On the evening of Chavez 2006 reelection I did write a wistful note that somehow made it to the Wall Street Journal. Then this blog was in the news as the other news were not yet on all of Chavez horrors. Years went by, the news caught up and thus I could become again an amateur blog, more a stream of consciousness than a true need to inform the world.
I remembered that note and felt like I should read it before I wrote what last October 15 meant for me. Oh! I was not devastated by the expected result. The only surprise was the extent to which the regime dared to go into its naked outrageous electoral fraud. The mind simply reels at watching a system which is condemned by the world to the point that in the latest gathering of electoral authorities of the hemisphere the CNE delegation was not welcome. Imagine that, what Carter called once the best electoral system in the world is now excluded from normal gatherings.
The past two weeks have been a small epiphany for me. I was not surprised enough to have an emotional shock or anything of the like. But somehow certain things fell into place. In 2006 I wrote that the country was not my country anymore. It was some strange land into which I should learn to carve a safe space. Blogging should be less intense, other type of texts should be written. But the everyday life was such that I needed to keep writing, the more so that soon Chavez started its final attack on freedom of expression, followed by the referendum of 2007 that he lost. The blog kept advancing, now describing the descent into dictatorship, one that was formalized the way Maduro was put at the helm of the country in 2013. It was a dictatorship before, since 2010, but for me that was the moment in which it became unarguably official. Some, interestingly, still reject the D word, like some of the shitty parasitic Caribbean islands. But I digress...
Since then my despondency on Venezuela combined with my new personal situation with the long drawn condition of my S.O. nearly stopped my blog. It survived because it became some sort of moral stream of consciousness. Or something like that.
It is not a matter of stopping to write. It is just that my outlook has changed in the last two weeks. On one hand the regime has shown such a vileness in its allowing the country going to hell, people starve and die for lack of medicine. The damned electoral cheating is all that matters. For the rest, the regime has turned genocidal.
On the other hand the collapse of the opposition, though not unexpected, and actually wished for in a way, came to pass. What was the shock, for lack of a better word, was the way it did happen; not that it happened. It has been cleared of all doubt that a large part of the opposition has given up on dislodging the regime and that they will be very happy to negotiate for scraps. The capitulation and negotiation had started long ago. The infernal 4 revealed it all, in all its vileness. Political prisoners? Dead freedom protesters? In the end, who cares.
Hence my current despondency. There are too many still willing to vote for the regime, even if forced to do so. They starve, they die, but a little bit of pressure and that is that. The spinelessness, or vileness, I do not know, is now too much for me to bear. But on the other side the lack of clear resolve, the lack of a true moral and ethical compass cannot be ignored anymore. Of course I never believed in politicians, and this blog had often criticism for the opposition leadership. Of course I know that eventually a real negotiation will have to take place otherwise civil war will come. But this....
As for those who disagree with the regime, or those who have inside the opposition some moral compass, they are too few and worse, are unable to propose something coherent. In fact, they cannot even discuss a liberation alliance. All are victims of too many years of hate preaching Chavez. All seem unable to go beyond the hoped for foreign intervention, whatever this may mean.
My own personal angst is whether I have given up on Venezuela altogether. Should I draw the unavoidable conclusion that it is time to go? Is there a point left? Can I still think straight? Am I overwhelmed?
My S.O. who has been hard hit with bureaucracy and ill services for his work and looking for treatments tells me now routinely "esos son los que se quedaron", those are the ones that stayed. And everyday he sounds more and more right. Those that now occupy positions that supposedly are of some importance are clearly not suited for the job at hand. The brightest ones, or at least the reasonably trained ones have left, or are doing so. They are replaced by people that are probably unaware of their lacking. But they probably are aware that were they to leave their fate would be mopping floors because elsewhere they will not be given any other job. But here they occupy clerical functions, sales positions and the like. That they are unable to answer a clear question, even less able to give a decent answer is just a detail. And this is getting worse and worse.
Are we to stay? Not an easy question considering our family obligations and what is financially available for us. At this stage in our lives the prospects are not, well, encouraging. In exile you go because you are young and hopeful, or because you have no other choice and are finally willing to see that losing what is left, or all, is still better than fighting for it.
And if we stay how do we protect ourselves from the mediocrity de los que se quedaron?
Written listening to Bruckner's #5 on a loop. In case it explains something to you.
There is that too.