Carta a un joven rojo / Elizabeth Araujo

Letter to a Red Youth

Sunday’s presidential defeat has become even more dangerous for Chavismo. Accustomed to showing off in their 4x4 jeeps and guarded by thugs paid with the national budget, the ministers, representatives, governors and high functionaries who not too long ago were ingenuous dreamers and eventually became social activists, now awaken to the nightmare of 2D, but they react without understanding that a small earthquake has just shaken Venezuelan politics: Hugo Chávez isn’t invincible.

To watch them screaming – as they did on Tuesday at the speaker’s tribune in the National Assembly – that they weren’t the ones who were mistaken and that it’s the country that owes them an apology, can give us an idea of where this process is headed, a process that has been obtained, it’s true, through votes, but armored with unfulfilled promises made to the “wretched of the earth.” They avoid the fact that they’ve governed for nine years with a Parliament, Attorney General’s Office, Comptroller’s Office and Supreme Court that are prostrate before Miraflores Palace. That they divide citizens between “fascists” and “ours.” That they’ve trampled on public sector employees and, when things get difficult, they’ve turned to hoodlums on motorcycles who sow terror while invoking supreme ideals of freedom.

Somehow, on Sunday many Venezuelans presented the bill to these revolutionaries who aged – and became wealthy – very quickly. It’s yet to be seen if those who will succeed them can arrive at a formula for avoiding the same mistakes and defending the principles of a socio-political experiment that has yet to find its bearings. However, it’s worrisome that those youths who, obliged by their scholarships and salaries assumed the role of Bolivarian student leaders, are the ones who might take the reigns.

Invented in a situation room in Miraflores with the objective of confronting the university students who erupted after the closing of RCTV, these red leaders, who adorn themselves today with the same rhetoric and gestures as the comandante, should escape from the dead end they’ve been placed in before it’s too late. At least that’s what students like Jon Goicoechea and Freddy Guevara did, to cite a couple of them, who emerged just as the opposition hierarchy were moving to pick up their retirement pensions. Without strident proclamations or foreign advisers, these kids who have been unsuccessfully accused of being – as the reporter from Argentina’s Página 12 did so slanderously – agents of the White House, have been able to win a space for themselves within Politics and today they celebrate by extending a hand towards national reconciliation.

Those youths who supported the constitutional reform proposal now have to dig their own trench and, in place of “Fatherland, Socialism or Death,” proclaim like Rimbaud in his poem: “Reason is born to me. The world is good. I will bless life.”

{ Elizabeth Araujo, Tal Cual, 6 December 2007 }

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