|From the New York Times, see text|
A couple of months ago I was invited to a farewell party of an official that I used to deal with, in an embassy that shall remain nameless because really, that is not the point here. The fact of the matter is that when I arrived most people were in the main rooms chatting amiably, drink in hand. And on one balcony there were two people alone, visibly standing apart. After a while, as the room was becoming a tad warm for my taste we moved closer to the balcony and there I recognized Eva Golinger talking to some guy who my companion recognized as one of these VTV folks specialize in awful micros bashing the opposition.
Once upon a time, maybe 5 years ago, I might have tried to engage Eva Golinger. After all the venue was safe enough that both of us would have to behave and still be able to tell each other a piece of our mind. There was a time, before chavismo promoted her as Caracas Rose, that Eva was not above writing to bloggers. But that night I had absolutely no wish to meet her, and even less to talk to her. And apparently no one else, except for the hosts who took turns to talk to her and her VTV co-guest. Why did I not want to talk to her? It is true that today it is more dangerous in that she could be tempted to trace me down and report me as a NED recipient or who knows what other baseless accusation she could come up with, her specialty today as last Tuesday so sickly established. As much as this might have been a consideration, it was not the most important: the fact of the matter is that really, I had no desire to talk to her. Period. No interest, nothing to say, and likely nothing I wanted to hear. If Eva had anything to tell me she has my address, she can write to me again and she knows I will not be rude. But from what I saw that night, she preferred to be in a corner on her own, a vivid representation of the social apartheid that the country has become, courtesy of people like her.
In fact at some point another guest arrived, a noted journalists that was close to the regime but who distanced himself since 2007. He, at least, went to greet Eva and her companion but the exchange was brief, limited clearly to a hi!, how-are-you-doing nice-to-see-you-her talk-to-you-later. She was in a social ghetto, making me wonder how come she actually decided to come.
But to this scene I can add another scene reported here during the world cup. This blog correspondent there sent me that banner displayed in South Africa against Chavez, plus the tales of the local police trying to remove such displays (apparently there were chavistas in attendance and they seem to have been much busier in monitoring banners flown than any soccer playing on the grass). The censored banner read "Chavez, te espero en La Haya", Chavez, I await you at the Hague [seat of the international court of justice, the leitmotiv of Diego Arria].
My correspondent wrote to me how upset they were at the local police trying to stop those displays, though in all earnest I am sure that they were willing to stop any political display whatsoever. I probably failed to be as sympathetic as could have been because if truth be told I was torn in between the need to remind the world all the time what a fraud Chavez is, and the need to preserve the World Cup from a political arena. Objectivity is hard to come by, you know….
And thus here I am left to wonder about how we can try to bridge that political chasm that Chavez has imposed upon us. From my days as a student in France I had no problem to talk to communist students (yes, the Communist party was still something then, strong enough in campus to try to sell me subscriptions to L’Humanité). Though of course then I had little affinity to commie students, my circle of friends was an even mix of socialists and RPR and we all got along just fine, playing Tarot for hours and hiking as spring came. In my US years I was clearly on the Liberal side but I always managed to have Republican friends. Not of the fundamentalist variety to be sure, but Republicans nevertheless, even gay ones!
But in Venezuela today whenever I suspect any one from chavismo I simply let it go, try to find the necessary polite excuses not to talk to them further than the very strict necessary.
Why can’t I deal with them? Sometimes I think that it is for the same reasons that I could never deal with any religious fundamentalists, with what is for me an abhorrent mind set of submitting oneself willingly, unquestioningly to a book or a leader. But it goes further because in Venezuela the consequences of 11 years of chavismo are for all to see. We are not in Nazi Germany where quite a few people could claim with some credibility that they did not know what was going on in death camps (at least until 1940-41). There is too much media today, too much Youtube to plead such ignorance even if you are too poor to have access to Youtube or a TV set. People know in Venezuela that something is rotten and yet... Let’ look at the fantastic report of Simon Romero about the Waraos living off the garbage in Puerto Ordaz. Eva Golinger does not know that? Is it not fit to print in her English version of “Correo del Orinoco”?
She could actually print that these Waraos are still reported as supporting Chavez no matter what. After 11 years of “revolution”, still eating people’s waste and still with “mi comandante”. The mind reels… But I could talk to these people still, I did so as much as I could when I was myself in Delta Amacuro. They are not the problem, they are permanent victims and the mere fact that Chavez acknowledges their existence better than anyone else did in the past might be enough for them, even if that is all what he does, acknowledging their existence while those who should know better like Nohemi Portocarrero fawn in Guajiro gown all over Chavez. My gripe is more toward the Golinger and Flores and Cabello and Ramirez of Venezuela who have no excuse in standing up to Chavez and denounce the incompetent programs that are still leaving so many native American eating trash. The problem here is that these are so deep in denial that they prefer to hide in corners when at some reception where the welcome flag is not red.
How many chavista are like them? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Will we need some day a dechavistation program? Psychologically people who have deluded themselves willingly and willfully for so many years must be affected in their sanity and simply cannot be recovered for society. Not even a future chavismo without Chavez, when the extraordinary abuses of this regime will finally be exposed, verified and condemn, can have use of such people.
|Even reddish shoes, Dorothy!|
The real problem I have with Eva is not that she is about to become a virtual concentration camp guard, it is her mediocrity. The woman is a crook alright, as Alek Boyd has shown clearly (here and here). However her worse offense remains that she is a mediocrity. She lives off the Venezuelan money quite comfortably without any apparent benefit for us, or does anyone believe that her latest venture, Correo del Orinoco, is able to sustain itself like a normal newspaper? However her leechness is still not as bad as her mediocrity. You need to listen to her speech or read it, with its numbing accumulations of platitudes, clichés and useless attacks when not a single one of her “evidences” made it to some court to get some real condemnation. So what does she do? She proposes a law so that her attacks can now be assimilated to thought crimes. Goebbels would have had it that easy.
And yet even if we can laugh while we cringe at small fish like Golinger who will leave the county in the first plane to Miami the day Chavez falls, we must think already as of today of a reconciliation process with which will be able to condemn enough people for the example while opening the door for those who were true believers but finally saw the light. We do not want to fail our own Reconstruction version of history lest in 2 or 3 decades form now a new Chavez comes to destroy the country once again. We cannot forget that and thus we cannot be distracted by red flags, almost literally, such as Eva Golinger.
The ones we need to think about what to do with are the like of Cilia Flores who introduced her in that event, where a flushed up Eva did not realize how manipulated she was in doing the dirty work of Cilia and Hugo. Maybe Cilia crimes are not worthy of The Hague like the ones of Hugo, though she keeps adding merits daily, but she, along at least a few dozens of her colleagues, will need to face prosecution. And we must think about it already, here in Venezuela and wherever we can.
And be writing this post, you must realize that with the current winds, I am starting to expose myself seriously. For the "me" part of the title.
Eva has a clear understanding on how much chavista propaganda the opposition blogs have cost the regime. And yet that is not why she will help prosecuting us at some point: she has been unable in all of her writing career, to give it a name, to write texts of the strength and quality that you can find routinely in any of the major anti Chavez English language blogs. Her mediocrity will turn into jealousy and she will try to get us at some point. As I wrote above her "crossing pointt" was last Tuesday. However we can always hope that her mediocrity will maintain her as inefficient as she has been all along.