Once upon a time, a there was a country that lived under the subjugating boot of the Spanish Crown, this small country had but a simple dream: to be free from the shackles of those that had colonized it, so that its people could forge their own path in history and be sovereign; that country was known as Venezuela.

The spark of that small dream grew larger and larger across its populace and wrote its own chapters in the history of humanity; not content with just liberating our nation, we were the spearhead of an entire continental independence movement, the red in our flag colloquially represents the blood that was spilt by those that fought so that we could be free.

As a nation, we have always been inexorably drawn to greatness ever since the early steps of our independence movement. Now, as we stand in the precipice of total collapse, that passion that characterizes us is employed in our uphill struggle to survive against the current maelstrom of consequences that we’ve been driven to. We have become masters of improvisation at the face of adversity, capable of achieving the impossible out of nothing; we slowly underwent a metamorphosis, from a nation of liberators to mere survivalists, all result of the terrible circumstances that have afflicted us for decades.

El Helicoide, in Caracas - Venezuela

The Helicoide – the “Tropical Babel.” Originally envisioned as a drive-in mall, it would’ve also featured a park, a club, and even a spectacles theater on its dome; its construction was never finished. Today it is used as a headquarters for the Bolivarian Intelligence Service and as a makeshift prison.

We are a blessed country, be it by divine intervention or perhaps by the chaotic randomness of nature; our small country has a diverse landscape and unique wonders of nature, such as the Angel Falls (the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall), or the Catatumbo Lightning atmospheric phenomenon. We have also been blessed with an abundance of natural resources, we possess the world’s highest proven oil reserves, more than enough fertile lands, natural gas resources, bauxite, gold, precious metals. You name it, we have it.

We have all the materials and resources required to build one of the greatest nations on this planet, one that’s not great due to its military strength or by its geographic extension, but one that achieves greatness thanks to our resources and our rich culture, to be a force of good in the region and possibly, the world; but we never managed to achieve the greatness that we seemed to be destined to attain.

So what went wrong? The answer is us. Those that have been blessed to be citizens of this nation are also this nation’s curse. Our incessant need to believe and cling in messianic figures, our obsessive desire to fix what is not broken; we are a hard working people, we love to partake in jokes and jests, we are always willing to go above and beyond to help those in need, but let’s face it, we simply suck at leading ourselves.

The Confinanzas Tower (Torre de David) – Another testament to our failure.

An endless string of corrupt politicians, wasted opportunities, and broken promises at the hands of a decadent AD and COPEI bipartisan rule over the span of forty years paved the way to our coup de grâce: Socialism.

The alluring promise of a socialist utopia resonated deep into the hearts and souls of a majority of the country after they suffered through the disastrous governments of the 80s and 90s; a majority that let’s be honest, had nothing to lose and everything to gain from it. I can’t blame them for having wanted a better life.

Around ten years ago this country experienced the biggest oil bonanza in its history; as much as the Socialist government loves to decry and denounce the “Evil US Empire” they made big bank thanks to that “war industry” they so vehemently adverse. One portion was indeed spent into social programs, another portion was grossly mismanaged and wasted, the rest simply vanished into thin air.

General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge, the pride and joy of my home state, a jewel of a now lost era of prosperity.

Nearly six decades of wasted opportunities (of which the past years have been the most disastrous of them all), of misused resources, or false promises by false messiahs have led to the current disaster we’re living through.

Do I think that we can recover? Yes, but it is highly unlikely and certainly won’t be an easy task. It will take decades to get this country back on track and it seems that in our case time is a flat circle, we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

I want to be proud of my country like I once used to be, I really do, but we are a broken nation, and not just economically; our society is shattered, our culture is slowly fading away under the ever increasing shadow of the current political struggle that continues to infect every part of our livelihood.

Petare, Caracas.

Both sides of the political spectrum (mind you, the red commie left and the center left opposition – there is no actual conservative/right wing party here) have locked down the game with their stupidity and obsession with power quotas, no new leaderships can freely surge and propose a much needed third position or fresh approach to the calamities that have befallen upon us, neither side will let you do that because they refuse to cede a inch of power; both sides have fucked us big time.

“I want to leave this country” is an answer you will constantly hear from passersby if you were to ask them, from young adults to even the elderly; it’s not a decision that’s taken out of a whimsical desire or impulse (or as some would say it, due to “transculturalization”), it’s an ultimate choice that we’re now forced to take if we aspire to build a future for ourselves, for our loved ones and for our family.

This has now become a country where even if you don’t spend a single cent one day, you will wake up exponentially poorer the next day regardless, where every week your salary is worth less and less. A country where nothing works the way it should, where even the simplest things are drowned in a sea of bureaucracy and regulations. Nothing works the way it should here.

A country that its currency is now worth less than some video games’ in-game currencies, let that sink in, some video games have stronger currencies than the Venezuelan Bolivar, a currency that at some point in its troubled history used to be worth more than the American Dollar itself.

This is now a country where selling your soul to Father Government is not only encouraged, it’s celebrated. You’re forced to clap and cheer as you wave flags and chant political phrases whilst fellating the egos of the ruling politburo elite, lest you want to risk losing your public sector job and its meager benefits (at least they give you a matching red shirt and hat, now smile and memorize the chants and praises).

A country where those that rule over us all stand above their pedestals and throw breadcrumbs at the poorest, expecting and demanding absolute obedience and loyalty in return.

A country where you can’t afford to be sick or injured, you must supply your own gauze and gloves if you want to get a simple surgery.

A country where every night we now celebrate the fact that we have seen the back of another black day, the crime rate is so absurdly high you might as well call us Gotham (sans Batman).

Arturo Uslar Pietri, a Venezuelan Lawyer and Journalist, said in 1936 that we shouldn’t just rely on oil, he said that we should “sow it”, if only we had listened back then.

tl;dr: Socialism, not even once.

1 Comment

Mari Cimino · February 20, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Sent this post to my 1st world friends to whom I’m always trying to explain a little about how I feel and why I feel it and what the fuck happened to make me this miserable. Your words conveyed exactly what I want to say when someone asks me why one of the most promising countries in Latin America suddenly went to shit. Excellent post and blog. Can’t wait to read your novel! (From a Venezuelan writer to another: Fuerza y pa’lante.)

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