VENEZUELANS OF THE WORLD
Sunday 19, January 2003
The title today refers to the great march and rally that took place on this sunny Sunday afternoon. The opposition in its constant effort to demonstrate to the world its diversity did call for an original protest. This time they would appeal to the varied immigration that helped build the Venezuelan melting pot. Three large marches would be called from different points in Caracas to rally near Parque del Este. There a stand would welcome a representative from several of the communities that are represented in Venezuela, preferably an immigrant that many years ago set his or her roots in Venezuela. The variegated assembly included a woman shrink from Canada with a clear Anglo accent, a Portuguese builder who had a thick accent from Madeira, an Argentinean advertising executive etc… All of them were supposed to give a non political message which would end with the same phrase reflecting their hope for themselves and their children in Venezuela, this said in their native tongue.
It was indeed a very successful march, very colorful as the sea of Venezuelan flags was heavily dotted with foreign flags including a few Yankee ones, an occurrence unthinkable a few months ago. And do not think for a minute that it was only a white immigration that was feted, you could find a few flags from the Caribbean such as Haiti, or Trinidad. There was even an Israeli flag and speaker and an unveiled woman from Syria with her flag. The only strong speech was from the German representative who did not mince his words as to the “coincidences” between Germany in the early 30ies and Venezuela today. Overdone perhaps but chilling enough for some of the said coincidences.
We did start from my place but our march was delayed by another interesting and even astounding event. A group of cyclists decided to make ride across Caracas. That group included perhaps 30K cyclists or more. A subtle protest and support for the oil industry workers. When we reached the main avenue where we were supposed to catch the march starting from Plaza Las Americas, the ride arrived. They were able to fill both ways a large 4-lane avenue that stretches for 3-4 miles. In front of us packs of bikers passed for half an hour until the pedestrian march could get started. It was exhilarating! But this created havoc with the organized marches and pretty much everybody decided to go on their own to Parque del Este. It took us over an hour to trek there.
The sight on arrival was spectacular. The ambience extraordinary. The crowds cheered louder by the speaker. The positive energy that emanated is just indescribable. But of course there was a low point. The CNN envoy to Venezuela came to make his report. Well, somehow the crowd got wind of the guy climbing on the stand and started chanting in unison “CNN, di la verdad” which means “CNN tell the truth”. Now, the crowd in front was the targeted audience of CNN, the cosmopolitan middle classes of the world. I think it is time that CNN does damage control on the way they report the news. That very same night I saw the CNN report and you did not hear the crowds dishing CNN… As a side comment, while I was in Atlanta two days after I could not manage to reach somebody to say live the comment. Even the receptionist gave me that blank look, probably not even knowing where Venezuela is. But why bother, CNN is serving obviously some obscure interests. Even more, two employees of the US embassy in Venezuela that I met in the plane told me that the embassy staff tends to listen to the BBC. This witness may step down…