I am sorry but I cannot be much cheerful this beginning of year. Not that I am usually cheerful on New Year's day. After all, decades ago I realized that on January 1st we had the same debts, the same health problems, the same emotional issues than on December 31, plus a possible hangover and maybe more debts if you hosted a party.
This year this is quite true, and even more so. Except that I could not host nor attend a party, so there is no hangover for yours truly. There would be no sincerity in wishing a happy New Year for people in Venezuela. The odds for a better 2014 than 2013 for Venezuelans, chavistas or not, are, well, close to 0. Only readers in Europe or North America, with an economic crisis somewhat less intense, have reasonable hopes of some improvement in their lives. To them, my sincere wishes for the New Year. For thus of us in Venezuela, the only think I can wish them for is strength to endure what is coming our way.
2013 has been a rather hard year for me.
Many family problems, related to health issues, including the loss of an important relative in November. My S.O. suffered emergency surgery and his recovery is not going well because that surgery led to the aggravation of another unrelated problem he had. Unfortunately since Venezuela is closed for business from mid December to mid January we have to wait for the third week of January until all doctors are back and all laboratories analysis are open to finally asses a real treatment plan, maybe a new minor surgery. Right now there are only a few pills available, some physiotherapy, to keep the situation stable. Woe is you if you fall prey of serious diseases after December 1 in Venezuela.
Business wise, after the retroactive devaluation of last February and a likely one in the next few weeks, the only thing I can be thankful for is that I have no personal debt. The paradox is that of all my end of year legal payments I have still some stuff left because there is simply nowhere to go and spend the cash, not even to fancy restaurants as the S.O. cannot accompany me... Forget about savings which even if they pay 8% they pale badly with an inflation officially close to 60%.
Personally all of this has taken quite a toll on me, from the stress of living in a country where all is difficult to the problems for my loved ones around. In spite of some wonderful support, dealing with the extraordinary difficulties to have anything done here, from taking a patient to see a doctor to perform a bureaucratic prowess to get some license to be able to work, you reach the December break all worn out.
I acknowledge a certain bitterness. Not a sick or sickening bitterness, rather an aggravated cynicism that I am afraid has been reflected in my blog in the past couple of years. No more intellectual constructs or pseudo profound meditations which are now useless, a past time for observers from the other side of the fence. I only care about expressing what a real hell hole this country is becoming and how trapped we feel we are. People like it or not, people believe it or not, people think I exaggerate or not, people think I am constructive or not, I do not care much, truly. But the will to fight is there. This is a dictatorship and I must fight it. Period.
Still, I need to take some pause to think about how I must change my blog to reflect more that need to fight the dictatorship. At least I take comfort that chavistas have dropped any pretense of countering me: they know now, even if they approve of the regime. What argument could they advance? Better pretend I do not exist, which suits me just fine. There is also a corollary about this phenomenon. There are less people asking about what is going on in Venezuela which is good because I have no patience for them either. If at this point you are unable to figure out on your own with the information available that Venezuela is a dictatorship, of a new type for sure but dictatorship anyway, then I do not want to spend time with you. My teaching years are over with the first decade of this blog. Yes, it has been this months 10 years that I started writing.
There is no rush to write anymore. Times are different. My effort in starting to write in Spanish, in trying to reach a bigger audience, is part of things I have been pondering for a while, for at least two years. But time and stress have been against me for the changes I had in mind. Fortunately in a rash of inspiration I can leave you with two series of posts that you can keep reading for the next weeks. One is about 2013, what deep changes were imposed on us. The other is about the perspectives for 2014. I invite you to revisit these posts and discuss if you will. I will write less in coming days, because I wrote a lot though the last weeks and because I need to rest, I need to think about how to manage the blog, which for once this year did not drop to the historic low ratings I always gets the last two weeks of December. It does look that there is an awareness that Venezuela needs to be watched at all times...
Do not worry, I should keep writing at least once a week, if anything to write a newsletter of sorts. But through January I am going into some form of personal recovery, meditation, pondering mood. A clearing up of the mind perhaps.
I wish to thank you all readers that have kept along with this blog over the years, in the thousands according to Google analytic in spite of the fudging of real statistics because of fake crawlers signs like vampirestat (do not dare to look for it! You may be sorry!) which make anyone believe they are the most read blog in the world and tempt to subscribe to some for of advertisement system. This blog has always been free of any advertisement though I am considering a pay pal system for a specific purpose but more on this later.
So there, my heartfelt thanks to all of you and my best wishes for 2014, regardless of reality.