Solidaridad totalitaria / Oswaldo Barreto

Totalitarian Solidarity

The fact that any citizen of the world manifests his or her interest in Venezuela's current political situation should not affect anyone in their right mind. We say affect, using one of the meanings that we have for that word in our language: "said of something: To make an impression on someone, creating a specific sensation in them."

It should not, then, make us hot or cold knowing that a group of Japanese citizens reveals, through one of our media outlets, that it's waiting to see what happens in the referendum that will take place on August 15. Or that George W. Bush says that he loses sleep over the possibility of a trap in the details of that huge event. In the end, this is characteristic of human beings, who are made after the image and likeness of that God who is involved in everything and who worries about everyone, to become interested in whatever topic they'd like.

And just as no one in their right mind should be affected by the hypothetical news that president Chirac, who in matters of soccer is a fan of Colombia, cried last night because of the beating the Argentines gave our neighbors, neither should anyone be affected by the also hypothetical news that the same character holds in his little heart the hope that Chávez might win again.

In the end, it's best to think that it benefits all of us when others are concerned about us and that our fellow beings are the ones affected by what we do or undo in our own house.

However, as logical and sane as this reasoning might be, I don't think that any Venezuelan in his or her right mind will think in that manner when he or she finds out about certain manifestations of solidarity, sympathy and support with the regime that we now endure. Unfortunately, the exact opposite occurs. The foreign solidarity with president Chávez irritates and attacks us just as much as his own systematic abuse of imposed television and radio speeches during cadenas.

Fanaticism? Paranoia? Counterrevolutionary bad habits on the part of those of us who see nothing precisely revolutionary about Chávez? Is this why it wounds us, for example, to read the statement of solidarity with Chávez by a group of Brazilian intellectuals?

Let's see. I don't think that, within the ranks of the opposition to Chávez, there are many people who might know who Tomás Baduino or Ariobaldo Ramos, Fernando Moraes or Digo de Oliveira might be.

On the other hand, we are sure that even any Chavista in his or her right mind (if that person actually exists) must have been affected by the news that all those individuals, accompanied by other more famous citizens of the world (such as Eduardo Galeano or Manu Chao), signed a document where they declare that "If we were Venezuelan, we would vote for Chávez."

Let's see. It's not because of paranoia, nor fanaticism, nor because of any type of personal whim, but instead because it is a case of totalitarian solidarity: We agree with Chávez, claim these unknown individuals who know nothing about us or Chávez. They say it simply because they feel like it. Acritical, unconditional solidarity. Dim solidarity that doesn't say where it comes from nor where it's headed.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 21 July 2004 }

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