There is two good news: despite this being a holiday week end the turnout was better than what I expected. The march by itself must have covered 3 blocks which for such a specialty march on a Carnival Monday is just fantastic for Caracas.
The other good news is that it was well organized, meaningful and attended by a lot of Colombians. Those ones, I am pretty sure, are not going to vote for Chavez next time. Without further ado, a few pictures and videos (to lighten up the page, most pictures are small, click them to enlarge).
This first picture is when Yon Goicochea spoke. It is to be noted that no political parties or politicians attended, only intellectuals, ONG and students did organize the event and managed it. Special mention to El Nacional columnist Tulio Hernandez for being the main stage emcee.
One of the "media manipulation" objectives was to display a large mosaic banner, that is, a whole bunch of people carrying a numbered poster and sitting in line. This picture is during one of the rehearsals.
And courtesy of YB, a view from the top of the Lido Center.
If politicians were not invited I was given to observe the new student leadership for the first time alive. I must say that through the last year they have learned quite well how to work out crowds. Here a short video of Freddy Guevara where you can see his dynamism and how the crowd goes wild. I have a longer video with the polished speech of Goicochea but it is too long to put up with the blogger format, later on YouTube maybe.
There were many emotional moments. The Colombian anthem was sung and many in the crowd did sing along. I was lucky enough to be near a group of Colombians living in Venezuela and you can see the diverse crowd singing.
Doves also were released and I managed to catch them, even if not spectacularly.
And at noon Bogota time, 12:30 Caracas time, the human poster was set up, a siren sounded and we all cursed the FARC. Video next.
The march to the Colombian embassy, ahead of yours truly and behind him.
In front of the Colombian embassy, waiting for the ambassador to receive the support letter. Read the banner that surely will please Colombians.
At the end of the march coming back to my car I got this perspective of the Miranda, now empty, to give you a better sense of space, of the crowd that attended.
International press review
Unfortunately Google news is not as fast as this blogger in putting full reports with pics. At least we got some interesting stuff.
In Argentina (where else?) we got a second march with Piqueteros in support of the FARC. Then what else could you expect from a movement which is funded by chavista money bag carriers? At least the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo seem to have had the good sense to shut up even though they are also beneficiaries of Chavez largesses.
Reuters reports a rousing success in Colombia. As expected Cuba's Prensa Latina tries to minimize as much as possible the impact, underlining the complaint that the Polo Democratico Alternativo has as to this becoming a plebiscite of sorts in favor of Uribe. Well, if this is the case they have only themselves to blame: if they had cut clearly their links to the FARC earlier, they would be befitting of this extraordinary day. Instead, their desire to get electoral funding from Chavez (at least within some members of that Colombian Polo) is playing heavily against them as the accumulated blunders of Chavez have Uribe reach unheard of popularity levels!
Meanwhile Chavez and the FARC sensing the implosion of their strategy are trying to regain some momentum by freeing three other hostages. They certainly can afford it, even more so that a few days after such release they can get again as many hostages as they might need. Some PR person should tell them that this drop wise strategy can only backfire on the long term, establishing them as coarse manipulators. Today's anti FARC successes will not be erased by three hostages freed. We are well beyond this now, only freeing Ingrid Betancourt right now would benefit Chavez and the FARC. This blog is pleased to offer them this free advice.
In Venezuela there were significant marches in Maracaibo, San Cristobal, Valencia, and Barquisimeto. At least these ones made it to TV.
In Peru Alan Garcia screamed "Viva Colombia!".
Everywhere in the world there were from a few dozens to a few hundred Colombians and their friends that managed to gather. In Colombia of course TV showed marches everywhere, such as the half a million folks for Medellin alone.
For all to see, the diaspora of Colombian people, in large part due to the 60 years of failed FARC subversion.