HAVANA TIMES — In recent weeks, the spirit of the people of Venezuela has been like what I can only compare to a baseball playoff.
I’m making this comparison from my point of view as a Cuban who has never seen the streets of Havana spontaneously filled other than in the final series of the playoffs, especially if the capital’s Industriales team plays Santiago de Cuba.
In this same way I noted the moods of some of the readers of Havana Times leading up to these elections.
Here in Venezuela, those who didn’t vote for Chavez for another term sent messages through social networks (Twitter, Facebook, “What’s up” and the PINs of their Blackberrys) with a phrase from Bolivar or something similar that went: “An ignorant people is an instrument that’s blind to its own destruction.”
For some fans of the pitching of Capriles, to have voted for Chavez is a symptom of complete ignorance.
For a person on the “Red Team” with whom I spoke while I was going around Caracas, it was simply a question of social classes. Apparently, judging by the outcome, people with low incomes are the majority in Venezuela.
But not all “poor people” are Chavez supporters, nor do all those of the middle and upper class hate him, of course.
I met a street vendor who makes the tastiest cakes I’ve ever eaten in Caracas, but she doesn’t have her own stand and has to situate her little pushcart the best she can.
On several occasions the police have harassed her and many people like her who make a living that way. For this woman, the cause of these problems is Chavez, so she wasn’t even considering voting for him.
But as a presidential election isn’t a simple game, I also found people who — without caring much about who ends up being the winner — called for respect between the two sides (although there were two or three additional candidates, only those who didn’t trust Chavez or Capriles voted for them). They called for love between Venezuelans, because ideology should not separate a people.
Beginning from 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, the streets of Caracas were awake. People were coming out to vote before sunrise. Under the unbearable heat they remained in lines to exercise what they regard as a right and a duty of Venezuelans – and I emphasize that last word.
The Venezuelans are the only ones who fit in this game. I live here and, like others, government policy affects my life. But I’m not Venezuelan and I would never dare judge someone else’s decision.
I think it was a good learning experience for everyone. However in my humble opinion, with respect to one thing, I hope this learning includes the president-elect.
I hope he softens the aggressive tone of many of his speeches, and that the new talks with the official “opposition” serve for the betterment of this society, with everyone working together for the benefit of all.