Author Archives: Nadia Redman

About Nadia Redman

I'm a fan of "everything international:" travel, meeting people of other cultures, speaking foreign languages, cross-cultural communication, international business and marketing, etc. I'm also a bit of a nerd, LOL.

Chavez wins Venezuelan presidency

The results were just released a few minutes ago: Hugo Chavez has won another term as president.

The voter turnout was impressive; apparently, they had a voter turnout of over 80%.

I have difficulty with this one. As I said in a previous post, I did not meet a single person in Venezuela who planned to vote for Chavez. Apparently, he won 54% of the vote, to Capriles’ 45%.

I wonder what will happen next. Will it be a peaceful continuation of power? As I write this, Capriles is speaking live, doing a concession speech. It is amazing how quickly he is giving this speech, but I suppose it is necessary in order to prevent major demonstrations and to ensure a peaceful continuation of power. Wow; I cannot help but be surprised by this one.


Witnessing history in Venezuela?

It has been an interesting time to be in Venezuela over the past few days. Hearing about Venezuela from afar allows us to keep a distance from what is going on here; however, actually being here leaves a lasting impression and a keen interest in the country’s politics.

Today marks the final day of campaigning in their upcoming presidential election. On October 7, voters will make their decision between the incumbent president, Hugo Chavez, and his opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski.

President Chavez has been in power for the past 14 years. His socialist policies have made him quite popular among large segments of his people, including the poor, as is evidenced by the large number of his posters and pro-Chavez messages that are proudly displayed in and around favela neighbourhoods that I passed by today.


This is a picture I snapped while driving by a favela neighbourhood. If you look closely, you can see Chavez posters and a Chavez banner proudly displayed on their homes.

His slogan: “Chavez–el corazón de mi patria.” It roughly translates to “The heart of my homeland,” though the true meaning of patria cannot be properly conveyed in English, as it refers not only to country, but also culture, society, and national identity. Clearly, this is a man whose supporters believe is Venezuela.

Chavez’s campaign slogan draws on the hearts of his Venezuelan supporters.

Example of a Chavez campaign poster.

Capriles, by contrast (according to his supporters to whom I have spoken–I do not personally know his platform), has views that are more capitalist and market oriented. His election would signal a major shift in Venezuelan politics, economics, and international relations. His slogan, “Hay un camino” (“There is a way”) inspires his followers, who have told me things like, “Fourteen years has been too long, how can we stand another five?” Others said that they fear the direction in which Venezuela is going,  likening it to Communism. They also expressed frustration about the talented youth and people of means who have been leaving the country in droves because they feel that there is neither incentive nor opportunity to remain there.

Campaign poster supporting the challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Today marks the final day of the campaign season, and there are many thousands of people who have taken to the streets to march for their candidate of choice. From my hotel room over the past two days, we have heard incessant car horns honking and music being played from huge speakers tied to the backs of trucks as people campaigned and drew attention to their candidate.

There is a huge demonstration on Avenida Bolívar in downtown Caracas with thousands of people who habe gathered to show their support for, and eventually hear from, Capriles. As I write this post, I am sitting in a Japanese restaurant watching a live TV feed of the demonstration, and everyone’s eyes are glued to the screen. Dressed in slacks, a t-shirt in the red, yellow, and blue pattern of the Venezuelan flag, and a similar baseball cap, Capriles is standing on a cooler in the bed of a truck waving to his supporters as he makes his way to a stage to address them.

I cannot help but wonder what is happening in demonstrations for Chavez, but I am very uninformed. The reality is that I have not yet met a single person who has told me that he/she supports the incumbent president. Instead, I have spoken to excited people who have been saying things like, “We are going to see history today,” and “This is an important time in Venezuelan history.” There is an energy, even a tension, in the air as we approach the election.

Sadly, if I was in the USA today, I do not think that I would be seeing too much of what is going on here in Venezuela; indeed, I think that even if it was on TV, I do not know that I would be interested in watching it. Being here and being exposed to the almost palpable energy of this city certainly has made an impact. I find that I am incredibly interested in the results of this election, and I think about the substantial impact that this election will have on the Americas regardless of who wins.

I look up from writing this article to watch the coverage some more, but suddenly the screen goes dark…some type of “interference” with the signal…

The fall international recruitment cycle is upon us!

I have a relatively heavy fall recruitment schedule, covering five countries at several events over the next two months. All of these events are run (either exclusively or in partnership) by BMI, whom I consider to be one of the best fair organizers in the international education industry.

The events I am attending are as follows:

  • Salão do Estudante: Student fairs take place in several cities in Brazil in September. My schedule includes Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Curitiba, Recife, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro.
  • Expo-Estudiante: Student fairs that take place in several  countries in South America in September/October, including Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia.
  • The Global Agent Workshop: Taking place in Istanbul in October, this two-day workshop is comprised of multiple meetings with international education agencies, a “speed dating” method that helps agents and institutions to begin preliminary discussions to potentially form partnerships.
  • The Higher Education Workshop: A two-day venue in October that helps US and Brazilian institutions to meet in an effort to form partnerships, educate each other about programs at each university, and for US schools to raise awareness about their programs that qualify for Science Without Borders, the relatively new Brazilian federal government scholarship program;
  • The Higher Education Fair (Salão do Universitario): an education fair that is specific for undergraduate and graduate degree programs to be marketed to Brazilian students in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

All of this makes for a busy fall! This does not even count the travel that my team is doing this fall, going to venues in Argentina, Chile, Germany, Ireland, and Iraq.

We definitely have our work cut out for us during this travel season, but we are so very blessed to be able to do the work that we do!