Descapitalización / Antonio López Ortega


Not just the one that has become obvious to us in recent years – of the young people who emigrate, of the professionals who line up at the consulates, of the oil workers who’ve ended up finding jobs in Canada or Qatar, of the information or communications technicians that are absorbed by multinational companies. Nor the one that relates to the field of economics, when a company stops investing because the risk or the regulations dampen even the most optimistic visions. Rather, I’m referring, as defined by the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, to “the social or cultural impoverishment of a community.” There are inner exiles that decapitalize us, works whose null reception impoverishes us, individual efforts that never connect with the country (with what we understand as the national country). People write, think or reflect for another time, maybe not this one, because we’ve now added political misery, sectarianism and so many other illnesses to human misery. The sense of belonging to a collective fades in parallel lines that run alongside nothingness and never touch or coincide.

Never has the homeland – that concept so worn out, so trampled by military boots – been so foreign to its children. The decrepit old woman marches along a path and doesn’t gather anyone in her lap. She is perfectly indifferent, alienated by the current government and avid for flesh that looks more like cannon fodder than human. Since all consensus has died and we are moved only by interests, the discourses of validation or celebration cross paths without establishing real foundations. Not even the past serves as a source from which we drink the same water: to some it seems insipid, others find it filthy, and others yet see a mere simulacrum in the transparency.

We also decapitalize ourselves when our own are only recognized abroad, beyond our borders: the Octavio Paz Prize for Eugenio Montejo, the Herralde Fiction Prize for Alberto Barrera Tyszka, Armando Reverón’s retrospective exhibit at the MoMA. During the first week in October, on the occasion of the publication of his Complete Works by the Spanish publishing house Pre-Textos, the Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas will be the guest of honor at a great tribute in Madrid’s Casa de América; poets from Spain and the world, along with well-known critics and researchers, will discuss one of the major oeuvres of our contemporary poetry. Sadly, an event of this nature is inconceivable in our country today.

It could be that Cadenas is from Barquisimeto, that he was exiled in Trinidad during the years of the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship, that he founded the literary group Tabla Redonda in the already distant sixties, that he wrote a startling book for readers of that era (as was the effect of Los cuadernos del destierro), that he was a professor at the Escuela de Letras at UCV until his retirement and that he’s read and translated English and American poetry like no one else among us. It could be that Cadenas has written all his books in this country, that his referents have in some way been those of this reality, that his Spanish has been the creation of our tongue, of this colloquialism, of this thought. All this history, all this forging can be recognized, we could make them our own, but they are truly enjoyed by others today, by all Hispanicity, from which we seem to be more and more absent each day. This is also a way of decapitalizing ourselves, of letting others reap the benefits of what we’ve created with so much effort with our own in mind.

{ Antonio López Ortega, El Nacional, 31 July 2007 }

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