It is quite remarkable how everything simply dies for Christmas and New Yearís here in Venezuela. I worked yesterday, but the phones barely rang, it was very quiet. It was also quiet on the political front as both Government and opposition figures simply disappeared from the scene (feels great!) except for a few headline grabbers trying to take advantage of the absence of news. One of them was Antonio Ledezma who was trying to make an issue of the fact that 86 of the 250 boxes of the copies of the signatures had not been handed back to the Coordinadora DemocrŠtica. Essentially, each form and its copy had to be stamped as received, a laborious process. Then, you keep your stamped copy as proof that you indeed handed it in. Supposedly, the Secretary of the CNE had refused to let go of 86 of the 250 the boxes of copies. I am not too concerned about this, I am sure they had a Christmas party or something like that and closed down early.
It makes you wonder when a country needs growth and prosperity, how it can shut down so drastically for over two weeks. Basically, from Christmas day on there is no activity until January 5th. which happens to be a banking holiday. But traffic, a good measure of economic activity, really does not pick up again until mid January, as Venezuelans go to their home towns, visit family, go to Margarita and the lucky ones go abroad. I know this happens everywhere, but I have never seen anything like what happens here. In fact, yesterday, the eight or nine companies we work with in the US were mostly closed, with everyone taking Friday off. But I am sure most of them will be back on Monday in almost full force.
One person not taking the day of was Greg from the BBC, who is here in Caracas. Greg got in touch with me through the blog to interview me about why Venezuelans seem to be less and less involved with politics, despite what everyone may think and believe about it. (Any thoughts on this out there?) He came to my home in the afternoon with his Venezuelan girlfriend Ana, who is also a journalist. It was quite pleasant; it is always nice taking about Venezuela with someone from abroad, see how they view us, what their thoughts and concerns are. The interview itself was short, but we talked up a storm about quite a number of things for quite a while. Hope he reads this and we do it again with some glasses of wine in front of us next time!