Shocked, shocked no longer…


New Year’s Resolutions are famously made to be broken. Mine, ‘mafraid, will be no exception: I’m resolving to stop writing about Entirely Predictable, By-Now Routine Abuses of the Venezuelan Constitution, Natural Justice, Simple Decency and Plain Old Common Sense As Though They Were Shocking. This “shocked, shocked!” pose is a bad blog habit of mine, I realize. It’s helped along by the fact that I genuinely don’t know what to do with my anger when I hear stories of, say, the way dissident chavistas get hounded for corruption even as the government simply ignores the large foreign corporations who’ve sworn under oath that they bribe still-chavista officials.

Oh wait, did I just manage to break my New Year’s Resolution in the same paragraph I announced it? Sigh…

Like I said, this is a losing battle. But it’s important.

The outrage I feel over things that would be outrageous in any normal democracy just shows that, deep down, I still haven’t given up the sense that the Chávez Dictatorship might behave like a normal democracy. Against all the odds, against all reason, some part of me still expects chavismo to show some minimal level of restraint, some residual capacity for shame, some vestigial willingness to place limits on itself out of concern about what others might think.

At this stage in the game, that’s neither a reasonable expectation nor a helpful conceit.

2011 is a year for shifting from an opposition mindset to a resistance mindset. Not the blow-dried, TV studio type of resistance the CNR used to specialize in way before it was time. Real resistance, of the kind democrats are forced to in despair once all other avenues are conclusively barred.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.