martes, 15 de noviembre de 2011

It smelled like democracy

Something different happened last night. If you have read Caracas Chronicles' witty remarks, you know this was the first time in 28 years that this country presences a debate between presidential candidates. Some people said it wasn’t a debate but more likely, a talk, an elegant presentation of speech styles and proposals. I don’t care if it was a debate or not. What matters is that it was something different, something we have lost, something we have forgotten for a long time now. It was a new air. It smelled like democracy.

Some people say that democracy is not the best political system. I’m not sure, I’m no expert and I have lived in a system that has nothing like it. But every time that any event give us the illusion of a democracy, I have to tell you: it feels so good! -. To see those five leaders respecting the rules, the word order, speaking without insults, talking about something entirely new: talking about private property, opportunities, reconciliation, justice, jobs... And everybody, and by this I mean everybody, even Chavez supporters; talking about it.

This morning, at my office, we engaged in a verbal fight about Pablo Perez’ paternal speech versus Diego Arria radical – but perhaps necessary- measures; others were discussing about whether they would give their vote to Capriles despite how much Maria Corina excelled in her speech. And when the screams (yes, there were screams), were over; we all smiled. No one smiles after a fight but we did. We smiled as soon as a colleague said “you know, we are not talking about Chavez this time”. That’s such a relief, to be talking about something else. We almost felt like we were in a different country.

On Twitter, rough talks are also served. Chavez supporters have promoted a tag #debatequebrao to criticize the debate. But this proves they also watched it. They must have felt the contrast between Chavez’ solo aggressive, distant, repetitive and threatening speech which can last for hours; and an hour and a half event where five people only had one minute to answer common people’ questions. Main papers have the debate in their front page. For the first time is not about Chavez or his terrible moves, for the first time it is about us. For the first time in almost 10 years, we can say we have a different political agenda.

I already tweeted my personal opinions on the performance of each candidate. But, now that I’m blogging about it, I don’t think this is important. The importance of last night do not relay on each candidate individual proposals, on rational decisions we make after watching their performances. The importance of last night lays on feelings. I have already said it but it really is about that, about how good it felt. Last night was a tea spoon taste of democracy and peace. I almost thought we were unable to recognize their taste, but after 12 years, is still there, inside of us.

And it is making us feel a lot better.

So kuddos to the Student Movement (the once White Hands) for making it happen and in my alma mater UCAB which makes me extra proud!!!. I hope we can presence similar events again and again and over again. Until democracy can come back to us in a much bigger dosis.

miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2011

Since we don't have babies..

My sister just gave us an order: to go to every single supermarket, drug store etc, near our offices, looking for the milk their children need; specially my little niece who is just one year old. On every supermarket I visit asking for the milk, I encounter the same scene. Three or four moms, or grandmothers, are looking for the same, frustrated. Now that the milk specially made for kids has disappeared, regular milk is starting to scarce. Every day that goes by is a day that every kid in Venezuela is not receiving the nutrients he needs. Every day that goes by, the anxiety and desperation of their parents grow. This is the worst trouble they face, but not the only one.

The whole Johnson’s line for babies disappeared from one day to another, a few months ago. The baby powder, baby’ oil, shampoo, baby’ cream etc, just disappeared. Now you can find those products of other brands, most unfamiliar brands. My sister has started to prove each, with no success, none of those products have a quality compared to the Johnson’s one; those she was used to. Some have a weird smell. All baby powders seem to have a strange texture. And lets not start talking about the cream.

Diapers shortages are another addition to the drama. Early this year, there was a major diapers shortages (and sanitary pads too, as readers noticed). The situation is better now, but you still can’t find diapers of all brands, and all sizes. My sister has changed brands at least twice and one of those brands gave allergies to my niece. When my nephew was born, back in 2007; my sister was crazy about diapers specially made for the pool. Now you can’t find those anywhere; so my niece has never tried the fabulous diapers her older brother used on every beach trip. Now beach trips are troublesome, with no appropriate diapers to wear.

People who do not have babies don’t notice. Politicians are talking about Chavez’ disease, upcoming elections, insecurity, national debt, international community and Human Rights. All those are very important topics for me, for everybody. But for all those parents out there, nothing is more important than having those things their kids (specially babies) need; and that they cannot find.