Sunday, January 11, 2004

Danny Glover's vacation in Venezuela

Sunday 11, January 2004

Danny Glover, an African American actor, came to Venezuela this week. At first I did not pay much attention since I did not know who the man was. But in the papers, and in the blogosphere, his visit has created quite a stir. So I inquired further.

Mr. Glover claim to fame is to have starred with Mel Gibson in some rather violent cop movies, the ones you wipe away blood from your face when you leave the theater. No wonder I did not know the character, I tend to avoid these kind of entertainement. Interestingly for some people these type of movie acting can lead places, to the California Governor's mansion or to spokesperson of TransAfrica. This group, I understand, is a rather left wing African American group (radical chic even?). On the other side of the movie ticket, Mel Gibson is known for machismo, homophobic and anti Semitic controversies among others. Which goes to tell you that extremes have a surprising way to meet.

Mr. Glover arrived in Caracas this week announcing that he was here in a neutral visit to "observe" the fate of Venezuelan Blacks. A rather surprising statement when you land in a country where mestizo is the norm rather than the exception, where "pure Black" are counted in very few percentage points. Details, details. Surpises were not over: when the agenda was announced it turned out that Mr. Glover was going to meet with a whole series of chavista organizations and none from the other side. Mr. Glover cinematic career probably gave him a strange sense of neutrality.

But I will not go into the details, so many bloggers have got a field day on that: Guillermo "Open Letter to Danny Glover"; Miguel "Lethal Ignorance"; Scott; Gustavo "Danny Glover travels to Venezuela to show his support for Black Venezuelans" (and others that I might have missed).

My contribution will limit to two things, a comment on one visit of Mr. Glover, and something that I personally know of Transafrica.

Let’s start with Mr. Glover visit to Mr. Giordani, our minister of development, the very one that created the economic mess that triggered the 2002 devaluation and the unrest we live ever since. Fired in April 2002, reluctantly by Chavez who sees in Giordani a father figure cum guru, he was brought back to his position as soon as possible where he keeps plodding ahead in his fantasy economy constructs. Well, apparently he was only to happy to receive Mr. Glover. Rarely visitors to Mr. Giordani are reported, probably because few serious visitors come to his office, unless they try to get something out from him. Actually, now that I think of it I cannot remember of any major finance/economy minister visiting Venezuela in quite a while.

The result of that rather extensive visit are reported yesterday by El Nacional (subscription, sorry). Apparently Danny Glover got the full round up of the Venezuelan economy and prospects, something that even us in Venezuela are not granted by the minister who never speaks to the press. Imagine an economy minister never speaking to the press in the US or Europe!

But the best part was that Danny Glover was treated to the details of the Eje Orinoco Apure project. This nincompoopy project aimed at developing the least developed area of Venezuela through the Orinoco and Apure rivers has more to do with the (in)famous projects of the extinct USSR to drain rivers in some forsaken deserts rather than any serious scheme. If the area is lightly settled and only has a little bit of cattle ranching, there must be reason for it. Perhaps strengthening first was is already there would be a good way to start, but glorious revolutions are not known for gradualism. But after this famous visit WE KNOW NOW the real reasons for the Orinoco-Apure!!!! According to El Nacional, Giordani said that the implementation of this plan would allow Mr. Glover to star in action adventure movies filmed there!!!!!!! Glory Be!!!

To close this post I would like to mention some information about the TransAfrica Forum that I did get personally and that the local Venezuelan Press has chosen to ignore. I did get a letter from an African American that visited Venezuela late last year and that left the country without a particularly good impression of its authorities and the glorious revolution. This person, for the record, cannot be qualified as Republican Black since among other things he opposes the Cuban embargo. But he seems to have seen the light on his brief stay in Venezuela. Well, he wrote me a few days later of his attending the TransAfrica fund raising show using the movie "The Revolution will not be televised", a manipulation of the Venezuelan reality now plagued by scandal. Apparently he was not impressed with the motives of the attendance of the show in Washington DC and was kind enough to share this data with me. Although I do not share the mail that I receive (it says private, the "talk back" feature is for public comment), I will post an excerpt from one of his letters to me (and I will invite him to post further here if he wishes).

The event last night was put on partially by the TransAfrica Forum. A political group that I receive their event schedule. I was impressed by them and their standing up for disadvantaged people in the Caribbean, Central and South America and Africa. I just wish they and other citizens of the USA would call a wrong a wrong no matter who does it. I find we as Blacks in this country are far to willing to overlook wrongs performed by leaders we like. Don't get me wrong I like the fact that Fidel has stood up to the USA for all these years and I think the embargo against Cuba should be lifted but I don't like the fact that the Cuban people cannot speak their minds on fear of being imprisoned. So I say Embargo NO, Fidel NO. As the saying goes two wrongs don't make a right.

Clear and loud from Washington DC.

My personal interpretation when I put 2 and 2 together is that the intentions of TransAfrica are not necessarily all holy and like many of these groups, fringe or not, some of its members subconciously strive in perpetuating cliches and divisions, for their self-perpetuation in office. This does not stop Danny Glover from getting a big kick out of his visit here, at least seen from a picture of him dancing at the opening of the Martin Luther King school in Naiguata. By the way Danny, what would this unquestioned noble soul think of the violence promoted by Chavez?

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