Capriles in San Felipe

I played hooky from work to have a feel about the welcome of San Felipe to Henrique Capriles, as he was visiting to close his campaign here. I was not the only one, it seems. After the triumph he got yesterday in Monagas I wondered what would be the reaction here. I mean, I would have never guessed a year ago that an opposition candidate, ANY opposition candidate, could have had such a triumphant  reception in Maturin. But then again, even in Monagas, 14 years of corrupt chavismo and weeks without running water due to PDVSA take a toll.
Warming up the crowd

The format of Capriles visit was simple. He would arrive at the local private airport (no regular flights, only private small crafts) and have a caravan through San Felipe until he reached a central downtown spot for a speech. Then off he goes to another state (Aragua), as he is making closing appearances TWO states a day.

I called my contact in Caracas for some info but soon enough I realized that whatever happens in Caracas has not much bearing with the local organizing committees. So I went on my own, but still with the general description of the event. There were, I think, about half a dozen rallying points around San Felipe. That way people would be spread around the town and have a better chance to come and watch the guy as he went by. And those who wanted could go to a short speech on 5ta Avenida. I chose the big intersection of Ravell and Cedeño, where the McDonald and Burger King are located. Good parking, cold beverages guaranteed. It is the tropics, you know and at 11 AM you think about such stuff.
Avanzada Progresiva parks next to McDonald

The wait was a tad long and unfortunately there were less interesting pictures to take than usual. It was, after all, possibly the most bourgeois rallying point though from the entertainment picture on the right the crowd is quite mixed. Yes, writing a known blog allows you to climb on stage for a picture. My contact were not that useful but good enough for that. I did send some tweet pics here, here and here.

The atmosphere was really cheerful. Though not free of incidents as an asshole chavista felt compelled to drive through the intersection with his Chavez posters plastered car. The car stalled, screams came and eventually oppo folk had to push his car uphill to clear up the intersection. He did not look a happy camper and I wondered what would happen if the situation were reversed...  Surely tonight he will regale his red shorted comrades with tales of oppo violence even though he was the perfect agent provocateur.

He will arrive that way
Finally Capriles arrived and hysteria took over. You really need, if you can, to attend such a small town event where the celebrity is much closer to you than at a big city rally.  I have tried to capture it in the short video at the end, where you can even see Capriles catch the symbol cap of his campaign, wear it for a second and throw it high up in the air for anyone to catch.  Some must treasure that more than a bridal bouquet I guess.

I think that after what I saw today (including what I saw in the streets on my way there) Capriles is going to win San Felipe handsomely. Maybe not Yaracuy as a whole, but San Felipe never looked so enthusiastic in the 14 days I have had to observe it.

By the way I finally got my own baseball cap today. It is now at 100 BsF, up 40 from the original 60. A sure sign that the Capriles value is going up.

Added later. The video of Capriles speech downtown San Felipe. You can see the huge crowd for such a small provincial city.