By Luis Alcala email@example.com
Psychologist, communicator and publicist, with Ph.D. in OnthoPsychology and Organizational Development; He’s Honoris Causa by the Organization of Americas because of his outstanding work in education; a “cum laude” in Psychology by the International University; Honoris Causa from Iberoamerica. Juan Jose Rendon is a successful international political strategist, too young for so much experience together and with his array of professional successes able to gain the title of the “guru of the Latin-American Political Arena.” Loved by many and hated by others, this man does not know limitations before challenges facing them with discipline and intelligence, generating political victories in any world scenario. JJ Rendon is a great personality to be interviewed, his answers are always a lesson for the readers, a bundle of knowledge, that we are very sure you are going to enjoy because we would not asked nonsense questions such as…and, why do you wear black?
LA: Where does JJ Rendon come from?
JJR: I come from a family…middle class, from working parents who taught me values such as responsibility, respect, sacrifice. My father was in the military, honest and disciplined; my mother was a secretary for a then-very- important government official in Venezuela, Mr. Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso, founder of OPEP. I grew up in a humble environment but I never felt I was lacking anything. I remember an anecdote when my father bought me a bicycle…which was stolen two days later. I told my father when I got home, hoping that maybe I will get another one…but Nope! My father was very clear…there will be no other bicycle…you may have to work to get your own again…he suggested. I decided then to do just that and I started working around the community washing cars at noon, a hard time…my neighbors were my witnesses. Since then, I paid for my education, my books…in sum…I have paid for my bicycles all my life, from my own effort and work.
LA: Do you consider yourself as a “power” in the Latin-American political environment?
JJR: My clients have the power. I am just a professional who advises, promotes, gives incentives and encourages them to comply and finish their objectives. There are many instances through my career where I served as a political consultant, but the confidential agreements do not allow me to reveal them. However, it is obvious that in certain instances, my experience influenced because I am a strategist and you can see the results everywhere…but in relation to my power…maybe the media, and without intention, has given me that image. However, I consider that it is very important for a political consultant to have a respectable position in the media, as an orchestra conductor does. We all admire his music, but we all want to know everything about him…Same as a technical director of a champion soccer team. Everybody wants to know about his life, his training, his experiences…this is what happened in my case, it comes with the territory…which I have learned to deal with and above all…with responsibility.
LA: Gurú of the Latin-American Political Arena or King of the Black Promotion?
JJR: Neither one. The term “guru” means “the one who knows everything” and that it is not my case. I think I feel well known in my professional environment, where gained victories have been remarkable and this position gives anyone a level of importance. In Latina America, our strategies to get presidents, governors and mayors has been successful in most cases and of course this generates a good image for the performance of our enterprise, so much, that this trajectory will take me to greater challenges, such is the case of our involvement to develop deals in Syria, Tunez, Greece, areas where the social and political arenas are very interesting and I will participate as a professional and entrepreneur. This is very exciting for our organization; the challenge and responsibility are huge. I am the first Latin-American strategist and political advisor who cross borders to serve and offer ideas for very complex processes, so much so that I am studying the Koran. This is a “must” as part of my training to confront different cultures with different laws and procedures than the ones I am used to. We do not perform Black promotion; we build strategies and develop messages according to the environment. The term “Black Promotion” is a classic outcry of those who could not reach their objectives in that particular opportunity.
LA: You practice Zen Buddhism as a philosophy of a life with harmony and inner peace, how do you keep your principles in a very harsh political world which you face every day?
JJR: I am going to answer with two extracts from Zen…the first states…the moonlight falls over the murky and filthy water, however its brightness stays intact; the lonely pine tree on the tortuous road does not lose its verticality, Lu Wen Wing (XVIII Century). The other one states the following…”When you are alone, behave as if you have guests, and we you have guest. behave as if you are alone.” You take these thoughts to your everyday situations. You face failure like you face success and vice versa. Zen is the path in the middle, extremes do not exist, it is a process of searching for the spiritual equilibrium and hence the mental one. It is an endless process, continuous, it is a state that lasts forever in your life.
LA: A sword or “Fencing” in your case as collector is a symbol of war, but also it could mean peace. How could two extremes meet in the same object?
JJR: When the sword is sheathed it is a symbol of peace, when is not it is a symbol of war. I collect Samurai Fencing swords, which is a symbol of violence as such. The warrior, who carries it, uses it to do justice. “Samurai” means “the one who serves to…, where loyalty and discipline, the impulse and audacity are unbreakable codes of those you practice this life philosophy. The Samurai swords are instruments full of deep philosophical meaning that are presented in the mystical and spiritual traditions of the Nippon culture. The attraction for me and the reason for my collection is that it means history and codes. They are a symbol, a very old discipline of life, a patrimony of humanity.
LA: In several occasions you have been compared to “Joseph Goebbels”, a sharp strategist and an advisor for the Nazi Party of Germany, and also to “Karl Rover” the man who compared George W. Bush with Rasputin and Maquiavelo. Are the comparisons with these personalities wild and daring?
JJR: Well. I think that the comparison with Joseph Geobbels is wonderful. He was a communication strategist working for Hitler, a complex sergeant who later became a leader in his country. Hitler is a personality completely off and contrary to my belief. Geobbels was a brilliant genius “used for a wrong cause that brought a lot of harm to humanity”. But the fact that he participated in this terrible scenario, does not take away the fact that he was a genius in what he was doing. Just picture him working for Mahatma “Gandhi” or Martin Luther King.
Rasputín and Maquiavelo! On the first one, according to books and myths, I learned that the erotic museum in St Petersburg keeps a private part of respectable size of his body…I hope the comparison is on that…Laugh!! On the second one, for those who have never read Machiavello, will never find his real meaning, because when you say you are Machiavelli, it does not mean you are mean or bad, what it means is that you understand the complexity of power and the secrets of the royalty, in the political and social environments and this has to be understood quite well.
LA: from all the Latin-American countries where you have left your prints, does Colombia mean to be your launching platform as a political strategist? Is this your great professional experience?
JJR: No, I do not think so. I would better say it was Mexico, and I would explain why. I was the first political advisor in Mexico. This situation was a debate in any nation, because we were external agents to analyze national affairs of that particular country. We also opened the door for this type of external consulting in Mexico. Nowadays this situation is under control. The national groups nowadays more than argue, they compete and they become allies of our officers to determine the political campaigns o simply to adopt our strategies. I have about eleven years rendering services to Mexico. The political electoral dynamic activity in this country makes it a Latin-American platform for any foreign political consultant. It is target to consider and we have placed ourselves in it really well.
LA; Why is it that any political candidate and some advisors insist to address the voters with promises such as more employment, better quality of life and security for all? What is the reason that encourages people from any nation to believe in pre-electoral promises, when the reality is different? We see catastrophic results over and over in decades all over Latin-American countries. Poverty is greater; there is more insecurity and worse quality of life, phenomenon which has been seen in the USA with the economic and social crisis. What is your opinion about this social phenomenon which is copied in every single place in the planet?
JJR: First of all, the “promise” itself is not wrong; it is an act that conveys a commitment for the near future. Promises are bad when we know in advance that they cannot be complied like in the case of Venezuela. We have decades full of promises that were not met, only some, and people who do not deserve the crumbs that their government provides, under the promise of a revolution that will never materialize. Diminishing a country is not revolution. The great support to a revolution then was a vote against a system full of rusty ideas and not the vote for a candidate with revolutionary promises. Take China for example, a communist country, with economic, technological, educational, and social prosperity against Venezuela, which is a “revolutionary” country, a “Chavez” country, with huge economic resources and it has not been able to beat any social difficulty in almost 12 years. In the case of the USA, we have a social response that is clear and we already explained, “promises not met”, unable to comply, brings as a result all type of crisis and the Obama government was not prepared to not even solve immediate problems.
LA: Do you think that president Obama has the opportunity to be re-elected in 2012?
JJR: The case of Obama and his remarkable victory was due to a vote against the Bush administration. It was a payback for the republicans and that administration. I think he could be re-elected, why? Because sometimes people are dumb and stick to those promises which in the case of Obama, he has not met. The possibility of a second opportunity exists. Whatever the outcome, we have to wait a little bit more. Obama has an uphill re-election. The situation of the country is very serious and the one responsible for it is the president. We will see what will happen. Maybe a miracle happens and the solution to so many problems arrives next year, but right now the situation is very hard for president Obama.
LA: as a present to all of us, please give an advice to those who with their vote make a candidate, make a president of a country.
JJR: I believe in the conscience. One should do anything focusing; one should measure or forecast the results of each of your decisions. The consequences of not analyzing, researching, and above all, understanding the electoral process so that the vote will be useful, it is to finish with the democratic institution. If you do not vote you are diminishing a democratic process. Each time we see winning elections but fewer votes, and that is not right. If we are absent, we are breaking democracy and allowing all those things we do not want to exist and then we end up just criticizing regimens, dictatorships, abuses and more. Vote, every time, make an effort to exercise your right to vote, care for such an important event and be sure we will see a great difference.