If I were residing in Venezuela at this moment I´d be extremely frustrated at the possibility of Hugo Chavez winning the presidential elections. In fact, given my interest in being able to persuade both my wife and myself to return to the country, I become extremely irritated when I visit Noticias 24´s site -which although biased in favor of Chavez is still an important source of news- and am forced to read over reports on polling agencies predicting the incumbent’s victory.
But given I have already gone through the trauma of migrating -and don’t for a second doubt it was traumatic- I can draw scenarios – win Chavez or loose Cavez- neither which really present any threat to my life plans or my family at this moment.
For Venezuela’s residents who are fed up with Chavez and the violent country it has turned into, who after 14 years are exasperated by crime, corruption, bureaucracy and a sense of hopelessness, a victory by Chavez would pretty much mean a catalyst to drastic decisions. It would certainly be “as bad as it seems”. Thus, one speaks with dozens of friends who dare not even consider the Chavez-victory scenario for the fear of having to take much difficult personal decisions. For them, Capriles already won the race and they’ll defend their stance by underestimating the pollsters’ predictive capacities and placing hopes on pictures of Capriles’ massively-attended rallies.
Perhaps, as some bloggers have suggested, overoptimism is healthy since it’s the first time a candidate really seems to be a threat to the president’s regime. Might as well enjoy the moment and if the outcome is the undesired one, then there will be time to mourn.
But if push comes to shove, the reaction for many will not only be to mourn but to take a radical stance: fire-sell properties and take family members away as soon as possible. If Venezuelans have been migrating in large numbers along the last decade, expect it to continue and in larger volumes.
Inarguably, this would be the natural reaction. Under Chavez the nation will continue in the path of decay of the last 14 years. Why doubt it? It’ll be the same retrograds running the show. Expect crime to get worse, unprecedented expropriation to be executed, less goods to consume, less employement opportunities, less dollars and many more unfortunate surprises.