domingo, 7 de diciembre de 2008

My heritage

Yesterday, Chavez launched yet another cadena for a few hours. The motive: a yet another huge red demonstration and yet another ridiculous speech to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Revolution or, in other words: ten years of a country under Chavez command. He was supposed to last 5 years in office and from that point many things happened, many events that many people considered legal or that others simply didn't pay attention or the ones who did; and protest against, were too few to be noticed. On days like this, you tend to look back and remember how everything started. I was 14.

We were watching Venevisión. The camera switched from one picture to another showing each and every president we had so far in our democratic period and it stopped under the last one, a smiling guy in red: "Hugo Rafael Chavez Frías"; my oldest brother laughed with irony and went straight to Miraflores to see "how they are going to celebrate", my mom screamed "It can't be... it can't be..." - She said. We never liked the guy, we lived the events of the coups of 1992 (that he leaded) way too close so that’s why we never liked him. But we were a minority. Even between our social class, even between the rest of my family, even in my school and my neighborhood.

I didn't suspect on that moment that my life was going to change forever, that my economical situation would never be the same, that I would have to farewell many friends and family members and that I would even considered them lucky for having the chance of leaving the country.

That I was going to attend to one protest after another, sometimes without knowing for real what I was protesting or seeking for.

That I was going to be classified as an oligarch, pitiyankee, antipatriotic and a long list of etc because of having light skin and belonging to a high middle class. That the insecurity levels were about to increase in a way the older generations never thought or imagine.

That I was going to work in politics and pass from being excited to disappointed from one day to another.

That my country was going to have a new name, a new flag, and a new time zone only because the president wanted it that way.

That I was going to feel fear all the time for loads of reasons. That I was going to get used to coming back to my house quickly before dark.

That I was going to get used to see all open signal TV Channels and radio stations forced to broadcast Chavez speeches and general government propaganda daily, for several hours.

That I was going to consider as a condition for having one friend or another, their political inclination. That I was going to see the rise and the decline of many friends as they have try to put an end to this madness.

That I was going to go to one supermarket and another and another to see if I was lucky enough to find milk, or sugar, or coffee...

That I was going to be forced to ask for a lot of permissions to have foreign currency if I needed to travel or buying something online.

That I was going to open a blog in a language that, back then I only barely knew how to say "hello", "good bye", "thank you" and "can I go to the bathroom?".

Its been 10 years since then. 10 years are nothing in the life of an adult but those 10 years mean most of my high school years, my university years and now my first job experiences. In those 10 years you can count my 15th year old parties, my first drink, my first date... a whole list of many many "first". 10 years might not mean a lot to many people, but they mean practically translate to all my life so far. Who I was before that? Nothing less and nothing more than a kid. And now I'm an adult and it all happened under the same president.

He was a president I never wanted, elected for the first time on a process that I wasn't old enough to vote. I feel that my generation is paying now because of that heritage. A heritage that frequently stop us from planning our futures in the way our parents did. A heritage that slowly, put us many limitations and lower our quality of life. A heritage that tends to look to me like a prison. Like 10 years in your (one time a) home behind bars.

PS: Some readers probably know that Beethoven is my favorite composer ever, I specially enjoy his sonatas, and the last movement is always very powerful. I'm just starting to play this piece and I thought the mood it has from the interpretation of Wilhelm Kempff reflects the drama of this post. Here's the third movement of The Tempest, enjoy and look at the expressions of the piano player, they are absolutely stunning

6 comentarios:

  1. "Like 10 years in your home behind bars."

    Very powerful imagery, Julia. I think here in the US, where term limits are enforced, situations like that of Venezuela's are almost inconceivable. True that FDR was elected four times, but since our Constitution was amended, there has never been an attempt to break the Constitution in this respect. It is my sincere hope that Venezuelans do not give up and tell Chavez and the PSUV again this coming 27F that he will not be able to be re-elected indefinitely. Neither you nor I have faith in the governmental institutions of your country, but one mustn't let that get in the way for democratic actions to take place. Most didn't think that 2D would go the way it did...

    At the risk of sounding extraordinarily repetitive, as this quote is frequently cited: "La continuación de la autoridad en un mismo individuo frecuentemente ha sido el término de los gobiernos democráticos. Las repetidas elecciones son esenciales en los sistemas populares, porque nada es tan peligroso como dejar permanecer largo tiempo en un mismo ciudadano el poder. El pueblo se acostumbra a obedecerle y él se acostumbra a mandarlo; de donde se origina la usurpación y la tiranía. Un justo celo es la garantía de la libertad republicana, y nuestros ciudadanos deben temer con sobrada justicia que el mismo magistrado, que los ha mandado mucho tiempo, los mande perpetuamente." -Simon Bolivar, Congreso de Angostura, 15 de febrero, 1819

  2. Liz, thanks...

    Kate... I truly hope that February can become yet another 2D but here in Venezuela you never know. Thanks for the quote, I have seen it parts of it in a lot of places lately. You know I'm not particulary a fan of Bolívar but not only that quote but that whole speech of Angostura is very enlightening

  3. Yeah, I know how you feel about Bolívar...tampoco es el santo de mi devoción, but I think the quote is extremely valid, given the circumstances.

    Another quote which is equally applicable in Venezuela: "Depender de la autoridad de un solo hombre, es esclavitud". ~Juan Germán Roscio, venezolano, vicepresidente de la Gran Colombia

    It would benefit many of the hardcore chavistas to take note of this, as they have been blinded by a single man's so-called ideology.

  4. Julia,
    Well written post. I liked how you pointed out it's been ten years and what those ten years meant to you. It puts a human face on a subject most would never consider doing so. Thanks.


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