Thursday, July 26, 2007




I’m off to Venezuela for a “holiday” in two months. Can you guess which of the two videos below my holiday will most resemble?
Most Venezuelans (and other "middle-class" (read: rich)) South Americans I meet regard my guarded optimism re Chavez as ludicrous and incomprehensible and invariably end up by suggesting that never having been there and seen what a disaster it is, (presumably there were no barrios before Chavez got in power…actually there weren’t officially.. it’s only since Chavez came into power that the map of Caracas has been redrawn to include them, before, they were simply empty green spaces, howzat for homo sacer!?) I have no right to hold an opinion, to which I always counter that they wouldn’t say that to anyone who AGREED with them would they? It’s the old “don’t generalize” thing, no-one ever says “Oh, that’s a huge generalization” when you say something nice about people. ( “ You Brazilians are such lovely, warm, open people aren’t you?” “ I resent that generalization about my nationality, many of us actually are utter cunts!”) So, anyway I’m off there, not that this will make any difference of course as they‘ll simply say, “Two weeks, is that all…? You STILL have no right to hold an opinion.” Unless I come back with a negative one, of course. (Just as they have no opinion on, err… Fidel Castro.... I mean never having been to Cuba.. but he’s a Communist, right.. they’re self-evidently evil.. you don’t NEED to go there to know that…)

Ahh…. no doubt corruption and cronyism are rife, inflation’s at 20 percent and the super-rich are blithely unaffected by it all, while the small businessman loses his livelihood/assets. What’s more significant than the successes or failings of Chavez’s term however (or indeed of any variety of “Socialism”) is the fact that, as one of the interviewees points out at the end of John Pilger’s “The War on Democracy,” it’s much more important than Chavez, it doesn’t depend on him, he’s hopefully, simply the catalyst for the raising of the broad mass of Venezuelans (and more broadly, the indigenous mass of South America) to political agency, that’s the decisive stroke, making them believe that they don’t just “count” in the political process, they are the political process.

Excitingly, yesterday it seemed that Chavez was ordering out foreigners who claimed Venezuela wasn’t a democracy, (the irony!) but on closer inspection it was simply a veiled warning to the Mexican ambassador, who had the cheek to suggest that DIIPIV (Democracy Is In Peril In Venezuela.) Well, he should know all about democracy in peril and a polarized nation after the last Mexican elections shouldn’t he? Shame they didn’t get Jimmy Carter in to verify it all like Chavez did.

2 comments:

ASHDAV said...

Indeed, after almost 12 years in the Czech Republic I am still told I don't understand when I accuse Czechs of racism against gypsies (presumably not having lived in Hitler's Germany I have no right to criticise him either), and just wait till I see what those darkies are really like etc. Hope you're not going off too soon, I'll be back in London 13-18 Aug

Luciano said...

Well... what makes me wonder about Chavez-New-Bolivarianism obviously is not its radical left-wing position, but its totalitary aspect and its petrol-diplomacy. I've never been to Venezuela, but I have some opinions based on things I read about its political situation. Lately I'm trying to find out if it's really true that Chavez relations and close friends are becoming real tycoons in Venezuela. Hope you bring us some fresh and impartial news.
By the way... any chance to stop over Brazil??? Yeah, that's an invitation!!!