|Workers of La Carolina defending their former job|
Today I drove to Caracas for a week of work and in spite of my better judgment I decided to drive through Nirgua and thus drive in front of La Carolina. To tell you that it was a heart breaking moment would not be half of the story.
I drove first in front of the main gate and there was nothing to see except for a silly flag and some Nazional Guards (or militia? who cares?) sort of hiding under some shade. No proud display here. A couple of years ago such a land grab would have been accompanied at least in the early days with a PSUV presence all in red. There was no evidence of such a thing, as if people now knew what the whole charade was really about.
|The entrance now sports an idiotic propaganda flag, and in bad design at that|
A hundred yards after the entrance porch comes "La Bodeguita" where the productive farm used to sell its goods. There some lost souls were hanging and I realized that it was some of the people I knew from my frequent stopovers there! In particular the manager who recognized me.
I had to get down from my car, hug and cry behind my sun glasses as these poor people were so happy to see some one they knew stopping by for support. Besides the media and some of their friends it seems that the locals have been very, shall we say, subdued in showing any support. Should I charitably say that they were scared that the INTI would also move on their land next door? A mistake of course as sooner or later the INTI will move in everywhere.
Talking to them I managed to have them gather for the group picture shown above in front of the protest banners they put up. Again, with little attention paid to the message. But people should pay attention. I learned some stuff that did not make it to the press.
- - The manager and people living on the farm were expelled and were not allowed to take their clothes with them. They were simply booted out. that is right, some of the people in that picture have no clothes to change into.
- - At first the manager, the woman in white in the picture, was not allowed to take her two dalmatians. Eventually she managed to have the male jump above the fence. The female was recovering form surgery and eventually realizing that they were unable to take care of the dog they allowed her owner to take it back.
- - Violence arrived with the INTI: the entrance guard was beaten up just because he was too slow in opening the gates, or something. When the INTI reached the office, the nervous clerk was fumbling with the keys to open the file cabinets: she was violently pushed against the wall as one of the INTI thugs grabbed the keys from her
- - Looting has taken place though they cannot say exactly how much has been taken away as understandably the Nazional Guard let's no one close to the gates when there is traffic in and out. Even less the "vice" presidential chopper.
- - Not all workers have decided to remain outside refusing to work for the government. Apparently about half a dozen of them did go in, including all those we call "reposeros", that is, the slackers, the ones that take the legal two days a month you can get away with it without getting fired, the ones that regularly bring bogus medical permits, the one you constantly need to supervise to make sure they do at least something during the day (it is extremely difficult to fire anyone in Venezuela). There is apparently also a couple of "good ones" that remained working because they have been threatened through their families who probably hold some governmental job that they would lose if they did not go back to work at La Carolina.
|The office, full of government trucks parked in front|
La Bodeguita itself was locked up, and I was told they even changed the pad locks even though they were given all the keys. If you look carefully you can see the bright new chain on the cast iron gate.
|A locked up La Bodeguita|
As I arrived to Caracas I was telling this story to a friend who went with me a couple of times for lunch at La Bodeguita. He was heartbroken and sent me those pictures from the last time we went there. A bucolic view that will be soon lost forever. A pathetic witness of the good we were able to do in Venezuela that is been ruthlessly destroyed by the chavista plague sent upon us. Everywhere the government puts its heavy-hand all is damaged, cheapened, degraded or simply lost.
|The dining lounge at La Bodeguita|
|The view while you enjoyed your refreshment|