Taming the shadow

67
Recognize it and bring it home
Bring it home

These tumultuous days, as I was glued to Twitter, reading Facebook comments, listening to opinions on the street, and watching the students debate on CNNE, I  finally “understood” Venezuela’s deep polarization.

After 15 years of war speech, we have become two distinct countries, two societies that haven’t been able to reconcile in more than a decade. It’s not merely that we can’t see eye to eye. It goes beyond that.

We are two sides, each projecting their darkest traits upon the other.

Carl Gustav Jung defined the shadow as the dark and unconscious aspect of the personality, the counterpart of the conscious ego. Although it is most often associated with negative aspects such as envy, greed, or lust, it can also encompass positive aspects, ones which the ego may not recognize as “good.”

The psychologist Sam Keen describes in his book Faces of the Enemy the social and personal process through which we create our enemies by projecting this shadow unto others whom we consider inferior by reasons not well known. We dehumanize our enemy in several ways – sometimes we portray them as monsters of epic proportions and equally epic evilness; other times as unholy people in acts of validation to our God; and sometimes we strip them of our common humanity altogether, and render them simple pests to be exterminated.

The creation of the enemy has paved the way for ethnic cleansings, witch hunts, and holy wars. We transfer onto others behaviors or aspects that we do not want to recognize in ourselves. And in doing so, we become the opposite, the good, the just, the right, the hero, the knight in shining armor. The other becomes the unjust, the wrong, the vile, the dragon that must be slayed. There is no middle ground – it either is, or it isn’t, it’s black or white.

With this in mind, and in the midst of these recent protests, the words of Colette Capriles struck a chord in me:

The political effectiveness of the protest, so as not to be solely “vindicating” but transformative, will come rather, from the dissolution of the identity Berlin Wall that has marked this society for the past 15 years. When the idea of “the other” disappears.

The “other”, the enemy. The polarized country that cannot engage with itself. The wall appears to be insurmountable. And herein lies the frustration of the opposition.  If we are right and we are the virtuous, why haven’t we been able to convert more Chavistas to our righteous cause?

Could it be that half of the country is evil, or maybe morally inferior? Maybe they just want free plasma TVs and washing machines. They don’t care about this country, but I do. They can be bought for pennies, but no one can buy me. They are uneducated, but we have frigging PhD’s.

You have heard all of this. You have thought all of this. And the “other” has thought their share of evil and vile things about you, too.

But if the opposition truly considers itself the solution, then it needs to strive for a new social dynamic. If we are to move forward, we must reunite. And in order to do that, we need to stop projecting our shadow onto others, retake our shadow and integrate it, individually and collectively, back into ourselves.

67 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, reunite. But how?
    If the opposition were to use the same logic as the Chavistas the following would happen once political ‘majority’ were to be achieved. EVERYONE at PDVSA, all 145,000, would be fired and replaced by opposition employees. Immediately, without question or delay. EVERY employee that works in federal, state and local governments would be fired (immediately), without exception, and would be replaced by opposition employees. ALL of them. Next, information on all of these ‘doings’ would be provided by continuous, and constantly updating, cadenas broadcast from ALL television and radio channels. And, ah, that would be just the start! One would have to add a ‘hate factor’ into all of this as well.

    It would have only taken just, what…?, ….200,000 or so changing their vote in the last election to bring this about? Yes,…yes, I know the opposition probably won anyway, but… Can you see the viciousness here? Can you understand what 14 or more years of Chavismo have succeeded in doing? Sorry, but there is very little hope after all of this….

        • Furthermore, the new Ukrainian Prime Minister told the BBC today that Ukraine finds itself (er, ah, so does Venezuela…) in a financial catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. He concluded his interview with the BBC reporter in Kiev with these words, “Welcome to Hell.” That’s kinda what a Capriles administration would find as well. Good interview,..logical, honest.

          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26361657

      • I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the best deals is http://goo.gl/Pt036z
        I checked with the BBB and was told that it is all legit. How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know
        I do know that I bought my son an ipad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Low gift
        cards for 48Why would I even think about shopping anyþlace else?

  2. It doesn’t have to be that they are less educated (where my opinion is inclined), it suffices that

    (a) their leadership is “less educated” (or just ignorant, or stupid, or ….)
    (b) they are more gullible, or more willing to follow their leaders …

    But probably all of the above is not quite enough, the clincher is that

    (c) once the trenches are dug, it’s really hard to cross to the other side without getting shot.

    We belong to clans, families, groups, parties, …. splitting from them can be costly and painful – the risks may simply not be worthwhile.

    A final thought: it is amazing that healing is possible in societies that once suffered such rifts, take for instance post-WW2 Europe, post-genocide Rwanda, etc. People manage often to forgive and forget, especially if convenient.

      • I am Irish. It all comes down to Tribes. We are still tribal in this 21st century. I first went to Africa 2 years before Rawanda and recognized then the fuse on the keg of powder that is tribal animosity. Today’s tribes come in many forms; Christian, Muslem, Israelies, and yes gangs.

        • You tribes are co-existing much better these days no? If the Irish can do it, with all of that history and bloodshed, surely hope is not lost for Venezuela.

          • As long as there is prosperity to share, the schism between the factions can be ignored. It’s when economic problems come to the fore that group identification intensifies and the barreras go up again. I am not sure how Northern Ireland has handled the latest global meltdown, but you could expect some resurgence in animosity between the republican and unionist factions as they squabbled over tightening resources….

          • No, there is still a large ‘ethnic/identity divide and annual flashpoints and rioting. The animosity and segregation is strongest among the lower classes. The middle classes are much more mixed in Northern Ireland.

            But the amount of who support a return to violence is so miniscule and it’s not going to happen.

  3. Well for starters maybe we could invite all rich Chavistas out there who are supporters of Socialism , to distribute their incomes to the poor,

    so that they may experience the epiphany of being equal.

  4. Henrique Capriles is trying to make Venezuela one country

    I am willing to forgive these sonsofbitches only if they pay for their crimes.

    I mean if Diosdado does 300 years in jail, I will forgive him once he gets out.

    • Forgiveness should always be based first on the desire of the transgressor to repent.Otherwise nothing is real.What are you forgiving? Murder, theft. lies? etc. Not good.

      This situation is not a matter of 2 sides that are equally deluded.We are talking about hordes or outright criminals in the government and an illegal government to boot.

      Are all Chavistas evil? Of course not, and we have to treat good people with respect.

      Are all opposition good? Of course not.But many in the opposition right now are standing on some pretty objective facts, and those facts have to be addressed and the criminals processed according to the law.

      The problem of polarization is real but it will take sometime to heal.I think it would help if people within the family structure treat each other with love, but that will not get rid of the criminals and until Justice is served I cannot see much possibility of healing.

      • “Forgiveness should always be based first on the desire of the transgressor to repent.Otherwise nothing is real.What are you forgiving? Murder, theft. lies? etc. Not good.”

        Firepigette, time permitting, please Google ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’.
        Please also look at the videos with Bishop Desmond Tutu, and the countless number of
        Black South Africans who came face to face with the White South Africans who killed, tortured
        or maimed their family members/friends.
        I think if South Africans can ‘truly’ forgive, anyone can.

        • Gee if these people say so, it must be true.

          This is not a matter of talking about forgiving or not forgiving.It is a matter of punishing the criminals,establishing a fair justice system and learning the basics of what it takes for a Fair society.

          If you just strive to forgive…it’s an easy and cheap shot….if you have transgressed and change and you expect others who have transgressed change, your life might work

          Whether or not someone forgives in my opinion should not become a public spectacle.It is something in the heart.

          • For the chavistas, “a matter of punishing the criminals,establishing a fair justice system and learning the basics of what it takes for a Fair society.” means that they’ve been wrong this whole time, maybe wrong their entire lives, as they have defended zealously a bunch of murderers, thieves, rapists and a lot of criminal people.
            They see those guys like saints (Yes, I’m speaking of diosdado, giordani, rodriguez torres, chaves, everyone of them), agreeing to some sort of retaliation to come to any of them means that they’ve wasted their lives being deceived and manipulated like puppets.
            So they prefer a criminal to come and kill their families first, steall all of their stuff and maim them for life, but they’ll still defend said criminal because in their minds, their “loving, know-it-all leaders” are right: Another one is to blame, another thing, any thing else is to blame, if the targets of their worship are wrong, that means they’re wrong too..

      • Jesus said to his disciples:
        “You have heard that it was said,
        An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
        But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
        When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
        turn the other one as well.
        If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
        hand over your cloak as well.
        Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
        go for two miles.
        Give to the one who asks of you,
        and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

        “You have heard that it was said,
        You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
        But I say to you, love your enemies
        and pray for those who persecute you,
        that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
        for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
        and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
        For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

        • These are inner suggestions that have to do with spiritual work, not to be confused with how to create a system that works for everybody.We do not all share the same religion..

          Venezuela needs respect for differences and less authoritarian thinking.I remember once there was an Evangelical girl in one of my classrooms who did not want to attend a Virgin Ceremony held at the school.I told her sure, stay behind.But the director of the school made her go, saying:
          “Catholicism is the official religion of Venezuela and as such has to be respected.You must go to the ceremony”

          Need I say more?

          • It has nothing to do with religion but with forgiveness. Unless one is willing to be in a perennial state of civil war, we have to give the other side a reason to jump ship to a better way. A way where all citizens feel they have right.

            Looking for revenge and calling the other side inferior will not help in the long term, even if the opposition has a slim majority.

  5. The divide is not just between the haves and the have nots, its between two forms of looking at the world , between two established modes of social behaviour , two ways of forming and dissolving family and personal relationships , each deeply rooted in its own culture , one more primitive than the other , They inhabit the same country but live in two separate worlds , In the past there were a lot of things which allowed both to bond and share in common illusions , but after Chavez thats pretty much gone .

    These two societies are Marginal society led by a host of frenzied fanatics and Civil society led by its middle class , the mind set of one and the other although partially overlapping are counter posed , there are many factors creating this chasm between the two cultures , the two mentalities .!!

    One key factor is that the marginal society lives in the here and now with little tought for the morrow , relationships are unstable and transient , prosmicuity is rife , machismo rampant , indolence general . people are very tolerant of disorder and instability , and yet they are easy going and sociable and can lead happy care free lives , proud arbitrary manly autarchy or anarchy reigns supreme . the other society is made up of people who worry about the future , about education , about improving their lives , about leading orderly lives under cover of functioning institutions , they include many of those WEIRDS of which Francisco talked about , they hanker for that Lettered Republic of which Pino iturrieta writes about .

    Chavez made the marginal society become conscious of itself , see itself as the enemy of the other giving them a fun way of venting to their many resentments and frustrations , riling them up so that they might feel tough strong mighty proud , invincible . He fed them with syrupy and epopeyic delusions to make their heads big. their hearts arrogant and violent . Civil society thought that the marginals were part of it , but they were wrong , they were different and now have become a second country standing as the enemy of that indifferent and shoddily functioning enemy society they now feel they have under their feet .

    Its never recognized but people feel good and thrilled about their hatreds , their angry passions , their recreational rancours . It intoxicates their tempers , brutalizing their instincts !! So good in fact that even when such passions clearly work against their interests they still abide by them with animal delectation.

    The regimes hiperbolic socialist rethoric is just icing on the cake , good to rouse those passions that marginals feel so good about . As Nietzsche once wrote “How good do bad music and bad speeches sound when marching against an enemy” . The real enemy is that marginal society is so drunk on those histrionized passions that Chavez taught them to profess that they cant see the obvious , that the regime is corrupt , that it is grossly incompetent , that it is despotic , that it fails in every way possible the standards of good governance or if they see it they dont seem to care. They are enjoying their sense of enraged power so much .!!

    There is way of broaching that wall of fanatical hatred thought the use of reasons or the presentation of irrefutable evidence or by appeals to their sense of reality !!

    The fact that it should come to this , a country in which the failures and vices of a regime are so obvious and yet is able to retain the loyalties of close to one half of the population is in itself an indictement of a naive uncomplicated view of the virtues of democracy , that all it takes is to make govt democratic for all ills to dissapear wihtout realizing once again the fracturing limitations of conventional democracy , how much more complicated creating a balanced, just and efficient system of governance is .!!

    The challenge is to step outside the envelope of our canonized political ideals and start looking these difficult issues in the face !!

    • That is something we should always do by the way BB, but that won’t get rid of the criminals.You need to understand the nature of the beast: Sociopathy

      One thing I always thought when living in Venezuela is that the middle class and on up was incredibly callous towards the working class,and this has to change….but that does not justify what is happening now.

      • “One thing I always thought when living in Venezuela is that the middle class and on up was incredibly callous towards the working class,and this has to change”

        Yes, there are some people I have encountered who talk about and treat poor people in such a manner that I want to shake them and say “That is exactly the kind of attitude and arrogance that made a demagogue like Chavez have such a receptive audience!!!!”

        I’m not sure if it’s worse in Venezuela than in other South American countries, but you don’t see that type of overt and disgusting class-ism in North America or Europe.

        • “I’m not sure if it’s worse in Venezuela than in other South American countries, but you don’t see that type of overt and disgusting class-ism in North America or Europe.”

          Are you kidding me? Try to live in Spain for three months.

          • I don’t want to compare with Spain because I have never lived there…but compared to the US ,class hatred has always been really bad in Ven…..maybe the word hatred is way too strong… because a lot of it is a bit unconscious I think.Many Venezuelans who are really tenderhearted are guilty of simply not putting themselves in other’s places.It’s callousness and bad habit…but sometimes it is out of the idea that if you spoil people they take advantage, and in truth sometimes this happens.I preferred to work with ladies from Grenada for that reason.We could live together like one big happy family.Remember it’s a vicious circle.The poor have not been treated equally,so they respond in kind.

            I had many maids tell me they only liked working for gringos because the Venezuelans treated them badly.

            For me maids were family.
            The only other LA country I know fairly well is Costa Rica where I did not see this kind of arrogant treatment of the working classes.

            On the contrary, on the Fincas of our family members and others I have seen, the workers act like they own the places.It is even hard to get them to work sometimes.We have an aunt who is in her 80’s and will get up early to make breakfast for guests because she doesn’t want to bother the maid.

    • Great post, this part especially

      “The real enemy is that marginal society is so drunk on those histrionized passions that Chavez taught them to profess that they cant see the obvious , that the regime is corrupt , that it is grossly incompetent , that it is despotic , that it fails in every way possible the standards of good governance or if they see it they dont seem to care. They are enjoying their sense of enraged power so much .!”

    • “…enjoying their sense of enraged power so much”

      What a succinct way to phrase something I’ve always thought was going on, but had no better word for it than “revanchismo”.

      BTW, thank you for finally embracing punctuation and spacing!

  6. We the middle class look over and see the ‘battered wife syndrome’ takes its course. Chavismo will eventually go too far with its mismanagement of the economy and then the battered wife will leave, but my fear is that they will go to just another batterer, while our bourgeois answer will always be refused, certainly in the short term.

    Bill Bass and Manuel Mendoza, great posts!

  7. Reading a bit of venezuelan history might help to get some perspective…Uslar Pietri was ostracised by Adecos in 1945… then any Dictadura associated elite was ostracised by mainly Adecos ( as Copeyanos only became against Perez Jimenez late in the dictadura decade). Negating things like the good work done in the Ministries of Health (erradixating paludismo, etc) or Mines and Hydrocarbons ( establishing a competent bureaucracy that regulated industry) was also common. Then, to get the left out of power Punto Fijo forces colluded to also rig elections or at least playing with all the advantages. Diosdado predecessors were plenty. Diego Arria (MUD grandee) as early as in the early 1970s was involved in corruption scandals (Terrenos en Margarita, buses en Caracas… read the newspapers of that time). CAP ‘s doce apostoles, Pinerua’s list of corrupts, Etc etc. Let’s reflect on that past and think harder on what mistakes we should not be repeating once in power again. Being a bit humbler and concious of that we have not being all virtues and Chavistas are all vices might put us in a position to create a bolder, more stable and better future.

  8. Audrey

    Projection is only one of many defense mechanisms, and not all decisions are based on defense mechanisms.Some people for sure are projecting, others are in denial, other are using reaction formation etc…it’s complicated….and then others are not demonizing everybody in Chavismo but are just looking at certain basic horrific facts with an objective eye( like high crime, corruption lies etc.)

    We are dealing here with criminals who have to be constrained.

    At the point when they are constrained and Democracy is restored there will be less polarization.

    Polarization is partially caused by the incredible lack of impunity criminals of all kinds have in Venezuela and the understandable reaction against it.

    To fall into a morass of moral equivalency is to put the aggressor on the same level of the victim.

    It reminds of the men who blame women for being raped…

    • Projection is a defense mechanism of the ego, unable to accept its own shortcomings it exteriorizes them.
      The main idea of the post is to try to explain why the country is so polarized and then to give ideas on how to unify once more. This has more to do with the masses than with the leaders.
      You say: “We are dealing here with criminals who have to be constrained”
      Well, I’m sure many chavistas are saying that as well about the opposition leaders.
      The question is why?

      • I know what projection is Audrey but I am saying that we cannot attribute everything to that, and I doubt seriously that when people are incensed with the level of crime in Venezuela and the stealing of votes that this is caused by projection.Projection typically shows up more with feelings of jealousy and guilt.

        Are you saying that there is no problem with criminality in the Chavez government?If you really believe that you have lost the cause.If you don’t believe it, then what’s the point?

        There is a level of objectivity here you are not addressing.

        Why do the Chavistas defend this? I think there are many reasons.For some it is a matter of interests,for others blind ideology, then for others just sheer criminality.The only ones who might open up at some point would be the idealists….those who confuse love with socialism.

        Some of these people are so disconnected from the reality of love between people that if you tell them you love them they almost reply back ” I socialism you ”

        Are there blind ideologists among the opposition ?, probably, though I don’t perceive too much of it.

        But the opposition has to take great care not to feel so superior to those in the under classes, because this is a mistake the middle class has made in the past, and this has caused great resentment to build up….

        Injustice always causes a build up of resentment and hatred which is how the criminal government could manipulate the people in the first place.

        • Wow people, hold up. Please look back at your comments and read them slowly and carefully.

          Chavistas suffer form battered wife syndrome,
          The marginal society is more gullible
          Some chavistas are with the goverment for personal interests, others by blind ideology.
          Chavistas are disconected from reality

          It’s just no statistically possible for half of the country to have all or be burden with most of these negative characteristics and the other half to have most or all of the counter positive ones.

          To speak of one side as primitive is insulting. And just plays along the same hate speech that Chavez spewed for 15 years without end.

          This is NOT about political consencus, this is about becoming opponents, not enemies.

          • Audry : The expression used was ‘MORE primitive’ , it didnt say that Civil Society was incapable of primitive responses , the truth of the matter is that all Political Passions have the capacity to brutalize the minds of many of those that profess them , Do note that the reference was to the underlying culture of each society , not necessarily to the mentality of all the people in each side of the social divide.

            Before Chavez the political discourse of the middle class and its leaders was inclusive ( all classes belong) even if in practice the less fortunate / economically competent couldnt feel as socially integrated as the middle class , not because they were hated but because of the neglect and stupidity of middle class attitudes which looked the other way at the systems incompetence at integrating the marginal society .

            The difference now is that the discourse of the regime and its followers is full of hatred and exclusion towards members of the middle class and its values , if you are middle class or hold middle class values your are vermin , you are a beast , your property and life can be taken from you , you dont belong , you should leave the country .

            The discourse of those in power and those who support them is one of hatred and exclusion while those of the persecuted members of Civil Society is still the same as it was before but naturally also including the rejection of those who take such arrogant pleasure in hating civil society and its values.

            This has been written of before by pens much more fluent and eloquent than mine. I wholeheartedly simpathyze with the idea of trying to integrate both societies but as the saying goes ‘it takes two to tango’ and I see little signs among the Chavista hard core of abandoning their suculent class hatreds . Thats the challenge we face , but we wont get there by making believe that our values are inferior or as warped as theirs but rather looking at their humanity and seeing in it a reflection of our own.

          • This, exactly. Thank you, Audrey, I wanted to reply to all of those comments about “they they they THEY” but you did it already and very eloquently.

            Great post, by the way.

          • Audrey,

            Chavismo is clearly not working for anyone. Scarcity, inflation and insecurity is shared by all. Yet chavistas (poor and rich) put up with this and support their tormentor. Furthermore, they close rank and defend it (read Aporrea), and then what? Social explosion a la Caracazo? (Which will be 25 years tomorrow).

            I stand by my comment of ‘battered wife syndrome’.

          • Good point. People need to take a deep breath. Supporters of this regime and the opposition come from the same families, they go to the same parrillas, they live in the same neighborhoods, they shop at the same markets and malls, they follow the same baseball and they drink the same beer (or Pepsi). There are exceptions, and there are extremes, but there is more connecting the two sides of this political divide than separating them. You can recognize this, and also protest and denounce the abuses of this regime.

          • One way to interpret party politics is to think of it as a spectator sport which occasionally allows spectator participation, for instance during elections or demonstrations. You choose a team which you like, some do it because they like the name or colors or identify with the team in some peculiar way. Perhaps your family or friends root for the team, perhaps there are a few key words the party uses which appeal to you. To some it might not be such a superficial act, or at least it evolves into something more complex as they assimilate into the culture of the party and naturally identify and adopt an us versus them attitude.

            Underlying the competitive nature of politics is the issue of branding. Chavismo adopted the banner of “defender of the poor” under a charismatic leader who madeidentifying with the movement easy. And so, without necessarily thinking too hard, lots of people from what BB calls the marginal clases have willingly joined the ranks, WITHOUT REALIZING THE ARBITRARINESS OF THEIR DECISION. It was like going to a supermarket and becoming loyal to a brand because it claims to be “for the people”, without looking at the ingredients or caring whether the competition is actually more effective. And once you choose a brand, you adopt a whole lifestyle, “bundled” with the brand, which includes sharing experiences with other brand loyalists, partaking in brand workshops, getting coupons, and so forth. Even if you are not brainwashed after this experience, you find it very hard to switch brands because, as BB pointed out, it is a key part of your culture, your own pseudo-cult.

            Call me a cynic, but this is why i don’t think the solution lies in simply calling for us to recognize each others humanity. The issue is due to the fundamental human frailty of identifying and adopting a group or a brand with the tacit goal of beating the other team.

          • The marketing argument of course can be elaborated to death ….

            Picking a brand is arbitrary insofar as you pick from what is available. Chavez toughed it out with the competition for the mantle of “defender of the poor”, he earned the leadership post. In the end it was Chavez that won, with a brain filled with crazy ideas and surrounded by a gaggle of extremist political buddies, and not a more moderate politician. Are moderate politics incompatible with the personality of someone who can convince the poorer segments of Venezuela? In other words, will the moderate brand sell in popular districts??

            My personal sense is that this is why Capriles does things as he does. He knows his market.

            Beyond that, the downside of reading CC and especially Quico’s posts of ayore and those of Kepler and BB is that you become increasingly sensitized to the notion that Venezuela cannot be ruled as a normal country, that it is trapped in a pseudo-feudal state, shackled by the oil resource curse. The question is then also, even if the politician who can convince the people is open to moderate ideas, what choices are available to those ruling?

          • And I should also add, this opinion does not imply that I do not believe there is a right or wrong party to choose, that parties do not represent specific values or pursue specific agendas. But those details can become blurred and even submerged in the greater context of our social interactions. Again, the “medium is in the message” comes to mind. It’s not that the message does not matter, it is that as humans it becomes just another property (“message”) of the medium object (“political party”) and that, once you become a member of the party, you can practically forget what the message is. It is there, it is probably one of the most important elements at very core of the party, but the methods easily override it in importance.

            When times become increasingly confusing we stick to our own as much for survival as for the message.

          • As a final thought: how to convince the popular segments that the opposition is acting in their best interests, and not just their own.

            The million dollar question ….

  9. Venezuela is united in crime, shortages, inflation, you name it. The whole country is suffering these hardships. A wise politician would exploit that these conditions affect both the wealthy and poor. No need to seek union upon political standpoints. You will never get a communist to agree with a right-winged guy.

    • I wonder what one could offer *everyone* that would benefit *everyone* in equal amounts, while taking away from *anyone* in power the power to abuse it…

  10. Come and think of it, this is one the best posts so far.

    Because if we don’t stop this madness, we might as well be looking at North Venezuela and South Venezuela.

    • Nobody can quarrel with the posts generous intent , but if we in the opposition lower the temper of our passions and the other side doesnt .,(e.g. because its hooked on the rewards of it righteous rage ) where does that leave us ?? There is got to be something more to bring both sides together to share a common project of life for the country !! Maybe that will be in Audrys next post . Lets hope it brings us closer to an answer. !!

  11. I really miss the time when Chavez was alive…. (who would guess I’d say such a thing a few weeks ago). I am not gonna go the Jesus way, as I am not really much of a Bible reader. But I will refer to a closer-in-time non-violence resistance movement: Gandhi’s India. Kinda of hit and miss movement, but after all, it brought down the British dominance in India. So why not in Venezuela? The other guys are half asleep and it is our duty to wake them up. In waking them up, we should not use violence. If we do, that demonstrates that we are as asleep as they are. Thus, elevate yourself and avoid violence to achieve your objectives. Very simple. Non-violence and passive resistance is the way. So far, students are getting deeper into shi*…. playing the old ego games.

  12. The Opposition needs to talk directly to the fears of the Chavista side. They never directly address their fears..Tell them “You are not losing your soical programs” in fact here is how they will be better. ‘You are not losing your “free medical clinic”. In fact here is how we are going to fill it with medicines. “You will not be excluded from any new government” Here are the post you will hold….They need to talk to the fears and subdue their fears…And there are alot of them….Chavista don’t care about opposition “cifras” THey care about what they care about…Someone should find out quick what that is and address it…

  13. As an outsider, I think this post exaggerates the polarization in Venezuela.

    The hard-core oppo does not hate the Venezuelan masses. There has no been no mass uprising against the middle/upper classes. no Red Terror with mobs of peasants/workers/ex-slaves plundering the mansions of the aristocracy. Unlike, say, the white slavemasters of the old U.S. South, they haven’t had any reason to fear such a movement. They hate the chavista regime, its goon squads and boligarch cronies, who have injured them. They feel contempt for the chavista voters who enable the chavernment to loot the country, but don’t hate them. Perhaps I am deceived by seeing this through the window of Caracas Chronicles, and not knowing Spanish, but I don’t think any of the oppo see the whole mass of chavista voters as parasites and criminals, but as fools.

    The hard-core chavistas do hate the middle and upper classes of Venezuela, as a group. That is because of resentment engendered by the traditional arrogance of elites toward the lower class, and because of 15 years of continual propaganda against the middle and upper classes as vampires, escualidos, traitors. That campaign has created a free-floating distrust of the oppo, and among some chavistas, outright hatred.

    However, this is a relatively small group – maybe 15% of Venezuelans. That 15% is where the regime gets its colectivo goons and Bolivarian activists. With this base, and control of the state, and “communicational hegemony”, the regime sways a much larger group (between 30% and 40%) to support the regime passively, and to vote (or be voted) for regime candidates, thereby maintaining its claim to power.

  14. Please delete the above erroneous post.

    As an outsider, I think this post exaggerates the polarization in Venezuela.

    The hard-core oppo does not hate the Venezuelan masses. There has no been no mass uprising against the middle/upper classes. no Red Terror with mobs of peasants/workers/ex-slaves plundering the mansions of the aristocracy. Unlike, say, the white slavemasters of the old U.S. South, they haven’t had any reason to fear such a movement. They hate the chavista regime, its goon squads and boligarch cronies, who have injured them. They feel contempt for the chavista voters who enable the chavernment to loot the country, but don’t hate them. Perhaps I am deceived by seeing this through the window of Caracas Chronicles, and not knowing Spanish, but I don’t think any of the oppo see the whole mass of chavista voters as parasites and criminals, but as fools.

    The hard-core chavistas do hate the middle and upper classes of Venezuela, as a group. That is because of resentment engendered by the traditional arrogance of elites toward the lower class, and because of 15 years of continual propaganda against the middle and upper classes as vampires, escualidos, traitors. That campaign has created a free-floating distrust of the oppo, and among some chavistas, outright hatred.

    However, this is a relatively small group – maybe 15% of Venezuelans. That 15% is where the regime gets its colectivo goons and Bolivarian activists. With this base, and control of the state, and “communicational hegemony”, the regime sways a much larger group (between 30% and 40%) to support the regime passively, and to vote (or be voted) for regime candidates, thereby maintaining its claim to power.

  15. Please delete the above erroneous TWO posts.

    As an outsider, I think this post exaggerates the polarization in Venezuela.

    The hard-core oppo does not hate the Venezuelan masses. There has no been no mass uprising against the middle/upper classes. no Red Terror with mobs of peasants/workers/ex-slaves plundering the mansions of the aristocracy. Unlike, say, the white slavemasters of the old U.S. South, they haven’t had any reason to fear such a movement. They hate the chavista regime, its goon squads and boligarch cronies, who have injured them. They feel contempt for the chavista voters who enable the chavernment to loot the country, but don’t hate them. Perhaps I am deceived by seeing this through the window of Caracas Chronicles, and not knowing Spanish, but I don’t think any of the oppo see the whole mass of chavista voters as parasites and criminals, but as fools.

    The hard-core chavistas do hate the middle and upper classes of Venezuela, as a group. That is because of resentment engendered by the traditional arrogance of elites toward the lower class, and because of 15 years of continual propaganda against the middle and upper classes as vampires, escualidos, traitors. That campaign has created a free-floating distrust of the oppo, and among some chavistas, outright hatred.

    However, this is a relatively small group – maybe 15% of Venezuelans. That 15% is where the regime gets its colectivo goons and Bolivarian activists. With this base, and control of the state, and “communicational hegemony”, the regime sways a much larger group (between 30% and 40%) to support the regime passively, and to vote (or be voted) for regime candidates, thereby maintaining its claim to power.

  16. Rich : Thank you for the balance and realism of your latest post ( well worth reading 3 times) , glad someone got the point and didnt go for the easy exagerated view of intra class relations. Underscoring what you said :

    1. People forget that Venezuela is a country which has experienced very rapid social mobility before Chavez came , Most middle class people come from modest origins (only one or maximum two generations away ) and still carry with them the living legacy of their origins . Its not like other places were classes have had much time to solidify their indentity , Most every middle class person has several close relatives or friends who are either either less prosperous than themselves or still on the fringes of becoming full fledge middle class .

    2. Our culture makes almost all of us informal , cordial , socially open people , you go into a queue that mixes peoples from different origins and find it easy to trade jokes , gossip , intimacies , help each other out etc. Generally ‘stuck up’ people are sscorned and made fun of. Remember an anecdote told in this blog about a chilean lady who had taken to easy going Venezuelan ways and who when visiting her two sister in Chile was chided about how improperly familiar she was to people not of her condition . Or of the story told to me by a friend who lived in Chile years ago and whose mother discovered that the good way she treated her servants was thought of as unseemly by her Chilean neighbors. We are not Colombia , Mexico or Ecuador , Discourse between classes is much more fluent and friendly than elsewhere. You can tell a person is high class because they tend to be less formal and more easy going that newly minted middle class people
    .
    3.. Remember our high class mantuanos were all massacred during the wars of independence so we never had an established social aristocracy , people who rose to power and fortune were people who were fortunate in gaining power in the many civil wars that afflicted venezuela during much part of our history so hide bound aristocracies had no chance to develop . The country until oil came was also much poorer that other countries , so even if you came from a high class background that didnt make them much richer that the rest so they led mostly genteel but modest lives , just a bit better educated..

    I concurr about your observation that while there is in general no blanket animosity towards the class of the less fortunate among people in the middle class ( they would have to hate their parents or uncles or brothers or cousins etc) 15 years of Chavista preaching class hatred has had an effect on the core chavista stalawart . Dont know how many these are but they might comprise a third to a half of the population of Chavista supporter. Also note that many if not most among the top chavistas are bonafide members of the middle class or aspire to many of middle class values even while proclaiming themselves Radical Revolutionaries and calling themselves comrades. . .

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