The red machinery accomplished its mission
The National Guard kept in touch with pro-government groups, whereas state-run oil holding Pdvsa provided food and communal councils "went for broke." That is how "towing operation" was performed
Chavezism took care of every single detail for last election. On October 7 Sunday, they reserved motorcycles even to move about with soldiers from the National Armed Forces (FAN). A military file leaked from the Ministry of Defense- claims that on October 7, the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) was at the service of the red machinery and, in case there are doubts, this is confirmed by grassroots activists, drivers and motorcyclists who worked that day to make President Hugo Chávez win a new victory.
The so-called motorized force kept in touch with generals and colonels who monitored Caracas during the Election Day, said Alexis Tovar claims, president of Franco Arquímedes Socialist Integration Motorcyclists' Front.
From the parking lot they have behind La Roca Tarpeya, southwest Caracas, he relates that they would keep their motorcycles in the basement, which during the election day became an operation center for mobilization continually coordinated in collaboration with President Chávez's campaign team Comando Carabobo, the communal councils, Francisco de Miranda Front and state-run agencies, such as state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) and the National Armed Forces (FAN).
There, on first floor of the building that the Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (Venezuelan Institute for Social Insurance) possessed in San Agustín, they set up telephones, radios, TV sets and computers with a database of Chávez's supporters.
Motorcyclists went to and fro in order to report the last rides, as well as to get the new names and addresses of the comrades who had not yet cast their ballots.
"We have to organize ourselves," Tovar replies to those who have criticized the president's followers' decisions of riding in the middle of the night. "When it comes to election mechanism, organization is all about."
Motorcyclists did not sleep that night
Early in the morning, many of the votes for President Chávez were cast with the help of motorcycle riders. At least 6,500 motorcyclists rode all over Caracas. Most of them centralized in Franco Arquímedes Motorcyclists' Front.
Day and night made not a difference for them; they remained awake all night since the previous day implementing a strategy they had previously set in collaboration with the board of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Psuv) and members of the National Armed Forces.
"We had meetings one month prior to the elections with General (Sergio) Rivero Marcano, who is in actuality the chief on a national scale of the People's Guard." Alexis Tovar recounted last week, on behalf of the many citizens who joined the operation of Franco Arquímedes Motorcyclists' Front on Sunday, October 7.
Activists were of great help for the FAN
The election of October 7 did not take the Chavezism by surprise; the Psuv and the rest of allies gathered around the Gran Polo Patriótico would use motorcycles, buses and even vans from the communal routes of low-income barrios.
Chavezism did such a great job regarding mobilization that reached the most remote places of the hills in Caracas and offered no excuses for vote abstention.
They took charge of every single detail, even of order, successfully. In case it was necessary, soldiers would have made use of the same motorcycles that last Sunday took the president's followers to polling stations. It was recorded in the military report issued by the National Guard entitled "Operation for Cohesion and Coordination of the People's Power, the Bolivarian Militia and the People's Guard," and it was confirmed by Tovar and other followers of President Chávez who made use of their motorcycles to support the PSUV party last Sunday.
According to the paper, the FAN convened the "groups loyal to the Bolivarian Revolution and those groups having links with Venezuela's political leadership and military commands," designed a device intended to "prevent that counter revolutionary forces could create situations that put in risk governance in the capital city."
Although no war was waged that day, a group of Cuban health professionals set up a tent in the midst of Venezuela Square, making use of stretchers and medical equipment outdoors. Caps made out of carton covered by fabric and the nurses' accent clearly revealed that they were not Venezuelans; even though, they refused to answer why they took their medical instruments and stethoscopes to that spot of Caracas.
Buses that transported Caracas' residents left homeless because of the rains and who found refuge in the province parked at Venezuela Square. They came from Barinas, Maturín, Mérida, Valencia, Valles del Tuy and Guarenas among other zones. Those who took refuge in Caracas were also requested their commitment; very early in the morning before the sunrise, several buses picked up the homeless who live in El Chorro Tower of La Hoyada, downtown Caracas.
The customary red tents did not shine by their absence either at the gates of polling stations. They set up their tents since 2:30 am in order to have government followers organized. Besides breakfast and coffee, they offered wheelchairs, walkers and even ambulances from Mission Barrio Adentro (welfare program) in areas like Sierra Maestra from 23 de Enero, a low-income barrio in west Caracas.
Making use of the lists in the afternoon
Not even food lacked on the election day. Activists from PSUV party and its allies provided everyone with food, courtesy from Petróleos de Venezuela. Each communal council or group was granted benefits and some of its collaborators were commissioned to prepare the rations for the election battle.
The purpose was that everybody should vote and vote early. But after midday, exit polls tilted to tight results. "Vote, there is still time," state-run TV channel Venezolana de Televisión displayed while grassroots leaders made attention calls to the members in charge of the lists of 1 x 10 (activists entrusted with the task of taking additional 10 voters) that had not made their appearance yet.
María Sánchez certifies it, who coordinated the 26 cars, buses and motorcycles which were provided by Comando Carabobo, communal councils of the area, Pdvsa and Intevep in Paracotos and other areas from Los Valles del Tuy. "In the afternoon, they would apply more pressure on us, because they said that we were losing in Paracotos; we went to every community; we contacted those who had the lists of 1x10 and took them with us."
"We looked for people through the lists," added Sulgeidys Maitán from one of the bastions of Chavezism: Las Veredas sector of 23 de Enero. "One as a communal council knows pretty well their sector and if by any chance certain people did not show up at polling stations, we would just look for them at their houses and accompany them until they voted."
Translated by Adrián Valera Villani
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.