Cultura y exclusión / Oswaldo Barreto

Culture and Exclusion

If there's something in Venezuela that now belongs to all Venezuelans within the age of reason it is the awareness they have of a great fallacy nesting precisely within the frequently-disseminated government slogan: "Venezuela now belongs to everyone." But the "fraud, deceit or lie" (terms the dictionary aligns with the concept "fallacy"), if indeed it equally irritates all of us, is appreciated in distinct ways by different social sectors.

There's no doubt that for Chavistas it's a scandal to pretend Venezuela belongs to everyone, when it's very well known that now Venezuela only belongs to them. And no one can doubt either that the opposite appreciation exists as well: it's fraudulent and dishonest—as the mass of the excluded feel— to affirm Venezuela also belongs to those who have been steadily stripped of what the constitution, the law and customs establish as the rights and attributes of all Venezuelans. It would more likely seem that nothing in Venezuela now belongs to everyone: neither the possibilities of gaining access to jobs, health care, education or housing nor the possibilities of effectively participating in the constitution of public powers, of plans or projects for the nation.

And yet, against what might be rightfully thought in one or another sector, there is no fallacy in thinking there is a Venezuela which belongs to everyone, despite everything this regime has done to destroy or alter it. That collection of ways of speaking, of feeding ourselves, of distracting ourselves, of dressing, of communicating with our neighbor, along with those other ways of creating art or folk art, stories or poems, which contribute to making all of us Venezuelans something different from other nations.

The fraud, deceit or lie would then consist in preaching that this Venezuela now exists, when in truth it has existed since remote times and has survived despite all the things this regime has done and intends to keep doing to adulterate it until destroying it.

And that constancy, that permanent identity, if we can say so, of the culture is due to the fact that culture emerges spontaneously from the masses. The only way of destroying it is by trying to promote it with institutions, programs or plans of a single tone or of a uniform quality. And that is what is done in the Chavista "cultural" institutions (the ones that promote "one type of culture," "one" of art and even one way of being good or being rich), from which all other Venezuelans are excluded.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 22 September 2005 }

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