David Diaz

Photographer
   
Ecuador votes in pandemic
Location: Quito, Ecuador
Nationality: Ecuadorian
Biography: David Diaz is an Ecuadorian  visual storyteller. He is a member of Fluxus Foto and The Everyday Projects . He has worked in several State programs and NGOs as an educator through workshops and a producer of photographic and audiovisual... read on
Public Story
Ecuador votes in pandemic
Credits: david diaz
Updated: 02/14/21
Location: Quito,Ecuador
Text by José María León
Sunday, February 7, 2021, was, like all electoral Sundays in recent Ecuadorian history, of intense sun, languid clouds, and abrasive concrete sidewalks. But, even though thousands of people swarmed from here to there through the streets of Quito, leaving their cars parked in sidewalks more or less distant from their polling places, it was an electoral day like no other. If the commonplace says that voting is a democratic party, that of February 7 in Quito had the rarefied atmosphere of forced celebrations to which, by obligation, one only has to go. The truth is that the covid-19 pandemic altered the logistics of the vote. With masks, distanced, following one-way paths, more than 12.8 million people voted within Ecuadorian territory.Others, more than 400 thousand, did it abroad.
In Quito, patience was the currency of exchange in the middle of the morning crowd. There were no merchants selling foam, no fries of all kinds — only a few plasticizers offered their service. There were, yes, many police and military, giving directions, showing the way to the voting boards, arguing with the voters about the distance, the mask, lengthening the entry and exit procedures that did that, at least for half the day From the voting, the queues will multiply block by block, they will go round and, in certain precincts, they will begin where they also ended. Despite the expected high absenteeism due to the fear of the spread of covid-19, people went out to vote. They were young and old, entire families. Cautious, lonely, hesitant, and resolute, they populated the sidewalks, entered the meetings, showed their identity card and their faces (for a few seconds, just), and went behind the small screens to comply with their obligation and exercise their right. With more than 97% of the votes counted, it was close to the levels of 2017, the previous presidential election - in which there was no pandemic.
At five in the afternoon, as in any other year, the sirens sounded throughout Ecuador. In Quito, it was a continuous and persistent roar, different from the alarming intermittence of those other sirens that Quiteños have heard with anguish in the last eleven months - those that announce that hospitals continue to fill, that intensive care units are no longer they supply. Today's afternoon, on the other hand, announced that the voting was closed. The streets were emptied, as in the worst days of the health emergency, but no longer for fear of the spread of covid-19, but the expectation of the electoral results.

Report for: GK
www.gk.city
Texto de José María León
El domingo 7 de febrero de 2021 fue, como todos los domingos electorales de la historia reciente ecuatoriana, de intenso sol, lánguidas nubes y veredas de concreto abrasivas. Pero, a pesar de que miles de personas pululaban de aquí para allá por las calles de Quito, dejando sus carros parqueados en veredas más o menos distantes de sus recintos electorales, fue una jornada electoral como ninguna otra. Si el lugar común dice que las votaciones son una fiesta democrática, la del 7 de febrero en Quito tenía el ambiente enrarecido de las celebraciones forzadas a las que, por obligación, a uno no le queda más que ir. Lo cierto es que la pandemia del covid-19 alteró la logística del voto. Con mascarilla, distanciados, siguiendo caminos unidireccionales, más de 12,8 millones de personas votaron dentro del territorio ecuatoriano. Otras más de 400 mil, lo hicieron en el extranjero.
En Quito, la paciencia fue la divisa de cambio en medio de la aglomeración de la mañana. No hubo comerciantes vendiendo espumilla, ni frituras de toda ralea —apenas unos pocos plastificadores ofertaban su servicio. Hubo, sí, muchos policías y militares, dando indicaciones, mostrando el camino a las juntas del voto, discutiendo con los votantes por la distancia, la mascarilla, alargando los procedimientos de entrada y salida que hicieron que, al menos durante la mitad del día de las votaciones, las colas se multiplicaran cuadra por cuadra, dieran vueltas y, en ciertos recintos, empezaran donde también terminaban. A pesar de que se esperaba un alto ausentismo por el miedo a la propagación del covid-19, la gente salió a votar. Fueron jóvenes y viejos, familias enteras. Cautelosas, solitarios, dubitativos y resueltas poblaron las veredas, entraron a las juntas, mostraron su cédula y el rostro (por unos breves segundos, apenas), y fueron detrás de los pequeños biombos para cumplir con la obligación y ejercer el derecho. Con más del 97% de los votos escrutados, se contaba cerca de los niveles de 2017, la anterior elección presidencial —en la que, obviedad, no había pandemia.
A las cinco de la tarde, como en cualquier otro año, las sirenas sonaron en todo el Ecuador. En Quito, fue un bramido continuo y persistente, distinto a la intermitencia alarmante de esas otras sirenas que los quiteños han escuchado con angustia en los últimos once meses —las que anuncian que los hospitales se siguen llenando, que las unidades de cuidados intensivos ya no dan abasto. La de la tarde de hoy, en cambio, anunciaba que las votaciones se cerraron. Las calles se vaciaron, como en los peores días de la emergencia sanitaria, pero ya no por miedo a la propagación del covid-19, sino por la expectativa de los resultados electorales.

Reportaje para: GK
www.gk.city


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