Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The good Devil moves out of Venezuela

Today the Venezuelan blogosphere news is that Miguel has moved out of the country.  Not totally, as he tells us he will keep coming for a few days regularly for work reasons, but the fact of the matter is that from this week on, most of his time will be spent under other skies.  As I wrote a few days ago, we can count him as a chavista casualty, from death or exile, among those people that we will not see around us anymore because of the abject failure of chavismo.  Either way a loss for Venezuela though at least the exiles are a gain for other countries.

I did rely a lot on Miguel.  To begin with it is because of him that I stopped writing about economic stuff since he covered it so much better than I could ever hope to do.  Only agricultural problems were left for me to cover on the economic front since it is my job after all.  It worked out well for us as our blogs were complementary, covering all the Venezuelan reality as we were not in competition, our interests being different.  On search engines, because Miguel has been writing for so many years, he has become the overall  biggest source of visitors for my blog even though we rarely link to each other as many of our readers seem to naturally get into one to go on the other one according to which blog they prefer (probably entering Miguel's first because, you know, he talks about your wallet).

But Miguel also covered many Caracas events that I was not able to attend and now in English no one is left to cover, say, the march tomorrow in Caracas to support the students on hunger strike, something I am sure Miguel would have done his best to attend.  Not to mention that Miguel wrote every week, more than once a week and no other blog in Venezuela has that dedication to replace him in English.  I am alone now with the stamina, and hoping that maybe Miguel's departure will inspire a him or a her to pick up the torch, a self imposed burden, and I know what I am talking of.

Thus the Venezuelan blogosphere in English gets poorer as I am the lone one left here, all of the other have decided to leave the country over the last decade even though they may not have wanted to do so.  How long will I be able to stay?  My business is already under an "expropiese" threat and I know it is just a matter of time until chavismo runs out of things to distribute and destroy, and thus I will reach the top of the list.  Then maybe I will have to leave the country too, nothing left to do here, and certainly with no desire whatsoever to see chavismo destroy my business like I saw them destroying Agroisleña, today the Agropatria of the empty shelves, fired workers and red painted shutters.

I am not mad at Miguel for leaving, or at Alek for not staying after the 2006 campaign, or Quico from not coming back after his Dutch treat, and other whose reasons of writing from overseas are less clear to me.  If they keep writing about Venezuela it is because they love the old country, and are not the mercenaries that we see writing on Venezuela elsewhere in favor of the bolivarian farce, at least when the going was good for chavismo before it became an outright dictatorship. They left because they had to, because no one who leaves lighthearted the homeland will keep writing about it with such genuine passion, to atone perhaps for abandoning it to its fate.

In his "farewell" of sorts note Miguel commented on something very true: our job as bloggers is over anyway.  When we started we were always harassed by a variety of Chavez supporters or criticized by normal guys with the excuse of "how? so many poor, you need a Chavez anyway!".  But this is over.  Now there are only Caracas Rose type of folks left to defend Chavez.  For pay, of course.

We have won the battle in the end as Chavez is exposed for what he is: a fraud.  The narrative is different now, we are mere witness of events that are sure to come one day or the other as finally the people wake up as they did in the Middle East or Eastern Europe.  The inner mechanisms of the countries' psyches work in mysterious ways but the time always come.  Regimes who won or would have won elections at some point in their career, one day are found out to be totally despised as we see in Libya where an amazing spontaneous insurrection show people unafraid to die for freedom.  My only wish for Miguel, and me, and my exiled colleagues, is that we keep enough motivation to write until one day we will write the most exhilarating pages, when the Chavez regime finally crumbles, preferably through elections that it will not be able to resist, like it happened for the end of Ferdinand Marcos, for example.  Because to tell you the truth, I am not looking forward becoming a lone English writing voice under a Libyan type insurrection.....

So the good Devil left and the bad Devil is still in Miraflores.


  1. "...or at Alek for not staying after the 2006 campaign..."

    Daniel, I felt a clarification is in order. I did my utmost to stay after the 2006 campaign, and I will relate exactly what happened.

    Few days after the campaign, I went for a meeting with the owner of one of the big TV channels, who wanted me to get in charge of their online operation. Needless to say that I was tremendously excited about the proposal, and had already talked my wife, who since leaving has been ever so adamant in going back, into returning. We discussed the particulars and decided to go ahead with it. On my way back from the meeting, on a bus, the traffic stopped in Av. Paez. After a while, people started getting off the bus, and walking. I asked the driver what was happening. He said that a funeral was taking place in front of Quintas Aereas, near La India, and that the motorizados had blocked the avenue. He said "don't worry, as soon as the caravan starts we'll get going." So I decided to stay put. Then the caravan of motorizados passed by. It was composed by hundreds of motorizados, on the road, on the sidewalk, revving the engines, screaming, some of the pillows were waiving pistols, shooting to the air. But the incredible thing was that many motorizados from Metropolitan police were part of the caravan. Mind you, the lawlessness, the sheer display of absolute anarchy was taking place in front of many policemen. And they were part of it, doing absolutely nothing to stop it, and not even showing signs of remorse for the spectacle!

    That day, sat in that camionetica, I asked myself: "is this the place where I want my children to grow?" I think variations of that question are in every rational Venezuelan, and regardless of personal circumstances, the answers are always the same.

  2. Well written dedication Daniel.

    Miguel has his place, and his place is 'unico en el mundo', just as each person's place is.Nobody can ever really be replaced.His dedication, humility, tolerance and wisdom were legend.But perhaps in a different way he will still be a part of the good fight.I wish him all the best.

    My reason for leaving Venezuela( and in some ways I still feel more Venezuelan anything else) was that no matter what I feel I can handle on my own, I had no right to play Russian Roulette with my children's lives.I left in great sadness but knowing I did the right thing by them.When I look at how their friends back in Venezuela are evolving( most of them are facebook friends of mine), it saddens me to no end.Most were brilliant,wonderful children, but those who stayed are doing very little with their lives and living in day to day fear from crime.Mine are flourishing and living stable, happy lives.My number one obligation has always been, not to my country, not even to myself, but to my children.I would sacrifice anything and everything for my children.

    But everyone makes the decisions they do, and this is perfect as it is because what each of us contributes to the world is unico.

    It takes all kinds( Thank Goodness) to make a world and for those who stay, my utter admiration!

  3. "probably entering Miguel's first because, you know, he talks about your wallet"

    Not true for me. While Miguel doesn't talk about MY wallet, I'm still an economics guy, but I start here and then link to his. Guess I'll just keep doing the same.

    Alek, in those terms, it's very hard to understand why anyone is still there.

    "one day we will write the most exhilarating pages, when the Chavez regime finally crumbles"


  4. Well said Alek. I ask myself the same thing everyday, despite my age.

    If i had more motivation i'd write more in my blog so i can be of some help or company to you daniel. But it appears im not a good writer after all :)

    Don't be so hard on yourself.
    And the war is far from over.
    Little will change.

  5. Anonymous5:32 PM

    I recently relocated my office where I now overlook the runways at FXE.

    I see more and more Vz registered aircraft everyday.

    Last night I was in Weston's downtown (fake downtown) and all I could hear outside of Starbucks was Vz accented spannish.

    The exodus is in full swing, welcome to South Florida you-all,

  6. 1979 Boat People7:06 PM

    Looking back, my parents (who spoke no english at all) decided to leave Vietnam in 1979 is the right decision because of their children future. They lost EVERY THINGS that they built from their bare hands and very hard work in 30years.

    It is a very good lesson for us.

  7. Anonymous7:06 PM

    It's been known as Westonzuela for as long as I can remember. And here in Houston there's not a week goes by that I don't hear a Venezuela accent, mostly related to the oil and gas business but often in the supermarkets. My nephew is in the university here and ALL of his friends are from Venezuela. I wish he'd mix it up.

    Some of us have developed tender feelings for our Venezuela blogger friends to the point of worry that something bad could have happened when a blog does not pop up on the routine basis. We will worry less about Miguel now.

  8. Daniel, para lo que sirva, pues yo sigo acá aunque espero (sueño) que no sea por mucho tiempo.

  9. Dear Julia

    For historical reasons I only mentioned those people that have been with me since 2003 as I was the latecomer tot he group (but before Juan), the other three blogs already in writing in 2002. Thus I did not mention you but neither did I mention other English language blogs like Kepler's or Gustavo's, not in any judging of their quality but because in the blogospehre, as far as I know, there has not been a phenomenon like the 4 sites I refer too. Not even in Spanish, unbelievably. I mean, 7 years of continuous writing by Miguel and me, and 7 years with some gaps for Quico, Juan and Alek. There is not even a single chavista blog that spans regularly, say, 3 years, unless you want to count Aporrea in. Even chavismo had to look for a gringo to have something that went past the three years mark!

    I am sorry if I may have conveyed any unintentional arrogance but allow me to reassure you in pointing out that your blog is one of the very few that I link too :-)

  10. Daniel, don't worry, I also answered you in my blog and I assure you here again that I was not offended. In my blog I wanted to write the possible reasons of why I was not mentioned (which perhaps could be also seen as an act of arrogance on my side). In your blog, I just wanted to offer some support, like saying hey, you are not the only one, I'm not as good but I'm here in case anything is needed! Your blog is my main source for many things and I respect you and admire you a lot. That's it. Not big deal...

  11. I'm one of those who feels somewhat sad... I know Miguel will keep blogging, but it'll feel different -for me- now that he's not nearby in Caracas.

    You would think that is a silly feeling, but one gets to care about you guys. Day in and day out I check the blogs at least twice a day, even during the weekends.

    Miguel will be fine! He's one of the brightest people I know. We do have to worry about ourselves thou.

  12. Anonymous7:09 PM

    I read this, I just want to cry. I am going to miss Miguel and what he represents.
    I hope this regime won't have the time to get to your business.

  13. Gringo here in Atlanta. There are two competing forces: my pragmatism and my compassion. Pragmatism says "yea, my country is getting the best and brightest from VZ, and that's great for us." Compassion side says "damn...such a beautiful country and culture and their best and brightest are forced to leave. I wish it weren't so."
    Overall, it's another tragedy. VZ needs the people that are fleeing out of necessity. All my friends from caracas (literally...all) are in Paris, or New York, or Westonzuela, or London, or LA, or Amsterdam, or Switzerland....gone from VZ. I could cry. Your country is God's country as far as beauty and resources. And Chavismo is forcing people to flee it. And here there is no white salty cheese for arepas. Unless it's smuggled (which actually happens!)
    Danno, thanks for hanging in there. When you're forced to leave someday, we will support you.

  14. gatorgab4:59 PM

    Greetings Daniel! It's been a very long time since I posted, although I still come and read your blog occasionally. As a Cuban-American, I always hoped people like you would help topple Chavismo - which I viewed as the last lifeline to that decadent regime in Havana. It never happened and I gave up some of my interest in VZ. Don't get me wrong, I still have many VZ friends, including a close one still in Caracas. But I harbor no illusions that chavismo will fall in time to force Cuba to accept reality - the abject failure of communism and castrofascism. I've even started to lose interest in all things Cuba. Yes, I visit Yoani's blog daily. Yes, I read news on Cuba daily. But I see only docile complaining from cubans. Even the ones that now come to the US never criticize the cuban regime because they come here to work to maintain their families over there. They mustn't upset the regime into denying them the entry permit! The days of true exiles like my parents are over. I want 'wet foot/dry foot' to end because I can't stand the quality of cubans coming over now. The USA benefitted so much from getting the cream of cuban society. We built Miami into an international city. Now? Now we get con artists and people who rip off Meidcare for millions and run off to Cuba with the loot. It's embarassing.

    Good luck to you sir. I hope nothing bad happens to you. I've always disagreed with your leftist politics, but I've greatly admired your love of freedom. I'll argue with you to my last breath about the concept of LIBERTY and hw socialism has no place in a society of LIBERTY, but we can disagree without threat of violence, like civilized people. God bless you and may you live in peace.

  15. gatorgab

    and what i am supposed to do? take a gun and shoot my way to miraflores?

    i do not understand why you need to bring in your right wing feelings here. i think a lot of what is happening has nothing to do between right and left in an overcrowded world where labels have less and less uses. free enterprise and exploitation of all resources until nothing is left is not the solution. as for communism we both know what a failure it has been, and how easily it also burns resources.

    as for my "leftist politics" i take exception: i hate it when people like you put in the same bag liberal and leftist as it it were the same. true liberals in the US have a great tradition to stand for, a tradition to which i subscribe heartily. i have condemned people like Pelosi enough that such distinctions should be clear.

    what Reagan has done, to deliberately confuse liberal and leftist was abject and it certainly is coming back to bite your side in the ass when tea partiers are put together with more moderate goppers for the unbridled scorn of the "left" whichever way you wish to describe it.

    maybe i should do a post about o'reilly ignoring the role of the moon in tides.........

    anyway, things are much more complex and difficult than what one wishes them to be and removing chavez the way you want it is not easy, starting that human nature allows him to still have enough support. perhaps what we shoudl be discussing is why people like chavez and castro and o'reilly are able to impose on us an agenda.

    please, keep visiting but when you come forget about US politics. when you forgot about those your input was very valuable, you know.


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