by, Jonuel Pozo
“The only gesture is to believe. Or not. Sometimes believe even while crying.”
Willie Colón, after the original by Chico Buarque.
Those of us who lived in a Venezuela that the new generation never knew are crying with them because in addition to the nightmare those young men and women are courageously protesting, our generation -including my parents’- lived in and enjoyed a Venezuela that was truly resplendent.
Was it perfect? Of course not. A paradise? In many ways, yes. Simply because despite all of its aspects in need of betterment, there was something particularly remarkable about Venezuelans: a certain effervescence, a natural disposition to be enterprising. It was the constant joy of having been born and grown up in a country blessed with so many natural resources and a mixture of people’s who truly cherished those blessings. But above all, a past of legitimate heroes who indefatigably fought to forge a nation whose potential equaled its divine gifts.
Every citizen had the right to embrace any political affiliation that reflects his or her ideals. But the time has come to be clear about something that can no longer be denied: the “revolution” that crept up on Venezuela in 1999 was not an exaltation to unite and work hard to repair the flaws and create a better country. On the contrary, if it had to be distilled in a few words, that “revolution” was a self-serving and blackmailed mandate to HATE.
I’ve spent years trying to objectively discern the intentions of Hugo Chavez. And sometimes I have even entertained the possibility that “perhaps” his vision was not without valid ideas and measures to realize his ideal of the “Bolivarian Republic”, which sadly continues to unfold as a disaster in which HATE is king and which, among other things, does not cease to claim thousands of victims. And I am not only referring to the more than 24,000 who have perished due to the outrageous and rampant violence that has festered in the last few years.
The obvious wound, what is categorically undeniable, is that a revolution initiated by a leader with presumed invigorating intentions continues to reveal itself as a corrupt, cruel and systematic perpetration against its own people.
There are volumes of proof attesting to that corruption. Every week the media sheds light on the gains benefiting the scoundrels in the high spheres of power. Whenever they have the audacity to appear on TV, one has to desperately try to not be dismayed by such display of ignorance and callous arrogance.
The video clips that have circulated on the Internet since February 12 attest to the vicious and hateful cruelty perpetrated by the armed forces who, if it’s true that their duty is to safeguard order and peace, have nonetheless revealed themselves as peons with no morals and, consequently, assassins for hire.
Starting in 1999, we Venezuelans have systematically subjected to a form of terrorism. The fanfare and long speeches promising change were followed by hypnosis and, shortly after, a limbo in which we remained suspended until eventually we all lost faith.
HATE won because it succeeded at that and much more.
We have been gradually programmed to embrace HATE. To hate the rich, the United States, the “foreigners” who fought in and for Venezuela, the Venezuelans living abroad, anyone who was an independent or with the opposition, anyone who was not Chavista and, lately, the young students who organized to pacifically demonstrate against a totalitarian regime supported by malevolent alliances which continues to rob Venezuelans of their dignity and well being and feeds on their blood and tears.
This is the moment for all of us to embrace the gesture of believing, just like those young men and women did. For in embracing it they tapped into their indomitable spirit and a bravery that have to bear fruits. I don’t have enough applause for them in my hands. But I fervently believe in them. And I will continue to believe in them, even if I fear and regret that often I will be doing so while crying.