Friday, February 15, 2008

Barrio Politics, part 1

When walking from the T.E.A.R.S office to the barrio, someone in rubber boots kindly carried me across the 15 inch deep nastiness that used to be Number One street. The muck signaled the start of political campaigning.

About 10 years ago, someone running for an important office promised paved streets for the barrio in exchange for votes. No one believed he would do it, so he had curbs put in to show good faith. Though the edges are chipped, you can still see all the curbs as you walk through the dirt ruts between them.

This year, the promise is sewers. Sewers might even be better than paved streets, but the big holes full of grey gook will be more annoying than hanging curbs if they don't materialize.

Back during the curbed promise of roads, Rod let a guy buy his vote for 300 pesos. I agreed it was a good financial move for him since he is an American citizen and can't vote in the DR. Now, the price is up to between 500 and 1000 pesos for a vote. However, if you look at it in terms of the current exchange rate now (33:1) versus the exchange rate when Rod sold his vote (12:1), buying votes costs roughly the same as it used to.

It appears these proposed sewer pipes will empty out into the creek that runs down T.E.A.R.S property behind Rod's house. I wonder if the candidate doing this civic improvement is the same one who bought Rod's fake vote? Perhaps the sewer plan is an elaborate payback for vote selling fraud.

I went to my friend Tracy's ground floor apartment and had to climb a wall of dirt on Street Twelve to get to her front door. She told me she was surprised more kids weren't playing on the hill now blocking the corner.

On cue, two children appeared and I watched them play as the sun set.