Monday, May 17, 2010

Hola

Now, where were we?

Yesterday, national congressional/mayoral elections were held. I am glad that it is over. In the last couple of weeks there have been rallies in the colonial zone/malecon that have shut the area down. All the streets were like a parking lot.

The electoral process here is very interesting. The government pays for everything. All the parties are allotted money to pay for the campaign. And like politics everywhere, it is big business. Also, just like everywhere else, when election time comes you see a few improvements, along with some hefty promises. Our street was paved. A candidate running for congress came through the neighborhood and offered to fumigate everyone's house/apartment. Seems quite expensive, but that is how things are done. It is almost like people (at least some people) expect to be offered something. It is like they know that as soon as the election is over you won't be able to get shit out of the government. That is, until the promises start for the next election.

A 72-hour holiday was declared by the government. Alcohol sales were stopped Saturday night. Unfortunately that didn't stop several people from getting killed, and many more wounded in election violence around the country. There is a lot of money at stake. Today it is a holiday and it is eerily quiet. Yesterday, most businesses were closed, even the trusty colmadoes (corner stores) and it was a ghost town around here.

Some young progressives started a campaign telling people not to vote for anyone. Vota por Ninguno seems to have gained steam in the last few months. I think many people in the electorate have no faith in any political party here. The refrain I heard over and over was "they are all thieves." This would probably explain why it is estimated that less than 50% of those eligible actually voted. Early results have the ruling PLD party maintaining their grip on power. Democracy in action.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Democracy in action? Yeah, right. During the past presidential campaign, there was a candidate that went from town to town throwing salamis, frozen chickens, and other foodstuff from the back of a pickup truck in order to get votes! He lost anyway....

Anonymous said...

¿Democracia llamas a esto? Bueno yo no soy de ninguno de los partidos pero dudo que lo que ha hecho el PLD en los últimos años sea todo según la democracia.

¿O es que hacer abuso de su situación el poder para aprovecharse del acceso a los recursos estatales en las campañas es correcto?

No sé, ya te digo que no soy de uno ni de otro, pero esto dista mucho de lo que verdaderamente sería adecuado para nuestros países de América Latina y el Caribe.

Anonymous said...

What she say?

Anonymous said...

she says, you called this democracy? well i'm not from any political party but i doubt what the party of PLD has done over the last years had been according to the rule of democracy. unless making use of the state capacity for their own benefit like throwing salami from the back of a truck like someone above said, that is money from the state, but that not all what they give on campaign they buy ID from people they know gonna vote opposite to their party or give money to vote for them. so i agree with the person wrote that, finally that person says i repeat i don't support one party nor the opposite either, but what they do on campaign says a lot to what should really be adequate to our country from latin america and that caribbean, att tmwtbel

travis said...

Being in Santo Domingo during the election was an "experience". Although the hourly caravan of cars blowing their horns will not be missed, what I did find encouraging was talking to several people who were driving to the countryside on Sunday to vote. It seemed like they really believed in the process. Thanks for everything.
Travis

Anonymous said...

Thanx for the translation. I sorta thought he was ranting against the PLD. Got that.

Anonymous said...

Amable Aristy of the Partido Reformista (Balaguer's party) did go all over the country tossing chickens, salamis, and sometimes a few pesos to townsfolk in hopes of getting them to vote for him. That was something to see. People would knock each other over to get a salami or a 50 peso bill. And, by the way, only 46% of all eligible voters in the USA actually vote in presidential elections!
From Puerto Rico,
Rafael

Anonymous said...

Anthony, your last paragraph about the movement towards not voting for anybody is very true. Friend J. feels very srtrongly that way, and we've talked about it a lot. Regrettably, I haven't been able to convince him that that attitude, as admirable as it may be, is self-defeatist and will only make it easier for the "bad guys" to continue holding on.
George in SF

Anonymous said...

Amable Aristy just won the senate seat to La Altagracia province. It is the only province in the DR not won by he PLD Party. Apparently, those salamis and frozen chickens finally paid off! Hahhaahaa...

Anonymous said...

This is a hoot, can u see them doing this over here with the "TEA PARTY"(radicals, those on the left... and now with the "Coffee Party" getting started, man these people here would throw the crap(what ever it was) right back into the faces of the Politicans and be reading them has they did it...it would cause some DRAMA here in the states...Police would be all over such a move in this country, too many radicals and people from the left who are mad has hell at the goverment,However it would make good news...(JFHT)