Thursday, November 13, 2008

On Venezuela becoming a “Salon of the Left”

A guest post from Alek Boyd.
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The New York Times Venezuela correspondent, Simon Romero, ought to be commended for shedding light upon the world’s favorite revolutionary chic destination. Hordes of foreigners, infatuated with Che Guevara, or Pendejos Sin Fronteras as they’re locally known, are commonplace nowadays in the country, eager to witness Chavez’s XXI century socialism at work. As Romero stresses, the fact is compounded by an unprecedented oil bonanza that has allowed its sole administrator, Chavez that is, to spare nothing on the goal of constructing reality. “A revolution that doesn’t invent his own writing has failed,” expressed once Severo Sarduy, and Chavez’s is desperately trying not to be an exception. Problem with this proposition is that almost the entire collectivity of Venezuelan intellectuals, if there is such a thing, are in complete opposition to Chavez. Moreover, in the breeding ground of intellectuality, universities, Chavez’s candidates have not won one single election, for voting is carried out in traditional ways and not by the ministry of elections.

Bolivarian cultural Akelarres seek to promote a revisionist version of our reality, invented much before the failed putschist reached power via democratic elections in 1998. The guests invariably share a characteristic: that of projecting its own failed utopias on the gentle savages of a country, which is leading an experiment of Marxist and Gramscian doctrines in the XXI century. Sporting “Birkenstocks and guayaberas,” the lot of leftists glosses over Chavez’s militarism, and aren’t bothered in the slightest by the source of funds that allow them to live, albeit briefly, Chavez’s fascist revolution: i.e. the de facto free trade agreement between the evil Empire and Venezuela. Instead, they happily wonder out of the hotel-conference center to spend per diems on revolutionary paraphernalia, such as T-Shirts of terrorist Carlos the Jackal, admittedly a highly esteemed compatriot of the president.

Chavez, however, can’t be faulted for hiding his intentions. For if there’s one leader that has abused its powers to commandeer all media to advance his ideals and announce with surgical precision what he would do, how and why, that is Chavez. His revolution is on radio, on TV, online 24/7. Therefore, as irony would have it, gatherings serve to witness the shrinking number of ‘thinkers’ that think that allowing the existence of only one, official, version of reality is morally justified, freedom of opinion and expression be damned. Fellow travelers accepting Chavez’s hospitality expose a breed of ‘intellectuals’ at the service of the revolution, a concept popping straight out of Havana’s ‘cultural congress.’ More tellingly, Chavez’s Gramscian construct, despite the enormous amount of resources lavished to achieve it, is an absolute failure. Hundreds of community and national TV and radio stations, Chinese satellite and continental TV networks notwithstanding, it has failed to produce or inspire a literary/artistic movement of the sort seen during the boom years of the 60ies and 70ies. On the contrary, if there are notorious elements that have characterized Chavez’s pet project these are its mediocrity, mendacity, lack of creativity and originality, owing to the very Dadaist nature of it. For it is unthinkable that stuff produced by members of the Miranda Centre, such as Eva Golinger, would become subject of respected academic study in years to come.

Although one must never underestimate the militancy of the radical Left, Chavez’s “Salon of the Left” success is rooted on his ability to pay for the services rendered by useful idiots. A cultural revolution it is not.


Alek Boyd

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Notes from the editor:

'pendejos sin fronteras' coined by Teodoro Petkoff on doctors without borders where the word doctro is replaced by 'pendejo' which is a concept word meaning useful idiot to pubic hair. Context is all.

Akelarre, word of Basque origin that can be translated as "witches sabbat".

-The end-

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