Vcrisis no more…
By Aleksander Boyd
Porlamar 24.12.06 | Having being in my country for nearly 4 months now has given me much time to ponder about the utility of continuing with the crusade that I once embarked upon, that of reporting Venezuela’s crisis. When I started back in October 2002 an almost physical need to tell our side of the story prompted me to launch this site, learn to write in English, inform, counteract with facts other versions, lobby, investigate and create an outlet where I could vent the anger caused by the misinformation spread around about Venezuela. Much writing I did and many, many, many hours were spent on this endeavour. My perception about the situation has changed though and the change has come about by being much closer to the country’s reality. “Our side of the story” is an empty concept nowadays, it no longer applies. To begin with there’s no crisis here. People of all walks of life are on a spending spree that would make Londoners jealous, restaurants are full so are posh hotels. Although foreign investment is down considerably the inflated oil prices and associated income is of such a scale that the country is reliving the oil bonanza of the 70ies, when Venezuelans used to go to Miami to do their grocery shopping. Private airports are chock full of new jets, car sales continue on the rise, public employees have received an inordinate amount of Christmas bonuses that, allow me to tell you, it does show everywhere.
So I keep asking myself, what crisis? Many opposition folks, for all their bitching, lead a life that certainly is above regular European middle class standards, surely way above mine. Take my uncle for instance. The other day I went visiting and as conversation progressed the work topic came. Surprisingly he said that he had never had so much work in his life. Then I asked about surgery he had had in the back and after explaining the whole problem he said “and the best of it? It didn’t cost me a dime, new platinum plates, operation and the rest of it were covered by the government.” Amazed I said “then why in hell are you complaining about Chavez? You ungrateful bastard!” In short such nonsensical behaviour is characteristic of unhinged opposition people, people who believe that the world ends tomorrow, that Chavez will cubanize Venezuela, that kids will start being indoctrinated –even those in private schools, that communism is upon Venezuela, mind you so much bullshit that is very hard to keep a straight face hearing such arguments. Chavez may have ‘grand plans’ for Venezuela but his greatest and insurmountable obstacle is the utterly capitalistic nature of Venezuelans, young and old, rich and poor even more. Venezuelans in general are shallow, materialistic, snobbish, but man how they love the freedom to do whatever they want at any given time. If someone is thinking that the new chavista establishment will go quiet about their kids –now regulars at very expensive bilingual private schools- being fed some socialist intellectual potpourri, well think again for those who dressed in red revolutionary garments get off $30 million Gulfstream jets have a different idea about how the revolutionary offsprings should be educated. For example the very first thing that invaders of private land do when they manage to seize a parcel is put up a sign that reads “do not trespass, private property.” Can anyone foresee Chavez succeeding in his plan of imposing the premise of collective property as alleged by the opposition? That would mean he would have to reengineer all Venezuelans and believe you me he won’t be able to pull that one, regardless of how much money he throws around or how hard he tries should that be his real intention.
That’s part of the reality I have seen thus far. Another is the sheer state of anarchy in Caracas, a new feature that I had not seen before. Bikers in Caracas (locally known as motorizados) block traffic now in main avenues and even in highways, in order to exert revolutionary justice before unperturbed police officers or to mourn dead colleagues. No one does anything, no one dares say anything while the police and other law enforcement forces look the other way. Comandante Lina Ron, tellingly a blond-dyed revolutionary woman, has got many a high ranking chavista scared. She commands civil militias and bikers in downtown Caracas that answer only to her wishes and effectively controls el centro. Again no one dares reminding the woman about rule of law and other rather boring concepts. But all in all Caraqueños seem to be coping rather well, they have adapted to the new reality and are living like there’s no tomorrow. In fact the valley in which Caracas is located ought to be renamed “South America’s Silicon Valley” in allusion to the many women that have had a boob job. Ruben Blades song “Ella era una chica plastica” comes to mind.
I once felt that my dignity was being trampled upon. I once believed that by exposing the vices and double discourse of chavismo I was doing my bit for my country. No more. Most of my countrymen, on both sides of the divide, think otherwise and behave accordingly. Chavismo is but a manifestation of Venezolanismo and its time has come. The country has changed for good, those who were in the back of the list are now in power and with a fresh mandate. Whatever comes after depends on them, in the meanwhile many folks around are having the time of their lives.
As in the picture above I have left a cyber trail that, like in the sand, will disappear almost instantly in this age of instant gratification and virtual personalities. But also like in the picture the future, as the horizon, looks bright and the sun is shining upon my face. The little adventure nearly cost me my marriage and robbed my daughters of their dad for far too long a time. It has been a gratifying experience that provided the opportunity of doing extraordinary things and meeting extraordinary people around the world and to all of them and to my readers my deepest gratefulness, respect and admiration. If financial conditions permit perhaps I will allow myself to devote some time to write a book about this year’s presidential campaign and my experiences in this 4 month long journey of reencounter with my country during which I rediscovered Venezuela, the land of grace.
"He who willingly volunteers to render his intellect useless before that of another, for the sake of an ideology, creed, or belief commits the supreme act of denying its own self." Alek Boyd
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