El club de los inocentes / Adriana Villanueva
On Saturday October 11, the writer Adriana Villanueva published an essay in the editorial section of El Nacional, in response to certain North American and European intellectuals who support Hugo Chavez's project. In her recent columns Villanueva has also written about the poet Armando Rojas Guardia and his writing workshop entitled "La escritura y la ciudad" (Writing and the City). She chronicled readings and conversations about Caracas that emerged in the workshop earlier this year, at the Fundacion Para la Cultura Urbana, a non-profit research and educational center under the direction of the poet and critic Rafael Arraiz Lucca.
Villanueva writes frequently on Venezuelan cultural and political matters for El Nacional. In this essay she's referring to the recent government raid of the offices and studios of the private news channel Globovision. The Venezuelan government recently seized equipment from Globovision, an action that has drawn criticism from various international observers, including the OAS and the Jimmy Carter Center. Villanueva also makes reference to Chavez's habit of describing his government as "la revolucion bonita" (the beautiful revolution).
The Innocents' Club (excerpts):
"Today, when the shadow of a totalitarian government wants to become a reality in Venezuela, I get in the mood to recommend novels, and not the ones on TV that tend to have happy endings, but instead novels of novels like Sefarad by the Spanish writer Antonio Munoz Molina, stories that intermingle with threads of hopelessness, unhappiness and desolation. [...]
Today, when they raid a TV station in Venezuela, when the government disobeys rulings from the Supreme Court, when entire families are thrown from their homes while red-shirted invaders are given a warm welcome for political reasons; my instinct is to recommend Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita's author, who melancholically evokes his idyllic childhood in Imperial Russia's autumn. The son of a rich but anti-Czarist intellectual, in 1919 the young Vladimir and his family were forced to emigrate to Western Europe because of the Bolshevic revolution, hoping to return in a couple months. Nabokov's exile lasted twenty years, between London, Paris and Berlin before emigrating to the United States, twenty years during which he had to live with the contempt of European intellectuals who saw him as a traitor to the Bolshevic cause. It was impossible to convince idealists such as Wells that: 'Bolshevism was nothing more than an especially brutal and complete form of barbarous oppression--so ancient within itself as desert sands--and it didn't have anything to do with the attractive new revolutionary experiment that so many foreign observers have mistaken it for.'
In the year 2003, the Gauche Caviar set applauds the Irish documentary: "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised;" which beneath a mask of a foreigner's objectivity idealizes Chavismo and the events of April 11 , as though this were an all-out war between a classist minority opposition and a messianic leader who, supported by the masses, defends the beautiful revolution.
It sounds pretty, it sounds Romantic, even I would clap if I was watching the film from the comfort of a movie theater in Oxford and not from the trenches of a country where an increase in unemployment, misery and intolerance are the main accomplishments of a revolution that few people think to call pretty at this point."