Venezuela Down the Drain

By Alfredo Fernandez

Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES – “A man goes to Montecarlo casino, wins a million dollars, goes back to his hotel room where’s he staying, and kills himself.” This phrase was a compulsory exercise during a literary workshop, which I took in the early nineties. According to the workshop teacher, the suicide hid many of the conflicts that a human being experiences in their lifetime.

The strange combination of unexpected success, as well as a disastrous personal history, might have led the man to take his own life. He might have felt like Destiny was mocking him which, up until the moment he won the million dollars, had done nothing but scald him, who knows… Or maybe this man had everything in life except for the love of his life, who might have been mocking him by having other affairs.

The reality is that it is hard to find the curveball of life emotions this person had in their mind when they made this decision. 

Today, the Venezuelan people somewhat remind me of the man at the Montecarlo casino, who decided to commit suicide after having so much of everything we long for. Never before has a country so rich in natural resources created so many outcasts like Nicolas Maduro’s government has in Venezuela.  Today, every Latin American country is crammed with Venezuelan migrants who try to get by as best they can, while they are on the receiving end of an unprecedented wave of xenophobia within the region.

Conquered by former colonel Hugo Chavez at the ballots, on December 6, 1998, Venezuela had suffered serious problems of corruption, poverty and inequality, but it also offered opportunities for prosperity for whoever was willing to pay the price.

Making a typical populist gesture, Chavez promised to not be another president, but to reestablish the country, so when he was given the presidential sash, he swore on a “… dying Constitution.” Twenty-one years later, the Constitution isn’t the only thing dying now, the entire country is dying.

How will Venezuela steer back towards democracy? It’s a question that is practically impossible to answer today. Venezuela ended up being too much like Cuba, with an anti-democratic government which became deeply embedded in people’s everyday lives; today, there is nothing in a Venezuelan’s life that is separated from the State, just like in Cuba; Venezuelan citizens’ everyday lives have been subjected to the mafia holding power.

Here in Quito, where I’ve been living for nearly seven years, I’ve been living with Venezuelans who packed up their suitcases last January in the face of a smokescreen created by Juan Guaido (the president-elect by the National Assembly, without a drop of executive power as Maduro and Cabello hold it firmly in their grip), hoping that democracy would soon be returned in Venezuela.

Even so, many Venezuelans still believed that democracy after the Assembly’s appointed Guaido as president would be a matter of days (some even thought it would be a matter of hours), but as I read in an article written by Cuban historian Boris Gonzalez Arenas: “how hard it is to explain to people who haven’t lived these processes (like us Cubans), just how hard it is to free oneself from this kind of dictatorship.”

Many of Venezuelan friends thought that I was being a pessimist when I explained that it wouldn’t be as easy as it seemed; ten months have passed and (luckily) Guaido seems closer to remaining a lonely fool, that is if jail doesn’t await him, than it does that a democracy will be reestablished in Venezuela.

Until the Venezuelan opposition understands the destabilization work the Cuban government is doing within the region, which also depends on Venezuela, it won’t be able to outline an effective plan to help reestablish democracy in our sister country. Guaido’s “naiveness” led him to enter a dialogue with Maduro’s government, which is just about the same thing as letting Cuban intelligence bodies stick a rifle in his face.

Maria Corina Machado. Photo:

In my opinion, Maria Corina Machado is the only person with their head firmly set on their shoulders in the Venezuelan opposition, who has truly understood the extent of things in this country.

Guaido was working with her right at the beginning and then he slowly distanced himself, following the advice of politicians who have led him to what he is today: somebody without any really chances of helping Venezuela come out of the abyss it finds itself in.

I repeat that what is happening in Nicaragua, Venezuela and even Ecuador and Chile today, has ties to Cuba, and those involved not understanding this is strong political short-sightedness, at the very least.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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4 thoughts on “Venezuela Down the Drain

  • My friend you could not be more wrong. The reason that the United States is the country in the world that everyone wants to be a part of is this. Communism and socialism the same explanation I have heard since 1962 is the same one you have just given. I was born in 1959 in Santiago. The main difference is this. The USA is not a democracy. It is a republic. With that said all people holding public office are elected. All. From the school board right on up all the way to the president. There is always problems as described which is a human problem and in communist/ socialist country is worst. Because everyone in public office is appointed by the people in power not to serve but to observe power. There are no individual freedoms. Therefore no one but the ones connected to the people in power have any success at all. The United States I can list 300 problems but none like the China,Russia,Cuba,Venezuela to name a few. In the United States I can work hard in opposition and not get arrested. Can any of these communist utopias say the same thing. Freedom and opportunity all I ask for. I have always gotten that in America and I’m a proud American praise God!

  • There are always uneducated grovelers for dictatorships.
    If it was so great they wouldn’t be so afraid of democracy,free speech and open multi-party elections.

    And they often like to have the caps on they believe they are special.

  • Kennedy Earle, It shows that you are not a Cuban like me and thousands of Cubans have had to leave our homeland because of the despotism of the dictatorship of Cuban misgovernment. Misery, hunger, separation of entire families and serious conflicts between families for an ideology revolutionary, fascist and extremist who has destroyed a Cuba that was a receiver, before 1959, of thousands of emigrants who were looking for improvements in life on our Island. You just have to see how Cuba is destroyed today, poor if no future. Only the dynasty. of Fidel Castro and his political power live as bourgeois .. The code communism and socialism are a cancer, a scam and a lie to catch and enslave by force of his miserable ideology to peoples and entire countries. The author of this paper does not The reason why Cuba has not yet been free from this corrupt and despotic political plague is because it has allies of dictatorships such as the Russian and China that are its suppliers, sponsored Nators, ideological, logistic, military and military that have supported the Cuban dictatorship for many years. It shows that you do not live in Cuba or Venezuela, North Korea or China and Russia. No ..! you the ideologues of socialism who live in capitalism are the first hypocrites to go against what they live, eat and want, and then die, which is in capitalism itself. If you have so much pride in Cuba I am sure that there you and Your family will never live. You are a hypocrite. I, and thousands of Cubans, have left our land stained with communist dictatorship slavery and ideological despotism. I am currently living in the US, a country I admire for your democracy and freedom of expression. where I feel good politically and ideologically. When you live you try to live where you feel good about yourself and the things you want and crave. You are a Liar, perhaps one of those bourgeois and uncompromising oligarchs that creates the cursed cancer of communist or socialist ideology. We are going to see the deception and scam that people receive politically today.

  • When slavery was introduced as a means of making a few who controlled the slaves rich through their cheap labour, the vast majority of the people lived under dehumanizing conditions and were illiterate. The slaves could not even read about their Saviour who died on the cross for their sins. Could you the writer of that article write a compellinng piece outlining to me how you can use a system which degraded, dehumanized, oppressed, exploited, a whole race of people and use that same dehumanizing system to uplift, liberate and upgrade the lives of these same oppressed people? Please attempt to write the article to convince the exploited of the world? Change me into a capitalist with that convincing article.

    In 1959 whenCastro and Socialism took over in Cuba, Batista with USA support had 70% of 11 million citizens illiterate. By 1961 (just TWO Years) later the United Nations declared the island illiterate free. What a feat? Could the USA beat that? In the 1917 Russian Revolution, Tzar Nicholas ii, had little children working in all his mines. The Revolution took those children out of the mines and sent them to school where they rightfully belonged. Do your research and prove me wrong? When Hugo Chavez took over Venezuela, he met the majority of the inhabitants living in squalor.

    He invited in the Cubans to provide Free Medical Attention and to provide Free Education to the Masses. These are BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS ordained under the United Nations Charter of 24th October 1945. The People’sRepublic of China, could not have become so progressive (1949–2019 = 70 years) under a Capitalist system. It would have had the very rch and masses of paupers.. if you and the USA are so interested in DEMOCRACY, go to the Middle East where people cannot vote and rectify it. If Democracy is about people and VOTING,, how come Donald Trump is the President today when he was beaten by over 5 million votes by Hilary Clinton? If the USA which gained its Independence from Great Britain 4th July, 1776, how come Martin Luther King had to be fighting for the right for Black people to vote in 1965, (189 years) later?

    The U.N. Charter has given every Member the Sovereign Rightt to pursue their own economic development; how dare you and the USA to dictate what path they must follow? Let them exercise that RIGHT without iterference from you or the USA. You see, you and the USA do not want the Working Class of the World to progress. To rise out of the Squalour; to be dignified men and women who can hold their heads high and walk with dignity with each step or stride? I am from the Working Class and I cannot betray them. This is what Presidents Hugo Chavez and Maduro are doing to the downtrodden in Venezuela; this is what Castro did to the people of Cuba. This is what Evo Morales is doing for his people in Bolivia.

    The United Nations Charter stated that there must be no interference in the Internal Affairs of Member States and that all differences must be settled PEACEFULY. What is being done in Venezuela is settling a difference through PEACEFUL MEANS when you and the USA want to impose who you want to be the leader on the people, after they voted overwhelmingly for Maduro? You and the USA have enormous problems on your hands in the USA. Settle those problems first before you can find time to interfere or to intervene in the internal affairs of others? Please do that?

    Would your true spirit of journalism and Democracy (each side must be heard), print this Article in its entirety? Show me the TRUE SPIRIT of your JOURNALISM?

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