Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"You cannot take pictures in public parks"

I have been in Caracas these past few days, and repression and all I simply have had no time to to worry much about Chavez.  Or tire you with my worries.  Besides, repression is becoming such a matter of fact while Chavez celebrates his 11 years in power promising us 11 more years.  Unless a massive "Mision Valium" is in the offings, I doubt the country can last another 11 years under Chavez....

But luck always helps me, from the most unexpected places. My S.O. has this thing about visiting the few green areas left inside Caracas and I obliged last Sunday. We went to try to find out a small park tucked all the way in upper El Marques.  It was not easy but after trial and error we found the dead end street which lead us to Parque La Aguada, just separated from El Avila by the Cota 1000 highway.

There is really nothing much to write home about, besides the impression that this park is in better shape than most parks of the country.  Probably its hidden locale and a neighborhood brigade manage to keep it out of trouble with still functioning basketball courts and picnic cabins (if you do not mind the noise of the Cota 1000). For those of you who do not know, a few years ago Chavez ordered the end of the entry fees charged at any public park, as "el pueblo" could not be asked to pay for its parks (even though the entries charged where dirt cheap to start with). But budget provisions did not follow and public parks decayed slowly but surely, just as the electrical grid and so many other things decayed while money was stolen or sent to Cuba, same difference.

There was no picture worth taking.  However looking up I found an interesting point of view of Pico Oriental and I took it, just to justify my carrying of my small camera.  Suddenly from under the meeting area shade the guard came to tell me that I could not that, that it was forbidden to take pictures inside public parks except during events such as birthday parties for children held in parks....

You have to know that the INPARQUES guard is a rather old man, missing a few teeth, probably there since the park exists and who in spite of his real "pueblo" qualities was able to understand how ridicule the situation was. The more so that this little park was in much better shape than most other parks where indeed Globovision could go for yet another damning report. Never mind that he was alone and I could have fooled him easily to take as many pictures I could have cared to take.

I do not know about you, but to commemorate the absurd of Chavez 11 years in office I cannot think of a better example than the no pictures rule....

PS: I have not been able to confirm the rule yet, but if the guard were wrong it would make the scene even more eerie....


  1. 1979 Boat People1:58 AM

    Here is one of the reasons that Venezuela can not last another 11 years under this idiot Thugo Chavez.

    Chavez turns to Cubans for help with energy crisis

  2. Highhighhi3:02 AM

    Finally some good news.

    just what Venezuela needs.

  3. I'm not quite sure what to say about the main point of the Post, Daniel, but I have to say that this is maybe the funniest thing I've ever seen from you:
    "Unless a massive "Mision Valium" is in the offings, I doubt the country can last another 11 years under Chavez...." Brings a whole new meaning to the idea of "oil for peace"! :)

  4. Simon8:38 AM

    My favourite place in Caracas used to be el Jardin Botanico, next to La UCV. It was the greenest park I could find and hardly anyone seemed to bother going there. It was like a calm oasis in the crazy city. Just wondering how it is now?

  5. I guess for some folks 'a rule is a rule', whether it makes sense or not. I like the pic on the park's website- on odd winding stairs to the side of an undulating hill which is an absolute miracle in dappled light.

    It was so nice to hear about this park that I never knew existed. I started thinking of how deeply embedded my memories of Caracas are, and how deeply we lived through those somewhat painful but also magical years of Caracas in her glory.Not to get all grandiose and sentimental sounding, but I could talk and do things there as nowhere else.So much meaning was hidden ,and protected yet so bizarre and off the grid that it truly seemed possible to make our own reality to counteract the numbing conventions and pressures to conform.
    Anyway,here we find ourselves, sometime later contemplating another Venezuela, but this park is still there and there is still our hidden Venezuela, far from Chavez's reach.How many voices has La Aguada held in her arms ? What can she tell us?

    An old man, half toothless -maybe he's too smart for us.Maybe he's looking for some terrible evidence.Or maybe it doesn't mean a thing to him one way or another.Maybe you can' go back there 20 years later, and there he will be, and he will look you in the eyes and say," m'hijo, no has cambiado nada" and then you'll know that magical realism is not just a literary device, but the reality of the country.

    It's that hidden Venezuela that I loved and still love so much, and that is the Venezuela that Chavez can never touch.

  6. sheik yer Bouti10:48 AM

    way off subject...but still relevant....tell El Mucho Macho to stick his asphalt up his ass

  7. Boludo Tejano11:52 AM

    It sounds as if Thugoslavia is inching towards Soviet norms, where what was not permitted was forbidden.

    Except when it comes to government actions towards criminals, murderers, and Chavista higher-ups: for whom what is forbidden is not only permitted but obligatory.

  8. nicked off miguels site- great video:

    Coming soon to a village near you!

  9. Charly4:22 PM

    Totally out of context but could not pass it, it is priceless. Chavez so called pueblo in action with La Hojilla (Mario Silva).

    For those who understand Venezuelan colloquial Spanish. Caution, strong language, keep away from children and prudish audience.

  10. Hi, Daniel. It may have become much worse with Hugo in power, but those kinds of very stupid "rules" were in place before (I don't mean that exact one).

    One example: I remember they did not allow girls in "miniskirts" to pass by the Plaza Bolivar in Valencia and other towns (I remember that in Margarita as well)...or guys in shorts or bermudas.

    I would have asked him: "Sir, I understand you are following orders. Now, could you explain me the reason why it is not allowed to take pictures from a park in Venezuela when picture taking is one of the most common things people do in every other country on Earth?"

    I am sure Hugo's made things worse, as analytical thinking is on the run in Venezuela and education in general went down the drain (the little pieces we still had)

  11. Island Canuck7:39 PM

    I remember in my early years in Margarita when I had a problem with HidroCaribe & needed to go to the office in downtown Porlamar.

    I was dressed in a golf shirt & Bermudas as I always was. They refused me entry. I was so shocked. The building was falling apart & they wanted me to return to my home some 30 km away & change into slacks.


  12. Anonymous7:50 PM

    I agree about your opinions on Chavez, but that unfortunate rule against Photography in public places is not exclusive to Venezuela and the Chaves’ friend countries.

    Similar situations can be found reported frequently in USA and UK, mainly after 09-11, most of them absolute non-sense.

    This world is ill, very ill.

  13. Well, Island, I have nothing against bermudas, but a golf shirt? Oh, my God!

    Robin Williams from 2:20


  14. As Kepler mentions, these "rules" are not necessarily new. I remember that, for example, taking photos of the house in the La Estancia park in Caracas is not permitted, but photos of the park itself are permitted... (this was about 5-6 years ago)


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