The maimed generation, by @ConIdayVuelta


I don’t really know what this blog post is about, but it has a little bit of everything: maimed pigeons, mold with an attitude, onion bits in the shower, curses to Julia Roberts, and vaginas on the wall. More than that, it’s a brutally honest, deeply personal, inmensely entertaining, sad-yet-happy account of the journey of a twenty-something couple leaving their comfort to save their lives.

More than a post, it’s a pitch for a screenplay. From the people who brought you this.

(HT: @luiscarlos – it’s in Spanish)

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  1. I get that the country can hardly do any worse. I’ve experienced most things he writes in his blog myself – but the contempt with which he refers to Venezuela is beyond me. This amount of hatred is sickening. I don’t think it’s a brilliant post: I think it’s judgemental and childish. Middle class professionals like them and myself get far from the worst of the crisis.

    • I actually agree with the guy 100%. I’ve lost several family members and friends to crime and I’ve been kidnapped before…how could you not hold such anger when your fellow paisanos do this to you???

    • Is it Venezuela that he despises? Or what it has become?

      I don’t think he hates Venezuela at all. What I think you see in his writings is his grief over the perceived death of his country and the implied promises that were breached thereby.

      Here is a guy with education and a family that he obviously cares greatly about and he leaves it all behind to be a dishwasher in a foreign country with a climate completely opposite that of his homeland. That’s not, by most standards, a rational behavior, unless he felt that he absolutely had to do it or otherwise die, whether that be spiritually, intellectually, morally or physically. I don’t think for one moment that he thought that he and his wife should just hie off to London with no English (at least on his part), throw away their savings and risk deportation just because it would be a lark.

      I’ve seen this sort of thing from a number of VZLA expats, particularly those in their 20s and 30s, who criticize not the country, but its current state. They grew up being told one thing and what they ended up with was something else entirely. The underpinnings to all of those conversations is a profound sense of loss, betrayal, and no foreseeable hope whatsoever of ever being able to return.

      Its almost as if a part of their soul was amputated. If there is contempt, it is for the condition, not the country.

      Sadly, these are the folks Venezuela will need to rebuild if or when that opportunity ever arises.

      • We evidently parse several of the sentences he wrote differently.
        It is always a tragedy a country loses people to emigration specially due to a failed system. There is no doubt about it. But there is a significant difference between the attitudes.

        I have had the experience of seeing countless people from all over the world going through similar or worse experiences than they did, people from Kazakhstan and Albania to Romania and Spain. But the attitude of these guys I have only seen from the middle class of Argentina. Surprise, surprise!

        By the way: by putting the electronic garbage in front of the building he did not go against the evil landlord but ultimately carried out a malandro action with costs to society in London…and he should know it, just like my former Kazakh neighbours or my Nicaraguan friend, from much poorer background- immediately recognised when they arrived here.

      • Perhaps I was, Juan Cristóbal – unnecessarily. Did you read this though?

        “Sin embargo, ya estaba resignado a que volvería a hacer de kitchen porter, así que estaba dispuesto a echar el resto en esta buena oportunidad en la que no desempeñaría funciones creadas exclusivamente para los de Europa del Este”.

        That’s just plainly racist – and has nothing to do with Venezuela. I get that the guy is frustrated, he has every reason to be – and I can only wish them well in London. How these venomous writings are helpful to anyone I have yet to understand though.

        • Yuru, I don’t think he believes that eastern europeans deserve “lesser” jobs. I don’t think he considers any job to be beneath him at a human level. He recognizes the success of the indian kitchen porter.

          The quote you bring up, if taken out of context is racist, but if you add this context:

          “—¿De qué hay que estar hecho para resistir esa clase trabajos tan extremos? —pregunté yo mientras bebía una cerveza que, como siempre, el húngaro insistió en brindarme.

          —Mayormente el trabajo duro es realizado por gente de Europa del Este, Gabriel.

          —¿Por qué? ¿Cómo resisten eso?

          —La mayoría de ellos ya trabajaban en cosas peores en sus países, crecieron haciendo eso, para ellos es normal estar bajo condiciones extremas de trabajo.

          —¿En serio?

          —Sí, Gabriel. Yo soy de Hungría, pero siempre trabajé en una oficina, en la parte de finanzas; con corbata y todo lo que conlleva ese mundo empresarial, igual que tú. Pudiésemos venir con la mentalidad de tipos duros que pueden con ese tipo de trabajo, pero la verdad es que no, no estamos preparados en lo absoluto para lo que ciertos trabajos de aquí demandan.”

          He is merely just implying that eastern European immigrants are tough, and can handle hard and extenuating tasks. Also, he is merely repeating what his eastern european friend told him. By any means I don’t think , in the context, that those jobs are meant for them and that if you are from eastern europe you are not worthy of anything else, which would carry a lot of contempt and racism.

          I definitely thought he wrote a beautiful narrative of what it means to go somewhere else. And it is something that many of the venezuelan youth can relate to. Indeed they had it not so bad. It is not like they were war refugees running from Syria with what they could carry to a camp in Turkey.

          • Well, we see that different.
            Take this:
            “Sin embargo, todo tiene un costo: por un lado te libras de todo el caos, miseria, ignorancia e inmundicia de un país; pero por el otro dejas a tus seres queridos.”
            Apparently there is a no brainer there. We can agree there is chaos, misery and ignorance in Venezuela. “Inmundicia”? I am not sure whether he is talking about pollution (the waste not only from the slums but also from the yachts in the Morrocoy illegal marinas, the pollution from the smog and rotten cars) and/or the corruption. Both cases apply. But if most foreigners, I would say, read this piece, even if they know Venezuela, they would sense a contempt for those who are part of the “ignorancia”.

            And it turns out to be that not everyone of those ignorant are more responsible than these young guys are.

            Apart from that, I really don’t see in what they had to go through an experience so incredibly different even from many thousands of Spaniards now, even if those Spaniards didn’t have a problem with the visa. I know quite some who came with much less money and no clue and had it as bad…and of course, we don’t talk about the Syrians and Afghanis and Africans and even Colombians or Nicaraguans.

    • Yuruan, I think people may read as contempt, what may be more accurately described as bitterness. Bitterness over the loss of one’s homeland, to be more precise, in the sense that some people don’t recognize the country they grew up in when they look upon the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and also in the sense that some people feel ignored, prosecuted, alien and unwelcome in the land they were born.

      The most common display of such bitternesss by some Venezuelans is going to great lengths to explain to foreigners why Venezuela sucks, usually leaving said foreigners without any intention to visit Venezuela or investing there. Granted, these days barely explaining the political/economic/criminal situation has that effect. But sometimes the foreign person asking had no political/economic/judicial curiosity but is merely asking about some history, landmarks, basic geography or telenovelas.

      It’s a similar phenomenon to Cubans in Miami who actively lobby foreign countries to keep Cuba (under the Castros) under extreme duress. Some of them, while deeply opinionated on Cuban politics, go as far as saying that they wouldn’t return even if the island became a democracy.

      Another instance were the white russians, exiled from the USSR after the bolshevik revolution.

      • Well, I would have agreed with the idea of mistaking bitterness for contempt had the article been more introspective – and less descriptive about the guy’s surroundings, those common, public places shared by everyone living in the same city. But it wasn’t – and that still wouldn’t make it constructive.

        Not that I am in a position to tell the guy what he should write about or how to write it – but I am a part of the very same things he so adamantly – and publicly – despises. Aren’t we all?

        And this notion of being robbed of the country you grew up in – I don’t agree with that either. The country we grew up in led to the one we have today. This was not an imposition. Much of the bliss of the eighties and the nineties in Venezuela that people praise today was rotten. There was a systematic inability to reform. The more we decouple those two countries the less we’ll understand what’s happening to us, I think.

        • Well, I do feel “robbed” of my country. One faction took over most of the state, after the constituent assembly, and progressively took over the entire state. And that faction isn’t my own, so I’m locked out. You don’t like to put it as “loss” or “robbery”, but there isn’t any respect, power or recourse for the minority.

          The government doesn’t seek consensus or even wide agreements. It just imposes. It doesn’t consult opposing parties, it doesn’t incorporate amendments to legislation. It doesn’t consult with labor unions nor business associations, it doesn’t consult with professional guilds, it doesn’t consult with academia, it doesn’t consult the students, the parents, etc.

          Every message it gets that signals that its policies aren’t working is met with attacks on the messenger or censorship. When CICPC weekly crime numbers became too high, they were forbidden from revealing them; when El Nacional showed the morgue was overflowing, they were fined; when the parallel dollar began to rise, the criminalized it, when people published it anyway they censored it, etc.

          If they hold all the power to decide what gets done in the country, don’t consult others, and refuse to correct failed policies, those others are now governmentless, because no government looks after them.

          • By “faction” you mean electoral majority, I presume?

            There isn’t any guarantee for the rights of the minorities, I agree with you on that. As a matter of fact, I agree with the rest of what you wrote. There were key moments though, when this power grab by the electoral majority – as illegitimate as it may have been – had its accomplice in the Opposition’s own ill-fated stances. Happily enough those days are behind.

          • Let’s say “yes”, that the faction I meant is Chavismo, the one that started commanding an electoral majority since 1998. Let’s also not get into who had a majority back in April 2013, for it might derail this discussion.

            I agree that the opposition has been its own worst enemy lots of times, and that steps have been given in the right direction (though I remain somewhat dissatisfied).

            Going back to my original point, I think people don’t know how to deal with that loss, and not everyone reacts in the same way.

            Therefore, after all of this disaster, national reconciliation won’t be just among chavistas and opositores. There needs to be some even among opositores: there’s people who left Venezuela and won’t return, people who might return, people who will return, people who will leave, people who might leave and people who won’t leave. Some people are accused being too indifferent, some are accused of being too radical, some are accused of collaborationism.

            In this case, I just try and understand them even if that’s not the path I would have taken.

          • The experience described in the above exchange between Navarro and Yuruan is common enough and the name for it is alienation , many Venezuelans feel alienated from what the country has become under the rule of Chavismo . We can no longer recognize the country as ‘our own’ , the one which we so deeply identified with !! . There remain many things that awaken in us lingering feelings of attachments to the country weve lost but the fact that so many of our countrymen have willfully and enthusiaticaly help create a country we abhorr adds to the feeling of alienation !! We are torn between feelings of attachment for a country that is lost or vanishing and feelings of abhorrence for the new country that has replaced it !! Navarro said it perfectly when stating that he felt he had been robbed of his country !! On whether Chavismo is a faction or not , it is a faction of Venezuelans because factionalism is one with the rabid sectarian passion which is one of the defining traits of Chavismo . We now mourn together the loss of the country we love and struggle to restore it to something we can identify with .

  2. … El hindú trabajó en el fregadero por un año, él mismo me lo dijo.
    Pero este hindú, pasando la roncha pareja y dejando las uñas en los sartenes,
    tenía más calidad de vida que yo en Venezuela.
    Para ser más sinceros, hasta más que cualquier empresario respetable
    en Venezuela que requiere andar con escoltas y camioneta blindada
    para no ser asesinado o secuestrado.

    They climbed out of the cesspool.
    They left their birthrights.
    and yet, for now,
    human dignity is within their reach.
    May they be blessed with all that we,
    living in this country, are lacking in the Social sphere –

    El Amor
    El Agradecimiento
    El Respeto
    La Amistad
    La Bondad
    La Dignidad
    La Fortaleza
    La Generosidad
    La Honestidad
    La Humildad
    La Justicia
    La Laboriosidad
    La Lealtad
    La Libertad
    La Paz
    La Perseverancia
    La Prudencia
    La Responsabilidad
    La Solidaridad
    La Tolerancia

  3. That was my sister in the east coast a few years ago. Living alone for 5 years in a basement apartment, walking several blocks in snow, sleet or ice to get to the laundromat, the market, the office supply store, the university, the part time job, etc. She even came down with the swine flu when it was catching in the city. During her last semester, she was surviving on bowls of cereal and condensed soup straight from the can, since she had no time to actually cook.
    Three years later, she’s fully employed at her dream job, she’s a legal resident, she has her own place, and she’s engaged. And she’d do it all over again before coming back.

  4. Most emigrant venezuelans dont leave because they dislike their country but because life conditions in Venezuela are becoming so difficult and lacking in promise that they feel pressed to begin a new life elsewhere . They are reluctant inmmigrants . There are of course exceptions , people who feel alienated from the country they where brought up in and seek to create new roots for themselves in a country where they inwardly feel more at home . I have emigrants in my family who belong to both categories.

    • So true HalfEmpty…especially in today’s world where so many young people have only the highest of expectations.I remember in my young days, even people from fairly well- to- do families expected life to be damn hard at the start of setting out to create their new life apart from family.

      Personally I find their rant a bit on the self pitying side.They are lucky to be able to immigrate if that is what they wish to do.

  5. I froze my ass off in a mouldy apartment in England one winter, living with two Irish depressives and eating left over pizza from my night job and frozen peas. Chin up. Stay the course. You will do fine.

  6. There is nothing particularly extraordinary about their “struggle”. Kids in most countries live something like this at an earlier age, leaving their parents at age 18 to go find their way in the cold harsh world. The problem is that young middle class Venezuelans are accostumed to living with and being financially supported by parents well into their adult life (and even into their marriage), usually even having hired maids and housekeepers. This is a result of our stagnant economy and job prospects of course, but unfortuntely it has bred a generation of 20 something’s who are like “adult children”. I admire this couple who rather than live comfortable with Papi y Mami always there to support them, decided to make it on their own somewhere where their life is not perpetually in danger and where their own children will be born to a society that rewards hard work and independence and allows people to build wealth on their own merit.

  7. I ve heard from different sources that venezuelans abroad are not known for being very hard working when hired to perform demanding phisical tasks . The normal living enviroment of an emigre venezuelan hardly ever prepares them for that kind of work . Life in Venezuela is comparatively easy on the muscles, specially if you come from a middle class background .
    The toughest part of emigrating is that you lose that expanded network of social and family relations that at home you use for emotional and material support and for seeking jobs . When living abroad you are on your own , unless you have relatives or friends living where you emigrate to . Also your home honed bag of skills and information to carry out your life is lost and has to be replaced by another one which is empty and which you have to fill through new experiences and a long daunting learning process . Emigration is not for the faint of heart , it is for the toughest people , for those that have that extra stamina or resolve and adaptive talent that allows them to survive the change and install their life in a new environment .

    • As an emigrant myself, I applaud your words because it clearly describes what I had to go through. Fortunately, I had the resilience – even though i am middle age – and now I can aspire to have a much brighter future than I even thought possible in my own country. That last bit, is of course, the sad part.

  8. “Elena andaba animada y lista para comenzar el plan de búsqueda de nuestra casa. Yo únicamente atiné a decirle que no quería hablar, sino llorar y dormir. Ella me abrazó y así me quedé dormido.”

    hahaha if you cry in your first day overseas is because either you are not ready to move on, or you that deep down you know you’ll never come back.

  9. I arrived to Venezuela from Canada at the end of 1992 and found a job working as a guide in tourist camp in Puerto Ayacucho. I was 24 years old. Many Venezuelans were surprised saying why come to work here in Venezuela when everyone is leaving to work elsewhere…. So Venezuelan emigration has been going on for a long time. I left with the arrival of president Chavez. I now see I couldn’t have timed that better! I have a lot of family in Venezuela which is why I keep abreast of events there.

  10. “Account Suspended”?

    It may be that the original blog is offline for unralated reasons.

    But it may also be that CC exposed to more people than anticipated, thus consuming their ISP traffic quota.

    When slashdot brings enough attention into an interesting site, that the target site collapses, it it said that it was “slashdoted“. Maybe the original blog post has been “CaracasChronicled”

    New landmark for CC?

  11. I will disagree with this being nicely written.
    This is a clasist/racist rant from a guy who felt he deserved better because he went to a university and had a comfortable life he feels is his given right.
    All of a sudden he sees himself in quasi-poverty as he is not willing to hold a job because his nails will break (why would he? His woman is bringing home some bacon).

  12. I’m with Jack here. Self pity, whinnying, and poor language command. Not what I expected at all.

    BTW, since when we Venezuelans accept as well written pieces that are filled to the brim with grammatical mistakes? The “dequeísmos” of one of our currently most celebrated novelists comes to mind.

  13. I, too, am with Jack. When I read both Elena and her husband’s blogs, I can only think that they are individuals with entitlement issues: I went to university and hence I deserve……
    Hopefully their experiences in London will teach them that hard work, not just university degrees, pays off.


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