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The opposition closes its Recall Election campaign in Venezuela

By Daniel Duquenal

Thursday 12, August 2004 - Well, it was a big success. Actually tonight some people are even daring to say that it was the biggest march ever made in Venezuela. I do not know about that but one thing I can assure the readers is that it was the most impressive march I have ever been!

The opening picture above is one that I composed from three pictures I took from the roof of the C.C.C.T. (Editor's note: the comments made about pictures refer to the ones depicted in this link). For this I had to use some ingenuity and even hit a cyber café and print the cover page of this blog to show the security office so they could know that although not a journalist I was still writing a real web page. But you can admire now the "Avalancha Democratica"! Note: the greens on the right side are the La Carlota military base.

The pictures were taken around 5 PM. The marches had started at 2-3 PM and thus by 5 PM many people had left already while still many were arriving. On the far right I have circled the main stage area. What you see in the picture does not include: 1) the marches that are still pouring people in but people that cannot get close to the stage (or in the picture) since the highway is filled up; 2) the people that have already left; 3) the people that are hidden under the trees, the side roads, etc... With these exceptions you can see an area about twice the size of Avenida Bolivar, an area that contains perhaps at the time of the picture as much as 200 000 people. A 4 PM report mentioned that they were able to measure the presence at the time more than a half million people. All in all, between 2 and 6 PM, there might have been more than 1 million people that have marched at least a few blocks from one of the 6 starting points of the marches, all converging to this highway exchange.

But it gets better than that. Chavez has never been able to do such a mobilization. Not even in the highway exchanges of downtown Caracas that could contain more people than Bolivar Avenue whose maximum capacity is around 120 000 people no matter what the official propaganda might say. Even in his glory times Chavez never got that many people.

Still better. Maracaibo held tonight a march and rally probably as big (or bigger?) as whatever Chavez did in Caracas last Sunday. At the same time as the Caracas rally of today. Chavez has never dared to try to hold two simultaneous rallies because simply his devoted people will not show up unless he is present.

Furthermore there were still some minor rallies today elsewhere in Venezuela. In a pitiful attempt at avoid total TV coverage for the opposition chavismo did a rally today (no march) in avenida Urdaneta. No matter how respectable that one was (and it was magnified by taking place at night which on TV "increases" numbers) it was clearly way smaller that the one of the opposition.

I do not know what the result will be next Sunday, but after this spectacular ending for the opposition campaign, chavismo cannot have a restful sleep through these last two days...

A few other pictures to describe this march. I started late myself, after 3 PM and I missed all the horse riders that lead the marches, the music vans, etc... So all what I show next are the "tail end" of the marches. They are impressive enough by themselves and the reader will be able to imagine what were the head of the marches! I did get the tail end of three marches, shown in the following order next: from downtown (a former Chavez fiefdom?) and you can notice the highway fully taken by marchers; from the very anti Chavez Santa Fe and Prados del Este neighborhoods who send the largest contingents; and finally my own El Cafetal as we arrived in Chuao.

Next two scenes, one group of guys in a SI trucks playing home made steel bands. And a colorful foursome of marchers. And I will end with another view of the Santa Fe/ Prados/ La Tinidad march on the bridge.

Check out Miguel's blog for other views of the march

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