Toque de Diana

I was in no state to deal with this morning’s Toque de Diana: chavismo’s folkloric tradition of blaring military bugles and fireworks at 3:00 a.m. – yes, 3:00 a.m. – on the day of the vote. The lexotanil I’d taken 5 hours earlier to get me through the second jitteriest night of the year was still going strong and through the haze for a moment there I thought all the explosions were…something else.

It’s a cretinous custom, when you think about it, as is this fixation with voting very early in the day. On the one day of the year when everybody needs rest and can expect to be kept up until maybe 3 or 4 a.m. the next morning, the government goes out of its way to ensure nobody can be well rested.

The point, I suspect, is to remind chavistas that military-style loyalty is expected of them all day. To the rest of the country, what it conveys is something a bit different: the whole city is being treated like a military barracks. Here’s hoping it’s not for much longer.

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