Monday, October 30, 2017

"esos son los que se quedaron"

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.


  1. I'm not in a position to give advice about such a tragedy going on in Venezuela but I guess, yes, you have to carve a safe space as best you can.

    One group that seems to have a safe space carved for themselves is the transport people who appear to be united and raise their fares to whatever they think is appropriate and there's nothing the government can do.

  2. Tom in Oklahoma7:14 AM

    The reality and the scope of the disaster that has befallen Venezuela is now sinking in to much of the citizenry. The same feelings of despair , hopelessness, and even a naked and growing fear are all shared by the citizens of countries that have fallen under that dark cloud of "socialism". You and your SO do indeed have an extremely difficult decision to make regarding whether to stay or go. Right now at least you still have the option of leaving but that option will probably not be available to you in the not too distant future . If you get out while you can you still have that glimmer of hope if little else. When hope is lost all is lost. When the iron curtain descended on the countries of the Soviet bloc the people no longer had the option of leaving without risking death. I do hope you will strongly consider leaving before things reach that point.

    1. It is really not a matter of hoplessness. It is more the need to accpet the now fact that this is a country of mostly shitty people that have turned it into a shitty country.

      Then again that seems to be the fate of most countries.

    2. Or in other words, a country through and through Adeca

    3. Daniel - I am an American who lived in Anzoategui from 2002-2007. Most of the Venezuelan and expatriate friends we had are gone and thriving in the USA, Italy, Canada, etc. I feel you either take up arms against the government in a civil war, if you think it is worth it, or leave and enjoy the short life we have on earth. I have been following your blog since I was in Venezuela, less as the years go by of my leaving the country, and it has been invaluable to people who love the Venezuelan people and want to see it proper. However, writing about what is happening is not changing the regime. It might be time to go. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  3. Well said: It is really not a matter of hoplessness. It is more the need to accpet the now fact that this is a country of mostly shitty people that have turned it into a shitty country.

    Then again that seems to be the fate of most countries.

  4. Tom in Oklahoma6:12 PM

    I would certainly agree that "shitty" is an appropriate adjective to describe current conditions in Venezuela. My concern stems from trying to anticipate the regime's plans for "the revolution" going forward. Judging by what occurred in other countries I am truly concerned that conditions will continue to deteriorate incrementally well past shitty.... I hope and pray that "hellish" does not eventually become a more appropriate adjective.

  5. Anonymous11:12 PM

    Dano you should consider California. It fits perfectly your world view, everything you believe in they - the ones in power- believe in also.
    Sanctuary, you get in without visa, you are good to go, they will protect you from the evil fed gov.
    Illegal and gay? Go to the front of the line for jobs, free health care, free education/training. HIV? Only state where it is no crime to pass it on.
    It sounds like heaven for you and bf.

    1. Sounds like you should switch places with Daniel. You might as well be in VZLA with all the shitty people and Daniel and his SO could bring some Hope, Strength, and Values to the town where you are currently taking space.

    2. Tom in Oklahoma2:04 AM

      @ Mitchell....good idea but I think that jerk wad may be too "shitty" for even the regime to accept! Lol.
      Even they must have some kind of standards to maintain! Lol.

    3. Sometimes I wonder why people label small government / conservative / libertarian types like me as hateful buffoons. This is why. Because posts like this that display mean-spirited buffoonery.
      Daniel of course it's a decision only you two can make. I for one remain grateful for your blog and whatever course you take I say a prayer for you and your SO that you will enjoy the rest of your lives abroad or in a safe stable space in Vz.

  6. Anonymous7:11 PM

    Does the legislature still meet? If yes, why isn't it being made the focal point of resistance?

  7. Daniel I wish you would get out of there.
    There is no floor to the current fall of the Venezuelan standard of living
    It can truly become hellish there
    While you can please plan to get out, every day do one thing to get out. Please.

  8. Anonymous5:04 AM

    When "it" happens it is going to happen so fast you might not have time to get out. And I think the "it" might be very bad.

  9. this posted by an Ecuador newspaper: La Asamblea Nacional Constituyente de Venezuela aprobó los primeros 10 artículos de la polémica "Ley contra el odio y el fascismo"

  10. Daniel, I have often wondered why you are still one of los que se quedaron. Not that departing would ever have been easy, by any means, nor that I can blithely say that I would have done something different were I in your shoes. I wish I had worthwhile advice for you, my friend.

    1. At this point I think that there is no "worthwhile" advice. Gut feeling and that is that.

      Thanks for resurfacing.

    2. I can't argue with that at all. I don't drop by much, but I do think of you basically every time I hear bad news about Venezuela. It's hard not to be a bit nostalgic for the days when things were not so bad, and the useful idiots still believed those in charge were doing the right thing. It was much easier to find things to say to such as those than it is now.


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