Here’s a brief intro into the current political season: Hugo Chavez Frias is the democratically elected leader of Venezuela. A man named Henrique Capriles Radonski, and our new neighbor, wants to change that. Capriles was mayor of the municipality we now live in (Baruta), and then became governor of this state (Miranda), and now he’s looking up. He’s been well groomed to be a formidable challenge. Before Chavez, the gap between rich and poor was even more extreme than it is now, and it didn’t matter to the politicians because the poor didn’t vote. Chavez changed the game, however. He empowered the poor politically, and they brought him to power. Now that the game has changed, any politician must win the vote of the poor to stand a chance.
What will make this election season even more exciting for us is that Capriles owns the building right next to ours and sometimes comes to stay. On our first morning here we awoke to cars honking and people cheering and sirens blaring. Turns out there was a small rally in the street outside because Capriles had come home for the day. He’s well-liked among the wealthy folk and we live in a wealthy neighborhood–the Beverly Hills of Caracas, some would say. Next time there’s a rally I’ll try to capture it.