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What do I know?
Not much as I said yesterday. Up until recently, my only exposure to anything involving Venezuela was the fact that I was chosen in the first grade to “represent” Venezuela in a play. Then later in my teens I had a lovely girlfriend that was from Venezuela. I often wonder what ever became of her, she was a great person.
Well, since President Barack Obama took office, our Socialist friend Mr. Hugo Chavez has become a bit of a household name here in the United States. I wonder why that is so? I cannot name one single president in any other part of the Spanish speaking world except for Chavez. AT ALL. Well, except for the world’s poorest president, Jose Mujica of Uruguay who donates all his money. He was on some popular memes, so obviously I’d hear of him.
Oh and Fidel Castro.
My friend asked me, Angel, who do you know that ever goes to Venezuela? I replied, years ago I was going to Aruba for vacation and I remember thinking “how awesome would it be to visit Venezuela since I’ll be halfway there”. Then I thought about Chavez, and I decided to do some research on whether or not Venezuela was a safe destination. Lets say my research indicated that Venezuela will not be visited anytime soon.
They lived it.
Yesterday I had a few discussions with some friends that grew up in Venezuela, and I inquired as to their opinion in regards to Hugo Chavez dying. To a person, not ONE expressed any sympathy. They don’t wish death on him or anyone, but they did not feel bad for this man dying. At all!
So I asked them why they felt this way. I was told of a beautiful country that they loved, Venezuelan pride. You should see how they spoke so fondly of the country, there was such a longing in their tone. They said that Venezuela was an amazing place to grow up back then, that is until Chavez came along. At this point the stories changed into tales of how they had no choice but to leave their beloved home due to safety concerns. Fondness turned to anger and disgust. I found this interesting as all I’ve read on Chavez indicated that he was against poverty and looking out for the poor.
So what’s exactly is going on here?
I was told that if you walk the streets of Venezuela after 8pm your chances of getting shot are 100%. Now, I am fairly certain that this number is a slight exaggeration, however, I’m not going to test the theory. So yes, they said that no one goes out after 8pm, if you do, it better be in a car and directly to your door step. Hearing about this way of life makes me feel sad and terrified for the people of the country. Living under such conditions is no way to live.
My friend also told me that the country has rules on how much money you can spend while traveling, and other financial controls. The economical situation was described as the rich stay rich, the poor stay poor. The person said that growing up they were considered part of the middle class, attending private schools and so on. According to this person though, the middle class no longer exists. You are either very rich or very poor. Period. The finger goes directly to Chavez for all of this.
Mr Chavez is gone, so what happens now? Will the Vice President take over? Will there be more of the same? Will the people stand up and start a revolution? What do you think it means when President Obama states he’ll work to the country? Doesn’t sound like it is very stable to begin with. Also it sounds like our U.S politicians sticking their faces in business that isn’t theirs! Can someone say oil?
I guess at this point we just wait and watch for what is to come. I hope that conditions improve for these folks sooner than later. I also hope that none of our brilliant politicians gets any funny ideas about stepping into the country.
FYI: If anyone provides a positive view on Chavez or the state of things Venezuela, I’ll gladly share it here. So far I have not received one piece of information that paints things in a good light. I’m not judging, I’m just sharing the findings to my research from real people like you and me.
Growing Up Bronx