Music for the Masses

Oh yeah! It’s that time of the year again! 

The office of the Mayor of Caracas has covered all corners of the Libertador Bolivarian Municipality in joyous celebration. Get your dance shoes on and put a smile on that sad and malnourished face of yours—it’s time for Suena Caracas 2018.

This now quasi-tradition allows the local authorities to brandish their utter display of tone-deafness with regards to the nightmare that has engulfed the lives Caracas’ citizens. Buckle up for one month of nothing but 100% pure (and most importantly, politically filtered) Venezuelan talent. Truly a festival for the masses.

The festivities will not be limited to a series of concerts in the center of Caracas. This time, the music will also come to select communities and schools. You need water? Here’s some music. Your school could use some resources? Here’s some music. Crime is out of control in your community? Too bad, here’s some music.

"Could we have some food?" "No. Here's some music."

Forget about the fact that there’s no meat anywhere, forget that you can’t find medicine for your family—hell, forget the hyperinflation. Just jam to the sound of these artists! One thing though: Happiness and enjoyment is mandatory, fellow citizen.

The colossal waste of money that this event is incurring has been the subject of heavy criticism, specially this year’s edition. We’ve been told that all of our woes are originated from “The Evil US Empire’s sanctions” and all that ideological nonsense that accompanies said narrative; and yet, there seems to be enough money to burn in these types of events—it’s not like we have other priorities, right?

Caracas is plagued with all sorts of problems, not even the capital city is exempt from the systemic failures in infrastructure that have plagued other regions of Venezuela for some time now. The quality of our water leaves much to be desired:

Garbage collection and disposal is utterly collapsed.

And don’t get me started on the roads…

But of course, none of that has any importance. “Decolonizing” our people through music is more important than making sure our cities suck less. Yes, decolonizing us from western/European influences is one of the new objectives of the government.

There’s been countless of tweets made by residents of Caracas denouncing these three crucial issues (among many other woes). The current mayor replied to one of these tweets, you could tell that she was “slightly upset” by it all, given the tone of her response.

And then she got ratio'd

Words for the Minds

There is another event happening right now as well, the 14th Venezuelan International Book Fair or FILVEN.

Turkey is this year’s guest country. Brand new books will be launched, there’s poetry, movies, workshops, performing arts. It all sounds great, right? I mean, it isn’t just a simple Book Fair—it is an international gathering of artists of all shapes and sizes, right? Think again.

As expected, only artists and authors whose works and ideologies align with that of the government are allowed in this exclusive public event.

According to the event’s organizers, one of the most sought books is “Sardinas para Comerte Mejor” (Sardines to eat you better) a book that contains numerous recipes involving these oily fishes with poetry intertwined among its pages.

There’s a bit of an irony in this since sardines are perhaps the last “cheap” source of protein left in the country—if you can find them that is.

At least she isn't reading Fifty Shades...

Books bashing Trump and the United States as a whole, books centered around the Supreme and Eternal Commander of the Bolivarian Revolution, Marx, Che, and many other books riddled with the usual leftist rhetoric are what you’ll find through the corridors of this event.

The intellectual debates are centered around feminism, Palestine, and anything that can be used to either justify the Bolivarian Revolution or to own USA and whatnot.

You may be asking “If the country is so broke then why waste precious resources in all of this?” Well, as with all things here, there is always another unspoken side to these type of “festivities”.

First, it allows them to present a charade or illusion, one that portrays people celebrating and dancing; although, who am I to blame the attendees for attempting to get some enjoyment out of this disaster. This also presents a picture of a good and intellectual city whilst masking away the ever-growing problems that have befallen upon us.

Secondly, it allows them to snatch some sweet commissions out of the whole deal. Suena Caracas is, after all, a month-long event with dozens of contracts and hundreds of expenses—all ripe for behind the table commissions.

It is more lucrative to embezzle money out of these type of events (which are enshrined in the city’s annual operative plan) than it is to fund a revamp the city’s garbage disposal system, solve the water distribution system woes, or fix the rising craters in Caracas’ roads.

If I learned something out of my previous jobs is that every time the government (be it local, regional, or national) does something then you can be sure that one or more higher-ups involved in it are getting a nice commission out of it—and these two events are right on time for Christmas. The timing couldn’t also be better, given the government’s new programs to laund—I mean, save money in crypto and gold.

But don’t think about these things, fellow citizen—in fact, you shouldn’t think at all. What you’re expected to do is go forth, dance, read, and participate in the self-wankery debates. Christmas is around the corner, and it will be the bleakest Christmas in Venezuela by far.

But hey, at least we have some bread and circus.