We'll always have Homeland, Hugo C.

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Patria(Editor’s note: We welcome a new addition to Caracas Chronicles, Raúl Stolk, @raulstolk. Raúl is an attorney, and I’ve long admired his writing in Prodavinci. I am thrilled he accepted an invitation to write in English for CC. This post is based on a real story)

Pero tenemos patria.

There is no easy translation. The community managers who handle the Venezuelan President’s unintentionally hilarious English-language Twitter account translate patria as “homeland.” “Eternal Commander, today our people are in the streets fulfilling your order #ComunaONada. We have homeland and people.” Yes, this is a real tweet.

Not sure if homeland fits the exact definition of patria – it lacks the paternalistic essence of the word. Perhaps “fatherland” would be a better fit, although Google Translate probably spat it out as a second option. So, the complete sentence would go “but we have homeland.”

The phrase was coined by Hugo Chávez, the Eternal Commander himself, when explaining that Venezuelans had to suck it up and stop whining about material issues such as power and water shortages, rocketing inflation, and scarcity of luxury products such as milk, cooking oil, chicken, and toilet paper. The country’s best satirists have had a hard time trying to keep up with the astonishing phrase.

Pero tenemos patria – an expression that has become a placeholder for sorrow and deep frustration. A joke. An annoying cliché that stands as code amongst those who are tired of waiting for change but even more damn tired, perhaps, to actually act upon it. The irritating catchphrase can be heard on taxicabs, in supermarket queues, and in government offices everywhere.

Pero tenemos patria,” says Mirna Suarez, a low-ranking officer with 20 years experience in the tax administration. Her eyes fix on mine, if only for a second, as she mumbles the words, a discreet diss at the her superiors for the nameless bureaucratic requirement I am missing, one that Terry Gilliam himself would not have been able to concoct. As I chuckle at her comment, she promises to do her best, and asks for my patience. We’ll see each other in a week.

By the end of the day, Mirna unshackles her revolutionary apparel, the uniform she is required to wear to work every day. She places the red vest and the hat in her bag. The world could fit in that handbag. The subway is very close, but she decides to walk a few blocks through the Sabana Grande Boulevard. She needs fresh air. She is worried.

Her salary got swamped by 2013’s devaluation, and then by 2014’s non-devaluation. She has been selling cakes just to keep her head above water. Mirna walks, gets distracted watching people go about their business, negotiates a couple of kilos of flour with a Turkish storekeeper, and arrives at the subway station.

Unlike other people, Mirna finds a little peace when riding the Caracas Metro. She believes only good people can be found there – students in their school uniforms, young professionals going home for the day, all hard-working people, beautiful people. No more red shirts. No more uniforms. Most public employees take them off after leaving the office.

“This is Venezuela’s finest export,” she thinks, as she watches a young couple holding hands. The girl has dark skin, a glowing face, and is wearing scrubs. Probably a medical student or a doctor. The boy, on the other hand, is ghostly white, with curly hair, and wears a suit and tie. She notices his shoes. They seem dirty and worn-out.

She is reminded of her own children. Her son, a production engineer, left the country a couple of years ago. He now lives in Panama working for a multinational. Her daughter lives in Canada and works as a paralegal in a law firm. She just had a baby, a grandchild Mirna hasn’t met.

Mirna looks at the couple again and feels a glimmer of hope. They seem happy. They are still here.

The subway races under Caracas’ wrinkled skin. Just as she is starting to relax, the lights go off suddenly, and the train starts slowing down until it stops.

Another power shortage. Mirna looks around nervously and finds the warm eyes of the young doctor, who smiles at her and says: “Pero tenemos patria.”

1 COMMENT

  1. When all is said and done, one of the more interesting questions about chavismo will be how the pressure on public employees translated in repeated “victories” at the “ballot box.”

  2. Lo mejor sería eliminar la palabra “patria” de cualquier texto educativo, legal o jurídico. Es una palabra que solo trae connotaciones negativas. Patria viene de una raíz latína de Pater q es Padre. Por tanto hablar de Patria es prácticamente un sinónimo de Paternalismo. Ahora, hay mucha gente que considera q la hipótesis Sapir–Whorf (que no es otra cosa sino la formalización de la tésis de Orwell sobre el NewSpeak como elemento de control mental y social) esta desacreditada o bien tiene poca evidencia que la respalde. Sin embargo, considero que cuando menos hay que educar sobre la connotaciónes negativas que tiene el término. Es preferible usar terminos como “república”, “nación”, “país”

    • I don’t think attempting to eliminate names makes any sense because those names will always exist.We cannot control that many things and why should we?

      I think people have should become more conscious about repeating this phrase , even in jest.Using humor to deflect reality and adapting to the circumstances doesn’t help.

      If someone refers to the ” Patria” to me, I should say: Fascist Sate,motivated by hate, social repression leads to personal depression,and we are not made for this, and nothing can control my heart.

      The government will not eliminate what is useful to them, only the people can become more conscious if they wish to.

      • I didn’t say banning it from common speech, that would be awkward for me to say. But that doesn’t mean we have to teach that word to our kids, nor that we have to perpetuate its common usage in legalese. It should be discouraged from now and forever, and only remembered as a dark reminder of our dark and grim past

    • But the problem isn’t etymological, is conceptual. Newspeak isn’t about word substitution, but concept elimination, Big Brother kept trimming the language to make it harder to think a protest.

      There’s no point in banning patria to deal with patriotismo (or patrioterismo) and use nation, just so we can talk about Bolívar as the Padre de la Nación and Spain as the Nación Madre, and teach kids nationalism and the official motto becomes “pero tenemos nación”. It would be the same thing as patria, and the same would be true of país (country).

      Republic, on the other hand, appeals to me because we’d be teaching kids to defend institutions as opposed to land, but it’s a tricky distinction to hammer. On the same note, I would strongly support a shift away from “pueblo” (people) to “ciudadanos” (citizens) or even “ciudadanos y ciudadanas”, but not “ciudadanía” (citizenship) when referring to Venezuelans. Because pueblo, gente, ciudadanía and other abstracts put the emphasis in Venezuelans as a small part of a large collective blob (together with the notion of “collective rights” and greater good) and a citizen is and individual with his own rights and duties.

      • OT. The term ‘People’ has gone through many different changes in meaning throughout history , Demos in greek meant people who where neither well born nor foreigners or slaves or of base condition (belonged to no recognized historical clan or tribe) , the term used to designate the Citizen was different : Citizen was ‘Politei’ and inluded all those who had the privilege of sharing in the political life of the Polis . For the Romans , Populus was used to refer to the citizen army of Republican times from which the famous ´Senatus Populusque Romanum’ , where the senate represented the high born element which elders ( senex) constituted the assembly gathering the heads of old honourable clans and the Populus were those who formed the army in times of war. The word for citizen as for the Greeks was different . for Romans a citizen was a ‘Cives’ , a word associated with the latin word for ‘summons’ as it described those who could be summoned to join the army in the event of war. ( In spanish the word Cita , Citacion is a distant relative) . During the early days of the US , the preferred term was ‘Public’ to refer to all who where natives to the land . As politics became more demagoguic and partisan in one of the elections held at the beginning of the XIX century the term ‘people’ started getting used as it had a more resounding ring to it . ( Jackson ??) . The Germans of course had resource to their own resonant term Volk . Now in Venezuela the term People doesnt refer to all Venezuelans , only to the poorest , most destitute , less fortunate of all Venezuelans , although if you come down to it when talking about the People of Venezuela that includes everybody regardless of origin or conditions of birth and breeding , of education or fortune . The regimes appropiation of the term people to designate only its own followers , histrionicaly representing them as emblematic of all who form the mass of the noble poor suffering victims of an unjust oligarchy is as unfair as it is false . At the same time the term citizens refers to people only in so far as they are participants in countrys civic and political life and there are many other important dimensions to peoples life that deserve respect and recognition even thouth they have nothing to do with things political . The french liked to use the term citizen to emphatize the importance of the public and political spheres in recognizing peoples dignity , and yet dignity may be totally unrelated to public affairs . I myself find the term citizen as used in Venezuela a tad bombastic and artificial and rather prefer the british use of the more generic term of respect Mister . Love it when on british TV the Prime minister is referred to simply as Mr.without any ornamental qualifiers.!!

        • You just gave a flashback to my childhoold : Excelentísimo Ciudadano Presidente de la República, Dr. Rafael Caldera… I meant uses of ciudadano(a) not as a title or dignity, but as a way to refer to Venezuelans when discussing civic matters.

          But that was a lot of info you gave there, so I’m going to have to chew on that and maybe ponder a little on semantics. Thanks!

        • Bill, you nailed couple points there with sharp accuracy. I like your approach around “the people” vs. “the citizens”. Still in today’s Venezuela may not matter and “the people” are considered “second class citizens” and thus treated accordingly.

          What I think you may be missing is that culturally speaking Venezuelans still like to be named per our professional status “Doctor, Engineer, Architect, etc..”, few many years ago by the title of “bachiller” (from bachelor degree out of high school and not to get confused with single- English translation issue I guess).

          The “Doctor” qualifier was certainly overused by the so called founders of the Venezuelan democracy, read 4th Republic, out of which anyone with a relatively high rank position in the government would be named “Doctor” regardless their academic prowess. The formula basically differentiated the haves from the have nots as a lot of people in Venezuela may not attain professional degrees not even a coveted position in the government. The tradition carries on and now we all “have fatherland” (I like fatherland better as it sound more paternalistic a la Chavez) regardless whether we are citizen, engineers, doctors or just plain “people”.

      • I totally agree. I find it so patronizing when they talk about pueblo. I for one don’t want to be pueblo, so why would anyone else. I always say gente at least as a substitute, “ciudadano” seems too civilized at this stage…

  3. The translation of “Patria” as “homeland”, or even “fatherland”, doesn’t really hit the mark. I would translate it as “sovereign independence” with an overlay of the state paternalism mentioned in the article.

    In practice, the expression is a joke here, especially since we have been effectively colonized by Cuba, a much smaller and weaker state.

  4. No es por nada, pero no podemos tener a más criollitos por aquí? Por ahora tenemos a Nagel, Stolk, El marqués del Toro, Abadí, DaCosta Etc. Siento que es un blog argentino. Donde están los Pérez, García y Zambranos?

    • Poniendo de lado el comentario xenófobo, tengo varias respuestas:
      a) Toro ya no está
      b) Audrey utiliza un pseudónimo, y su apellido es bastante criollo
      c) uno de mis antepasados firmó el acta de la Independencia.
      ¿Es CC suficientemente criollo para tí ahora?

    • Venezuela es un país de inmigrantes. Tan venezolano es el Marqués del Toro y Mr. Stolk como Pancho Pérez y Carlos Zambrano. #getyourheadoutofyourass

      • De hecho, no lo es. Obviando a los inmigrantes Colombianos (que los musiús emplean en sus hogares), el % de Venezolanos de ascendencia extranjera reciente es practicamente nula fuera del este de Caracas.

        Y a lo que iba, más alla de genética o lo que sea, era lo privilegiado que son los que escriben por aquí. El haber tenido un antepasado que haya firmado el acta de independencia no ayuda con eso. Deberiamos hacer una encuesta de cuantos de los que escriben y leen CCS chronicles se monta en autobus diariamente…

        Ando en la onda de acknowledge privilege como hacen ahora en los esteits…

        • Ah, si lo que quieres decir es que somos privilegiados, pues qué te puedo decir, es un blog en inglés. #GuiltyAsCharged.

          Habiendo dicho eso, agarré autobús esta mañana pa que sepáis.

        • You must be joking.

          The % of Venezuelans that lack non-native heritage must be as close as possible to zero. We are all immigrants. Or have you met many Yanomamos in your lifetime?

          And why does it matter if your family has always been here or got here a generation ago or if you were born elsewhere but consider yourself Venezuelan?

          If you don’t take the bus to work or the metro – and many of us do, you judgmental friend – why does that make you any less Venezuelan? Nationality – or pertenencia if you wish – is not an economic construct. Denying someone’s sense of belonging to a place simply because they are well off is a tiny shade away from denying someone rights because of how they look.

          Lorenzo Mendoza and Pepita Perez are equally Venezuelans. Having a forefather that signed the Act of Independence – or one who was lieutenant to Mr. Simon – is a matter of personal pride and little else, not of perpetual privilege.

        • Por supuesto que al ser el blog en inglés, ya eso te dice que la mayoría de los que escriben y de los que leen pertenecen a la élite educada, lo que no necesariamente quiere decir la elite económica. Pero más allá de la forma en que presentaste la idea sonó bastante xenófobo, creo que sería un tema interesante explorar el tema de cómo pueden los que han nacido en privilegio entender un poco más a quien ha nacido y vivido y probablemente morirá en la pobreza.

          Siempre he dicho que soy bilingüe no porque hablo español e inglés sino porque puedo hablar barrio y hablar IESA. Dada la inmensa movilidad social que Venezuela tuvo en los 60-70, muchos asiduos de este blog tienen la experiencia de venir de familias de orígenes humildes que salieron adelante, pero la verdad es que a partir de los 80 esa movilidad se fue haciendo más difícil y cada vez más tienes personas que no tienen ni idea de como vive la otra parte del país. Mucha gente en los barrios jamás ha pisado lugares como Altamira y viceversa.

          Siempre recuerdo una anécdota de otra estudiante del IESA del master de políticas públicas a quienes les dieron la tarea de salir con x cantidad de bolívares y tenían que sobrevivir un dia sin usar sus tarjetas de débito y/o crédito y tenían que ir a una zona popular en transporte publico. Para muchos era su primera vez en la vida montados en el metro! Pero lo mas loco fueron dos mujeres jóvenes que regresaron impresionadas de su tour por la zona popular del mercado de chacao! Juro por dios que no lo estoy inventando, su experiencia con sobrevivir en una zona popular fue ir en carrito hasta el mercado de chacao!

          En ese sentido sí creo que puede ser interesante buscar narrativas alternativas de la gente que hace vida en los barrios y pueblos humildes de venezuela. Juan lo ha intentado con sus visitas a Petare y otros posts, pero seria mejor algo menos turismo de aventura y más crónica de por estas calles.

          • Moraima,

            Yo tuve mucha suerte de haber vivido las dos experiencias: vivia en Los Frailes de Catia( arriba cercando a los 4 vientos) y en un barrio pobre de San Juan de los Morros( la Morena) y tambien vivia en una Quinta en Caurimare. Las dos formas de vivir me encantaban .Son aprendizajes muy distintos.

            In the barrio we didn’t need a credit card to have credit.We asked for credit in the ‘abastos’ where people knew us, and where neighbors are a lot more friendly and willing to help than in the richer neighborhoods.(Comprar un compuesto para la sopa o comprar un vestido nuevo). So there are pluses and minuses with both, don’t you think?

            Taking a bus, or not taking one, what big difference is there really??Only the difference of pride and/or resentments, or the difference in cost.But we look at the same landscapes regardless…we travel in the confines of our own minds regardless.

            Social mobility is possible when our minds are open.Up or down.

        • Aqui tienes a otro privilegiado cuyos ancestros son Venezolanos (hasta donde se) y que usa el metro todas las semanas.

          Ahora que sabes esto, cambia tu perspectiva por los argumentos aqui presentados?

          • Ah, y mi nombre completo es Rodrigo Alfonso Linares Garcia. No es un nombre yanomami ni pemon sino mas bien canario.

          • There are almost 500000 Venezuelan voters with the first or second surname García, only slightly under Pérez (546000) and Rodríguez and González (1 and 2nd most common surnames).

            There are only slightly over 57000 Linares voters, with a cluster centre in Trujillo.
            I am sure Genographic 2.0 would show you have some Timoto-Cuica or Jirajara DNA but you don’t seem
            to have Warao or Otomaco genes.

            Seriously: I do think the Llaneros and Orientales are under-represented here. Does anyone know a Llanero oppo? Even…cough…even if it’s an Adeco?

        • Los indígenas emigraron de Asia, los blancos de Europa y los negros de África. Todos llegaron antes del 5 de julio de 1811, así que lo de la ascendencia extranjera es cuestión de estar dispuesto a retroceder en el tiempo.

        • It would be just as absurd if I said that I’m more Venezuelan than everyone else because I drive a car, which makes me the image of prosperity and stability that Venezuela strives to achieve. My hard work turned into success, thus, my status is that of a pure-blood Venezuelan.
          See how arrogant it sounds?

        • Fallo en ver el por qué ser privilegiado, o no montarte en un autobús diariamente te hace menos calificado para comentar aquí. Este tipo de comentarios son indignantes.

        • Hola exp, Yo soy de maturín, mi familia materna de Pampatar, mi familia paterna de Delta Amacuro (la adoptiva es de Puerto La Cruz). Generalmente viajo en bus, pero hoy me tuve que venir caminando a la casa porque los unidades estaban repletas.

    • Venezolanos son:

      – Los nacidos en Venezuela
      – Los hijos cuya madre o padre sean Venezolanos (con uno basta).
      – Los que decidan naturalizarse y cumplan los requerimientos de ley.

      Me parece repugnante restarle venezolanidad a las personas por su raza, credo, apellido, linaje, condición social, ideología política, nivel educativo, sexo u otra cosa que se pueda ocurrir.

    • Este comentario es una de las vainas que siempre me han hervido la sangre. Que carajos quiere decir eso de criollito. Entonces como mis nombres y apellidos no son espanholes, yo no soy venezolano? Entonces hay venezolanos de primera y – los que como yo que somos hijos de inmigrantes – somos venezolanos de segunda, CDTM? Yo naci en Venezuela y NADIE, pero absolutamente NADIE es mas venezolano que yo. Es mas, existen bastantes “criollitos” que han jodido al pais hasta decir basta. Para muestra, el fiambre enterrado en el cuartel de la montanha y la cuerda de malandros enquistados en el poder. Te puedo asegurar que yo con mi nombre “no criollito” he servido a mi pais mucho mas que le hez que “nos gobierna.” No son todos, pero existe una buena proporcion de la poblacion en Venezuela que es bastante xenofoba. Tu eres uno de los que integran este pobre grupo.

  5. In Venezuela the phrase ‘pero tenemos patria’ has become a catch all phrase used in any situation where people feel discomfited, frustrated or humiliated by somethigh which is blamed on the govt . it is pronounced with a crooked half smile and a tone of enbittered sarcasm . Govt rethoric is full of kitshy bombastic phrases which underline the stark contrast between the many small dissapointments and miseries of everyday life and the grandiose apoteosic vision that is supposed to inform all government initiatives . Hardly a day passes in which you dont hear it !!
    Patria by the way apparently comes from an ancient greek word which designated groups of inter related clans who worshiped in the altar of a common set of ancestors , in contrast to people who unable to point to a line of known and revered ancestors ( low origin people without a family tradition) worshiped instead certain low order deities not linked to any particular group of clans .
    The romans derived from the greek patria other words linked to terms such as fratres , fraternity , todays brotherhood .
    Congratulations to Raul on this excellent piece and to us CC regulars for his welcome appearance in this blog !!

    • The fact is that before Chávez there was no “patria” just a country sliding into the abyss with inflation at over 100% with wages frozen by the neoliberal madness most of you on this blog still support.

      Mock the phrase all youi want since none of you really understand what it means in cultural or spiritual terms as there was never any “patria” after Bolívar died except for a brief period during the revolución restauradora de Cipriano Castro.

      Stolk is just another whiner writing unsubtantiated pieces based on quotes that have been cherry-picked and cichéd anecdotes that we have all been hearing for over a decade now.

      In typical CC editorial style nothing will ever be said anout anything positive that this government or Chávez has ever done even allowing for the many problems that remain to be solved.

      The only redeeming factor is that Nagel,Stolk et alia can continue complaining and whining for another decade or more as they will never be able to criticize their political representatives since they will nver win a meaningful election in Venezuela.

      In true CC fashion I am sure that under Nagel’s leadership CC will contunue never getting anything right but just continue to form part of the media war against Venezuela so as to attract the comments of the mainly English-speaking apátridas that live abroad in successful countries such as Spain and the US.

      And Nagel will continue with his censorship mentality by deleting anything that rubs him up the wrong way since he is such a Pinocjhet-style democrat!

      • De un troll a otro troll. Este gobierno debe ser neoliberal entonces, no? porque a excepción de la casta militar, aquí a todos los empleados publicos se les ha rebajado el sueldo real gracias a la inflacion. O tu argumento es que este gobierno es “menos neoliberal”, “menos peor”???

        My apologies si no lees Español. Me da ladilla escribir en Inglés. Aparte que es como fuchi escribir en gringo.

        • asumo que despues del patronizing xenophobic drivel quelei de los trolls seguramente se apedillan sanema, samatali o guaikaipuro? y wararira repano,waiká, surara, parahuri del lado materno ??? de cual etnia seran? waikas, panares, yanomamis? porque si nos vamos a poner exquisitos los unicos venezolanos de origen son las etnias indigenas, todos los demas somos inmigrantes…o no?

      • Wouldn’t you say that a country with a murder rate 1/56 that of Venezuela is more successful than Venezuela? Wouldn’t you say that a country where there is “only” 26% of unemployment is doing OK compared to one where there is only 7% of official unemployment but where half the population are living off under much worse conditions than the unemployed in the first one?
        Spain will raise much faster than Venezuela…thanks to people like you.

      • Arturo, you forgot to say Canada, not every Venezuelan with English language skills lives in US.
        Now the “apatrida” part is interesting as about 80% of my family are indeed plugged in the government. I just decided not to go with the flow and have my own criteria of the good, the bad, the right and the wrong.
        This oversimplification of everything is what is wrong in Venezuela and what keeps the pro-government people complete blind of their own failure. I called CBD or Chavista Bi-polar Disorder that calls for unity on one side and does not allow critics on the other. They even call their owns that dare to critize “fifth columnists”.
        About the patria part, it is hard to reconcile the high sacrifice in the name of freedom that was done by our fathers (Bolivar, Sucre, etc..), the intellectual and political progress made last century (Otero Silva, Betancour, Gallegos, Villanueva, Perez Alfonso), all to be wasted by giving up with such a pirric and ultimately backward country called Cuba. I only computes in your bizarre word.

      • There is so much wrong with this post…
        “The fact is that before Chávez there was no “patria” just a country sliding into the abyss with inflation at over 100% with wages frozen by the neoliberal madness most of you on this blog still support.”
        So, you are blind to what’s happening now? As in, your wage gets increased but it hardy matters because you can’t buy a lot things, and you can’t even find some products.

        “Mock the phrase all youi want since none of you really understand what it means in cultural or spiritual terms”
        Well yeah, I know it’s cheaply produced rhetoric apologists like you can use as an “argument” :You don’t get the phrase, you don’t feel it!. Sorry, I’d prefer a prosperous nation instead of one that has only rhetoric to get the masses controlled.

        “Stolk is just another whiner writing unsubtantiated pieces based on quotes that have been cherry-picked and cichéd anecdotes that we have all been hearing for over a decade now.”
        The fact that they’ve become cliched, and that you’ve been hearing them for a decade, says nothing good about the situation of the country.

        “In typical CC editorial style nothing will ever be said anout anything positive that this government or Chávez has ever done even allowing for the many problems that remain to be solved.”
        Remain to be solved after 15 years. Maybe they remain to be solved because they willfully ignored them. I can’t believe they are talking about corruption and crime after so much time.

        “The only redeeming factor is that Nagel,Stolk et alia can continue complaining and whining for another decade or more as they will never be able to criticize their political representatives since they will nver win a meaningful election in Venezuela.”
        Hehehe, another blind guy who thinks political landscapes always remain the same. Chávez was reelected in a landslide in 2006, yet only a year later he had his constitutional reform rejected.

        “In true CC fashion I am sure that under Nagel’s leadership CC will contunue never getting anything right but just continue to form part of the media war against Venezuela so as to attract the comments of the mainly English-speaking apátridas that live abroad in successful countries such as Spain and the US.”
        They get A LOT right. And by the way, I am an English-speaking Venezuelan; but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with attracting a diverse crowd. And keep calling them apátridas. That’s why you deserve the responses you get.

  6. All this about “Pero tenemos Patria” when, whatever it may be perceived to be, we HAVEN’T got it. The statement itself has no factual underpinning (like so mush else, eh?). Apart from the sarky use, which is wisely and widely wielded by the “citizen-on-foot”, a plus for the wobbling opposition in the event, it is vapid rubbish.

  7. Hello, been lurking for a while, but might as well write.

    “Pero tenemos Patria” (that has it’s own webshow on YouTube) is just the old Venezuelan humor, birthed from the absurd suffering that the people that still live on the country go through, myself included.

    I happen to live on Guayana, a city that depends on State companies that aer basically huge zombies, kept on undeath by the necromancy of PDVSA, a city that still acts like an oversized mining field, and a city that has a syndicate protesting every month at best (at worst is every 2 weeks). So absurd is something that I know very well.

    (Can always expand on that subject).

    As a man on it’s 20’s, the thing that I always hear from my peers is “I’m getting out because this country is well and truly fucked”. While I believe that the country has no future myself, I’m simply tired to hear it. So I welcome any challenge to that perspective.

  8. I was looking for the quote, but I can’t find it, sorry. It went something like this: “Patria is the word governments use when preparing to kill their citizens”

      • Nicely written piece. The irony is that this regime does not ask people to give up their lives for their country (patria o muerte). It requires them, as a condition of recognition as citizens, to give up their dignity. O sea, no tenemos dignidad…pero tenemos patria….

  9. This post is heart-breaking. Because of the implicit hope it holds. Living in Venezuela is hard. I choose to stay every day, which is even harder. I have left twice, I always come back. Stories like this one are the reasons I stay. We haven’t found our voice or our way, but I do believe we have the heart and we deserve better. I stay because I hope, and I hope because and for people like Mirna.
    Thanks Raúl for bringing a hopeful and sad tear to my eyes.

  10. Is it the trolls assumption that fantasizing that we now have Patria whereas before we did not ( because the govts then were less petutantly anglo phobic and not as obsequiously sino-latric or submisisively pro cuban ) justifies the govt corruption and mismanagement which has lead to the current impovishement in the quality of our normal lives ?? That having a Patria required us to suffer the hardships and humiliations that we now suffer in the hands of a corrupt despotic and inept regime??

  11. My brother owns a small empanada place in av. Libertador, Caracas. Everyday customers come and ask for café con leche, he often replies: café con patria good for you sir?

    A friend of mine manages a fancy restaurant also in Ccs. It’s sad asking customers not to steal the toilet paper…

    Sure this comment wont solve a thing but i just felt like sharing.

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