We arrived early, but the field was already packed with an ecstatic crowd waiting to hear the one man who they believed could actually turn the country around. Chants echoed from the nearby road. Hope was in the air.
Twice a day, four day a week, 1,500 boxes are loaded onto a cargo jet near the Northern Uruguayan city of Artigas. They are carried high in to the air and then dropped on to the green fields below, which cover this hundred-kilometer region along the Uruguayan-Brazilian border. Each box carries 1,800 flies. But these are no normal flies. They are sterilized with nuclear energy, Caesium-137 to be exact. A radioactive isotope not found in nature, and only created when you explode a nuclear bomb or run a nuclear reactor.
"I just got a call from the Associated Press," announced the speaker before the crowd of Obama supporters packed into the Virginia Democratic Headquarters in the McLean Hilton in Northern Virginia. "We just did what has not been done since 1964." The crowd erupted in to euphoria. Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama had just taken Virginia. And with Virginia - as was announced moments later - so went the presidency. The emotion was indescribable. Strangers hugged. Tears fell. Cheers rolled through the ballroom. The United States had a new president - an African American president, bringing new hope to a nation in difficult times.
Democracy is not something that happens once every four years when you go vote for President, Senator, governor or congressman. It should be an every day act. It can be participatory, and we can no longer leave important local, regional or national decisions in the hands of our elected representatives alone. They should be held accountable, not to their campaign contributors, but to the citizens who they are supposed to represent. Unaccountable politicians and beltway lobbyists got us in to this current national crisis. Only the American people can get us out.
Asunción, Paraguay - Even before the official results were announced on April 20th, supporters of leftist candidate Fernando Lugo were in the streets of Asuncion celebrating what many called a dream come true.