Exorcismos / Oswaldo Barreto


The turn Chavistas are trying to drastically imprint on their electoral language is so radical that a conversion is being talked about. In place of "hate," they'll speak of "love;" "dialogue" will substitute "violence;" and "recognition" will appear before "oblivion." Lexical changes susceptible to leading toward other semantic transformations of unquestionable repercussions in people's mentality, particularly in that of the virtual voters for the upcoming 3rd of December.

Words like those, love, dialogue or recognition, don't suggest, in effect, actions or intentions that stir up fear and mistrust, just as "blue" makes us evoke peace and tranquility and not the blood and fire that in campaign seasons, though they might be electoral, are inevitably associated with "red."

Simple verbal surgery that, nevertheless, surprises us. Yes, it surprises us so much, the manifestation of a desire for coexistence that would reign in Hugo Chávez's campaign Command center, as an expression of the submission and obedience this Command would have found in a man who, it seems, has always guided himself by what his conscience of single and charismatic leader has dictated. Radical linguistic turn which has led, since its very first manifestations, to the type of critiques all conversions tend to ellicit, to the questioning of the sincerity and pertinence of those changes. We seek to investigate, beyond these words and linguistic turns, what the actual will of those who fabricated it and reap its benefits might be. In the same way, we ask ourselves what effective reach they'll have in the electoral contest.

But it would be a mistake of grave consequences for the already difficult political situation we inhabit, to not see in this sudden verbal conversion of Chavistas only those aspects and to limit ourselves to merely extracting the direct consequences that derive from them. We can't stop at appreciating the arrogant disdain Chávez and his consultants show toward the intelligence and political capacity of Venezuelans, when they assume they can fool us with this sudden conversion. We can't limit ourselves to doubting that even one Chavista could think that any Venezuelan, not even the dullest one, the most forgetful of the 26 million we seem to be, could be capable of suddenly believing that Chávez has pacified himself, has become sweet and has ceased preaching hate, war and death.

No, we should go beyond the quality of electoral clowning this conversion presents in order to see the reality behind it. Because in every conversion, even in the most feigned, the least authentic, the most blatantly artificial one, there is a real, objective demand. And what exists behind those words being unearthed, behind the word "hate" or the delirious and vile desire to "shove up the ass" of Venezuelans everything Chávez thinks he can find among them; behind all this, we all know very well, real feelings exist, the rejection and the rage those actions, the real measures Chavistas have taken inspired by them, have awakened in the majority of us Venezuelans. Thus, what this conversion expresses, to say it in brief terms, is that the Chavista Command and the man they serve, have become aware that these masses whose vote they hope to conquer, are sick of the hate, the mistrust and the fear that, without boundary and without cessation, have been planted among us with his abuse of power, his ambushes, his administrative outrages and his sectarian and exclusionary politics.

That sudden and unusual awarenes of reality is what has led Chavistas to try and imprint on their campaign such a radical turn through language that appears to be a conversion. But, incapable as they are of facing that reality they want to transform with courage and responsibility, instead of recurring to action, they've recurred to the verb, to the word. Instead of taking measures that will end sectarianism and exclusion; that will end the authoritarianism and the anxiety to perpetuate themselves in power; measures that would restore equal conditions and a clear legality to the electoral process, in place of an actual correction of the path they've taken so far, Chavistas recur to a change of words.

Definitely, this is nothing but an attempt to exorcise reality with word games. And we're not in the mood for exorcisms at this hour of compulsory realism.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 13 October 2006 }

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