Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Christmas 2014 post

Dear readers, it is time to wish you a merry Christmas. At least, if you have the luck to reside outside of Venezuela the odds that your Christmas will be at least decent are good. Here in Venezuela it is going to be one the saddest Christmas in a long time, with significant odds of getting even worse in December 2015.


One of the striking facts this year is the paucity of fireworks. Usually by December 15 at the latest pets are rattled by frequent explosions. This year, I swear, I may hear one or two a day at most, and usually if Magallanes Baseball team wins (it is Venezuela's season).  But drive through the streets of Caracas and Christmas decoration are scarce, in homes as well as in stores.  Never mind the sparsely stacked shelves. And yet traffic is more infernal than ever. Why? People need to visit twice as many malls to get at least the basics so that the Christmas of their children may not be too dreary. And drive three times as many to find the ingredients of will be this year a rather simplified Christmas table.

Comfort this year will be more like an US Thanksgiving, the joy of being alive and still be able to gather with your loved ones. But one thing is to be willing to celebrate that, the other to be forced into that lone option when you cannot quite do so considering that a million and a half Venezuelans have left the country since Chavez was elected.

As for me, it has been a very difficult year. Not only work problems have grown, it seems, exponentially, but it has been a continuous battle to help my cancer stricken S.O. You need to go though the trial of taking care of a complex disease to understand how inhumane Venezuela has become in the last decade, from a bureaucracy that could not care less about your troubles, to the difficulty to find the basics, to the hardship to navigate with a sick person through the run down streets and sanitary installations of the country, private or not. Basically you are at the mercy of the goodwill of a few, even if you have cash in hand.

But we made it through the year, and we even formalized our civil union after 15 years together. Not in Venezuela, of course, where the homophobic regime wants nothing to do with gay rights of any type. If gays have rights that would imply that other groups should also have rights, isn't it not? Certainly the regime cannot allow people to entertain such notions. So we did it at an embassy which allows me to chose my S.O. and recognize legally the union, though no marriage as this one can only be held in the country of "origin".  Venezuela explicitly forbade celebration of gay marriages in local embassies. I let you guess the reasons why the "freedom revolution" of Chavez cannot even follow the simple foot steps of other Latin American countries.

I will be thankful this year that all my close ones are alive, that we managed to find almost all the treatments required for my S.O., that we are still not broke, that if a cure is very unlikely we may still make it sort of a chronic condition.

One day at a time.

But that does not stop me from thanking all readers though this year, for giving me the motivation to still write as a way to escape reality, for a few minutes at the computer. Is it not strange that escaping reality is now through writing about that reality?

Merry Christmas to all.

19 comments:

  1. Island Canuck7:09 AM

    Merry Christmas Daniel. Have a family filled 24th. I'll be spending tonight with the family here on Isla Margarita with a 15 kg pernil we managed to get from the Chavistas (don't ask).

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  2. Charly7:43 AM

    Season's greetings Daniel.

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  3. Merry Christmas Daniel and SO. Next year Paris!

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  4. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Dear Daniel: I wish you and your S.O. the best Christmas that we can get. Thanks for your enlighting blog, always. We keep going!

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  5. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Merry Christmas Daniel.I hope you are finding the peace you need to carry on through all the difficulties..

    I just read a poem that has some Christmas meaning to me:

    Angels around us,
    angels beside us,
    angels within us.
    -Unknown

    I too am in a similar situation outside of Venezuela..carrying for the sick under very hard circumstances so I really can empathize .

    All the best,

    firepigette

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  6. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Merry Xmas and Happy 2015.I live abroad since 96 based on my fathers perspective that he was seeing the country decay and recommended to have my small kid grow in a country that would value us and our potential

    I started working in the late 80's in Venezuela and its was not was but I felt "que si le echabas bolas" you could earn a decent living.I think that was our essence in low grade corruption environment

    Years forward I see people like yourself in Venezuela trying to make a living and providing some perspectives to people in Venezuela and I just feel a bit of hope for the country but also think about the loss for the country by not maximizing your potential to the society,just imagine if they could just tap on all that latent capabilities that are going to waste

    Congrats and "may the force be with you " next year

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  7. Anonymous11:08 AM

    I will celebrate a quiet Christmas with my love who I was finally able to safely bring out of Venezuela, a loss for Venezuela but a blessing for us. Thank Daniel for all you do.. and a Merry Christmas to you, your SO and family, and all who hope and work for a better future for all Venezuelans.

    Lazarus

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  8. Thank you, Daniel, for keeping up the posting during this very difficult year for you. My wishes that you find all the medical help that you need for your S. O.
    Edith

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  9. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Daniel, you are a brave and gifted correspondent. I feel as if I've become a friend. I look forward to your posts. I hope that 2015, against all odds, will be better for you and for Venezuela. I have never visited Venezuela. I'm a gringo living in Miami, but speak Spanish, have a half-cuban wife and am interested in what is happening with our nearby neighbors. Recent events in Venezuela are, if nothing else, a cautionary tale for us.

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  10. Anonymous4:01 PM

    Daniel & S.O. Frohe Weihnachten!! Great work that makes me doubt about my disloved venezuelans...Alles gute Mann!

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  11. Carlos D5:05 PM

    Feliz Navidad. Merry Christmas !!! I also have been dealing with caring for my cancer stricken husband. I can't even imagine to deal with the burden of a very serious illness in Venezuela, specially when I found it so stressful, depressing, and exhausting and that's with the comforts of having full insurance, the availability of having so many world class professionals in the field so close to us and the wherewithal to cover a lot of the unexpected circumstances. And then I hear from my close relatives in Venezuela of whom at least six have had chikunkuya and two dengue about how difficult it is to even find one little pain pill. I hope 2015 brings something better for Venezuela and you and your S.O.

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  12. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Daniel, love your column. You do a WONDERFUL work. I live in Nicaragua and follow your blog to keep up with the regress of Venezuela. Hang in there........

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  13. Dios Te Bendiga ...Feliz Noche Buena para ti y tu pareja...Y lo mejor exitos para ustedes y el Pais en 2015...Gracias para todo en este blog. Es un fuente de infomacion, verdad..

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  14. Laura1:31 AM

    Dios les bendiga y dea fuerza a ambos; desde IN profundamente agradecida por tu perspectiva y conectividad que nos mantiene unidos a Venezuela en las buenas y en las malas.

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  15. Charles Lemos4:42 AM

    From Colombia, my best wishes for you Daniel and your beleaguered country. If 2014 was rough, 2015 promises to be even tougher. Greece was bailed out at 174 percent debt to GDP ratio. Venezuela's debt to GDP ratio exceeds 200 percent, the world's most highly leveraged ratio. There isn't a conversation in Colombia about Venezuela that doesn't end "que pena" or "da tristeza." To witness the self-destruction of a wealthy country because of the mismanagement of its elected leaders and the hard to believe stupidity of its popular classes is not just sad but truly frightening. Venezuela deserves better but for whatever reason too many Venezuelans seem indifferent to the writing on the wall. Collapse is inevitable but does collapse look like? What does that mean? Venezuela can not feed itself, it can't provide itself with essential medicines or even basic necessities. Should the country actually default in 2015, the specter of famine is a real possibility. Venezuela isn't Haiti and yet it is headed in that direction. I wish you and your countrymen the best .

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  16. Stefan10:31 AM

    Merry Christmas, Daniel, and thanks for your work and sharing your thoughts. May you, your S.O. and your loved ones have a good (or better) year 2015.

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  17. Merry Christmas to you and S.O. Thank you for keep blogging despite the difficulties.
    All the very best to you both on 2015.

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  18. Congratulations on your CU, Daniel and SO. May your future brighten day by day.

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  19. Boludo Tejano12:36 PM

    Given the frequency of firecrackers during an ordinary` Venezuelan Christmas season, the lack of them this year is an indication how far Chavismo has degraded Venezuela. Your essays `give we who are not there a good feel for what is happening. May next year be a better one for you and Venezuela.

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