El hombre nuevo / Elizabeth Araujo

The New Man

Twenty or so young men congregate around a wide, slow man, megaphone in hand, insisting on repeatedly explaining about the labor quota and answering the same questions from those who were not chosen for work. The scene takes place in Montalbán, in front of an ample courtyard extending itself in sight of those who traverse the avenue. At one side of the improvised store, other compatriots, with red t-shirts and hats, continue the interminable domino game they started maybe when they took, in the name of el proceso, the place where they say eight buildings will be lifted. If you slow down, you'll notice the workers contracted for this job aren't working, while the rest of them are stretched out in the bushes and on the steps of neighboring houses.

Possibly, the buildings–which they're already advertising for the military and young couples–won't be finished by December, as the woman representing the Chavista cooperative assures me, but no one wandering in the lot seems to care.

In sum, the boys play and let the hours drift, cash their hours punctually on the fifteenth and the last of the month; just like political “commissaries,” charged with taking care of the place and chatting with anyone who comes by to ask. All of them sign themselves up for the long list born from the check book of the irresponsible man governing us. This is exactly a part of the election strategy for screwing himself into power for the leader of this revolution that not only prays to violence, but also reproduces idleness, easy money and waste. People who do nothing but get paid anyways. Employees of ministries that appear on the payroll, but aren’t working because they’ve been recruited as soldiers in the electoral battle that is about to occur; campesinos who occupy confiscated farms and who, in return for producing nothing, regardless receive a day’s work of pay.

It could be that businessmen will get scared, flee to other lands, close their businesses, but the prosperity of criminals and the police immunity will continue their ascending line provoking the crisis of governance that renders so much for these populist political processes and which, in the end, rarely care too much about people, because there is money to spare and, best of all: no one controls anything. Then it’s possible the so-called new man would emerge: a sterile citizen, acritical and with no possibility of acting on his own, promised a paradise on earth.

Until the petroleum runs out.

{ Elizabeth Araujo, TalCual, 18 April 2006 }

No comments: