Cuaresma / Francisco Vera Izquierdo


I remember how once, around 1936, Jóvito Villalba uttered a concept which, unfortunately, has not been disseminated. He said: "This is a homeland. That might end up being supernatural, perhaps. But what would be useful to inculcate, at least among our leaders, is the idea that this become at least a country. There is, in actuality, a population, a territory, a few historical memories and bureaucrats who receive national funds. But an actual government, in the sense of an entity that hands out goods and sets limitations, this does not exist."

It's logical to think that not only is there a government but that it also has its supporters. But they must be very discreet people, who dare not expose their weaknesses. I have spent my entire life traveling throughout Venezuela and talking with everyone. I get the impression that something is happening similar to the period of Pérez Jiménez's regime, in the sense that there are people who publicly express their support for the government in hopes of receiving benefits, but in private remain embarrassed about their appetite.

At one point, at a gathering in Valencia, Pérez Jiménez said that the world was debating between two tendencies: the Idealist and the Materialist, but that his regime borrowed from both. He claimed this was true since from the former he had created the New National Ideal and from the latter he had used materials for his public works. At that time, the judgement emerged that were it not for his excessive cruelty, that man deserved to be mocked instead of hated. Fortunately, no such cruelty exists today and the road is open for mockery.

I repeat, Chavistas must exist but of a category similar to those "embarrassed poor" who beg as inconspicuously as possible, embarrassed about displaying their misery. The fact is, I have recently traveled throughout much of Venezuela and I have yet to find among my conversations the first person to praise the regime nor anyone who will even try to defend it.

Regarding the unprecedented electoral triumph of our chubby President, it's worth recalling the aphorism that minorities often make mistakes and majorities always do so. But it's also worth adding the concept, attributed to Churchill, that democracy is the worst system of governance, with the exception of all others. The ideal would be for our majorities to learn their lesson from this situation but I'm not so optimistic as to have such hope.

According to St. Augustine, St. Lion, St. Jerome and other doctors from the first centuries, Lent was established by the Apostles from the time a Council was first installed, when its rites of uncertain origin were established. One wishes that this year's Lent were obeyed more and that the government understood that Carnival has passed and that it would be appropriate to leave the buffoonery to someone else.

{ Francisco Vera Izquierdo, El Nacional, 7 March 2005 }

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