Venezuela’s Compass and Saddlebag

By Martin Guevara

Chavez and Maduro. Foto: BBC

HAVANA TIMES – Chavez and then later Maduro both had a golden opportunity to unite every socio-economic sector in Venezuela, from the most pro-government to the most opposing, to really grow into a power like Bolivar had dreamed: a power of happiness and progress.

A country where the neglected pre-Chavez, the poor, the least respected, but also the lower and upper middle class, intellectuals and artists and also big business, once they learned their lesson and understood that they shouldn’t make any Venezuelan go hungry (I’m sure they would have understood this), would have a place.

There came a time when the oligarchy gave signs that it had learned this lesson, but they carried on with their policies stirring trouble, hate and dividing society instead, so they could make a profit off the back of a struggle between fellow countrymen.

Everybody had an opportunity and was willing to become this great power, except Maduro and his leadership who had already divided the nation. 

Venezuela is a living hell today, all of the vectors of poverty have reached an all-time high, people are starving, uncontrollable inflation is an ode to criminal violence, and on top of all that, the government is killing anyone they believe to be hostile.

Many questions are being asked, but the most pressing are: who will take power and for what purpose, after this mass crime? Will they give this same repression a new face and use it against the opposite side, exploiting the poor again?

Or, will Venezuelans finally understand among themselves that the solution to all of this chaos, is to build a country for everyone, where no ideological inclinations or social class, and no Venezuelan (under any circumstance) is cast aside?

Sometimes, it’s better to lose your saddlebag and compass so you can rediscover new energy, ideas and paths. Venezuela doesn’t only represent itself today, many different issues are being debated there:

Will Bolivarian socialism be struck dead, even in its last stretch? What hands will negotiate the winding fate of oil and its advantages? What conditions will China place so its 5 billion USD loan doesn’t disappear with Maduro? And lastly, how will Vladimir Putin (the man responsible for returning Russia’s superpower pride) deal with his lost hope of building a base in the Caribbean?

I am overcome with the contradiction of being concerned about Cuba’s poorest once the island’s government can no longer rely on this cow with an irritated udder because its been milked so much; for Cubans must also find their own path.

And, no Venezuelan should remain in exile or prison for another minute, or be threated because of their current or future ideas (if there is a change in ruling ideology). Meanwhile, it is the population’s civic duty to support protestor’s rights to demand whatever they deem fit, and similarly, stand up against the remote chance of a violent foreign invasion, which would barge in and trample all over Venezuela’s sovereignty, as it would anywhere else.

Like always, my conscious state chooses to remain optimistic and naive and trust that whoever ends up taking the helm of this sinking ship, tries to do their absolute best for the country. But, there’s a flip side… my subconscious, which I have no control over and suddenly appears more clearly, is afraid and normally thinks the exact opposite.