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Venezuela's single party system

By Aleksander Boyd

Caracas 17.09.06 | If empiric conclusions about this countryīs politics are to be drawn from observation of displayed propaganda, then one can conclude that there's only one party here folks. On my way to Caracas from the Maiquetia airport last night I saw 4 billboards on the highway welcoming Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -he's meant to be arriving today, almost one -rather smaller- billboard in every highway lampost displaying a pair of hands in red along with the letters MVR (Chavez's party), Vepaco -the market leader in advertising billboards- seems to have only one important account, that is the one with the government, then when one arrives into Catia one can see a huge -I mean it- billboard tha goes the entire lenght of a Perez Jimenez era building that says "el bravo pueblo vota por Chavez," mind you talk about total domination in the political propaganda field and absence of competition? Well this is it, it appears that Hugo Chavez is the only politico left in this country.

I couldnīt see even one squalid sign for Manuel Rosales or Benjamin Rausseo. The military presence along the highway is notorious; all national guards well equiped with spanking new powerful motorcicles and what appeared to be the new generation of AKs that Chavez got from Russia. Of course Ahmadinejad arrives today so the road to Caracas needs guarding, just in case those annoying US marines or CIA operatives that are about to invade donīt pull any fast ones.

Not all is bad though. The experience of going through customs is a most swift and pleasant one; custom and immigration agents were extremely cordial and efficient. In any case this brief note just to say that I will be reporting from here for the remaining of the presidential race. When resources and technology permit I will try to complement articles with pictures and commentary on the situation from fellow countrymen/women.

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