Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Floating in a sea of slow walkers: this is the Caracas sidewalk. I glance around tensely and see only relaxed arms, slow gaits and drawn out conversations. I find my leader—a random stranger. But he is brave, and probably really late for work; he understands my frustration. I nearly latch onto him, a sweet freedom in this sea of oppressively slow movers. His haste creates a path of liberation as we glide through the dawdling crowd.

We arrive at the stoplight. I am silently grateful, while he is still oblivious to his role as my sidewalk leader. I smell autonomy, seconds away—the light reaches its final yellow moments. Red will come and I will launch myself onto the temporarily open road. Prep├írate.

But the Chavistas smell that open road first: I am quickly enveloped by red shirts and signs instructing stopped cars to vote SI. A monstrously large poster, a horn, two jumping ralliers, five men rushing into the streeet carrying a banner: SI SI SI SI! two students with red hair shouting UH!AH!

I reach the other side, defeated and entangled once more in the languid crowd.

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