|Taken from Panorama (click link to see|
My parents in law spent recently a good while here in London with us, which gave me plenty of opportunity to pick their minds about the situation "back in ground zero." That, and copious reading of fellow bloggers posting, did not change my outlook, for I kept thinking that Capriles stood no chance. As usual, much was made about Capriles's campaign, poll results and rallies. To someone who lived campaign, polls and rallies daily for nearly 90 days back in 2006, and who was surprised to have been trounced at the polls, I was not going to fool myself again with "casa por casa", pictures of rallies, hundreds of thousands of people notwithstanding, or sterile debates about pollsters.
What followed to that short period was a revisit to the issue of electoral fraud, an impossible-to-miss elephant in our Venezuelan room. And so I managed to establish a communication with Roberto Picon, one of the big wigs of Capriles's campaign, alas, despite some extremely worrying admissions to the effect of vote rigging, the brief exchange ended without much clarity as to how exactly was the opposition going to tackle electoral issues this time round.
What did, somewhat, change my perception was one the last campaign speeches of Capriles. I felt identified with his discourse, though remain skeptical about his chances.
Well, the map above leaves no room for much doubt. Hugo Chavez trounced the opposition candidate again. Six years on, Chavez still is the choice of the majority of my countrymen. And that's OK, I don't have a problem with that. The good thing about it is that Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo Lopez, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo et al buried the phantom of electoral fraud in Venezuela. By claiming, repeatedly, that the system had been sufficiently audited, and that the opposition had managed to place witnesses in 100% of voting centres nationwide, there is no room for further entertaining the thought of fraud. As of this writing, no one will be able to seriously question results anywhere, for, according to Lopez, we had all polling stations covered. In Zulia, traditionally an opposition bastion, Chavez trounced Capriles. In Lara, with Henri Falcon, Virgen de la Divina Pastora and all, Chavez managed to beat Capriles. In Caracas, Leopoldo's, MUD's, and Capriles's HQ, Chavez also got the better of the opposition. Mind you, despite obtaining 6,151,544 votes the opposition did worse nationwide, managing to win only 3 states. Ergo our electoral map looks redder than ever.
Again, I want to reiterate that unlike most people in the opposition this morning, my fellow bloggers included, I don't have a problem with that. I am not depressed, sad, or entertaining never to write about my country again. For I never expected a different outcome. Yesterday, the evening had started with a meal with friends and family at home, and when we saw Chavez speaking and answering questions after having voted, I told them, "well, there are two messages in there: first polling stations may not close at 6pm, and second Chavez is going to walk with this thing." My wife woke me in the middle of the night to say "ganó Chavez". My reply was "I know". Few minutes later I tweeted "Uh, ah..."
So here's to the people who voted peacefully, to the volunteers in whichever amount of polling stations, to the MUD leadership, to Henrique Capriles -if you're reading you were not ready mate but it's still early days-, to Leopoldo Lopez -I know you're reading, early days for you too-, to the chavistas who by voting for his candidate contributed to bury the myth of fraud, and to all Venezuelans in general. There's a saying quite apt for this sort of situation: "cada pueblo tiene el gobierno que se merece". That's our reality, it's been smacking us in the face, not since 1998 but since 1811. It's about time to man up, and start dealing with it, both individually and collectively.
UPDATE: check all results of 7 October 2012 presidential race in Venezuela in this CNE link.