Friday, December 02, 2005

To get rid of the opposition just turn off the TV 

I have to admit that traveling around here I am a little disconnected from the world. I have watched essentially no TV in the entire time I´ve been here. Nor have I listened to any radio or for that matter even read the newspapers faithfully. And guess what happens when you do what I´ve been doing for the last week? In short, the opposition almost completely disappears. I used to think that when Chavistas said that the opposition was pretty much just a media creation I thought they were exagerating. And in the past maybe they were. But no longer. Going around the streets of cities like Barquisimeto and San Felipe or small towns like Duaca and Rio Claro I just can´t find them. Some Accion Democratica posters in down town Barquisimeto, one person handing out a ´Causa R´ leaflet (another pary that is generally considered far to the left), and some fading left over ¨SI´posters from last years RR are all I have found.

I was reading an opposition web site where they mentioned that it was the AD and PJ ´militants´that forced the leadership to withdraw. They have militants !?!?!? My only reaction is where? Cause they sure havn´t been putting up posters or handing out leaflets or any other of the things party militants normally do. Like I said before I still haven´t met a solitary person from Primero Justicia nor met anyone who themselves has met anyone from that party. And they were going door to door in the barrios? Bullshit.

Now, does this mean there aren´t people who oppose Chavez? Of course not. I have met quite a few who speak against him, quiet strongly in fact. But interestingly, while they complain about Chavez I´ve never heard them talk about the opposition as an entitty itself or brag about how good they think P.J. or A.D. is. In other words, I´m not getting the sense the current opposition even has much of any standing amongst those who oppose Chavez.

A couple other observations before I wrap this post up. First, all political activity is overwhelmingly pro-Chavez. You see cars with Chavez stickers on them and people with pro-Chavez t-shirts on. Not many mind you, maybe one out of one hundred. But I have yet to see a single solitary person with any opposition minded t-shirts or buttons much less any cars with them. In the propoganda wars on the street it is literally 100 to 1 Chavez, and that is no exaggeration.

Secondly, in traveling to some small towns such as Rio Claro here in Lara I have noted much more pro-Chavez propoganda in the rural areas and small towns than in the cities. In the cities there is a fair amount of it but it is sporadic. In the rural areas it seems every other house or building is plastered over with pro-Chavez posters. And the run down jeeps they have called ´rusticas´generally are addorned with pro-Chavez stickers. Mind you these are very poor people living in very poor areas. Rural poverty always seems more extreme than urban poverty. But the much stronger pro-Chavez bias in rural areas was very pronounced, at least to the casual observer. Interestingly, this completely squares with last years RR votes in with the manual voting wich was done in rural areas gave Chavez much more support than in urban areas.


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