Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Yesterday, I bid farewell to my best costumers: a young couple and their 9-month daughter. I did three photo shoots for them: during her pregnancy, after the baby was born, and later for the child’s baptism.

The fourth time we met was for a rather odd reason: a photo shoot for a modeling book. What’s odd about this is that none of them is a model, an actor or anything resembling that. Behind this rather humorous session was a very sad motivation: leaving the country.

To be able to travel to Mexico and take his family with him, Esteban had to fake a modeling contract. That’s why they got in touch with me again and I was told this part of the story.

When I first met Esteban and his wife Jessica, he had a small car spare-part business. The business had done well until a few years ago, when buying the spare pieces outside Venezuela became more and more difficult, as did getting one’s hand on essential dollars. Foreseeing even greater losses, Esteban sold his business and car to pay the cost of the “contract” that opened the door to a new country and to new hopes.

Who would have though Mexico could represent the hope of a better life for other Latin Americans who aren’t Cuban?

Until a few years ago, Venezuela was a country that hundreds of foreigners wanted to move to every year. The number of Venezuelans who left the country wasn’t considerable. Now, the nightmare we Cubans know too well is starting, and I won’t describe what’s left behind each new time someone is forced to emigrate.

Esteban’s is not the first family I know that leaves or has plans to leave Venezuela. What will happen when more and more small companies or businesses close down because their owners leave the country or go bankrupt?

Where will all the employees hired by these small and mid-sized companies, who are left unemployed during the profound crises Venezuela is experiencing, finally go to?

As I lose more and more customers, my mother-in-law seems to become more Chavista…or Madurista (I’ll never be able to tell). Something odd has been happening since Chavez’ death. It is more and more common to run into people who never held him high esteem and who now unconditionally support President Maduro.

I don’t know whether it’s the sense of guilt people develop after a death, or whether it’s because they realize they could lose certain benefits if Maduro left power.

As for my mother-in-law, an elderly woman who was never employed anywhere outside the home, she fears losing the pension Chavez made available to elderly housekeepers. She finds the rise in public transportation prices very fair. She has someone who stands in line to buy the basics for her and insists that, if the United States were to attack, she would go and defend her country.

There are other ways to leave Venezuela. A month ago today, Kluibert Roa, a teenager from the state of Tachira, was murdered. He was killed by a police officer while returning home from school. My mother-in-law, who always said she didn’t believe in any political party and doesn’t miss one of parliament speaker Diosdado Cabello’s shows today, said that it had been the mother’s fault, for letting him be out on the street “partying.”

She only repeats what she hears on pro-government TV programs, practically the only ones left today, where, nearly every night, the president speaks, like in those wonderful days of my adolescence and early adulthood, when Fidel Castro tried to convince us we could buy many liters of milk with a single dollar and threatened to destroy the Empire, sacrificing himself and the people in the process. That one had a beard, this one has a moustache – both create an alternative reality while the other, the one that hurts, writhes in agony behind it, like the shadow of a country that is being bled to death.


Caridad

Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

33 thoughts on “Those Who Are Leaving Venezuela

  • Hello there. I have a friend in Venezuela that’s hoping to leave sometime soon. I was wondering if you could share your strategy on helping the couple leave. It would be very much appreciated.

  • John, you seem to have a comprehension problem. The above are direct “quotes” from industry insidersrs and traders involved with the commodity known as “oil” . So I don’t know what your babbling on about. I was just commenting on your statement that oil would go back above a $100 within a year.

  • “you can choose to believe the bullshit emanating from the corporate media” why not? because John Goodrich said so? Should I believe the bullshit emanating from the socialist media? because a quick search on google is proof enough! I tell you what John Goodrich (or what ever your real name is). I don’t get my info from google. I lived in Venezuela for years until recently and I saw the country go from ok, to bad, to hell. Now Venezuela is just hell without toilet paper. The more I read of your comments the more I believe your are a high school kid or a really stubborn old guy going senile. I am more inclined to believe that you are stubborn, old and senile. I mean you admit that you have been following “US. foreign policy, anarchist studies , the corporate media” for some 45 years so you conclude that this makes you an expert that no one should question. All is see is someone stuck in the past. you are trying to justify a repressive gov. with no respect for the Venezuelan constitution or people because they published some poverty reduction stats and thumbed their nose at the US. So All the repression, abuse, murder, extortion, and theft get a free pass because the Socialist Chavista Gov. reduced poverty. “But they were democratically elected” you say. Well so was Hitler. It wasn’t so easy to get him out was it even after the public realized their mistake. I’ll tell you a secret. I voted for Chavez the first time. I thought he was genuine. It was a mistake. Elections were later bought with the oil bonanza and expropriated stuff. Now the money is gone there is only repression, intimidation and computer voting rigging left for the Maduro Gov. It’s so sad the way Venezuelans are suffering now. Socialism is awesome until you run out of other people’s stuff. For now John Goodrich I will take my years of personal experience over your 45 years of intense article reading and analysis.

  • I think you ideologues on the far right need to be careful about accepting the word of the GOUSA and the parroting corporate media as regards those the oligarchic GOUSA considers enemies; countries like Venezuela, Cuba .
    and Iran.
    History has shown that the USG and the corporate media do not tell the truth when such countries are involved .
    Secondly, you are placing yourselves on the side of present and historic U.S. imperialism and its capitalism enforcing -centered foreign policy which position is immoral on its face.
    Face it. There are capitalist countries in far worse shape than Cuba, than Venezuela but you choose to go after only countries on the left and both ignore and support the far worse evil of U.S. imperialism in the region and in the world.

  • Please take a look at the statistics again . In 2013 the average price of oil was over US$100 per barrel . According to the Venezuelan Government Statistics poverty rose by nearly 7% in the year (I refer you once more to the INE website). In 2014 the average price of oil was over US$90 per barrel (the price of oil only started to drop in the last quarter). I would love to refer you to the INE statistics once more but unfortunately the Government has stopped publishing them (even though legally they are obliged to do so). A survey by the 3 leading Venezuelan Universities published at the end of 2014 stated that poverty levels in Venezuela were back to pre Chavez levels. Two of the three Universities involved in the survey are Government sponsored Universities.

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