Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tied up in traffic

Ana Lazar and I set off for the Ruta de las Flores this morning, and found ourselves in a mammoth traffic jam. For some reason - politics, perhaps? the elections are two weeks away, and the tension is mounting - Boulevard de los Heroes, the major street I was planning to use to get out of town was completely blocked. And so, as a result, was pretty much everything else. I wormed my way through, found a way to get to Santa Tecla, and headed west among a stream of grumpy Salvadorans. So it felt great to finally emerge from the city into the countryside, better to climb up into the high hills of the Ruta, and best of all to spend a few hours in beautiful Ataco and to have coffee in this charming cafe.

Speaking of elections, the papers and TV have been full of dueling claims about the polls, illustrated by the poll of choice for the paper or the party advertising. Tim's El Salvador blog has a good summary of the polls, which are all over the map. It seems likely that El Salvador will break with its long history of ARENA (right wing) victories and elect Mauricio Funes, the candidate of the FMLN, the coalition of left wing parties. But it also seems possible that ARENA, which runs TV ads characterizing the FMLN as terrorists and communists, will frighten enough people to win again. At this point, people on both sides are anxious. March 15th, election day, is coming soon.

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