Thursday, March 12, 2009
They call them Chavistas, those that post the plethora of pro-Chavez signs. Toward the end of our trip, we found out that everyone who posted a Chavez sign for the referendum was paid. The referendum was a vote to allow Chavez to run for unlimited terms. In the big cities, where people have greater exposure to the outside world, the referendum was defeated. But, in the small villages, where people live on bare subsistence income, it was overwhelmingly passed. With all the wealth from oil, every Venezuelan citizen received a certain amount of money. Local industries closed and almost all goods were imported. Rural people view Chavez as the great patron of the country. Now, with the diminished oil prices, there is little money, but still no industry, and country-wide shortages of many basic items, such as sugar, which is produced in Venezuela.
Fruit for sale everywhere, especially bananas. Many of the fruit-loving birds, such as the tanagers also hung out at the fruit stands, eating their fill.