Sunday, June 01, 2008

The PSUV primary election, from ground zero


Long time readers will remember that I live next to a polling station and that on election days I am awakened by the noise of people standing in line. To my great surprise today my slumber was cut short at 8 AM when I heard two women fighting in the street. My next door school had been chosen as a PSUV voting center! Even though Chavez always loses by almost 2 to 1 in this school.

So I decided to postpone my Sunday coffee and observe for a little bit. The first surprise is that there was a line. Yes, a line! On a first regard it is not that surprising considering that only a few voting centers are open so that chavistas are concentrated in a few schools. But then again I noticed one thing: the line comprised about 2-3 dozen people and was moving very slowly: the door opened only once in a while to let enter one person at a time. It looks like the voting act lasts almost 5 minutes! Much slower than normal election time!!!

The line failed to grow longer because simply few people were arriving. The other detail is the amount of people arriving by cab among these few. In normal election my neighbors arrive walking. True, a few arrive by car but the huge majority come walking as this is a urban area voting center, a long time established one and thus the registered voters live mostly within 500 yards.

And there was also something else. You know, when you have been living in an area for years, even if you do not know the people you get a sense of your home crowd. Well, the "crowd" I saw this morning, they do not look like my neighbors. I know it is not very PC to write this but I cannot help it. I do not live in any ritzy area of San Felipe, this is middle to lower middle class, and area which is also plagued with buhoneros and crime. So yes, it is a subjective observation but it is one nevertheless. At least when my neighbors vote I do not hear cat fights at 8 AM!!! Not to mention that there were several militia in uniform ensuring public order, rather disquieting if you ask me as it is the first time I see so many of these guys in my neighborhood. Somehow I am missing the Nazional Guard/Army that ensures the service in normal elections...

I wonder if they are having folks from the 23 de Enero voting in Chacao....

Any interpretation? Oh yeah! It is all choreographed to make folks believe that there is a huge turnout, even in areas where chavistas are in clear minority. There is a turnout alright, but it is far from huge. And looking at the fight between the two chavista supporter, it will not settle the internal PSUV issues.

There might or there might not be an update on this as I have done on previous elections. I can be bothered only so much by chavista propaganda and their farcical primary. I suspect that many chavistas have become quite insensible to it too....

Update: well, one is a consistent blogger or one is not one and thus I must update an electoral post. There are right now more cars parked in my street that during any week days or even for church services at Easter, the only time cars crawl up my street on a Sunday. Clearly, my neighbors are a minority in that voting station.

It seems that many chavistas have decided to hang out and wait (which also explains the number of cars parked). Many remained, sitting down on the shaded part of the street, waiting for who knows what. We even had a "cepillado" cart that moved in front of the voting station (the guy usually does church mass). There is also a couple of buhoneros selling coffee and "drinks" that hang around (which they do not do on election day).

But it all good natured, at least so far. When I came back from getting my papers, there was one of the PSUVistas chatting amiably with another one with a copy of El Universal tucked under his armpit. Though EL Universal banner page was close to his body... VEA? I did not see any nor any peddler selling them :) Clearly the hard core militancy that Chavez would love us to believe is not as hard core when you get further from the inner circles of power.

-The end-

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