It is around midnight. A soft rain keeps falling. Rosales has just given his concession speech. I am very sad but at the same time strangely liberated.
There are noises on the street, and I go to look at my window and I see a group of young women, with red shirts and flags. The shirts carry different slogans, political slogans that are. And I realize that these women, coming form some celebratory party, were also the umpires at that voting center, now exhibiting freely their partiality. The two cars in which they came are nicer and newer than mine. They scuffle inside the school, have the soldiers carry a few boxes. Giggle, laugh, give orders. Eventually they leave. They swear, they are vulgar as they complain about the rain, the lack of umbrella and the overflowing drains that could wet their shoes.
It is another world. Those are not my people anymore. This is not a Venezuela I can communicate with. No reserve, even if it is midnight and all sleep, they act as if nothing and leave honking loudly into the night. See, they know that in that school Chavez lost 2 to 1 even if he won in the country. They can brag, they can humiliate further the neighborhood. They do not care because the country belongs to them now, or so they think. They are right in part, it certainly is not my country anymore.
Today it was quite a hallucinating day. Oh, I was not surprised. My carefully documented predictions were giving Chavez a victory by 5 points. It might be by almost 20 points when all is counted. But with Chavez it does not matter, even with a single vote majority he would go ahead and try to do as he pleases. There is no brake for him. He is not a democrat. A democrat is always aware of the rights of the minority because a democrat knows that one day he might be that minority. Chavismo has made it clear long ago that all revolves around Chavez and that there is no other option for Venezuela. Elections are a necessary ritual that is extremely expensive but a necessity to justify all sorts of other different abuses. Unfortunate Rosales was not running against Chavez, he was running against a whole state whose complete resources were at the service of the autocrat who needs a regular plebiscite to boost his ego.
And thus today the amateur historian in me realizes that he has had the privilege to witness an historical day, the day that democracy completely left Venezuela. We have lost it. You can see it in the vulgar speech of Chavez at Miraflores after his victory. You can see at these noisy women, perhaps erasing some uncomfortable evidence this late at night as the results of that school could now be manipulated. Who will check if they are altered from what we were read this afternoon? Why would the opposition care anymore? Why should not they go and alter the results if they were given the chance to do so? The way they talked and acted and laughed told me all that I needed to know about them, even if they are loving parents, sisters, daughters. Those things are not exclusive of each other.
Tonight I also feel strangely liberated because all my obligations toward Venezuela have ceased. I do not need to worry anymore about its future. There is no role for me in that future. The battles to come will be fought by different people, for different reasons and my advice will be laughed at. The battles to come are not my battles anymore. I have been left on the wayside by a people who has decided to entrust its fate unto a single man, deranged, egotistic, uncompromising, blustery, disrespectful, amoral. People who value that have no business talking to me except to make sure that I shut up, that I stay quiet, that I never remind them of their emptiness.
But it is fine with me. Really, I am the better for it. During four years I have tried to deliver a consistent message of ethos and culture, of gentility and passion. There is nothing I can say today that will not be a repeat of what I have written in the past 4 years. It is time to move one, to go to new ventures. For four years I have sacrificed so much to pass a message. So many hours spent at a computer, so many friends ignored, so many obligations disdained. It is time that I regroup some. The new Venezuela has nothing to offer to me and yet it is my country and I will not leave it. Tonight more than ever I understand the ending of Dr. Zhivago. I am Yuri Zhivago tonight. I just need to change my life, isolate myself from all the degradations that will come to Venezuela as the incompetence of Chavez will have now free rein to finish off historical monuments, National Parks, customs, culture, traditions. Now I need to nest, to bring out all the books that I have bought over the years and never had time to read, to start listening to music again as I forget about the news.
It is not that Chavez has beaten me, he just has convinced me that I need to lead a parallel life, with select and trustful friends, and forget about the dreariness of the coming Venezuela, where streets will be named for obscure assassins, where buhoneros will rule the cities, where nature will become too dangerous with crime and pollution to visit. We will gather in small groups, reminisce, rebuild in our imaginations a gentle Venezuela that could have been.
It is kind of ironic that after 4 years, on the past month I get the most visitors ever in my blog, I get an interview and an article on the BBC. I became a minor, a very minor celebrity, just when my blog becomes meaningless. Oh, I am not sorry : “Rien, rien de rien, non je ne regrette rien, ni le bien qu’on m’a fait, ni le mal, tout ça m’est bien égal!” I never did it for the glory, I never thought for a second four years ago that I would have written so much, for so long, with such success. It was a fantastic experience and I have met fantastic folks (and battled with relish big jerks too). I have got such satisfactions and blessings that I do not know where I could start to tell you.
I feel liberated because now I do not need to write about Venezuela anymore. All is said, and I just need to work an index. Then I will be waiting until someday I will be proven right: there is not a single doubt in my mind and heart that one day I will be proven right.
Now I can forget completely as to whether I have one or one thousand readers. I need not worry about people becoming aware of the Venezuelan situation. If they are not, as of today, there is little I can do about. Instead now I can write about other great stuff and see what happens. I can write whenever I feel like, about Venezuela or the Mayas. I will be able to spend time on cultural blogs, so rich and with so few readers. It is time to worry about myself, Venezuela does not need me anymore and I only need the light of its tropical afternoons to get me going, or its rainy season downpours to bring rhythm to my life. That, Chavez cannot take from me yet. Isn’t that right Yuri?