Monday, January 22, 2007

The snake, the pig and the duck: electoral propaganda for preschoolers

I found this example of electoral propaganda on YouTube. It was put on TV by the US supported Liberal split-off party ALN "Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense". The snake is supposed to be Daniel Ortega of the FSLN, the Pig is ex-president Arnoldo Aleman, leader of the right-wing PLC "Partido Liberal Constitucionalista" and the duck is his presidential candidate José Rizo. Even if you do not speak Spanish, you will be able to observe the high level of political debate that surrounded the elections, dealing with the concrete problems that face one of Latin America's poorest countries. It is also worth mentioning that it is homophobic as "pato" (duck) is slang for gay and used to offend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cleaning the Streets for the Party

Today the streets of Managua are full of police. At every intersection and under every tree there is another group. Patrol trucks and police motorcycles drive around while riot police swagger around in groups like ancient warriors looking for a fight. The army controls the road from the airport and has men armed with antiaircraft missiles on the hill of Tiscapa, beside the statue of Sandino.

The street kids, beggars and water sellers have disappeared from the major intersections. All for the celebration of Daniel Ortega receiving the presidency. Aside from the abundance of assault riffles, there are other symbols for today’s celebrations. The ceremony was changed from the Plaza de la Fe, built for the Pope’s visit, to the Plaza of the Non-Aligned Countries. The silhouette of Sandino has reappeared on the old Banco de las Americas building after a sixteen year absence.

16 presidents are coming to the party. Chavez and Morales are flying in from Venezuela after celebrating Hugo’s victory there.

The president of Taiwan is coming with hundreds of businessmen “ready to invest in Nicaragua” in an attempt to maintain Nicaragua’s support in UN. Continental China has showed its disapproval of the visit.

Buses and trucks have been brining in caravans of people from all around the country. Close to a thousand people were expected to leave Waslala at two in the morning. It will be the largest celebration of a new president ever held in Nicaragua.