to disqualify his opponent" and, then, he will attempt to tweak the past. "The fifth point is a tireless counter image', buttressed by old age and illness, fostering novelty in his proposals," he claims.
The representative of the opposition Unified Democratic Panel boasts five different priorities. "First, he seeks unity and inclusion for all Venezuelans," points out Capriles.
The second point is his "deep" knowledge of the issues ailing the nation, as a result of direct contact with voters.
"The third component is the programmatic proposal of specific policies and practices aimed at solving problems," notes Capriles. The other two points emphasized are "the strength of a candidate who represents the youth of the people and the proposal of a non-charismatic, achievement-driven, teamwork-focused leadership."
Axel Capriles believes that Chávez's side "attempts to feed off Venezuelans' love for songbirds whereas Capriles Radonski bets on his own "concise speech as an example of the need to be pragmatic and to pursue actions, not words."
Virtues and flaws
Colette Capriles, a professor of Political Theory at Simón Bolívar University, believes that "the message of the opposition candidate is aimed at reinforcing the belief that a change in government is the key to wellbeing whereas the president remains conservative, that is, he strives to preserve his clientele and avoid shifts in allegiance to the democratic side, mocking the former and labeling him as threat to the artificial Venezuelan identity Chávez's sector has attempted to install."
Even though the official sector undermines Capriles Radonski's message, the expert believes that the red party does see him as a threat.
"Chavezism is worried that the contrast between an agile candidate on the move and a candidate that endlessly repeats the same anecdotes does not favor the latter. What once seemed as a positive attribute, powerful storytelling,' now begins to rub off the wrong way. That is why there is emphasis on shining a positive light on verbosity."
The researcher believes that "the government must have been exposed to evidence that the huge gap between the president's endless and repetitive narrative and the actual accomplishments during his tenure is perceived by people as a negative thing."
Capriles sees the fact that the opposition candidate is "setting the agenda" as "unprecedented" and believes that the government is being compelled to come up with answers "in a highly improvised and aggressive manner."
Just how new is new'?
In his first press conference as a candidate for reelection, and in reply to a journalist's question, Hugo Chávez attempted to explain the "new" aspects of his proposal. The Venezuelan head of state proceeded to talk about communal councils, works in progress and public-banking dividends as his "novelties."
Axel Capriles says that "the only new thing I have found is that Chávez is on the defensive for the first time, claiming that he does not stand for the old or outdated."
The psychologist believes that "this campaign, more than any others, is seeing Chávez resort to rational elements like defending the accomplishments of his administration and the programs to be implemented."
Colette Capriles, however, finds that Chávez is mixing traditional formulae with different elements.
"Tactically, it is the same old rhetoric: announcements about public expenditures, promises of love and restoring identity and insults to his counterparts. The possibly new element is the identity melodrama': an emotional plea in which the self-focused Chávez dissolves into the adoring and adulating masses. This emphasis on identity is key because the inherent message is that no matter how ill I may be or how bad my government has done, the truly important thing is that I have shown you who you are and how you fit into my world."
Translated by Félix Rojas Alva
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."