Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Unfolding Tragedy

The words of Thomas Paine come to mind when witnessing the tragedy that is unfolding in Venezuela: "These are the times that try men's souls". It is difficult to convey the sense of loss felt by Venezuelans as they see the last vestiges of democracy slipping from their grasp. Today, Saturday, the supermarkets in that country are packed with citizens who fear the chaos that may follow tomorrow's election. The following is a translation by Guillermo from Venepoetics of a recent article of Milagros Socorro from last Thursday. It was by the way quite a literary piece that was very hard to translate, and even harder to convey all the brilliant flavor and lyricism of the piece. At any rate, this is it, enjoy and reflect about the message that comes with this piece.
We Are Going to Write It. Milagros Socorro Out of habit, almost as a way to focus my mind on something that isn’t this knot in my chest, I ask myself what the international observers and foreign journalists might think when they hear Chavez vociferate in a public square that the results of December 3rd are already written. I give myself over to this exercise because anger is more bearable than the sensation that our destiny hangs from a thread, from the result of two candidacies that not only express opposite ways of leading the country, but which at this hour are perceived as equal in their chances of winning…or retaining power, to the disgrace of the Republic. I reread the account of Chavez’s speech on Bolivar Avenue and I strain to guess what interpretation the distinguished visitors might make of a declaration that draws such a precise portrait of the man who speaks and who so blatantly shows his determination to unravel the electoral ritual, to finish demolishing the scant confidence voters have in the CNE and of reinforcing his reputation as an autocrat skilled at the manipulation of the vote. These years have taught us a great deal. We have learned, for example, that the observer’s job consists in practicing only half of the definition of the verb observe; in other words, to “Examine attentively,” as the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy says, which adds: “To observe the symptoms of a sickness. To look with attention and caution, to watch.” But they are careful to stop themselves from applying the other half of the word’s meaning, which implies: “To guard and accomplish exactly what is told and ordered. To warn, to repair.” Duplicitously, they see of course, but they don’t speak out. And they become accomplices. AS FOR THE FOREIGN PRESS, WE’VE ALSO LEARNED THAT IN GOOD MEASURE IT’S MADE UP OF EXPEDITIONARIES searching for the route to the thrift shop of illusions that Venezuela has become. Many of the journalists who come here from other countries do so with the intention of confirming in this junk heap of utopias that there still exist heroes in the world midway between universal folklore and revolutionary insanity. And nothing else matters to them as long as they can take away a souvenir of the memory, with an article under their name that will draw a picture of the last dinosaur, an embalmed head for the museum of Third World-ism. If they haven’t had the sensibility and even compassion to see and name Cuba’s tragedy, what can we expect, we who in our oil profits have a safeguard that will protect us from exhibiting the shame of misery and slavery, like the island does. When we were thrown into this historical ditch I had many expectations about the international sense of responsibility and, even more, in the sensible nature of the foreign press, and what I took for granted, their disbelief in front of a lieutenant colonel who evidently intended to create the illusion of a revolution in order to camouflage a military and authoritarian regime so inefficient that we would have to make up another word to allude to its destructive botched job. It didn’t take long for me to understand Venezuela’s great solitude. Very soon, I would confirm that frivolity is the force that moves the world and that part of it is very contented with an action movie in which the dead, the backwardness and the demolition derby of democratic values are paid by others, preferably idiots of underdevelopment. IT’S NOT THAT IT DOESN’T HURT. IT HURTS, IT MAKES ONE DESPERATE AND IT ENRAGES ONE TO SEE THE LACK OF RECIPROCITY TOWARDS VENEZUELA, the democratic country that avoided so many deaths in Central America, that contributed so much to a democratic transition in Spain, that sheltered and gave work to so many exiles from the Southern Cone and, in the end, that received so many immigrants, so as to add them, like offspring which to our benefit they became, to the democratic aspiration the Republic has housed almost since its foundation. That gift we gave to the world—and which we are always proud of—has not been matched in the same measure, which degrades those who received it and who now look elsewhere so as to not see the terrible trials that flutter over us. If yesterday they took the treasure of peace and democratic coexistence, now they pretend to not notice, so as to not lose their portion of the contracts without bidding or dollar donations the autocrat hands out for the sole purpose of exchanging them for consciences, for silence, for connivance with his crimes, when not for applause and insults against Venezuela’s opposition and free press. Because we’ve had to swallow even that: the arrogant irruption of politicians and intellectuals of all sorts who come to our house to call us coup-plotters (a category that fits the satrap of ’92) and to put Venezuelan journalism, which has used words against weapons, ideas against all-encompassing power, journalists against soldiers, on trial; and whose excesses, which I don’t deny and which don’t cram the salon of my honors, have always obeyed the determination to stand up to a nefarious, authoritarian and thieving government, but never the mellifluous intention of adulating it or outlining versions to justify its abuses and its openly criminal actions. CHAVEZ’S SCANDALOUS VISION ANNOUNCING THAT THE RESULTS OF 3D ARE ALREADY WRITTEN WON’T MEAN ANYTHING TO OUR ILLUSTRIOUS GUESTS, as it’s safe to say neither will the devastating image of a woman nailed to a tree like a type of Christ in the age of Bill Gates, who arrives at martyrdom dragged by a promise of housing that hasn’t been honored and to see if that self immolation will improve the odds of her outcry in a country where words have been the object of hyperinflation and are no longer worth anything. Only the suffering body manages to babble any content. But it does have a great deal to say to us. Everything. Because any Venezuelan, no matter how young he might be, has enough of a civic tradition behind him to know that a true democrat would never express himself in that manner. A manner that carries in its belly the braggart who threatens us with fixing electoral results to his whim and convenience. We can’t turn a blind eye to Chavez’s announcement that if he wins the elections, there will be no room here for any project other than the Bolivarian revolution, which is the equivalent of saying there will be neither space nor Homeland for the millions of Venezuelans who are radically opposed to that project. What is he going to do with us? Will he drag us from our homes? Will he round us up into concentration camps? Will he kill us? That will be the only way to reduce us, because Chavez must know that we democratic Venezuelans are unbeatable. There is no threat or danger against our integrity and lives that will make us step back from our commitment to impeding the dismantling of the nation and the confiscation of our liberties. We know—and whoever doesn’t know by now should wake up—that 3D will be written by the democratic nation, the one that isn’t scared by the boasting of a loser who fears everything except ridiculousness. And that the calligraphy of 3D will be monumental because each opposition vote will be made for the good of Venezuela and, moreover, for the freedom of Cuba, which will move closer to democracy in the measure its regime loses the support of our backyard’s legal dictator; as well as the reinforcement of Mexican democracy and the peace of Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Facing that, there can’t be any fear but only a febrile, crazy, overflowing courage that will surprise the felon and disarm him with the irrefutable, roaring, liberating and replenishing gesture of Venezuelan civic-mindedness.

As usual, the tyrant has dissarmed the people except for the hundreds of thousands of new Kalishikov automatic rifles recently bought from Russia and Spain to be supplied to his followers and the Army. The references to 3D are for 03 December. Doubtless, Jimmy Carter will be attending the event to affix his seal of approval to his lengthening list of "fair" (but stolen) elections. I do not know if Milagros Socorro is a pen name. Translated it means: "Help! Miracles".


No comments: