The Passing of Our Bleach Blonde Pasionaria

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Yesterday, following her unexpected death, I found myself in the odd position of having to explain who/what Lina Ron had been to someone who’d never heard of her.

It was…a struggle.

“She was sort of a gang leader, but she had her own political party.”

“Like a guerrilla thing?” she asked, trying to find some category in her mental filing system she could place this odd duck in.

“Sort of, but pro-government,” I said.

“So that would make her a paramilitary, no?”

“Erm, yes,” I hesitated, “but a leftwing paramilitary.”

Pause.

“Does that even exist?” she asked.

“Not any more, Emma,” I said, “not any more.”

RIP Lina Ron (1960-2011)

(Over in Spanish, Raul has a powerful meditation on the fascination she exerted.)

1 COMMENT

  1. She was quite visible… She was a very minor player… She was mostly for show… She was sideshow at that… She was violent… She was noisy… She was true to her ideals… She was a hateful woman… She had quite an act…

    What comes to mind when you hear the woman died of a heart attack (and think her wholly sincere):

    “Como el querrequerre, se murio de la arrechera”

    • Bruni,
      What a great post. Loved it. I tried leaving a comment on your site but I couldn’t, so I leave it here.

      Everyone, do yourselves a favor and read Bruni’s post.

  2. Lina Ron first came to my attention after the attack on Globovision in 2009, although I suspect if I were Venezuelan I would’ve probably heard about her a lot sooner. Since then, I’ve read quite a bit about her and the best thing I can say is that she was quite honest. She bared her political emotions out in the open in the way only a true fanatic can. Political radicals don’t try to mince words or somehow soften their impact, it simply isn’t in their nature. Lina Ron was quite unapologetically in love with the personality cult of Hugo Chavez and words such as “compromise” and “civility” really didn’t exist in her vocabulary. Bruni’s post was spot-on because, as he put it, sophisticated arguments about the nature of democracy and the rights of the individual simply weren’t part of this woman’s political background. Although being genuine has its time and place, I don’t know how much of a contribution Ron made to the political discourse in Venezuela given the fact that often times she was more chavista than Chavez himself.

  3. This is extraordinarily ridiculous. In less than 24 hours it’s become fashionable to post about this woman. Bruni, Miguel, Quico, and newcomer Raul who waxes philosophical BS, he chose a poor time to open a very relevant topic about Venezuela (using her of all people!)

    I’m sorry but I have to call it as I see it, but only Daniel said exactly what needed to be said and no more. Such a person does not deserve our peace, our analysis nor our sympathy (be rest assured that if it were you in that coffin she would not have bothered to give you any of the three).

    To my mind, all this attention is borderline Stockholm Syndrome. It feels like Troll Feeding. For all the ill she caused my wish was that she had died in obscurity, a footnote in some obituary in a yellow rag, for that’s how despicable she was. Because I sure as hell gave up on justice catching up to her. Now she’ll probably be martyred and buried in the Panteon Nacional. I’m done discussing this.

  4. She and her thugs burned the American flag on September 11th, 2001. She rejoiced in the deaths of thousands of civilians whose only crime was catching a plane or showing up for work. She offered us “plomo” should Chavez lose the election next year. The opposition analysts trying to build a three-dimensional character study in the wake of her death are missing the point spectacularly. She was a thug, and if she was “honest” and “without pretension”, it is because she had free rein to do what came naturally.

    She was “honest” in the same way a dog that shits on the floor because you took too long getting the leash is “honest”. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  5. Foxtrotcharlie: My friend, if you want to be politically effective, you have to deal with those things you call “BS”. Otherwise, that “BS” could suddenly fall on your head!

    • Raul, I doubt the folk in Parapara will be able to decipher most of what you wrote there. Those people are concerned with the day to day and what’s in it for them. Your points, good as they are, won’t motivate the electorate.

  6. Pana, have you ever been in Parapara? Do you know that Parapara de Ortiz is a small town in Guarico state? Do you know that Miguel Otero Silva wrote Casas Muertas based on that town? I have been there many times, my mom is from San Sabasrian de los Reyyes and my father from Villa de Cura. I am not that “BS” thinker. I know very well what “BS” thinking is.

    • Strangely enough, in my youth I actually did. My father’s family is almost entirely from Guarico. Although most of my time there I spent when I was small boy. We have family from San Juan de los Morros ranging south all the way to Calabozo, and a few family members from Altagracia de Otrituco. Admittedly it’s been more than a decade since I last visited. I remember spending a day near the Embalse of Camatagua. And I’ve read Casas Muertas as well and know about Miguel Otero Silva (my own copy of the novel had an extensive foreward about it). Look, I’m not trying to claim you’re some kind of “patiquin” as the characters in Doña Barbara would say. Nor am I trying to make some weird rural contest (I’m a spoiled city boy despite the outings to the country to visit family, and while I generally enjoyed them a long weekend was more than enough to make me want to get back).

      I’m just not sure that internal self-reflection is what people want to hear. All I’ve heard from my friends (who keep me up to speed on the situation of the less fortunate) is: And how exactly do I butter my toast with that?

    • Look in Miguel’s blog for a very good one on CAP.

      I really don’t think she was a beliver in anything about the revolution. As is frequently the case for these characters,I think she was just FOR anything that made her politically relevant.

      Adoring Chavez, Shooting at ordinary citizens, commanding urban militias, screaming at TV news reporters, just about anything.

      She was the simbol (better in Spanish “apologia”) to goverment sponsored impunity by abusing and violently attacking Venezuelan citizens of different political beliefs for her own profit and some Buchanan 18.

  7. Thank you Juan for your recommendation. It is funny, I never really know when a post will be a popular one. Never would have thought of this one.

    I have read your comments and I think most of you are right. Lina Ron was everything everybody says at the same time. In fact, nobody has really said anything good. It is just that she was an amazing character of the Chávez era. I tried to explain in my post why she retained people’s attention.

    There is also another key point with Lina Ron: she was a woman leader. We have never had a woman leader in Venezuela, except Doña Bárbara, who can also be seen as an old and rural version of Lina Ron. And this is part of our contradictions as a society: a matriarchal society that is amazingly “machista”.

    ErneX says that she got a better obituary than CAP. Not in my blog: so far CAP has gotten not one but two!

    http://cuentosintrascendentes.blogspot.com/2010/12/la-muerte-de-carlos-andres-perez.html
    http://cuentosintrascendentes.blogspot.com/2011/02/la-tercera-muerte-de-carlos-andres.html

    About Bruni being a he or a she..don’t worry, I have an unusual name, work in what is sadly considered a “masculine” field and very often get to be called “Monsieur”!

    Overall, thank you all for your comments.

  8. Good posts by Raul and Bruni. Thanks for the links.

    From reading some of the comments to those posts it’s clear some people bristle at Lina Ron being described as authentic. As it’s often the case it comes to the meaning ascribed to a particular word. It’s true that authenticity is usually considered a positive trait, a necessary trait in a good and true person. But the word “authentic” when applied to people is not necessarily limited to such positive examples. It can also apply to a small number of terrorists, Communist Party members, Bible literalists, etc.

    • I’m really thrilled with our new contributors. I love the way Raul and Moraima write! We just hope we can keep them motivated to keep doing it fairly regularly. And yes, we are looking for yet more new contributors from outside the Caracas Media Bubble.

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