American expats watch polls from Spain

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 November 2004, MADRID- US voters living here turned out in their droves to monitor the outcome of the US presidential election.

3 November 2004

MADRID- US voters living here turned out in their droves to monitor the outcome of the US presidential election.

Supporters from both parties held 'victory' parties in Madrid and Barcelona through Tuesday night into the early hours on Wednesday.

Madrid's Chesterfield Cafe was filled to bursting with a youthful crowd of Democrat supporters who whooped and hollered every time satellite news feeds showed their man, John Kerry

Dozens waved 'Unidos con Kerry Presidente' ('United with President Kerry') placards while, playing the Mideast card, one local campaign organiser wore a Democrats for Kerry lapel badge printed in Hebrew.

Across the city, at the swanky Hotel Intercontinental, Republicans crowded round television monitors in between trips to the bar for liquid refreshment in the form either of Spanish or American beer - or something stronger to steady their nerves.

Those who didn't manage to cram onto the Republican official guestlist headed to the overflow party at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe, some taking their red, white and blue balloons with them.

Inside the classy hotel, star-spangled banners were draped over staircases and bunting ran round the ceiling.

Adding to the zany atmosphere, receptionists lit orange Halloween candles - one bearing the name Bush, the other, Kerry.

In both party camps, Fox News blared from myriad speakers - though come the midnight hour the Democrats switched over to CNN.

In Barcelona, Democrats held an all-night-party at the swish Cocobongo club, attended by Spanish film star Javier Bardem.

Organised by the Democrats Abroad, the atmosphere was celebratory as partygoers watched the CNN screens on the wall for barely audible feeds from the U.S.

But amid the festivities Spain's US fraternity had a serious message for their European friends.

"We're at war. Europe doesn't understand that. The race will be less close than the media say," forecast former US Air Force pilot and Vietnam veteran Bert Otero from New Jersey.

Otero added that for everyone who criticised the United States as many people again wanted to live the American dream.

"Give them a Green Card and they're there in a flash."

Another Republican, student Kyle Bradell from Michigan, opined that, when it came to the war on terror, "if the terrorists hit Notre Dame the French would react. You can't take the easy road out."

US Ambassador George Argyros, who angered Spain by missing last month's national day parade in Madrid after going on a hunting trip, told the Republican gathering that even in a polarised campaign Americans would stick by one another.

"After the result is known we will come together as we are Americans, whether Republicans or Democrats. We will work together for the global community," Argyros pledged.

In a surreal touch, the 'Republican' band played Go Johnny, Go, as if casting their vote for the other team, while over at the Chesterfield Cafe a chorus of boos rent the air as a smiling George W Bush appeared on screen.

"Today, in a few hours, the next president of the United States will be  John Kerry," bellowed Juan Verde, of the Democrats Abroad campaign.

But as Bush moved inexorably in front in Florida, some Democrats could hardly look.

"If Bush wins, I'll cry. I'll do the essay I have to do for tomorrow first - but I'll cry," said Sharon Han, a history exchange student from Berkeley,
California, as the clock ticked round to 4 a.m local time (0300 GMT).

"Another four years of Bush would be terrible for the world," proffered Alberto Torres, a Spanish-American student, as Verde yelled out "We're going to win it!"

As polls suggested a Bush victory, but with the Democrats refusing to concede, many suggested that lawyers would settle the issue.

"The lawyers are perched like vultures on the limbs of the trees waiting so they can come down and feed," predicted Jim Gordon, a Republican from Maryland.

"I hope I'm wrong," he added, without conviction.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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