From: Juan Cristobal
To: My friend Roger, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: What have you heard?
Tell me about the Referendum. Is it true that they are telling government workers they have to take a picture of their vote with their cell phone to prove they voted “Yes”? That’s what I’m hearing from the rumor mill.
Are they making you go to a lot of rallies? Que ladilla con estos carajos…
To: Juan Cristobal
Subject: Re: What have you heard?
No chamo, nada que ver, who told you all those lies? The story is even worse. They gave me a list, a table with my daily salary, indicating how much I had to contribute to the Yes campaign. Besides, I have to sell the “Raspaditos de la Enmienda,” the Amendment Lotto Tickets. What is that, you ask? Well mi amol, that’s a lotto ticket “de lo laz,” it says YES YES YES to the Amendment and it costs 20 thousand bolivares and you have to sell fifty of those and show up with a million bolivares to give to them, ask me how many I’ve sold. So that’s why you shouldn’t pay attention to those hallway rumours, ask me because I’m giving you the true truth, fatherland, socialism or death…
The worse thing is that they made me go to a Comitee for the Yes, an event at the Ministry. In that event I heard some wild, intergalactic speeches about our motherland, Africa… hmm, I wonder whose motherland that is, because it ain’t mine… and about how our ancestors, the Spanish MFers, did away with the Native population, etc. The best speech was the one that Diosdado gave, it was as sparkling as his wife’s Chanel purse (oh yeah, she was there).
Anyway, I have to find 10 people to say YES YES to me, imagine that, I can’t even find one woman to say YES to me and now I have to find 10. So I’m really busy, I’m off, I have to go find my voters…
To: Juan Cristobal
From: Lucius Malfoy, email@example.com
Subject: Here in Caracas…
Putting aside the question of the difference in power between the “Yes” and the “No” campaigns, I have to say the “Yes” campaign is excellent. It’s almost convinced me, for their use of humor, among other things. They give a series of examples of countries with no term limits. The first, of course, is England. A chubby fifty-year old woman says, with an incredible accent, cup of tea in hand and Union Jack behind her: “Not for elections, not for tea: nobody limits me.”
And they use examples from all of Europe (even Switzerland, damn it!).
That specific campaign, that the CNE doesn’t even pay attention to, is on TVES all the time.
Our only hope is:
That people are tired of all this.
That the campaign is too subtle – after all, who the hell knows anything about England or France or Italy.
That the students are, from the Generation of 1928 onward, a hystoric symbol, and the brutal way they have been repressed could make an impression.
Aside from that, the impression I get here is that anything can happen. The Yes may win fair and square, or they can steal it without us being able to prove it because, it seems, the Yes is climbing anyway. I’m telling you, the Yes campaign has been excellent. I know, I’ve worked on this.
I was watching the No campaign in Chile, where you lived until recently, and it’s remarkable how much leeway they had. We don’t have that symbolic coherence. Not only have we not suffered enough, but we lack the memory of that suffering to pull us together. One feels like suffering, like a civil war, is like a trial, a funnel we must go through. It scares me, but it may be unavoidable.
You talk about 30 seconds in an elevator. In Caracas, if you go inside the Metro for five minutes, it’s all about the Yes. The CNE does nothing. Almost all TV stations (incouding the rats at Venevision) say good things about the government. And they have good creative people behind them. Nothing is certain. But the “Yes” has more effective power.
One of the problems from blogging from afar is that things look ideal, simple almost. And here all we see is turbulence.
Chavistas are attacking VERY effectively, and there is nobody around to measure, weigh, ponder and limit the difference in power.
Evander Hollyfield against a 12-year old kid. That’s how it feels.
And all we can do is go vote. I have no way of getting to La Bombilla to watch over the vote count. Nobody can give me a ride, there is no coordination. Seriously, anything can happen. This thing is not in the bag.
Yes, the PSUV has a long, complicated campaign (put that down under the mistakes of the PSUV). But it’s on the Metro, every day, all day long.
It’s not an elevator. The elevator is 30 seconds until you get to your job. But before that, there is the train from El Tuy (25 minutes), there is the Metro, the ads when you watch your soaps at 9. The elevator? You can’t even hear what they are saying. Venezuela is not the US. Elevators? You don’t even listen. All you want to do is get to work.
Things are looking ugly, really ugly.