El Quince Negro / Francisco Vera Izquierdo

Black Fifteenth

I have no reason to complain about the members of the table I was assigned to, which was at the Luis Beltrán Prieto secondary school. I arrived around 6:00 A.M. and left two hours afterwards. I understand that those who went later in the day had to wait much longer, in some cases until midnight.

Nor were there any interferences, save for a few excited and self-proclaimed communists in favor of the government who tried, with a jumble of pro-government shouts, to frighten those who might not agree with them. But one individual among them, who had an almost human expression on his face, calmed down the rest.

I had by that time already listened to a discourse by our chubby President in which he proclaimed his own communist condition. In the rest of the world, young Marxists stand out because of their skills as students, particularly in the subject of Economics. Here, that competence is replaced by combativeness. I'm quite sure that none of those young revolutionaries have even browsed through Marx, which on the other hand I can completely understand. When we began to see communists here, which happened around 1936, I felt it was my duty to read something about what I was attacking. So I began to read Capital but I had to abandon it after a few pages, bored.

In England they say nothing looks more like a Tory than someone from Labour in power. Following that logic, nothing looks more like a plutocrat than a wealthy communist. But not in Venezuela. Once, Marco Aurelio Rodríguez confessed to me that he was so disillusioned that he had considered becoming a communist. But he said he didn't have the money for that sort of thing and that it was likely going to be rife with cronyism. The outrageous sudden wealth of the Chavista hierarchy makes me think that they may have assimilated Marco Aurelio's dilemma and are now trying to be communists without any fear of being labelled newcomers.

The government, with its harangues, had already revealed its intellectual level but, still unsatisfied, it solicited the presence of the new Secretary of State. On the other hand, I don't believe in the indispensability, nor even in the convenience, of great talents. Had Edison been given the genius of Kant he would have spent his life meditating with his fist on his cheek in some bar in Menlo Park, instead of a bar in Koenigsberg. There's no need for superior intellects, but rather that each person do the job alloted to them. In a fit of modesty the Vice President declared himself unqualified for the presidency. Of course I believe in that ineptitude, but not in the one who proclaims it.

To be honest, I don't believe that declaration is sincere, since I think that anyone who becomes a politician does so with the aspiration of having supreme command. I believe it's actually a contraption to make the chubby President think that Rangel doesn't have in mind replacing him.

As far as I can remember, my political desire has only coincided with that of the majority of Venezuelans once and that was against Marcos Pérez Jiménez. The rest of the time it has been in the opposition. That's what I thought would happen during the case of Chávez vs. Venezuela. Thus, when the government made its first triumphant announcements I believed that it was telling the truth.

Today I am convinced the Chavista triumph was not merely a simple fraud, but was instead a massive one, quite similar to the one in 1952, when an unknown, brutish Sergeant ignored the citizens' victory. I also think this is the first step toward the establishment of a dictatorship under a Lieutenant Colonel with the mentality of a Sergeant.

I have titled this article Black Fifteenth, not only in reference to the frustrated referendum but also to evoke the Roulette, when no one knows what will happen.

{ Francisco Vera Izquierdo, El Nacional, 23 August 2004 }

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