sábado, 16 de junio de 2007

(Part I) Rich kids are not people

When I try to make an intellectual exercise and start thinking about a possible and genuine argument that the government could use against the white hand (students) movement, I can’t honestly think of any.Of course we must consider here, that no matter how hard I try, I’m a judge and a part of this issue. But the usual arguments that the government screams against any adversary such as connections with the imperialism and attempts to bring down the government doesn’t seem to apply in the students case. Neither do we have connections with the imperialism although that’s a government paranoia hard to prove sometimes and we have stated several times that we are not looking for ways to bring down the government as many opposition groups pretend; we just want the civil rights to be respected, no matter who is in command.
That issue, hasn’t stopped the government from using those couple of typical arguments against us. As a result we have established a new joke in our daily conversations: “Hey!, Did you get your pay check from the CIA?” – “Oh, damn… I forgot to check my bank account deposits yesterday, they should have paid me something since I attended the last students demonstration” – “Nah, I checked already, the CIA sucks with payments, we should start looking for another agency to manipulate us”
But the strongest excuse to take credit and legitimacy of this students movement instead of discussing their proposals from both government and pro government media (foreign and local) and even from a few skeptically who don’t like Chavez policies at all but they also have their doubts about the real progress of the movement; it’s the following: those students who filled the streets with their hands painted with white and message of peace and freedom are only rich kids.
First, in terms of the Venezuelan population as a whole, the number of students from the universities and even more involved with the movement is almost imperceptible if you compare it with other groups, for example with the poor. Therefore, that student movement doesn’t have any significant impact statistically speaking. Besides that those kids are only there in the defense of the status quo and the preservation of their rich condition that is a legacy from the oppression that a huge majority of the population suffered before Chavez government.
Those kids just don’t accept that a new class is rising to power and taking the rights the rich people once denied to them. Those kids are in the streets for defending a TV network such as RCTV, channel that contributed to the oppression the government constantly denounces. They are mostly white skinned and live in the middle of a life of luxuries, and had managed to enter into the very exclusive traditional education system.
When we answer to that attack if we ever do we start it by saying that most of us are neither rich or white, and there are students from the “barrios” (slums) just as they are students from places like “La Lagunita” (traditional very high class area in Caracas) and above all, middle class students which families work hard every day to keep a decent life standard without many luxuries.
When I first thought about writing an entry to bring down the general picture about life conditions in Venezuela that some foreigners has, I thought about displaying with details my current economical and finance situation explaining that many things on the surface (such as the fact that I live in an upper class area in Caracas and attend to a private university) are different on the inside (such as the fact that the house were we live at is not ours because we can't afford one and I only attend to a private university because I’m lucky to have a scholarship). But then, I thought that telling this story in order to say that I’m not so rich and therefore justify my right to protest was pointless or even worse; was a way to justify government’s speech.
I wont talk about the race variety among the students movement (because specially in Venezuela, no matter how much the government and the foreign left that does not get our culture insists, it is pointless to discuss race as an issue in the same way that its being discussed in other countries such as South Africa or even United States) neither am I going to speak about the variety of the finance incomes that the members of the white hand movement haves. I’m not going to do it because no matter how rich, how wealthy a person is, everybody should be equal at the eyes of the law and therefore everyone should have the right to protest.
The laws treatment can’t depend on economical or more likely class criteria (because no matter how poor I get through the complicated years of this revolution, I’ll be always considered as part of an upper middle class) because that’s called just discrimination. And the discrimination can be practiced both sides, from rich to poor and backwards.
What the government, specially the person at its head: Mr Chavez call as “people” shouldn’t be only the poor, only the humble, or only the people who support him, should be everybody. I should have the right to be considered part of the “Venezuelan people” just like anyone else. Simply because despite my birth, my class, and my skin condition; I was born and raised here and so has my family for more than four generations. But the “chavismo” (Chavez ideology) works hard to make us feel every day, less Venezuelan and some other Venezuelans even if they don’t fully support “Chavismo” tend to be implicit agree with this argument.

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