Fingers crossed

Capriles’ campaign is on. My husband and I attended the opening event in Caracas. We stood on a sidewalk, for an hour or two, just watching people passing by. It was a happy day. My husband was impressed of seeing so many people. I was more focused on the mood the crowd carried, rather than how big was this crowd itself. There were all kinds of people, rich people and not so rich people. People from Caracas, and people from inside the country. Elder people and even children (although, I’m a bit against bringing children to any kind of political demonstration). You could read one thing in their eyes: hope. Maybe, in October, everything will change.

About a month after that, my mom attends another demonstration. This time, the call is to walk with the candidate in La Vega, a very impoverished Caracas’ shanty town (barrio, we call it). That day I am too busy doing all kinds of things related with our next departure to make it – fixing bags, paperwork, putting on sale the few stuff we won’t take with us -. Then, my aunt – who made my wedding’ video – calls me to tell me that she has it already. Excited about it, I go immediately with my husband to pick it up. Next, I call my mom, aware that she’s either at the Capriles’ rally or returning from it; but totally unaware of what’s going up. I tell her about the video, that we should met to see it and she interrupts me. The sound of her voice tells me something is not ok: “I started listening gunshots so I ran, I’m still walking fast trying to get to a metro station… will tell you everything when I get home”- and hangs the phone.

Utterly worried, I check Twitter. It does report that something’s wrong in La Vega. “La Vega” itself is a trending topic. As it usually happens with these situations, information is mixed. Tweets talk about the National Police stopping Capriles’ march to reach its destination. Many claim that this is because people in the barrio is supporting Capriles and Chavez can’t take that. But we don’t know if the police is actually doing this to protect the people of some crazy, out of control pro- Chavez gang that it could give the government a lot of undesirable trouble. No one talks about gunshots. My brother in law claim it was only gum bullets. But I know that my mom can perfectly distinguish the sound of a gunshot out of the sound of other explosions – I know that because I learned from her, during the failed coup Chavez’ leaded back in 1992. My mom’ cell is off. I hope is because she’s taking the metro and there is no signal down there. .

She calls me when she gets home, asking me for a visit, telling me she can’t wait to see the video. We go visit her. She tell us all the story, that they were walking there and all of the sudden she saw some bottles fly to them, then some stones. But she wasn’t worried, “stuff like that happen all the time. Always someone throws something” – She started to worry when she hear the gunshots. She ran, next to a lot of people. It was confusing. When a crowd runs, you don’t know what to do: if it’s better to run from the danger that is making such crowd run away or if it is an even greater danger to be crushed by the crowd. My mom luckily found a way out. She saw some people injured (don’t know if the injuries were caused by glass bottles or something worse). .

After telling me such stories, she commands me to connect the DVD player and her face changes as the wedding music begins and her daughter is once again, after two months, walking to the aisle. Such is the capacity of Venezuelans to turn over the page and move on with their lives. People might think we do not appreciate the gravity of our situation. But they should see it rather, as a surveillance method. As our way to keep our heads up and continue to be happy. .

Capriles’ campaign is on. It will have a bit of everything. Happy rallies, dangerous moments, so-so speeches and winning word- times. Either way, it won’t be an easy campaign. I would have loved to be a part of it, but my personal situation, with our next departure; doesn’t allow it. And for me, and for everyone (probably most of this blog’ readers) who see how this campaign develops from the outside; should be reminded that those in the inside are risking a lot for this. You can say they expect to be rewarded with a position around Miraflores but that can’t be the case for all the campaign’ team. .

Most, my mom included, won’t get more than the satisfaction of seeing this country ruled, finally, after 14 years, for someone else. Hopefully someone better. I can’t make predictions. But my fingers are crossed…