Legitimación / Francisco Vera Izquierdo


I didn’t read this story I’m about to tell, but rather, I heard it from my close friend Antonio Nicolás Briceño (who was born in 1856 and died in 1949). In 1892, president Raimundo Andueza Palacio, instigated by Sebastián Casañas, initiated maneuvers whose object was to extend the presidential term for an additional period. Joaquín Crespo, who was in the state of Cojedes, saw that possibility with delight since it gave him not only a motive but also an unbeatable name for a rebellion against the government: legalism [legalismo].

I think 10,000 soldiers is an exaggerated number, but in any case according to the story legalismo was a great force that kept gathering triumph after triumph until it reached the area known as La Encrucijada, where the government soldiers commanded by Luciano Mendoza were blocking any advance by the legalistas. Mendoza went up to the city of Caracas and left Manuel Felipe Mota as commander. When he felt he was defeated, Joaquín Crespo was already in the city of Villa de Cura ready to turn his army around when he received an emissary from Candelario Matos and Apolinar Herrera, the commander of the enemy’s right wing.

Mota, who seems to have been the son of Manuel Felipe Tovar, inherited from his father’s will the land where he died years later while continuously grumbling: “God damn Candelario Matos, God damn Apolinar Herrera.”

This aspiration today for the establishment of a presidency for life by means of a constitution at least shows a respect for written law. Regardless, eternal power has suddenly arrived and it is possible this judicial support could bring about certain respect for natural laws. Every society holds, as one of its fundamental principles, its own weapons for surviving and combating problems, and I have faith that one day the Chavismo now in power will do something that is not damaging, and that the multiple presidential excursions will inject him with a minimum of culture. Even a broken clock is correct twice each day.

That event was merely an attempt to open a door and today our chubby leader not only rushes through it but keeps walking. It’s incredible to see how tame this country has become! That event which was really a question began a war and this action today, which is already a consummated act and has obtained the judicial green light, slides under the table.

Maybe the collective Venezuelan subconscious is thinking another event could occur in this country. I will never forget a question (for which I have an answer) that I heard in Cuba a few years ago: “Do you want to see yourself fat next year? Take a portrait of yourself today.”

{ Francisco Vera Izquierdo, El Nacional, 5 March 2007 }

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