Sunday, October 05, 2003


Sunday 5, October 2003

I am still under the shock of what is happening to our oil industry, the lies, the violence, the wantonness that is jeopardizing our common future. Although I have posted some things recently, I do not know yet how to make it all fit in a more complete report. Fortunately some people find the words for me and I just need to translate.

Milagros Socorro is a distinguished columnist from El Nacional, one of the two major daily in Venezuela. Unfortunately the web site is a paying one. But through a common friend I got permission to translate this excellent meditation on how the violence in the oil fields, in particular at Los Semerucos, is tearing the fabric of our society in a way that one wonders whether reconciliation is possible. My words could not match her passion, and her lucidity in describing our slow descent into tropical fascism.



Since that dead of night when National Guard soldiers decked up for war besieged the residential oil camp Los Semerucos and threw tear gas bombs against the walls and windows of the houses where families slept, I am waiting for the remains of decency that still exist within the Regime to break their ties and declare themselves sickened by such a savage action. We will not repeat the tale of events. I will not try this time to put a name that best fits the events that sometimes are seen through the bias of polarization.

We all saw what happened there --- and we saw it again in Anzoategui and Monagas, where cowardice in uniform has repeated its foul routine ---. It follows that Los Semerucos does not bear shades, does not tolerate spin interpretations, nor does it sustain inanities. We are not going, thus, to either do the catalogue of barbarity or detail with words what images have left sufficiently clear. At Los Semerucos --- and now in Oriente --- a savagery was perpetrated, a horror that Venezuela had not endured in times of peace. In this we are not going to be accommodating because the crime does not match with qualifiers that are not of its dimension. And the crime has a unique dimension.

This is why I really waited, with genuine confidence that pronouncements would not delay from fellow countrymen nauseated in front of such a felony. Of course, I thought of the President of Petroleos de Venezuela, Ali Rodriguez Araque; of the Nation’s Ombudsman, German Mundarain; of the Attorney General of the Republic, Isaias Rodriguez; of the commander of the National Guard, general Jesus Ramon Villegas Solarte. But also, and above all, I thought of certain intellectuals that still support the regime, with great pain I thought of friends… ex friends… people to who until now I granted sensitivity, solidarity, some sense of shame, a minimal understanding of greatness. And none did that step forward. None said, “I am not with this”.

None lifted up his hands to show that they were not bloodstained. None said to these children snatched from their sleep and their faith in their country: Venezuelan kid, son, look at my face, look at me well, I am not with these who torment you, with these who burn your house, with these that threaten your mother with raping her, with killing her.

The TV images brought us the smoke, the tense diligence of the women running to remove their children from the horror, the degradation of these officers from the National Guard. But they did not let us hear the spat out sentences from the guards to persecuted women: “We are going to fuck you”, “We are all going to fuck you, damned whore”. This we learned of later. We all learned this. And some continue to justify the regime that sponsors that abomination, continue doing business with it, continue scrapping cents tinted in blood, continue to tag along with the felon that gave the order.

Life gives very few occasions to show one’s mettle.

One… two, maybe three? Los Semerucos was one. And those that had to release themselves from the accomplice embrace did not do so. I wonder, after this, how are we going to be able to reconcile. How I am going to look at the face of the friend whose approbation I looked for, whose advice I sought, whose joys I celebrated and whose tune I accompanied, now that I see him darkened, commingled with the cruel one that shoots at the music box. How I am going to greet the one that so deeply disappointed me, the one whose image has shattered in my hands, among tears. Damn it, let it all be said. Do not count with me.

It is obvious that the regime pretends to make Los Semerucos into the metaphor of the whole Nation: if you rebel, if you pretend to recall me, if you exert your rights to kick me out of office, I am going to surround you with bogus soldiers, I am going to plague you and mark for ever your children with the scar of fright.

They will not accomplish it, regardless. They might cloud our eyes with this sorrow, with this monumental deception, but from the despondency we will garner the fortitude to expel the abject ones and console the little frightened kid from Los Semerucos: believe me, son, I am from this side of the fence. Your side.