Photo essay: Political graffiti and street art in Caracas

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CARACAS, Venezuela — Apropos of nothing, I wanted to collect some of the more interesting shots of political graffiti I’ve captured this week in Caracas.Venezuela Flag Icon

Most of the graffiti, of course, promotes the late president Hugo Chávez and his successor, acting president Nicolás Maduro, and not opposition challenger Henrique Capriles.

I’ll say one thing, though, and this goes well beyond street art: if any of my friends want to run for politics, I’ll send them to Caracas to talk to the chavistas because, while Capriles has a rapidly deteriorating economy, an aggressive campaign, and a defensive and lackluster Maduro all working in his favor, Maduro remains the favorite because the chavistas certainly know how to win votes.

Of course, standard political campaign banners abound throughout the city:

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But even five weeks after his death, Chávez’s presence dominates the city, even on its sidewalks and on its buildings:

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In fact, even the ‘libertador’ himself, Simón Bolívar has more street cred than Maduro:

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Here’s a commemoration of the 2011 bicentennial of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence:

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But that’s not to say that Maduro isn’t a common enough presence (both in favor and against):

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Nor is the ‘revolutionary’ nature of other street art:

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No country’s revolutionary street art would be complete without ‘Che’ Guevara and Vladimir Lenin:

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Public housing features pro-Chávez and pro-Maduro propaganda, and most recipients of misiones — the social welfare programs that Chávez established for health care, education and housing — are all expected to support Maduro, but I was stunned at the extent of one housing bloc north of Plaza Bolívar at the edge of a barrio that features almost ubiquitous unit-by-unit pro-Maduro posters:

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The pro-chavista graffiti and propaganda subsides in Altamira, which falls within Chacao municipality, technically part of the state — Miranda — currently governed by Capriles (and not the Distrito Capital), a decidedly pro-Capriles sector of Caracas, though his supporters aren’t nearly as creative as Chávez’s were (and are):

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Photo credit to Kevin Lees — Caracas, Venezuela, April 2013.

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