Saturday, September 10, 2011

More election eve

So here we are gathered at the departmental headquarters of the Frente Amplio, ready to meet and develop strategy for today and tomorrow. Between us we have several laptops and modems and about 15 people. I picked up Matilde on the way in and there were about 5 people when we arrived; now more have come, although we have not started meeting. I am elbow to elbow with Gregorio Canil, the coordinator for the department, and part of the national leadership of the movement. We have already begun, in the midst of finding cables and looking up information, a conversation about how to start now making plans for 2015, the next electoral cycle in Guatemala.  Here with us are Fermina and Matilda, along with Marta Cecilia, the Frente's candidate for mayor of Santa Cruz, other volunteers. It's been a very long time since I had this level of involvement with an election (when we ran for school board in the Lower East Side, back when there were elected school boards, in or about 1996). We are planning out who is doing what tomorrow: we are visiting seven municipalities in the south and eastern parts of the department, and another team will visit the northern part, and then we will see what still needs to be done by mid-afternoon.

Finally, the airwaves are free of the campaign ads. I do not have to listen to Otto Pérez Molina mouthing off about security and change; I don't not have to listen to stupid songs with empty messages over and over again. Back to the usual dreck of dumb commercials for Little Caesar's Pizza, along with a lot of public service announcements about the elections.

It's now later in the afternoon. The office is again full of people. I tried to go register myself as an international observer, so that I would be able to enter the polling places with my compañeras. First we went to one office where they sent us to another, the main permanent office of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal here. Hector, a young man from Quiché who has just started working with Winaq, accompanied me. There I was received by a staff person who told me that I would have to fill out a form but that the person who had the forms was at lunch. They told us to wait, and then kept telling us that he was coming, he was coming, but  we waited about half an hour, and then I decided to leave my phone number and return to the office.  Over lunch they called me and I returned again to the office, where I was told that it was too late, that I would have had to have asked for the credentials at least 15 days ago. So I will be without any credential.

It's about time to go. I need to do some shopping, and then home to clean and cook and write.

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