Sunday, September 24, 2006

Back in Venezuela: chock full of surprises

After almost three weeks out of the country for a well deserved brain purge from Venezuelan hysteria I am back in my little corner of the world. Before I start working in all earnest for this last stretch of an electoral campaign that promises to be hectic at the very least, I suppose that a summary post is in order. In no particular order of importance.

Europe

Europe is so prosperous and civilized that it is depressing for a Venezuelan who after four years without visiting it realizes how much Venezuela is backsliding in barbaric eras. I heard of Chavez UN speech in some small German hotel and I was amused, not surprised, amused. I am not sure why there was such a fuss about it. After all bloggers like me have been decrying Chavez vulgarity and weirdness. Now that Chavez finally is acting outside of Venezuela I have just one thing to say to people that started visiting this blog as a consequence of the UN speech: WE TOLD YOU SO. Now, pay attention to us more because there is more to come from Chavez and we will warn you well in advance.

Sectarism

One thing that I have complained a lot about Chavez is how much division he is bringing to Venezuela. I had at some European airport a clear reminder on how lucky we are (were?) in Venezuela that we are such a melting pot, so ignorant of Muslim/Christian/Jewish divisions.

As I was waiting for my flight I saw a Middle Eastern Arabic family in full grab looking for their own flight. There were 3 women decked in full black with only their eyes barely showing. 4 kids tagged along, 2 boys and two girls. The girls were also in full drag though in some type of purple, their faces still visible. The boys had a weird western jacket style over a robe covering them below the knee (and a pajama of sorts reaching the ankles. And the father, or at least the only adult male of the group, was dressed, how should I put this, as if from a bad Al Qaeda video, beard, weird head wrap, flowing pajamas, etc… Except that he was not frightening at all, he was just some daddy taking care of his kids. While the women headed off to the rest room he was with two boys and one girl buying them some coke and stuff. Pleasantly it seemed like the girl was treated equally as the boys as her curious eyes were struggling to comprehend the mysteries of Western goods. This “normalcy” was so disarming that my only thought was really how uncomfortable would it be to travel for long flights with such clothes and restrictions.

But as if some cosmic karma was at play, about 10 minutes later I saw a tour of Hasidim Jews gathering for their own flight. All men, with black wide brimmed hats, complex vests and shirts, weird hair cuts and all those strings hanging from under heir shirts. Just as for the Muslim family my thought was about how uncomfortable it would be to have to travel with such vestimentary conditions. I even wondered about what would happen if one of these strings were to get caught in a luggage conveyor belt… The younger boys by the way seemed more interested by the surroundings, more curious, just as this young Muslim girl was peeking out to the world as long as she could be allowed to do so.

And I was wondering why does Chavez want so much to drag us into the conflict of these societies, Venezuela being the country that with Brazil uses the most string bikinis and where drinking and eating pork is a national pastime. What possesses Chavez?

Interesting reading

I was reading a special issue of L'Histoire while dodging rainy days in France. The issue was dedicated to Goebbels whose memories have been recently published. In an article by Husson, it is observed that besides Röhm and Strasser, Hittler did not eliminate his dissident followers during internal party struggles. Just rotating them between government positions depending on their level of incompetence. As an opposite to communist regimes where dissident potential opponents are ruthlessly eliminated (Moscow, Peking or Havana). Mark one more for chavismo as neo-fascismo as Chavez cabinet is a gigantic game of musical chairs.

Venezuela

To tell you the truth, during my trip I only made once a round up of Venezuelan blogs. Thus that was one of the first things I did upon my return. I was not disappointed, as I realized briefly how things had changed in Venezuela in two weeks. Not by the words I read necessarily, but by the tone and what was not said.

Alek with Rosales

In a bold move that deserves full admiration, Alek left the safety of London to come and report live on the trail from the Rosales campaign. I am not sure what arrangements he made but his reporting from Vcrisis is not to be missed. Alek seems to have been made for this type of job!

Quico against Rosales

For some unexplainable reason Quico has decided to oppose Rosales. That might be fine but his reasoning seems so out of touch with Venezuelan reality that I would suggest him to re-source himself some by joining the Venezuelan political fray. In fact, everyday he sounds more like a PSF himself. A PSF against Chavez that is, but a PSF nevertheless.

Chavista blogs on primitive grounds

My confirmation that Rosales campaign was growing fast and that chavismo was in trouble getting novel ideas and proposals came from a single look at Oil Wars. When a post consist of a dozen or so pictures of lousy propaganda shots from the pseudo medical miracles of Venezuela, you know that they have reached rock bottom and that they also need fast re-sourcing in Venezuelan reality. I mean, does Dan Burnett thinks that ten pictures of a Barrio Adentro module will convince anyone at this point? The amusing thing is that he admits that all that is shown was done after 2003, admitting thus that Chavez did nothing for 5 years. Funny!

Discussing the campaign

Apparently “Mi Negra” has become an issue that PSF and Quico love to discuss. Demonstrating by the way how out of touch they all are. In this most emotional and primal of campaigns that we might ever experience as a people, WHO CARES ABOUT THE VIABILITY OF MI NEGRA VERSUS THE MISIONES? Neither Chavez nor Rosales can fulfill the electoral promises they are making (and the lord knows how Chavez has dramatically failed to fulfill his promises of 1998 which has not stopped him to remain in office for 8 years!).

In fact all of those discussing the finer details of the Mi Negra initiative are missing the real message of the proposal: under a Rosales administration social programs will be better managed AND WILL REACH ALL; REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION. The details are irrelevant for the Venezuelan people who have long stopped paying attention to details as long as help comes their way. And the beauty of the proposal is that by offering poor folks to trade chavismo socialism and cooperativism for the universal symbol of capitalism and economic progress, the small rectangular plastic object, Rosales is appealing directly to the inner wishes of Venezuelans: a job, a house and security to enjoy them. Discussing viability of Mi Negra over its actual message shows, I am afraid to say so, the political distance with Venezuelan hot issues!

Miguel keeps steady

At least one blogger sailed forward as expected. Miguel was particularly active and up on things, even catching my brief interview for a London paper. Then again the series of events and constant flow of revolutionary inner contradictions sort of simplified Miguel’s ever astute observations.

Other blogs are becoming more active

Some blogs are catching the electoral fever. Be it K.A., or Feathers commenting on Chavez killing Chomsky, interesting reading in English is increasing. Not to mention in Spanish (see links on right side column of this page, all your needs to follow the Venezuelan electoral process).

And do not miss the accumulating evidence of electoral abuse in pictures provided by Katy or Bruni. Do not miss them and send them your very own contributions!!!! Each one has a specific interest (Katy for public administration abuses and Bruni on the vulgar pro Chavez press advertisement).

Brief conclusion

Europe is great, food wonderful, and it is awakening to the threats and lies of Castro and Chavez.

Rosales is hitting hard. I bet that real polls (and unpublished so far) must put him already close to 40% to see chavismo in such near hysteria (heck, even Rangel seems to support violence against Rosales!). Rarely in Venezuelan political history has an office holder become so unhinged so fast. Certainly a Rosales victory is far from certain but one can feel it in the air, it is palpable: something has changed in Venezuela during this September.

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