Sunday, February 15, 2004

Sunday quarterbacking on yesterday march
Sunday 15, February 2004

I can do the equivalent of the Monday quarterback, except on Sunday AM.

Briefly:

Yahoo has a nice photo gallery of the past few days in Caracas. Note in particular the pictures of the massed tanks on Avenida Bolivar and the peaceful marchers in other pics. If you are courageous enough to scan the previous picture down the page you will see interesting pics such as a Chavez supporter cultivating the Che Guevara look (he is actually probably better looking than the Che if not as dashing), of Chavez holding a little girl (all tyrants in history have been pictured with lots of little children around them) that you can contrast with his fiery poses in political rallies (dissociative, no?), and even Don King making his snafu as to Chavez leaving office (no picture of him collecting his wages though).

SUMATE reported that it gave around 300 000 certificates of signatures. These certificates indicate that you indeed signed, where and when and in which box and report your signature was brought to the Electoral Board (CNE). Now I want to add a personal comment here: of all my relatives and friends in Caracas not even a third of them went to collect their signature. So, imagine that the CNE says "screw you" and you can imagine the amount of people that will take to the streets, not counting those that could not sign for a variety of reasons such as my significant other working in a the public administration in a post that would imply immediate dismissal if a signature were to be found. Meanwhile if SUMATE indeed distributed 300 000 forms that means that at least 300 000 people did find their way to the Jardin Botanico, trashing the early estimate of 250 000 marchers.

A witty comment on TV this morning by Borges. The leader of Primero Justicia commented on the efficiency of SUMATE who has given the public a document as difficult to prepare as the national ID card. It gave 300 000 in a few hours on a Saturday. During the Chavez administration the government has almost stopped emitting passports (mine has been renewed for the third time, the first pic being now more than 20 years old and ensuring me weird looks when I go through US customs). The National ID service is wrecked by corruption and incompetence. Lina Ron shadowy organization is more effective at giving you an ID card than the state agency who apparently is only good enough at giving fake visas and fast track citizenship to Cubans, Chinese nationals and a few Middle Eastern characters that have put Venezuelan passports on the watch list of the US. The comment of Borges was of course at what wonders would SUMATE do if it were in charge of the state identification system! No wonder all of these chavistas cashing bribes for ID are so opposed to SUMATE.

Meanwhile a somber incident with the political police following the wife of one of the non-chavista rectors of the CNE. Pressure is building. And of course the worst than ever shows on state TV, VTV, trying desperately to minimize the march success yesterday with outright lies and off time videos, to the point of creating a "special program" of jokes and what not. If Chavez is at 51% as a "new" poll agency says, why is he so afraid of a few people marching in the street? Why put up such a montage on TV?

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