Jardín de tormentas / Adriano González León

Garden of Tempests

I abruptly interrupted my notes on the university. But I had promised to continue writing them and extraordinary events, the ones we always await, have exploded once again to corroborate that a world of blue berets exists in the house that defeats the shadows.* The Colegio Seminario de Santa Rosa had to endure many vicissitudes, prolonged delays and bastard interests in order to arrive at the title of Royal and Pontifical and be able to give out degree titles.

It endured many economic difficulties, as it does today. And conquering autonomy for the university was a feat. There were hard years of controversies and disputes in order to put a halt to the privileges of the bishops and certain powerful men of the era, so as to achieve the Royal Certificate of October 4th 1784, in which Charles III decreed that the election of the rector corresponded only to the Cloister itself.

That’s where autonomy began, until the violation of the cloister by Monteverde’s voracious troops. But it would also have its moments of glory and defiance when José Félix Ribas took off with the boys to liquidate the royalists, who were blinded by envy and by their submission to the despot in power like many are today, in the famous battle of La Victoria.

Afterwards come other moments of struggle and discussion. There are times of polemics and the free exchange of ideas, there are ideological controversies as well as new moments of repression, along with the sonorous word demanding freedom on various occasions.

That famous “Student Week” sponsored by the young people of 1928 has become unforgettable by now, when Pío Tamayo, during his eulogy for the queen of the festivities, spoke that prodigious phrase we must repeat today: “Each student is a world of promises and a garden of tempests.”

And the youth are right there once again. Tenacious as ever against oppression, audacious with their slogans. Infinitely brave against the executioners and traitors. A few of them, in meetings and conversations, had expressed their complaints to me: “The university’s not good for anything anymore.”

And now they have an answer during these last few days. The same fight against colonial darkness, the same courage as against Juan Vicente Gómez and Eleazar López Contreras, the glorious fight against the Seguridad Nacional [1950s], fortitude and grace against the Digepol [1960s]. The apostates and resentful people must be closing their eyes in shame.

They exchanged their old struggles for public office and a few piles of money. But let the whole world remember: the Venezuelan student body, at all educational levels, “is a garden of tempests.”

* Translator’s note: The Universidad Central de Venezuela is historically known as “The house that defeats the shadows.” González León is a Professor in the Escuela de Letras at UCV.

{ Adriano González León, El Nacional, 31 May 2007 }

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