A debate about nothing

Quico says: There’s a desperate, clawing pathos to it: the painfully fake debate Chávez made the A.N. hold over “Zulia secessionism” ended with parliamentarians approving a strongly worded motion against a movement that’s so shadowy, so covert, that it has no known spokesmen, no advocates, no organization, no message, no ideology, no history, no funding, no platform and no plan.

They really are cunning, these CIA guys. They’ve found the ultimate way of making a movement literally impossible to root out: not existing. What will they think of next?

I think Chávez is really losing his touch here. He used to appreciate that for a smoke-screen to be effective it had to have at least some possibility of being believed, some baseline credibility that, once blown way out of proportion, retained some nub of potential to freak people out.

But Zulian separatism has always existed in the same Dave Barryesque space for dadaist humor as Vermont separatism. It’s an expression of Springfield vs. Shelbyville style hometown chauvinism that manifests itself mostly in things like the visual gag in that “Zona en Reclamación” map. Good for guffaws, sure, and great for maracucho bonding…but an actual political project? It’s just silly…

In my experience, Zulianos are some of the most patriotic Venezuelans out there. Granted, I’ve never lived out there (boy, that’s one bullet dodged) but I’ve met a good number of them and I can honestly say I’ve never even heard of anyone who took the idea of Zulia secession as anything more than a punchline.