Mayor McCheese

6 Apr

There’s a mayoral election in Cuenca this month, and the supporters of the candidates have been getting more and more enthusiastic. It’s also getting more and more annoying. Sometimes the politics down here just remind me of 19th century politics in the U.S. From what I’ve seen in movies, of course. I can’t help but think of Boss Tweed in “Gangs of New York,” handing out bread to the immigrants and putting out fires, all while saying, “Vote for me.”

There are posters and flags all over the city. Some people have even repainted their cars entirely in the campaign poster of their favorite choice. A truck is usually driving around with a loud speaker rigged up. The audio plays something inaudible to me, but I imagine that it’s the candidate saying why they are so much better than everyone else, and maybe even insulting the mothers of the other candidates.

Maybe the funniest part is the horrible photoshopping of candidates with President Correa. It’s clear that the men have never posed for a picture together, and they just don’t even look close in the campaign ads.

Somehow all of this just seems cheesy to me. I haven’t really seen any debates or campaigns on TV. Instead it’s just the advertisements around town and the occasional random concert on a street corner, like the one that kept us awake on Friday night. With no warning, a street was blocked off so a stage could be set up and music was played loudly. I have no idea what the issues are nor why each candidate thinks they will be the best choice, and I haven’t heard anyone tell me what they think.

It seems like there are more candidates than people to vote, and as is usually the case, the runners are some of the most rich people in town. The election is coming up in just a couple of weeks, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. For the meantime, however, I’m going to have to continue dealing with the trucks driving by slowly with the loud speakers and people handing out fliers at every other corner. Ugh, politics.

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