A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

All The President's Men

Juni 4, Election Day

Uncertainty. That is the feeling here. For those of reason understand the country is between a rock and a hard place. They are called Garcia and Ollanta, the two men today vying for the Presidency.

But I must back up. Because they believe things can change, the right and importance of voting is taken quite seriously. They don't want just another party win to keep the status quo, they want change. Nearly every day there is a mob of demonstrators marching up the main thoroughfare, waving flags and signs and as bullhorns sound out with their chants and cars honk angrily or in support, the hundreds of people show their force by refusing to budge from the street. Police shelter them somewhat, but they mostly hang back in their riot gear watching.

It's a dicey situation here.

Ollanta Humala, leading in the polls, is a nationalist militant who is aligned with Venezuela's Chavez, and wants to legalize coca, discard the international FTA, and potentially spark another war with Chile. The other leader is Alan Garcia, a center left, who wants change as well, including a lean towards more socialism, but operates under the weight of the genocide his regime committed in the 1980's.

Yet despite the choices for President and the dangerous angles those men want to take the country in, it is heartening to see people who still care what direction their country takes, not for a particualr candidate, but for their human rights, like the States did in the 60's.

Additionally, the country here does several effective things that the States hasn't done yet, one - voting is mandatory and anyone who doesn't gets a hefty fine, and two - a national election day where no one works and therefore there is no excuse for not voting. They also are smart in that they ban the sale of alcohol for 3 days before and 2 days after. To keep the rebel-rousers more even-keeled.

And so I wander in close to demonstrations to hear their chants and watch as those with opposing views clash in the streets. I discretely photograph the mob and silently applaud their will to express their beliefs. I talk to and note what they say and how they hope to effect this change. And I come away feeling that while they are behind in some ways, and will have a tough choice of candidates, we could take some lessons from them to get us off our collective lackadaisical horse where we meekly vote at a whopping 55%, and leave the demonstrations to the young republicans or the actors-musician democrats. Where went those hippies that led the charge years ago? And if not them, who will be their replacements?

It promises to be an important time of change here, and to be a part of it is invigorating. Much more so than glancing at the exit polls by CNN, sipping coffee, and shrugging shoulders in dismay when your horse came in second or third. Or worse, not knowing who won at all. Here, the winner is still seems important.

Update: The voting closed at 5 and the results are in. Benevides, President Garcia...

- a c-note

4 Comments:

  • At 6:12 PM , Anonymous nicole said...

    haha! good editing call! I was wondering how long til someone else noticed.

     
  • At 10:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sadly I feel there will be no replacements of the passionate hippies as most, if not all, have fallen into the gutter of self-inflation. Because of our vast choices, we have become a nation of me's, not one nation of all. May there always only be one USA and subject no more nations/countries to our glutton.
    -jmh-

     
  • At 8:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Very best site. Keep working. Will return in the near future.
    »

     
  • At 4:00 PM , Anonymous Jamie said...

    How unfortunate that such candidates have access to control. On the other hand, how passionate of a people they must be. Be careful but live in the moment.
    Love Jamie

     

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