Electoral Tourism In Caracas

October 7, 2012

As is customary on election days, I went around the city first thing in the morning. It was not as successful as other times, First, I was alone, so driving and taking pictures at the same time made it difficult. But the biggest  problem is a new custom to block a few streets surrounding the electoral centers. It used to be one block, but somehow this time around they extended it to three or four blocks. This makes it difficult for older people to get to the voting center and more so for the handicapped. I tried to get close to voting centers in Catia and downtown, but it was difficult, no place to park and pictures from afar. This one was about as close as I got to small centers:

All places I saw had huge lines, in Liceo Gustavo Herrera, the line went out to the street and then all the way back to the Sambil shopping center, about five to six blocks. At Liceo Andres Bello, this is a small subset of the lines I saw:

A good friend sent a picture of the line ahead of her, as you can see there seems to be no end to it:

The biggest problem seems to be with null votes occurring whenever the voter fails to wait for the full picture of the candidate to appear on the screen after selecting it in the touch sensitive pad. Apparently, if the full picture has not appeared and you press select, the vote is null and you can not go back. This is creating problems for both sides as both campaign spokesmen have warned voters on TV about this glitch in the “best voting system in the world” (Message for Jimmy and Jennifer). Another problem is the “information point” at the beginning where you are checked to see if you vote in that center. After that, theer are no lines. Supposedly the only function of that position is to know how many voters have voted.

The only dissonant note was that of the Minister of Defense who came on TV and talked about “intelligence” reports which suggest that “armed irregular groups” were planning to disrupt the process in the afternoon and began warning them that they would not be allowed to act and the Armed Forces were ready to stop them. With such calm and peace in the process this was unnecessary.

Oh yeah, three voters swallowed their ballots after casting their votes and they were jailed. No kidding!!!

Chávez has yet to vote, with reporters waiting at his voting center since early morning. They initially said it was customary for Chávez to vote between 10 and 11 AM, but it is now 12:30 PM and he has not voted.

The weather has been mild so far. Caracas had a bright morning but clouds are beginning to show up and the rains are likely to come in the afternoon. The Devil has not voted, I saw long lines were I vote, will go in a little bit.

While I was downtown, I got trapped in the maze of streets that were closed, spinning around over and over looking for a way out. I was not alone, there was lots of traffic in this sort of infinite loop. So, I did some tourism. I had not seen the new (and ugly) Simon Bolivar mausoleum:

which you can see is next to the Panteon Nacinal where Bolivar is buried and which did look nice and clean:

so did this building in Avenida Urdaneta, I am not sure the colors are the original ones, but it looked nice:

and I certainly liked this mural in a corner on the wall of a house in a barrio near La Pastora, very colorful:

As I was trying to get out of the maze of the traffic, I realized I was very low on gas, like really low, I managed to get out and by sheer luck there was a gas station, but they only had low octane gasoline. I purchased 10 liters of the lower 91 octane stuff, just to make sure I would get home. I paid all of Bs. 0.70 for this,  16 cents US$ at the official rate of exchange, around 6 cents at the rate you can’t talk about.

19 Responses to “Electoral Tourism In Caracas”

  1. island canuck Says:

    “…around 6 cents at the rate you can’t talk about”

    Tomorrow morning we will be able to talk about it.

  2. Alex Dalmady Says:

    Stay safe!

  3. HalfEmpty Says:

    I rather like that Mural.

    Stay safe and listen to your head.

  4. NicaCat56 Says:

    Be careful, and stay safe!!

  5. Mercedes At Says:

    Yo trabajé muchos años cerca de Carmelitas. Espero que algún dia vuelvan a pintar la Oficina de Correos como siempre fue.

  6. m_astera Says:

    Amazing, the contrast between the beauty of those older buildings and the horrid Bauhaus/Le Corbusier monstrosities behind them. As a friend says, the best thing about 20th Century architecture is that it won’t last long.

  7. captainccs Says:

    I walked from Los Caobos to Altamira and only one city block was blocked off in front of all the polling station I went past. Despite being “3a edad” (senior citizen) it took me from 9:30 to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours) to vote. They were applying “operación morrocy” (delaying tactics). Only four fingerprint machines (capta huella) were working and getting past them was snail paced. The actual voting was quite fast. For me the picture of the candidate appeared instantly. Earlier there were stories about the picture taking for ever.

    The delay was so bad that they had to allow people (at least senior citizens) to go past the fingerprint machines but to do that you first had to find out the book and page where you are listed. There was only one set of lists and the crowding and shoving was quite disagreeable.

    Why they had the fingerprint machines when you had to show your fingerprint a second time to vote is quite beyond me. Either bureaucratic stupidity or purposeful delaying tactics. During the several days leading up to Sunday it had rained and my gut feeling is that the government was trying to get the opposition to go home without voting. Today was a beautiful sunny day in Caracas. When the process got to be very slow people started chanting “we want to vote!” I’m not sure if that had any effect on the “authorities” but it did get me past the fingerprint machines.

    Turnout was strong at all the polling stations I went past but one but that one never seems to have a lot of people. People were happy and determined to vote.

  8. LD Says:

    El Saliente in TV, looked very irritated :))

  9. ErneX Says:

    Danny Glover and Ignacio Ramonet are in Caracas going with Chávez to vote. What a joke.

  10. Kepler Says:

    Please, I ask you: tweet and retweet about the way in which Chávez officials are making queues in opposition-dominated centres go much slower. I am getting this news from everywhere.


  11. Your Satanic Majesty, with all due respect, I thought that title was reserved for Oil (Petroleum) in your world,

    Thank you, good article, great photos!
    Please, don’t excrete at Santo Tomás de Villanueva, my alma greatmater, I fear the shit may hit the fan this time.

    Saludos,
    Andrés Valencia

  12. geronl Says:

    Prayers and fingers crossed for Venezuela and hoping for no violence


  13. […] the blog The Devil's Excrement shared some pictures where we can see the long queues in Caracas and outside Venezuela: Andrés […]


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  15. […] the blog The Devil's Excrement shared some pictures where we can see the long queues in Caracas and outside […]


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  18. […] Duquenal is live-blogging, and Miguel Octavio covered the polls. Both believe Capriles will […]


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