Muse on the loose

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“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Capriles in Caicara del Orinoco.

One way this presidential campaign has already paid off is in the trove of great writing that it’s been inspiring.

First, this magnum opus by Boris Muñoz, first published in Gatopardo, but reproduced in Prodavinci. It’s long, as long (and as good) as anything in The New Yorker, and well worth a read.

The best bit (in Spanish):

“Pocos minutos después fuimos detenidos en un puesto de control de la Guardia Nacional. Hombres con rostros duros, uniformes de verde oliva y armas largas y pistolas, rodearon el microbús. Un sargento de 1.90 de altura y porte temible, tocó violentamente la ventana. Adentro hubo un tenso silencio. Capriles Radonski se levantó de su asiento en el fondo extendiéndole la mano. El hombre lo rechazó mandándole con otro gesto imperioso a volver a sentarse. Era lógico pensar que ordenaría una “inspección exhaustiva” para boicotear el tour. El militar le habló directamente al candidato: “Óigame bien”, pronunció en un tono casi de advertencia. “Tiene que ganar estas elecciones. Lo que estamos viviendo no puede seguir. Las Fuerzas Armadas mantienen su compromiso con la democracia. Así que siga adelante y gane las elecciones…”. El discurso del militar no duró más de 30 segundos. Con la misma intensidad que había entrado salió ordenando a la caravana seguir su camino. Nadie habló del asunto, salvo alguien que dijo que esa clase de situaciones se presentaban con frecuencia con los empleados públicos.”

Then, Leonardo Padrón offers a similar take in his piece, “El Furor,” published in El Nacional. His money quote:

“A quince minutos para aterrizar, el flaco amarra sus zapatos deportivos con doble nudo. “Ya viene la coñaza”, dice en alusión a la vorágine de empujones, arañazos y apretujones que genera su llegada a cualquier lugar.

… Apenas Capriles asoma el rostro en la escalerilla del avión una ráfaga de gritos ametralla el aire. El recibimiento es frenético. Hay un desespero por verlo, tocarlo, entrar en su campo visual. La multitud genera un apiñamiento peligroso. Siento que me aplastan por detrás, por los costados, mi cuerpo va de un lado a otro, pierdo el rumbo, me arrastra la corriente, mis lentes se salen del bolsillo, los atajo a última hora, arrecian los empujones, los gritos, el delirio. A Capriles lo manosean, lo estrujan, lo halan. Todos somos como bultos chocando contra las piedras de un río esquizoide. No creo poder llegar a la camioneta Van que nos sacará del lugar. Un mínimo descuido puede hacer que me quede allí, en mitad de todos y de nadie.”

Finally, on a slightly more depressing note, Girish Gupta writes for Time Magazine about Venezuela’s crime wave. The money quote:

“Kevin’s preferred pastime, however, is to head down to wealthy Caracas neighborhoods, where “everyone has a BlackBerry” and push a pistol into his victims’ sides. “I’ll ask for their phone and money,” he says. “They ask me not to kill them. If they co-operate, they’ll be fine. Sometimes they say no, so boom!”

All three pieces are well worth a read.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great reading. I have no doubt capriles wins. My biggest worry is what happens after? What stops the government from bankrupting the country and making it ungovernable? What are your thoughts on this?

    • I didn’t like this one that much. It seemed half-baked, more travelogue than reportage. And it felt like Milagros Socorro inserted herself a bit too much in the story.

      But what do I know…

  2. Both excellent chronicles, Padron’s is very touching specially the part about the Christ in La Grita (he made some people cry) but I think Muñoz’ piece is more complete and balanced, and a good read for foreigners who speak Spanish to understand the election. I agree about the quote in the Gatopardo piece, apart from being unexpected and encouraging, it shows you that the Military is not as homogeneously chavista as most would think, and that can be very important in a case of a Capriles win in October

  3. Well y’all will have lots of time to read and cry in your beer after the O-7th but for 10 years its been the Left who have been bringing up corruption ( it still a capitalist state ) by the bureaucracy and even within the opposition more so than you.
    Like I said y’all have lots of time, maybe even get to Doral to play some golf..

    • “its been the Left who have been bringing up corruption”
      Are you serious? Really? You dare to say that this government has been fighting against corruption? Puh-lease, you should stop smoking the same lumpias that your beloved leader does. What about:
      – Pudreval,
      – Aban Pearl,
      – the Siemens scandal,
      – The missing $100 Billion in FONDEN,
      – The Velasquez Alvaray case,
      – The Aponte Aponte case,
      and the many, many other corruption cases that have never been investigated?
      You should start taking Fitina ASAP, because your memory is failiing miserably….

      • Lo arrecho es que todavia hay gente que le responde al loco ‘e plaza ese.

        Chamo, no te mortifiques, deja que el pajuo ese se masturbe mentalmente.

        Mientras mas le respondes, mas se alegra.

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