Saturday, October 30, 2004

Yaracuy Campaign Scenes in Venezuela

I have been trying to find a few colorful images to depict the campaign atmosphere, but really, nothing was particularly interesting. I did not find spectacular graffiti, or counter adds above other folks adds. All in all, there is reasonable respect to private property and other folks political advertisement. Here we like much more painting walls than posters and we all know the effort it takes to paint a wall. I suppose that the "art" of the other side is respected... I have put below one of the most spectacular ones in San Felipe, by the pro Chavez candidate on the embankments of one of the quebradas.

Another curiosity of our electoral systems, brought to high level under Chavez, is "pay off time". That is, the usually late misiones grants are magically paid when it is convenient for the regime. Friday was no exception and huge lines of people waiting for their diverse allocations, all linked to Chavez of course, formed at some of the banks, those that have made "agreements" with the regime. This way people were reminded that if they wanted to keep cashing in, well, they knew what to do on Sunday. No, there is nothing new in that except for the scale and the boldness in which this is made now.

I drove around and checked out the banks. Four banks had lines including up to 2 to 3 hundred of people, lines that lasted for hours. The first picture is from the front door of one of the Banesco agency (the other one had a line even bigger but I could not take a good pic).

What is not shown in that picture is that the line on the right went around a block and a half. But you can note that the hall of the bank was full of people!!!!

This is better conveyed in the Banco de Venezuela pic. The door to enter this bank is down at the end of the block on the right. What you see on this pic is the line going up, turning over itself inside the parking lot (hard to see because it is hollowed ground and people were against the wall to avoid the sun some, but you can guess from the guy in the yellow shirt that is looking in the inside and a few umbrellas sticking out) and then finally going back on the side walk and up half a block more on the left.

The lines in front of the other Banesco agency, and the Banco Industrial, a state bank were as long, showing that there is no advantage to belong to the state bank.

Now, as a control point the pic of Banco del Caribe, at around the same time, 9:30 AM. This bank has no agreement with the government anymore, meaning that it is not allowed to receive your income tax for example. What you see is a few people waiting for the ATM machine...

This is the way chavismo treats its own people, hours of line under a harsh sun (or rain, does not matter). So you can guess how it will be treating the non-chavistas... Unless this is all an exercise to start teaching us to stand in line Cuba style.

Tomorrow I will try to take pictures of voting centers and some other propaganda.

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