Monday, November 22, 2004

Chavez in Spain and Daniel in downtown Caracas

Crisscrossing themes through a day

Well Chavez went for a state visit to Spain. Tonight as I type I am listening to a cadena which is the forerunner of the glorification of the great leader, as a natural consequences of the electoral “victories”.

Among a few things I hear the narrator describe the “magisterial [sic] conference on history” that Chavez dictated at the Complutense University of Madrid where they awarded him their highest award. So we got then a view of the conference with selected highlights.

These included mistranslating the Condi Rice words on the now famous Pittsburgh interview, which Chavez is apparently not digesting. He even used the pejorative Venezuelan term “la Condoleezza Rice”. Very pejorative, even vulgar, and very stupid as no matter what he says or does she is more than likely to get confirmed. It does look that Chavez realizes that there is no way he will get his meeting with George Bush so he might as well become the trouble maker that he so relishes to be.

In another flourish of glory, with a totally unnecessary grandiloquent tone he said that “Venezuela would not negotiate with the IMF”. Well, I would hope not!!! That would be quite something if with the Venezuelan barrel nearing the 40 USD we still needed to go to the IMF! But the audience, carefully zoomed at a specific location by the loving camera seemed to buy it and applauded furiously (well, not all of them, even the camera could not hide that). I wonder what do they know about economics and the Venezuelan economy awash in oil dollars. If that audience represents the Complutense, then I am not impressed.

There were a few more pearls through the cadena montage. The revolutionary hero was talking about his meeting with the royalty (he had lunch with the heir and his new wife, probably Queen Sofia was “busy” elsewhere). He was bemoaning the “chemistry” between the Socialist premier of Spain and the bolivarian revolution (Rodriguez Zapatero knows that Spain has too many vested interests in Venezuela and if Queen Sofia refuses to kiss Chavez, well, he has to).

I have to admit that for once I did enjoy a cadena!

While Chavez was having fun in Spain, I was downtown Caracas today. Well, it is worse than ever as every nook and cranny has been taken over by informal street vendors. Which hide quite conveniently many stores that had to close as access to them was literally barred by the street vendors. The devastation to the downtown neighborhoods by now 6 years of a regime that has done nothing to address their plight or limit their excesses is truly impressive. A few weeks ago Milagros Socorro used the term “paisaje posnuclear de Caracas”, the post nuclear landscape of Caracas. She is barely exaggerating!

I had lunch with a friend in an excellent middle-eastern eatery with a view over a solidly parasol covered street. No, not cafes, street vendors. It had a medina feel which went quite well with my kibbe, one of the best ones I ever had, by the way. After buying, in a store, an interesting imitation brand linen shirt, probably contraband, I accompanied my friend to visit his work place. He does happen to work in a ministry. For lay people like me, entering in a ministry has become quite an experience. Chavez posters welcome you, to which Danilo Anderson posters have already been appended. Sometimes the revolution can be quite efficient. I had to wait twice for a few minutes in two reception areas. Each one, like any public administration waiting area I had to visit recently, had a TV on, showing the state channel VTV, with Chavez talking from Spain. So I guessed that we were going to have a summary cadena tonight and I was right.

I took the subway back to my parking place and the rain forced me to go from Bellas Arte to the Teresa Carreño parking via Parque Central. Thus I could get a good look at the burnt tower. Of course close access to it is barred but the passage way along side is open and one can get quite an eyeful of the tower. Post nuclear Caracas panoramic, indeed.

And to end a day quite high in color I am listening now (the cadena is long gone) David Nuñez visiting Cesar Miguel Rondon night show. Mr. Rondon had a long talk with William Brownfield previous the art section which is his third portion of the show. The new US ambassador and was of course duly asked about Condi Rice now that Chavez is putting his foot further down his throat. But I digress. Mr. Nuñez has apparently made quite a career in Europe with his violin. Although not a the product of the extremely successful music education program launched way before Chavez and which is now trying to survive with great difficulty, Mr. Nuñez is one of the many successful Venezuelan who are making great musical career overseas. The state which the Teresa Carreño is now probably does not augur for a prompt return of our musicians. As it turns out in between two partitas Mr. Nuñez told us that he would be playing his exquisite craft for the Queen of Spain in a few days. The readers are allowed to make any unsubstantiated connection they wish.

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