A great exchange of ideas took place the other day in the comment section of an article published by Miguel Octavio. Miguel was basically pondering on the difficulties of explaining to foreigners the reality of our country, as cited below:
Talking to friends in the US, it is not easy to explain 11 years of Hugo Chavez in a short conversation. There are basically three questions that everyone asks or perhaps that no answer can satisfy their curiosity:
-How did Venezuelans let this happen?
-How could the system allow it to happen?
-How can Chavez allow inefficiencies and doesn’t he see the numbers that show his policies fail?
I am going to quote myself, in replying the questions above:
Interesting answers above. I’d say I lean more towards what Daniel and to an extent Kepler said, than the rest. I’ll venture my opinion, is Chavez’s actually:
“Lo que mis enemigos no entienden es que Chavez no es Chavez, Chavez es el pueblo de Venezuela.”
As someone who was born in Venezuela to foreign parents I can say that the quote above encapsulates to a high degree the crux of the matter. Education is not the panacea, we all know highly educated Venezuelans who are eager to go into any shoddy deal for self gain regardless of morality. For can anyone say that Gustavo Cisneros is not an educated man? We all know that non educated Venezuelans will behave exactly the same way. For can anyone say that Nicolas Maduro is an educated man? So to me is not about education, but about morals. Morals that, as a collective, have never been there. Ever: “moral y luces…” For Cisneros, and Maduro share the same ‘morality.’ Rosales and Miquilena, Borges and Petkoff, Caldera and CAP, and all the previous with Chavez. It is an opportunistic bunch out there, and the crux of the issue is that the old guard can no longer enjoy the life, the abuse of power, the corruption rackets, etc., that they did in the past. That’s all. It was the same in Bolivar times, it was the same in Gomez times, it is the same today, and it will be the same in the future.
Venezuelans are one of the most unprincipled people in this planet, unprincipled in the orthodox sense, for the reigning principle is “quitate tu….”, “que me pongan donde…”, “que alguien resuelva…”, etc. There’s no higher principle, no moral compass, no self respect, as someone said above. Venezuelans, in general and regardless of education levels, don’t give a fuck about their country, their society, their community, their future, their reputation.
And our problem, in this blog, as well as in Daniel’s, FT’s & Juan’s, etc., is to think that we are representative of society. We do represent, a tiny fraction, of people. But it is not the elitist, highly educated bunch that we represent, for I have never been elitist, nor what people would consider highly educated (not only very recently anyway). What we represent is the tiny number of principled -in the orthodox sense- Venezuelans. Tiny number that is, in the nought point something percentile I’d say.
PS: in answer to your questions,
-How did Venezuelans let this happen? Because they are Venezuelans.
-How could the system allow it to happen? Because it’s run by Venezuelans.
-How can Chavez allow inefficiencies and doesn’t he see the numbers that show his policies fail? Because he is Venezuelan.
This week we have witnessed a few events that reconfirm, if that was needed, the amorality discussed above. On the side of chavismo, four people working for Chavez's hegemonic propaganda project -Vanessa Davies, Andres Izarra, Mario Silva and Walter Martinez, went to Cuba to "interview" dictator Fidel Castro about the possibilities of an international nuclear war, the meaning of 21st century socialism, on the chances of Colombia and Venezuela going to war, on the likelihood of an American invasion in Venezuela... Mind you, all the "questions" posed were so loaded, that only one reply was expected. Unfortunately, for chavismo and its apologists worldwide, dictator Castro, let us not forget someone with unparalleled influence over Hugo Chavez, blew every single question, ridiculed the ignorance of his "interviewers", let slip pearls of wisdom such as "socialism of the 21st century is just communism... there's not a chance that Colombia, or the US for that matter, will launch an attack on Venezuela...", in sum, Castro destroyed in 90 minutes Chavez's war mongering discourse, together with his pretence of late that his brand of socialism is in any way different to Castro's totalitarian communism. I highly recommend the interview, it's one for the ages.
We then saw on CNN, a deranged Andres Izarra, former minister of information, currently president of TELESUR, laughing hysterically at the issue of crime in Venezuela, saying that there's no problem with crime levels, as Venezuelans of all stripes, opposition, NGOs, etc., make out to be, disputing figures of his own administration, lying about poverty levels and his own credentials, in sum another great example of just how utterly detached from the real world high chavista officials live. Such behaviour is difficult to understand, considering that Izarra's own wife survived an armed assault in February last year. While Andres Izarra was recovering from his good laugh at the expense of the misery of thousands of Venezuelan victims of rampant crime that can't afford a security detail, Cheuk Woon Yee Sinne, a baseball player with Hong Kong's national selection, was wounded by a bullet, during a match in Fuerte Tiuna, a heavily guarded military base in Caracas. It is likely that this week end, another 30, or 40 deaths will be added to the ever growing list of victims of crime in Venezuela, one that's larger, proportionately speaking, than those of Colombia or Mexico.
In response to Izarra's insane laughter, El Nacional ran yesterday a picture, in its front page, of Caracas' morgue (see left). The picture is no laughing matter, for beyond its crudeness, it depicts a reality that seems to have escaped many on both sides of the divide, which is, in any normal and democratic country, where moral values are held highly by society, it would simply be unthinkable that dead people are piled on top each other as shown in the picture. Caracas' morgue did not become a Dantesque show because of Chavez, it was like that much before the caudillo reached power. The picture had its effects: the official reaction is to initiate legal proceedings against El Nacional, for publishing a picture that could cause distress in children and adolescents in violation to legislation (LOPNA). Chavistas are not in the least concerned about the 134% increase in crime levels in the last 10 years. Or about the many instances in which Hugo Chavez has made calls for war, or to defend the revolution to the death, or has ordered tanks to placate civilian rallies, commandeering for it all TV and radio channels, does that not cause fear among Venezuelan children and adolescents? But chavistas pretend to be upset by the picture of Caracas morgue. A chavista police chief, called Wilmer Flores, took issue with the picture, arguing that it was from 2006, and not from December 2009, as El Nacional claims, which suggests that chavismo has been aware of this situation all along, and yet, after 4 years, they've been incapable of sorting out the mess in Caracas' morgue.
Opposition voices, on the other hand, are concerned by El Nacional irresponsible editorial policy, which in their opinion disrespects the dead. But no one is asking: how come Caracas' only morgue is kept in such state? Talk about disrespect of the dead...
Also this week, Luis Tascon, one of the architects of political persecution in Venezuela, died. Thanks to Tascon's deeds, chavismo trampled on the human, civil, and political rights of millions of Venezuelans. A minute of silence was observed in Congress for the passing of Tascon, considered a hero for many chavistas.
What the picture above does show is reality, it depicts a society that's completely lacking in morals, an amoral society that focuses on the last political scandal, without a care on social causes.