as mao famously said, the revolution is no tea party. but the great helmsman hadn't said anything about street parties... and so it happened that i found myself yesterday in a sea of red t-shirts and baseball caps, venezuelan flags and revolutionary slogans on a closed off stretch of one of the main streets of caracas.
by pure coincidence i seem to have arrived here in time for the celebrations marking the 6th anniversary of the failure of the anti-chavez coup in 2002. the occasion has been marked by above-mentioned street party, speeches, concerts, demonstrations and a military parade (assault helicopters and fighter-bombers screeching across the sky in the name of 'world peace,' of course...)
on the streets were about a dozen stages with salsa, reggae, reggaeton, rock, political speeches etc., stands were selling trotsky's books and popcorn, chavez-puppets and beer, revolutionary newspapers and ice cream. while the usual revolutionary suspects such as che, fidel and bolivar were feted, one could also see a concerted effort here to raise awareness of (and pride in) indigenous heroes such as cacique guaicaipuro who led a successful revolt against the spanish.
later on, the man himself, hugo chavez frias, gave a speech to his faithful, calling for a true bolivarian revolution, socialism, dignity, equality and vigilance in the struggle against The Empire...
while the chavistas were dancing in the streets, those not so positively inclined towards the revolution spent the weekend spending their money like there's no tomorrow in the shopping centres, restaurants and night clubs of east caracas, cruising around in oversized suv's, just like the nouveaux riches anywhere.