Archive for October 7th, 2012

Hugo Chávez Reelected With More Than One Million Votes

October 7, 2012

President Hugo Chávez has just been reelected as President of Venezuela by more than one million votes. According to the Electoral Board, these are the results with  90% of the vote counted, 19.9% abstention:
Hugo Chávez Frías                             54.42%       7.444.082 votes

Henrique Capriles Radonzky         44.97%       6.151.594 votes

I am in no mood to analyze, abstention was incredibly low, I understand Zulia went badly,  it was when that State started coming in that the difference began opening up. Abstention is simply incredible, never had been that low. Remember this graph? It had a lot to do with it, but it was not the full story.

Random Thougths Through The Night

October 7, 2012

9:20 PM As certain results come in Chávez opens lead

8:43 PM Lots of counter rumors, close, this will be a

long evening.

7:05 PM Military guy in charge of voting process, General Barrientos, says polls should stay open until voters are in line.

6:53 PM Electoral Board members show up and call for polls not to close until all voters have voted.

6:38 PM Not all polls are closed. Best info is this is close, but edge may be Capriles’. Is it enough?

The Devil’s Not So Secret Vote

October 7, 2012

ImageAbove, a panoramic of my voting center as I waited to vote. I took me about twenty minutes to do so and I was told 60% of the registered voters had voted already about the same as the Parliamentary elections in 2010.

The voting process was simple, image opened fast on the voting machine and I did not make a mistake.

Even though they say the vote is secret, here is proof of how I voted:

and I made sure my finger was covered in ink. I only vote once and I am proud to have voted.

Now that I cast my vote, Chavismo will begin worrying 🙂

Note added: The CNE just said the “Information step” that was slowing the process down is optional. This should accelerate the process. Chavez votes and begins talking about leaving polls open past 6 PM. Oh Baby!

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.

Voting Lines In Georgetown

October 7, 2012

Thanks Alirio

Panorama View Of Voters Lining Up In New Orleans

October 7, 2012

Thanks Ramón!

Line In Barcelona (Spain) With The Sagrada Familia In The Background

October 7, 2012

Thanks ErneX

Early Risers Line Up To Vote In New York

October 7, 2012

Thanks Maria Cecilia

Venezuelan Presidential Election Day Is Here

October 7, 2012

As Venezuelans have started voting in Australia and Asia, it is past midnight here in Caracas and Election day is upon us. Talked to a lot of people today, most opposition, but both sides. Everyone is very tense. Very. Even those that are sure their side will win are concerned about dirty tricks by the other side. Plan B in Venezuela has become a word used daily in conversations. Everyone wonders if the other side has a Plan B. After plan B, momentum is another favorite word. People around me say I use it in every sentence.

The only relaxed person in Venezuela seems to be opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. This morning he walked up the Avila mountain, no visible security, fans having their pictures taken with him along the way:

A bit irresponsible if you ask me, but maybe he figures this will not be possible for six years, should he win.

The Government’s TV channel continued showing advertising for Chavez. The ads did not have the President’s  face, but they did have the President’s silouette. Well, another abuse of power, what else is new?

There were fireworks and pot banging at 8 PM, did not get the objective, save your energy for tomorrow, it will be a long day. If it is as close as I believe, we could be here Monday morning wondering who won.

Presidential election days are always weird. I don’t like to vote early, not only I do not like to wake up early, but I want to vote late so Chavistas are fooled into thinking they are ahead. Then I cast my vote and get them worried. I still wonder why all TV and radio stations tell people to go vote early, if polls will not close as long as someone is in line and the oppsoition wants Chavismo to think they are winning.

Yes, the weather is going to be bad tomorrow: As you can see in the weather map as I write this, it is raining all over Venezuela and the stormy patterns to the Northeast bode badly for tomorrow:

The opposition thinks this favors it, as abstention will be higher and the worst weather is expected in the afternoon. Any attempt by either side to get out the vote in the late afternoon, if they think they are behind, will be an uphill battle.

I will be blogging intermittently. I will probably go out early, take pictures, walk around, feel the atmosphere. But once I get in line to vote, I may be MIA for a few hours, will bring my iPad just in case there is wifi at the school where I vote.

The evening will probably be full of rumors. I doubt we will know the result until near midnight. I will tweet (@moctavio) (or retweet) rumors, but will stick to good info here.

If you have interesting pictures send them over to Don’t know when I will post them all, want to keep the layout simple tomorrow, but please send your best stuff. However, stuff which arrives before I start posting tomorrow will go up without any problem.

Good luck tomorrow. Good luck Venezuela!