¿De quién es el cielo? / María Eugenia Cantor Palacios

To Whom Does Heaven Belong?

Many people tend to think there’s a heaven and that when it’s our turn, we all go there irremediably, the good and the bad. We don’t know if there are two heavens, or if a hell and its opposite exist. But what’s true is that this is our most definite journey, when our turn to leave the world arrives. Who knows if it’s faith, religions or convictions themselves that have created and grown within our minds that perfect and desired place called heaven.

A consolation for many and a consolation for fools, that we weep for a loved one with no return ticket. But it is centuries of certainty and immense faith, which mitigate the pain and distress. And there we are, sobbing extensively for our own dead and for those of others. Yes, we weep for breakfast every day and we weep at night while we dream. There are many advance tickets for heaven in Venezuela, with no refunds. And that’s impossible, it’s unacceptable. Someone is going around boasting, along with many others, that we have a new Venezuela. A country being born of a revolution. I don’t understand, I can’t understand how each during day we experience and try to live, the words of the dishonorable Cuban slogan are enacted: “Homeland, Socialism or Death” [Patria, socialismo o muerte]; of course, we definitely understand what the last term means. Death surrounds us, it’s everywhere, in every aspect of the life of any Venezuelan without bodyguards or bullet proof cars. For the average Venezuelan, the one who wakes up every morning to continue living, to bring home sustenance. The one who sweats, runs and wants to savor life. For the Venezuelan who desires and dances, the one who eats arepas and drinks black coffee. The Venezuelan who celebrates with his family and laughs with his children, with his grandchildren. The Venezuelan who remains and wants to continue doing so. There’s nowhere to go to escape that damned slogan, wherever you happen to be and no matter the time, it might knock on your door. So I ask myself and I ask all of you, all you revolutionaries: Where is justice? Where is the elemental right to life? Where is it? Who guarantees it?

I don’t have any answers, I can’t find them anywhere.

I look for them in my own mind, in that pretty TV revolution we’ve been watching for eight years now. And I’ve yet to find them. We would have to ask those who have already left, those from all political sides, mere Venezuelans. But my doubts remain.

They are killing our homeland, they are killing Venezuela. And nothing is being done to stop it.

There are no tears of absence, there are no marches that can do anything, there is nothing we can do. The dead do not weep.

Could it be that the continental revolution they talk about is so big, so big it hopes to reach heaven?

{ María Eugenia Cantor Palacios, TalCual, 30 April 2007 }

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