Searching for a word in Doral

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Venezuela Doral arepazo 2
Happy to be here…?

My stay in Doral has been a strange one.

I have enjoyed the familiar sights and sounds of the city, the one with the highest proportion of Venezuelans living in it. The bakeries, the sounds of people chattering, even the way people drive – they all remind me of home.

But there is something else underneath, an unrequited longing, a sadness housed in the uprooting of lives.

The Portuguese language has a term for their particular brand of nostalgia, saudade. It is the backbone of many of that language’s finest music.

But this is no saudade. This is no ordinary nostalgia. It is a look of sadness, mixed with hope, and a dash of resignation.

You see it in the face of the Venezuelan supermarket checkout cashier, who still can’t come to grips with the fact that her country is gone, her hopes dashed.

You see it in the faces of the newly-arrived ex-pats, sharing a guayoyo and getting tips from seasoned pros in the city’s Venezuelan panaderías. You hear it in the entonation of moms and dads, desperately clinging to their Venezuelan accent as they see their kids slowly melting into this culture, shedding their Venezuelanness to become that which Americans call “Hispanic.”

Perhaps the sadness of being away from home is tinged with hope, a (vain?) hope that this horrible episode will be transitory, and that they will be able to return soon to go on with their lives, with the lives their parents led.

A few years ago someone coined the term “frustrachera,” a Venezuelan term signifying the rage that stems from the frustration of not being able to change what is happening. Maybe we need a new word for this I see here in Doral.

Espeyabo, a mix of hope and guayabo, perhaps?

Whatever this is, Doral is the capital of it.

1 COMMENT

    • One experiences a similar feeling to what you describe in the Venezuelan run restaurants that have for some time existed in Toronto and Montreal. A sense of what Gallegos call Morriña, a longing for one’s homeland but mixed with certain anxiety and hesitation to speak too much about the current situation. On the upside, some of these restaurants are quite successful and have even made arepas and cachitos into hip food choices here. A hot cachito de guayana y queso when’s -30 centigrade outside is pretty heavenly.

          • When I lived in Detroit I was able to occasionally find aji dulce (and mamones!) at one particular market in southwest (not Honeybee – the other one). I’ve never seen it anywhere else or since, though, including at places like the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market in Atlanta that have a vast selection of ‘ethnic’ produce. I have never seen apio in the US. If I ever find nispero I will just die!

        • Available in Kensington Market (at a tiny Bahamian place on Nassau). They have a Guyanese supplier and a loyal Venezuelan expat clientele.

          • I know the place. The only place I’ve seen in North America that sells it. Right by the parking lot. You have to be careful not to confuse the hot ones though…

  1. Well, it may very well be saudade. Saudade is no simple nostalgia, is a deep feeling of nostalgia that gets into melancholy due to feeling of distance (in space or time) with the loved one/thing/land, longing for a return, and with a bit of sadness because, in all probability, it is lost.

    Y siendo gallego sé de lo que hablo 😛

    • Bien dicho Jesus:

      “Saudade is no simple nostalgia, is a deep feeling of nostalgia that gets into melancholy due to feeling of distance (in space or time) with the loved one/thing/land, longing for a return, and with a bit of sadness because, in all probability, it is lost.”

      I think that is the key to understanding.We are sadder when we feel something is truly lost.

  2. Funny things is that growing up we saw this in the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese immigrants living in Venezuela. Spend a Saturday afternoon at el Centro Italo, la Hermandad Gallega or el Centro Portuges. Furthermore, I remember how unkind people could be to them when these accented immigrants would reminiscence about their lost life.

    • Yeah. Sad isn’t it? But I was always fascinated by the stories these people could tell, about ancient cities and beautiful traditions. Of happy summer afternoons spent in a terraza eating ice cream.

      As it turned out, the stories were true. There are ancient cities and summer afternoons of beauty.

      We have to thank El Difunto for giving us the impetus to leave.

      • and the interesting thing is when, say, the Gallegos eventually returned to their homeland, they gave their businesses names of Venezuelan places, for the sentiments evoked. So where they may have had a Bar-Restaurant Ribadavia, near La Candelaria (I knew the couple), today, you can find in Santiago de Compostela, Bar Maracaibo, if memory serves from a head-turning moment while I walked about in that city.

        Sentiment. The perfect antidote to brattish behaviour. It’s what Venezuelans are now forced to discover.

    • “Anda pa tu tierra”, a famously spewed sentence of the typical arrechito venezuelan who sees “musius” with disdain.

      As a reward, they no longer need to say it, being expats themselves. As part of some “musius” kin, i grin a little bit inside when i read these stories on Doral and other “cafetalesque” strongholds overseas.

      • “Anda pa’ tu tierra” sounds like a shitty xenophobe insult, one that deserves a jab straight to the kisser.

        And guess what, chavistas are the most xenophobe people in Venezuela, and the ones who are enjoying the most the fact that they are “kicking out” the “cafetalesque sifrinos” and “musiús”, the enemies they were trained to hate.

  3. Quizá Doral es un lugar que concentra a un tipo definido de inmigrante venezolano, de la misma manera que Miami concentraba a un tipo de cubano.

    El tipo de venezolano que quiere estar lo más cerca posible del terruño, que no quiere aceptar la realidad.

    Por supuesto que reconozco la frustrachera y el espeyabo que usted menciona pero seria un error creer que todos los venezolanos en el extranjero están arrechos, frustrados y despechados.

    En París hay un cogollo de venezolanos bien conectados, chavistas, que se lo pasan la mar de bien. Por toda Francia hay decenas de “becarios” chavistas felices de aprender a comer queso y beber vino con buen gusto y una pátina de cultura.

    Madrid está lleno de venezolanos de oposición encantados de haberse conocido. España tiene un sabor especial, como un regusto a Venezuela, que hace que te mientas todos los días, que sientas que estás en Caracas antes del Viernes Negro. La verdad es que todavía no he conocido a un venezolano especialmente nostálgico viviendo en Europa.

    Es triste y duro, ser inmigrante; o no. Hay gente para quienes salir de Venezuela fue una liberación: no más peligro, no más kitsch tropical, no más escuchar hablar a gente imitando el “acento del pueblo”, no más burócratas imbéciles, no más colas en la autopista, no más necesidad de ir en carro a todas partes, no más irresponsabilidad colectiva, no más votar al candidato perdedor, no más clasismo, no más guardias nacionales jodiendo el parque, no más chavistas (!), no más calarte al agente de turno…

    Yo no soportaría ver a mi hijo crecer como un “hispanito” (cuestiones de gusto personal, la cultura mexicana me fascina y la española también, pero el menjurje hispánico no lo trago) , pero tengo que resignarme a verlo crecer como extranjero, hablando español con acento PERO feliz de que no tenga que vivir rodeado de fotos plásticas de Chavez y reggaeton.

    • Siendo nominalmente un “Hispanic” y habiendo criado un par de hijos en USA comparto el rechazo al “Hispanic Culture”.

      El problema que la “Hispanic Culture” es que es predominantemente Mexicana (busca ‘Acento neutro’ de George Harris) y pobre. Basta ver Univision para observar esto.

      Como me dice mi esposa “excepto por el idioma -y cuidado!-, yo no tengo nada en comun con ellos”.

      • A ver, una buena mirada al mundo de habla española: es maravilloso. Borges, Rulfo, Ortega, el imperio Azteca, el mundo Maya, los Incas, pero también Cortes y Pizarro y el tirano Aguirre…

        Y eso sin mencionar las artes plásticas o el centro de Madrid, o Ciudad de México alrededor del Zócalo…

        Es maravilloso ¿y que usan en Univision? ¿Que es lo “hispánico” en EEUU? la morralla de nuestra cultura. Una gente que a fuerza de ser vulgar da asco.

        Y te lo digo: mi español no es el español de esa gente. Es más, esa vaina no es español… eso es al idioma lo que Chavez es a la política.

    • En todas partes del mundo y desde siempre , gente de una misma nacionalidad tiende a congregarse a vivir en los mismos sitios por que vivir entre paisanos da a la vida un gusto y comodidad que no ofrece la vida entre gente de usos y gustos diferentes. Esto pasa a los chinos , a los mexicanos , a los italianos y desde luego a los Venezolanos !! La existencia de un Doral o de una Westonzuela es lo mas normal y natural del mundo .

      Tengo amigos muy queridos de todas partes del mundo pero ya el hecho de que hayan vivido en Venezuela o sean Venezolanos tiende un puente instantaneo y espontaneo de proto intimidad que facilita la comunicacion y muchas veces la construccion de una amistad . Es verdad que hay muchos aspectos en la forma de ser de la mayoria de mis paisanos que a veces no me enamora , ciertos tipos humanos de raigambre criolla que francamente me repelen y sin embargo es inegable que entre venezolanos o acriollados de origen extranjero abundan las cualidades que mas me atraen y seducen, cierta informalidad , cierto crudo desparpajo y buen humor que ..que carajo… nos hace disfrutar su trato . Pretender otra cosa me huele a ‘afectacion’ , a melindre pretencioso , al alegato tan sifrino de ‘aay , es que yo soy distinto, igualito a un musiu , fo !!, esos venezolanos si son escandalosos y vulgares y ademas no respetan las stop signs ‘ .

      De eso estoy seguro tambien hay en Doral , en WestonZeula y en las paginas digitales de estos blogs.!!

      De hecho , debo confesarlo , mis gustos son medio hediondos , en lecturas , en musica , en tantas cosas pero a la hora de pasar una hora en una cola me encanta caerme a chismes y chistes con un par de viejos criollos de condicion mas humilde que señorial. Sobre todo que falta nos hace oir a alguien decir fuerte una groseria de las nuestras, con la entonacion y cursiva apropiada , una delicia!! y luego me enratono de noche a leer un enssayo de Isaiah Berlin sobre Joseph d Maistre o una texto bajado del internet de un tal Allen Wood en el que explora las perplejidades de entender lo que pensaba Marx sobre la igualdad .!!

      Estereotipar involucra siempre traicionar un poco la verdad de aquello que esteriotipamos , por que las diferencias y matices que distingue cada cosa o persona no admite la categorizacion muy nitida y exquisita de las mismas dentro de una categoria universal .

      Necesitamos ser mas humildes y aceptar la enredada realidad de las cosas , su irreductible multi dimensionalidad e incongruencia .!!

  4. Una reflexion, no necesariamente correcta: Estos sentimientos de nostalgia, saudades, guayabanzas (muy bien), llegaron para quedarse, al menos por una etapa más o menos larga. Pero a la larga, solo forman parte de un proceso de crecimiento, de “destete” sentimental. Este es un planeta pequeño y el concepto de estado (no de patria, que es esencialmente sentimental) se está achicando y convirtiéndose en artificial. Venezuela está destinada a fundirse con los territorios al norte de Sur América, a fin de sobrevivir. Si, Viene por alli la Gran Colombia, esta vez como imperativo económico y político. Dentro de varias generaciones nos habremos fundido en unidades políticas mayores. y Venezuela no será más que “el terruño”, la aldea donde nacimos. Ya hay muchos venezolanos que se han incorporado intelectualmente a la gran corrtiente humana que se dice ciudadanos del mundo. Algun dia le tocara a la cajera de Doral.

    • No se preocupe, Ese tipo de cosas serán instauradas a la fuerza por un malandro como Bolivar, para luego ser saboteadas por otro malandro criollo igualito a Paez.

      Cosas de estos lares. El tricentenario se vivirá en medio del hambre y discusiones sobre como hacer correctamente el socialismo.

  5. I am a Colombian ex-pat in the US (because I found a good job that I love) as well. I am deeply saddened to see the direction to which Venezuela has gone but reading the comments section I kind of understand what I think is a good reason. I know it has happened to Colombians in Venezuela for years and I am sure is behind the hatred that the “new ruling class” in Venezuela has for the middle and upper class (in their “No volveran” you are getting all that disregard back at you).

    I sense along many Venezuelans a lot of classism and disregard for lower economic classes. Even if at “la cuarta” your parents/grandparents were not members of the government or beneficiaries of government contracts, they all profited from a system of horrible re-distribution of the oil wealth. Going to Miami or New York twice a year to buy clothes/apartments/buildings (the “barato dame dos”), study abroad is the result of a system that kept the currency overvalued for years, creates disproportionate returns to commercial activity and higher education, and was not the experience of any other country in Latam. If anything this period of economic crisis should humble you and show you that you have more in common with other latam countries (plagued by institutional breakdowns) than with whoever you thought you did in developed countries.

    I agree that there is a lot of heterogeneity in the “Hispanic” term that is used in the US and that recent waves of Venezuelans are not tomato pickers from Mexico or Central America but professionals and well educated individuals . However, they are the majority and that is who mass media (univision, telemundo, etc) has to try to convince to turn their channels and buy their products to.

    But saying that “I don’t have anything in common with those people (not even the language)” is to turn a blind eye to your actual situation and more importantly on how to rebuild your country when and if the current ruling regime falls.

    • I am as Venezuelan as it gets and I agree 100% with you. The worst is these Coralenos don’t even realise it. As for Hispanics: I wish we could manage to build a stronger common culture. It is in our common interest.

      • Kepler, we already have a common culture. We have had a common culture for five centuries. I don’t know if you have ever heard the names Cervantes, Borges, Sabato, Neruda, Garcia Marquez, Paz… I could go on but I trust you see my point.

        • Alejandro,

          I would argue that Latin American culture has more in common with North American culture than it does with Spanish culture and that the same applies with North American culture vis-a-vis English culture. All of the Americas share the common experience of colonization, clash of cultures with the indigenous peoples, struggles for independence, and hybridization of genetic of cultural heritage. There is much more to culture than just language.

          • Yeah, maybe. Not in my experience but you possibly have something.

            Americans are just too weird for me. The gun thing is weird. The religion thing is weird. The “control your children’s sex life” is weird… I just don’t get them.

            They have many extraordinary things too. I admire their optimism and the “can-do” attitude.

            All in all, I think we share more with people from the South Mediterranean. Our interaction with the US is too recent, and more intense in the Caribbean than the South Cone.

          • In addition, consider that all of the countries of the Americas are young cultures. We don’t have a history that goes back thousands of years, like the Europeans do.

            As for Americans being “weird”, well some of it is odd to me too after having lived abroad much of my adult life. I think every culture has quirks that many others find odd and incomprehensible. I have lived in Northern Europe, but not Southern Europe. I would agree that many of the traits of LatAm culture were imported from Southern Europe more than from the North. Still, I think that many of those traits are more superficial than the underlying similarities that originate from our shared experiences.

            BTW: On the “can do” thing, of all the characteristics of Americans, that is probably the one I take the greatest pride in. If it absolutely, positively HAS to get done, call the Americans. Frankly, I am not sure we are quite as good as we used to be in that way. But what a rep!

          • Roy,
            I would agree with you that the US is not quite as good as it used to be in its can-do attitude, not sure if off-shore production and competitive threats have anything to do with that. Nonetheless, I think that generally the can-do attitude still surpasses that of most countries of the world. Where business is concerned, the components of the can-do include: Innovative thinking, intellectual property laws with teeth, efficient product roll-outs, creative marketing and seamless merchandising or shipping. A litigious environment is particularly helpful in moving things along … or else!

          • Agree with you, Syd. But, the U.S. doesn’t have the awesome edge over the competition that it had when when I grew up and entered the work market. Not complaining… Competition is good.

          • You say that because you are a gringo and you don’t see the whole Hispanic culture we have. You see that because most people you deal with every day are Venezuelans who love to become more gringo than the gringos. Sorry, Roy, but Spanish Americans have more in common with Latin countries – foremost Spain- than with the USA, in spite of some common items like the malls and baseball in the Caribbean.

            As for indigenous culture: the percentage of Indian culture in the Anglo or African American world is minimal.
            As for independence: our movements were completely different and that is also part of the mess Latin America has.

          • Kepler, my comment about the indigenous peoples was in relation to the confrontation and/or cooperation between the original European colonists and the native peoples. Every American nation experienced that. We all know who won out. Even in losing, though, the new colonies still benefited from some of the new ideas they encountered and assimilated.

            I once read a book that made the argument that the European Renaissance was triggered by the flood of new ideas from the New World. I did not really buy into the book’s arguments, primarily because the Renaissance was already well underway before the discover of the New World. Nevertheless, it made some solid claims for some significant contributions. Regardless, however small the contribution may have been from the indigenous peoples, the fusion of the cultures made us all something different from the original Europeans.

            I do understand that well-educated Spanish speaking peoples in LatAm get educated and raised on classic Spanish literature and culture. But, I am thinking that doesn’t apply to the majority of the population. The well-educated elements of the population of the U.S. identified strongly with the English for a long time, even affecting English accents all the way up to the end of the nineteenth century. But, time and different economic conditions changes cultures and forces them to evolve. Still, sticking with my thesis on this one…

          • I would also like to point out, that in looking at the long-term strategic picture of the world’s economy, faced with the growing power of the EU, and the Asian Nations, the Americas (North and South) are all natural allies and trade partners. In comparison to Europe and Asia, the Americas are vastly underpopulated, and contain vast untapped resources. We may one day find the rest of the world looking at us and licking their chops. Much better that we start getting out collective shit together and start making sure that we don’t ever get colonized again.

      • Why?

        Why common cultures?. Europeans certainly share more between themselves than we South Americans do. And they have no need to be “revueltos” since “juntos” is just enough. In fact, they now struggle on the consequences of thinking that Europe is something you can extend to ex Warsaw pact countries and the balcans.

        Heck,in Latin america we all speak “spanish” and differences are so strong that you need an adaptation period before being able to effectively communicate. We are not the same and never will just because all gringos think everyone who´s not indian, asian or european qualifies directly as a Mexican.

        We don´t need neither integration nor a common culture after all. All that “integration” blabberish is no more than the wet dream of a murderous madman: Bolivar himself.

        Opening trade?, absolutely. That is the only form of integration worth pursuing

        • No…, I don’t know. I do believe South Americans share more than Europeans. We even have more in common with the Spanish and Portuguese than they have with Germans or Finns.

          No, it isn’t belief, it is fact. Spaniards are a lot like we are, specially in the middle of a recession. We react similarly to similar stimuli.

          The idea of Europe is suffering a lot of stress, and it comes from the strong certainty that Germans have about their moral superiority and strong work ethic (all lies and prejudices, but a good example of how people see themselves).

          About our Spanish… What can I tell you? I haven’t had any problems… except in Venezuela, where the language has degraded alarmingly. Many of my best friends are Argentinians.

          About Americans and “Mexicans”: true. I find that funny. I also admit that I sometimes think all Americans are Texans.

        • That’s not correct. Within Germany or the UK there are more linguistic differences between the way average people – from workers to people with higher education – than between Chile, Venezuela and Spanish speaking areas of Spain.

          I know. I have lived in both continents in several countries.

          Very tragically, our bloody politicos and others have tried to erase our common features and particularly have tried to erase our links with Spain. And that has been rubbish and they have done that only to get more power to themselves, not for any sense of freedom.

          It didn’t help that Spain was so backwards for so long and its form of Catholicism became so reactionary.

          We need to rediscover the cultural heritage of the Hispanic world, with no centre and with links going from Chile to Spain, from Mexico to Argentina.

    • Ok mate, let me tell you this:

      I chose the people who have things in common with me or not.

      If I say I have nothing in common with (say) the rappers known as Chino and Nacho, that is my problem.

      If I decide that never in this life I will share a spiritual world with (for example) Servando Primera, that is my choice, and believe you me, it is the good choice.

      If I want to make sure that Menudo (to mention one summit of hispanic distaste) has nothing to do with me… well, who could say I am wrong?

      If I state that I share a common worldview with Andres Bello (the second great Venezuelan expat), Jose Maria Vargas (the third), Arturo Uslar Pietri and (to a certain extent) Jacinto Convit, that is my prerogative.

      It is like the census in the US, you get to choose what you are.

      My actual situation you don’t know, but certainly it doesn’t involve Univision, Venevision, Televen or VTV.

    • Jose, I couldn’t agree more. The very common attitude of dismissing “those people” as vulgar, uneducated, etc just reinforces the stereotype of Venezuelans in the rest of Latin America. What Alejandro and Renacuajo say about the Univison watching crowd is the same as what I’ve heard in Madrid about the Ecuadorian immigrants. Like Televen, Venevision or RCTV are any better.

      It is never a good idea to judge a culture by its least common denominator.

        • It appears that you bring it up with regards to the “hispanitos” that make up its audience and work in it. Dismissing them as having nothing with you is your prerogative, but that hardly makes it true. Andres Bello, Borges, etc al are just as much a part of their heritage as regeaton is yours. It doesn’t mean you have to love every bit of it.

          The majority of Venezuelans can trace their paternal lineage to the Iberian peninsula. Our ancestors massacred the natives in America. It is part of who we are and we are not proud of it, but we can’t deny it.

          • No no, I actually have never listened to more than 10 seconds of reggaeton. We can talk about hip-hop merengue if you want. It’s a generational thing.

            Everyone gets to chose their culture, that’s an individual liberty (to speak in American). I am not criticising any “hispanitos”, but I would never allow my son to grow immersed in that culture. It’s a matter of personal taste.

            Listen, if you like Univision, just come out and say it, no problem man.

          • The best part of your attitude is how you don’t see yourself using the same generalizations that you accuse the Americans (as in from the US of A) of applying. To them they are all Mexican or Spanish and to you they are all Hispanitos.

            Similarly hilarious is how you think you know about me from a handful of paragraphs.

          • What? I haven’t talked about you at all.

            Oh yeah, Univision, that was a joke man, not serious.

            Yeah, am I one more Hispanic to an American’s eyes, maybe, that is totally fine. I am Hispanic. I wouldn’t mind being Mexican. I really like Mexico.

            What I am talking about here is a form of low quality culture that has become “Hispanic” but in reality is a treason, or a perversion, of true Hispanic culture.

          • My replies were to you answer to the resident anglophile, Alejandro. I do not know why they are not placed below your comment.

          • Great comment and spot on the degradation of hispanic culture! With regard to Doral, it is a weird place in my opinion. I have very close family living there and I do have to say that I hate that place. It’s very poor from a cultural and intellectual perspective. It is a choice people make to conform with what that community has to offer (not much aside from comfort) and the life they want to live. But in my opinion, a lot of what happens in Doral or the traits that people who live there exhibit, represent to a certain extent, what is wrong in Venezuela. Because what happens in Venezuela is a social problem above all. Political and economical ramifications or consequences were merely an extension of the social problems.

          • Alejandro:
            Yeah, am I one more Hispanic to an American’s eyes, maybe, that is totally fine. I am Hispanic. I wouldn’t mind being Mexican. I really like Mexico.

            To this American’s ears- as I have never seen you- you sound a lot like a Eurosneer.

            The religion thing is weird.

            In all my years south of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, I have NEVER – and I mean NEVER- heard such a criticism of the US. Have I heard this from Europeans or from people residing in Europe? Time and again.

            Centuries ago, religion tended to be state-mandated in Europe. The common folk followed the religion of the local King or Prince. The state-mandated religion didn’t require body and soul allegiance. For those people who were indifferent to religion, the state mandated religion made little difference in their lives- a perfunctory bow or some such symbolic act would generally suffice.

            However, those who disagreed with the state religion, but for whom religion was important, had a problem in most countries in Europe. A solution arose: migrate to America. Over the centuries, many people migrated from Europe to America so that they could freely practice their religion. A number of my ancestors, Quaker and otherwise, did. Over the centuries, this meant that Europe lost people for whom religion was important. American gained people for whom religion is important. Which is why we see today a difference in attitudes towards religion in Europe and America.

            A further difference between Europe and America was that in most countries in Europe, state-mandated religion was also state-supported. This is still the case today in many countries in Europe. While some of the 13 colonies originally had state-supported religion- Massachusetts comes to mind- by the early 19th century, state support of religion was ended in the US. In order to survive, religious institutions needed to be more self-sufficient in the US, which enhanced their long term survival, compared to Europe.

            I recommend Joseph Bottum’sAn Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America.
            Disclaimer: I am an agnostic.

    • Jose,

      “I sense along many Venezuelans a lot of classism and disregard for lower economic classes. ”

      Which is precisely why I absolutely adore telling Venezuelans how poor I am , and proud of it, and I loved it when my ex who was head of a large company wore his alpargatas to work….and I showed up for the annual Christmas party in jeans and t shirt.

      Thanks to this attitude, I wore it as a badge of honor…. to be ridiculed by snobs.

      • Sounds to me like 2 people in need of an AWFUL lot of attention, a reverse snobbery that kicks sand on the social mores of others and telegraphs the rebellion as “I don’t need your social mores because, deep down I’m superior.” La propia pataleta.

        • haha Syd…. then being oneself then is not allowed because of social mores??? Then who is left to defend the poor?Who is left that can be themself in dignity ? Certainly very few in Venezuela I should think.

          Social more be damned if we want to help Venezuela!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Alejandro, of course they do if they are truly poor and live in the campo…only those poor aspiring to be something else refuse to be seen in them….my years living in San Juan de los Morros were not in vain

          • I have been there a few times (hopefully never again, dismal town)… never saw anyone wearing footwear from the XIX century.

            Well, It’s a big metropolis, maybe you need to really know it to find the alpargata-wearers.

          • Alejandro my husband was from real poverty in Oriente ( Los Aroyos), where only the more affluent had alpargatas for Sunday…..I can see your intentions are not quite good, because I know you know what I mean….San Juan is a small town by any standards….and the market place is full of campesinos who wear alpargtas….simple ones made from car tires….These are the best and i still have several pair.I still wear them during the summer..

            I realize that many from the upper class will have trouble with this, but my husband was very well loved by those who admired him for being himself….but hey I have had plenty of time to see the cynical side of more affluent Venezuelans….I got you quite well.

          • Poor people in Venezuela don’t wear alpargatas. They wear chinese-made snickers, RS21, Tabbuche, knock-off converse shoes, sifrinitas, etc.

          • manipulative horse shit, as only you know how to shovel, firepigette. Two brats putting on alpargatas only to make a social reverse statement, is not being oneself, is not defending the poor, is not helping Venezuela.

            God, the crap that spews out from anonymity (sometimes with double handle)!

            Playing poor under the guise of so-called “being oneself” when one was not raised in alpargata mode, nor continues thus after returning stateside, thereby abandoning the poor she claims to want to help in Venezuela, is a very transparent and stupid little game.

            Moreover, it’s a game that’s threadbare when the presumptuous one routinely let’s us know how she washes her hands of the those who try to find a third way, politically, and let’s us know in all ways not subtle how she has the (unoffered) answer, thereby letting us know how superior she is to others on these boards.

            As I said … the crap that spews …

          • more than that. una fantasiosa con una gama de comprobadas mentirillas que sirven para atraer la atención. Si no son declaraciones de sus cien familiares, la mayoría viviendo en barrios (dixit, ni que fuera Juan Vicente Gómez), o repetidas muestras de su infinita superioridad, ahora nos tilda a todos de ricos (por eso le encanta decir que es pobre). Qué triste teatro, tan contaminante como el troleado que por acá pasa… Si fuera yo pobre de verdad (no de fantasía — mira mis alpargatas! — verdad que soy chévere?) o de cualquier rango económico — yo no tengo prejuicios — y tuviera que arrastrarme cada día en Vzla, tratando de formular — no siempre con éxito — una solución económica para mi negocio o para mi familia, o una solución política, encontraría ofensivas las palabras de esta mujer que pretende querer ayudar a Vzla, pero que rutinamente viene por acá para mostrar su desprecio (o resentimiento) por X, desde su cómodo hogar en la Carolina del Norte. Así lo dejo….

  6. For those who think this will change as soon we have a new administration, I am sorry but this madness will stay here for a very long time. The biggest harm made by this “revolution” is not financial, it is moral. We use to be proud of our viveza but now it became intrinsic in our culture. That my friends is not something you fix quickly, it will take many many years. Sorry for those who left thinking they will come back soon.

    • Agree. The physical infrastructure can probably repaired or replaced within 10 years given enormous effort. But repairing the moral and cultural damage such as the class divisions and hatreds that have been used to divide and conquer will take at least a generation or more. The Venezuela that all those expats remember and long to return to will never exist again in their lifetime.

  7. I think there are as many types of venezuelan expats as there are expats. I have Venezuelan friends who are really good at acculturation and some that suck at it. The latter are always frustrarrechos y espeyabaos. (irrationally, if you ask me, because in most cases there’s no way in hell they would get their fully integrated kids back to Venezuela. They crossed the point of no return and never even noticed.)

    My nostalgia for Venezuela is similar to my nostalgia for my childhood when everything was full on wonder, it was great while it lasted but I know it’s not coming back.

  8. I know many Venezuelans both here and in Europe who were at some point dying to return.Most of them lose this desire over time.Now in North Carolina, most of them say, they don’t even miss it anymore.
    Time heals…but it takes time.

    Even so, I doubt anyone ever loses their love for home country.This is a love the will always be there whether they miss it or not.

      • While that’s especially true in this case, for obvious reasons, that’s a common sentiment for many immigrants. Their homeland has changed and evolved over the years, and but their memory has remain fixed. My fathers father was dispirited upon returning to his native Ireland in the 90s (after almost 50 years since his last visit)…the Ireland of his memory no longer existed. He said he wished he’d never gone at all.

  9. Maybe it’s just me, and I don’t have that great an attachment to a particular ‘home country’ having moved every couple of years… in my opinion, assimilation into a host country’s culture is actually a good thing, and is what should be expected from immigrants going to a new country. Emigrating should be seen as an opportunity to export the best of your culture, and leaving the worst behind – cronyism, clientelism as well as laxity with established procedures and laws being first to hopefully wither.

    I understand that a large number of people leaving Venezuela do so not out of a desire to try something new, but rather are forced due to a lack of opportunity based on current political woes. However, they are not doing themselves any favors by resisting and frantically holding on. Let go, assimilate. Enjoy the camaraderie associated with having a place like Doral, but don’t agonize over the *choice* you made. It’s not healthy.

    I am not advocating that they stop going to venezuelan style bakeries or having coffee in a particular manner – I still enjoy having Christmas hallacas as much as any other guy, or eating potjies but the sooner you let go and learn not to look through rose-tinted glasses at your home country, the better off you will be.

    • There’s no better way to lose the rose-tinted glasses than to return to Venezuela for a visit and see the ongoing chaos and entropy.

    • Marcus, I agree that “assimilation into a host country’s culture is actually a good thing” provided this assimilation remains at a superficial level. Whatever you do in a new cultural environment, keep your original moral values because if you try to adopt those of the host country’s culture, you are likely to loose yours and not understand the replacement ones. Lots of people have fallen for that at eventually, they don’t know who they are anymore. Pitiful!

  10. In my younger years I felt very comfortable living abroad , Of course living with my family made it much easier because it was like living inside a cocoon of Venezuela , we d get local foods sent to us by kind relatives who constantly visited our house. I felt little longing for home . I really liked living abroad because of the many nice things I could enjoy and which were unavailable in Venezuela . Also one traveled home at least once a year which allowed one to keep alive and warm the feeling of what home was like..

    This was different for my father who had a good job, was treated well , had nothing to complain of and yet was constantly pining to return home , he made us keep uptodate on all Venezuelan subjects and was always pestering his bosses to allow his return home . At last they allowed him to do this . His foreign colleagues were sorry to see him go and even offered him permanent resident papers which of course he didnt want , once at home at different times they offered him good jobs in france and mexico which he rejected . He just couldnt see himself living anywhere but in Venezuela . The strange thing is that he loved the foreign country we lived in , admired its many virtues , had great esteem for his friends there but …..nothing doing he had to return home .

    Now its my turn to think of leaving the homeland and going abroad , economically i would face few obstacles , We already own some property abroad which would make our move easy , most of my best friends have already left the country to live abroad, my own daughter has lived in europe these last 5 years , I am comfortable with the language and culture of whatever place I might move to and yet …even as things turn more and more difficult in Venezuela its a decision I see with dread , much of my family would remain in Venezuela , I have a comfortable home filled with my much loved books and music which would be difficult to take with me. My family specially , who never knew what it was like to live abroad for extended periods see living abroad , away from other remaining family members as a veritable hardship . This makes the decision ever so harder to make . I remember my father and have a lot of thinking to do.!!

    • bb,,

      it is a super hard decision

      I don’t know how old you are but as we age it gets so much harder…when I sold my house I took everything in it by hiring a moving van….Then I got an internet phone to keep in touch with everyone in an affordable way.From time to time I get visitors.My daughter who lives in Florida gets them frequently…even old friends live there…..and high school friends are moving to the south Florida area slowly but surely.
      Not matter what ,you will have to be strong.If you have children, maybe you could think how you are helping their future…I looked at it like that when I moved….had it been only for me, I might have stayed on.

  11. Bill Bass….

    I find this poem by Rilke helpful

    The Apple Orchard
    Come let us watch the sun go down
    and walk in twilight through the orchard’s green.
    Does it not seem as if we had for long
    collected, saved and harbored within us
    old memories? To find releases and seek
    new hopes, remembering half-forgotten joys,
    mingled with darkness coming from within,
    as we randomly voice our thoughts aloud
    wandering beneath these harvest-laden trees
    reminiscent of Durer woodcuts, branches
    which, bent under the fully ripened fruit,
    wait patiently, trying to outlast, to
    serve another season’s hundred days of toil,
    straining, uncomplaining, by not breaking
    but succeeding, even though the burden
    should at times seem almost past endurance.
    Not to falter! Not to be found wanting!

    Thus must it be, when willingly you strive
    throughout a long and uncomplaining life,
    committed to one goal: to give yourself!
    And silently to grow and to bear fruit

  12. Botswanna in Africa without oil is now better off than Venezuela.

    Botswanna started off as the world’s third-poorest nation in 1966, with a per-capita GDP of $70, Today is has expanded dramatically to $16,377. When Botswana gained independence from the British in 1966, the new country’s insightful leaders did what so many others in the post-colonial world didn’t: they embraced democracy, free markets and the rule of law. In other words, economic freedom.

    On the other hand, Venezuela had a per-capita GDP of only $14,415 in 2013 (World Bank). Venezuela embraced dictatorship, stopped private production and markets, and ruled by decree of the moment. What a loss for Venezuela.

    http://dailysignal.com/2015/02/16/african-country-worlds-third-poorest-heres-turned-things-around/?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=morningbell&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoiu6nBZKXonjHpfsX56u8lUK63lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4ES8BnI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQrLBMa1ozrgOWxU%3D

    • The per capita number for Venezuela is fake. It is calculated at a 6,30 bs per dollar exchange rate. The real one is much lower. How much, nobody knows.

  13. We are here talking bullshit, but the hard fact is that there are political prisoners tortured in our country, and one of the centres of torture is in Plaza Venezuela.

    As of today, February 18, 2015.

    It isn’t that our country changed forever, it’s just turning into a living hell.

  14. The effects on the gentiicio from the recent forced diaspora are all positive.

    Yes the reasons behind the exodus, and the state of the nation left behind, in place, are horrendous and I would venture catastrophic, but the new Venezuelan exodus has now to Grow Up and find its place in the larger world community.

    Venezuelans now share more with the likes of the Spaniards/ Italians and Portuguese of the post war, with the Cubans of 58′, South cone emigrants, like the the Chileans of 73′, with the Persians of ’79, the Vietnamese of the 70’s, the Koreans of the 80’s; with Colombians, Peruvian and Bolivian people looking for a break! and the eternal French and English expat globe trotters.

    We have more common references with more ancient people like the Jewish, the Armenian, the Middle eastern and Chinese ant their epic exodus and diaspora.

    The challenge is on us to integrate with our new hosts, and maintain the best traits we bring on our trip!!!
    Arepa Mix everyone!

  15. Word to the wise, do not buy new in Doral. Houses are a million and apartments half a million. Ask any Miami native or veteran and they will tell you DO NOT BUY IN DORAL. Doral has been overbuilt with 14,000 homes coming online. 2-3 cars per home. There is no room on the roads. No room in the schools. No room in the supermarkets. Why buy a million dollar home across from the county landfill, county incinerator, county chiveras, Medley PD shooting range and Miami-Dade PD shooting range. They use the ranges at all times so everyone can hear the gunfire and smell the trash. I really enjoyed living in Doral in the 90s and early 00s before the housing and traffic boom.

    • “There is no room on the roads… everyone can hear the gunfire and smell the trash.” Maybe in some bizarre subconscious way, this is what draws recent arrivals from Venezuela to Doral. It literally reminds them of Caracas.

  16. Este va en castellano porque, bueno, a los posibles lectores no venezolanos no les importará mucho.

    Mi percepción personal como hijo de emigrantes gallegos que nació en Venezuela y ahora esta de “vuelta” en España es que… desengañense aquellos que piensan que se les va a ir, en algun momento, la sensación de estar fuera de sitio.

    El destino del emigrante es no tener hogar. Ya nunca mas sereis venezolanos, ni si volveis a Venezuela.

    Y nunca dejareis de serlo, por muy bien que os vaya en donde sea que esteis y lo bien integrados que esteis.

    Dentro de esa realidad, hay un espectro enorme de posibilidades, claro esta. Mi madre, ahora de vuelta en su tierra natal, tiene muchisimo mas acento venezolano que yo, y añora Caracas con mucha mas fuerza que yo (despues de todo, fue donde hizo su vida de joven buscandose su destino). A mi muchas de esas nostalgias no me afectan, al final creo que paso mas tiempo en los juegos de PC que en la vida real y esos son iguales en todas partes :P. Pero llegan las navidades y dices, todo muy bonito si, pero… yo queria un pan de jamón.

    Y ojo, esos mismos sentimientos… ya los teníamos en Venezuela, como gallegos, o hijos de gallegos. Esa sensación de que no encajas. De que hay algo en otro lado que te saca de la comunidad en la que estas. Da igual que te vaya genial, que tengas muchos amigos, que te lo pases bien. Siempre hay un momento que te recuerda que una parte de ti no esta en su sitio.

    A lo mejor la tercera generación, si la hay, ya no lo siente. O en paises como EEUU con tanta insistencia en asimilar al inmigrante a base de que se haga superpatriota americano, no se. Pero en general, eso está ahi. Nunca mas sereis venezolanos al 100%, porque si retornais lo hareis a un pais que vivio una serie de experiencias que os seran ajenas, y vosotros llevareis unas experiencias que no compartiran allí. Nunca dejareis de serlo, porque los recuerdos de la infancia estan ahi, y son de Venezuela, no de Canada o Francia o Chile.

    O es que yo soy un poco sentimental de mas, que me sale la lagrimita hasta cuando conduzco hasta Galicia a ver a mis padres y me encuentro con el acento gallego…

    … o el venezolano, que no es la primera gasolinera que me pasa 😛

    • Bueno, castellano ahi ahi, que faltan muchos acentos y algunas frases dan pena. Por lo visto me he hecho analfabeto bilingüe.

      • So, so right. My daughter, grown up in Venezuela, now in Atlanta, with a Venezuelan husband who barely speaks English, celebrates Venezuela daily eating arepas for breakfast, as well as all major holidays Venezuelan-style, including pinata birthday parties. When not doing this, she is going to the plastic malls, all the same regardless of “themes”, similar drive-in or sit-down fast-food “restaurants”, all under depressing artificial lighting, and breathing air as polluted as Caracas’s is today. Everything is organized/safe, but the “joie de vivre” is not there, as it was in her Caracas growing up. Those immigrants/descendants of immigrants still left in Caracas that she knew are there partly, in the cases of youths, because they don’t have the means to emigrate, and, in the cases of elders, because they prefer, even at the risk to their own personal security, which is substantial, to live in a beautiful physical environment where they feel “alive”, and not in one where they feel that every day is the same non-dynamic leading up inexorably to the end…

    • So true.

      However, I think as part of good education, everyone should leave their country for a good bit to appreciate its kwirks. That’s what made programs like “Gran Mariscal” great.

      Hey NET.

      Atlanta is not depressing! You’re too harsh! And ‘mi senora’ delights the children with Arepas every weekend and yearly pi~natas.

      • It’s not Atlanta itself, which I personally prefer to most U. S. big-city alternatives, that is depressing, it’s the organized non-dynamic daily life-style, while safe, that’s depressing.

      • Yea, but there is a gulf between “I’m living here for a bit and then going back home” and “I’m an inmigrant”

        One of the amazing things one discovers with travel and with living abroad is how, in the end, we are who we are, even when we normally dont like it.

        For example, I dislike the noisy nature of Spaniards and most Latin Americans, and rant a lot about it. Probably a bit too loud 😛

        Then you have to spend a time in Germany or the Netherlands and, when you go out for lunch or at night, you feel like there is something very wrong. Like you are in The Walking Dead opening. And you realize… you miss the noise.

        Doesnt mean I dont rant again when I’m back to the yelling and screaming 😛

        • I remember three experiences in relation to Jesus discomfort with the noisy nature of spaniards and latin americans .

          After living some time in London I remember being bothered by the noisy rowdiness of a group of jabbering italians in a metro wagon , they seemed unsufferable , so much so that I changed wagons at the first opportunity !

          At another time I was in an airport lounge waiting to take a Luftansa flight to Europe , Most people in the lounge appeared to be german . You could here a pin drop, every one sat stiffly straight in their seats silently reading something or poking at their digital playthings , no one spoke to anybody else , the ambience was silent somber and oppressive .

          The third time I was at Barajas also at an airport lounge waiting for a flight to Caracas , the lounge was full of returning Venezuelans and old spaniards going back to their Venezuela homes , the place was noisy every body talking to every body else , lots of laughter jesting and leg pulling , kids running to and fro along the carpeted corridors , a elderly venezuelan gentlemen was strumming his cuatro sofly singing some venezuelan song with what appeared to be his grandaughter . People around them started joining their singing and before you know it the whole place was louding and cheerely chorusing one traditional venezuelan song after another . People waiting for other flights looked puzzled but then smiled . The boarding anouncement was made and every one merrily started boarding the plane treating each neighbor as a friend .

          I dont know what to make of the above.!!

  17. Dato:

    In Venezuela the poor have never had a good defense , especially from those ‘hijos de proceres’ and sundry ” apellidos” – The proud and arrogant aristocracy of Venezuela.

    Some of you ( and you know who you are) should be ashamed of yourselves( yes, yourselves because it is you and your ilk who have caused this) for having unjust policies and ranks of privilege that was created and tolerated in Venezuela…..You should be ashamed of the lack of justice for women and the poor in Venezuela.I may be a nationalized Venezuelan but have far more in common with the poor than some of you do.I have lived and loved the life of poverty…breathed it and felt it my heart of hearts as mine.

    When you try to take away the right of people to opine because you think differently than they do, or because you do not like them:

    You are the same as Maduro then…Maduro is another privileged.When I see the face of some privileged opposition I see Maduro’s face.

    When will the elite learn to create a just environment for all ?

    Just looking at these threads year after year I see that change will be a long time in coming..

    You need help in understanding your own world because you yourselves have never been a real part of it.

    Being a Venezuelan is not having an apellido or having been born there.It is knowing, loving and living and becoming a part of the gran body of poor and/or semi- poor from the small towns and jungles, to Catia or Petare….and to the those aspiring with a great deal of inner insecurity to the middle class …

    I speak of the vast majority of Venezuelans who would have given you the shirt off their backs many years ago( maybe not now though), even when you did not deserve it ; because it is precisely the privileged Venezuelans who have turned a blind eye to their voices…so afraid to walk the barrio streets even back when they were safe, and those sifrinos who have never longed for the simple life most live in El Tigre or La Asuncion o Tabay….and who feel superior because of inheritance and position

    ( which is why I agree when Kepler refers to the Feudal system)…The Feudal system in essence cannot be understood by technocrats…but by those who understand it’s intentions.

    So let’s not speak like technocrats here, or parse words.. Neither should we ruminate endlessly about Historical precedents, and statistics…none of which has changed one iota Venezuelan life…Rather let’s speak of the essence of the Venezuelan problem:

    ****Hereditary pride and privilege running amok, anda profound disregard by those with power and money for those who are not in these cliques of tradition and strength…****

    The arrogant /authoritarian/ traditional/Feudal Venezuelan society produced this, and as long as those who influence keep thinking like this in disguised forms…the vast majority of suffering Venezuelans will continue to suffer .

    • Fire, all very true, but what is the solution? Chavez, with old-fox Miquelena’s plan, proposed a solution, but, due to his own ignorance/hubris/greed, completely subverted his original plan and ended up squandering perhaps Venezuela’s last chance to really benefit the general population. Also, there isn’t enough capital in Venezuela, especially now, to allow real general bienestar for Venezuela’s population, at least for a long, long time even assuming that new selfless competent leaders/government employees were to administer the Country’s resources.

    • I think the term “resentida social” applies here.

      To speak in such broad terms and lump into one basket anyone who had more than 8 lochas to rub together is at the very least a poor way to frame your argument.

      I’m not going to state here that the rich have always been pure in Venezuela, but everyone in Venezuela alive before 1998, rich, poor, black, brown, white, etc, had a hand in shaping what we became. Everyone.

      There were, and even today, are, plenty of examples of the “rich” quietly helping out others less fortunate to advance.

      There are also certainly some that did take advantage of position, or connections to advance their fortunes/careers even more, but to make a sweeping generalization like yours is, to my mind, evidence of some kind of jealousy or something you have going on in you.

      Venezuela is chock full of stories of folks hauling themselves up from abject poverty to the middle class and beyond. Immigrants and non immigrants alike.

      My Father and his brothers came to Venezuela because their homeland was overrun and they were left, for a time, without even a country to call their own. They went from trying to start a business in a warehouse in San Diego, Carabobo, with dirt floors and and a roof that allowed it to rain more inside than out, to establishing a company that is in the top 3 in what we do in Venezuela.

      Their story is not unique, I have seen it repeated over and over again in Venezuela.

      So with all due respect, FP, you need to sit down and think a bit more about what you said.

      • Agreed with what you said, but I think Fire is speaking more of the traditional pre-Petro-State Venezuela, since her comments since the advent of the Petro State would more aptly apply to those mostly-political factors/their allies who administered/squandered/stole the wealth of the Petro State.

        • NET. :
          Well then she should have said something, but given she did not, and there is nothing in her comment that leads one to believe so, one has to conclude she is speaking about “modern” times.

          If we were talking about post independence Venezuela, and up to say, post Gomez, I could see her remarks making sense, but we aren’t talking about that far back, are we?

      • “I think the term “resentida social” applies here.”

        Big time, coupled with fantasies and forced-to-admit “misspeaking”. There are some personal jealousies, too, which are transparent.

        I ‘love’ the phoney identification with the poor in Venezuela through superficial, making-a-statement means, as though alpargata-wearing will alleviate conditions, moreover in her NC abode, where she doesn’t work or vote, but expounds with superiority on a variety of topics, the most contradictory being her love-affair with the candidacy of (máxima sifrina) MCM.

        At no time has this otherwise glib woman, with evidently a great deal of time on her hands, also for facebook, ever mentioned doing any social works with the Venezuelan poor, or contributing (her 2nd husband’s) salary to them. Oh wait, she did mention going up the cerros once in her alpargatas, when her 1st husband went into politics. No mention of the names of the communities, nor personal connection to the people living there, outside the seemingly superficial.

        The lectures are priceless.

        The world contains all kinds of people, more succinctly stated by one person on these boards as: makers, takers and fakers. When the latter two apply to foreigners who display their routines and masquerades, in Venezuela, from El Dorado days to the present, is it any wonder that xenophobia exists in our country?

        And I agree, Roberto N. Venezuela is chock full of stories of folks who have gone from abject poverty to the middle classes and beyond, among immigrants and non-immigrants alike. The country (and now communities abroad) is still a rich tapestry of various socio-economic levels with now less fluidity (but still marvellous conversations) between and among them, than in a lot of other countries with rigid caste systems. Evidently this ‘poor’ sermonizing woman didn’t expand her universe while she lived in Venezuela. Perhaps she could not compete with those who easily saw through her superficial antics, and as a result, created a resentful persona on these boards. Who knows.

        In that she has a real bugbear for any Venezuelan who has worked their way up, with or without family connections, she never got to know those who actively and quietly (emphasis on the latter) have donated their time and money to the poor. One family of immigrants that I got to know at arms length was the Neumann family. Their success in business led to la Fundación Neumann, whose development I saw for a few years from a close distance. At no time did the head of the Neumann clan, or any of his family members, wear alpargatas to telegraph to others their identification with the poor. They all knew who they were, what they could do, and they did it. They also carried on a successful business, and enjoyed a few social perks. At no time did I ever come across sermonizing from any of them. That’s the type of activity for people who have to camouflage their beings and their intentions.

    • I don’t buy the “rich are rich because they oppress the poor” narrative for most of the Venezuelan 20th Century. For a good chunk of it (say from 1930-1980), Venezuela had very well established mechanisms for socio-economic advancement (good public schools, nutrition assistance, free health care & a dynamic economy). There was a path up, and many people took advantage of it. I believe that qualifies as what you define a “just environment”. For many reasons the system became unbalanced and broke. Surely in the 80s-90s some decisions were made to favor the politically connected when the resources could have been used to maintain public services better but that is a far cry from society wide exploitation of the poor to benefit a few oligarchs. That’s just not true.

      Also, saying that you can only be Venezuelan if you know/live/become part of the poor is amazingly off-mark.

    • It is interesting and somehow sad to read Fire. Little story about me: Born and raised in El Valle, Caracas; father was biology student and mom was university education student. Half of the family blue collar class: bus driver, taxi driver, mechanic, etc. The other half white collar: journalist, congress deputy, university deacon. My dad and my mom were ardent socialists, and they met in the “urban guerrilla” of the 60’s when young. They knew and even got into high ranking positions in el MAS and PCV political parties. My dad got to know and work with JVR, Ali Primera, Teodoro Petkoff and hothead brother Luben.
      In my teenage years, my mom paid some of the most coveted high schools in Caracas and I got the opportunity to study with the Cisneros, the Coles, and Mendozas offsprings (being me as pueblo as anyone else but them). I also had a chance to see (no meet because they were 3 years my seniors) Leopoldo Lopez and William Izarra that as a pure destiny paradox were studying in the same high school in the same year. I did also study with countless 2nd and 3rd generation Italians, Portuguese, Spaniards, kids from PDVSA executives, and even Mr. Izarra’s sister.
      After graduation, I went to the UCV and graduated mechanical engineer. My cousins from the blue collar side end up taxi drivers, bus drivers etc. some though finished up professionals in medicine and bio-analysis. On my white collar side some end up graduating in the university and some did not.
      My white collar side became part of the Chavista government including my dad, and they held and some still hold positions in the government. My blue collar side of the family got kind into a third split, a third pro-Chavez, a third opposition and a third ni-ni.
      My first job was in EDELCA that my dad helped me to obtain in part due to his connections with the government. My first meeting with my new boss (which was a proclaimed Chavista) was in a top notch restaurant in Ciudad Guyana as we came across a five course dinner and two bottles of Black Label scotch courtesy of his “representation allowance”. I did not last long in that job as my dad’s strong chavista connections were not enough to kept me employed when power generation projects began to be cut out as early as 2000.
      Somehow I landed in one of the new marginal oil field joint ventures with PDVSA, the also known “apertura petrolera” (Cerro Negro, Petrozuata, Ameriven etc..) that were full steam ahead since the late 90s. There I ended working for the gringos and they offered me several international assignments to get trained and eventually take a leadership role in the joint venture. Thus, I ended up in Houston, Calgary, New Orleans, Aberdeen and Halifax for relatively short periods of time. When we finally completed the heavy oil upgrader and achieved 140k bbls/day production target in the Venezuelan JV, Mr. Chavez was invited to inaugurate the complex, offer that he never rejected as he never showed up for the embarrassment of the gringos. Mr. Chavez and Co. eventually expropriated the whole field and refining complex and gave it to BP out of which BP then gave it up to the Russians. Meanwhile, the gringos cherry picked me and sent me to Houston for an undefined period of time and I eventually moved to Canada and became Canadian citizen.
      Nowadays I don’t talk politics with my white collar side and I don’t even talk at all with some of them as I am now a vendepatria and a pit-yanqui (Chavez lexic). My blue collar side of the family has become completely disappointed, frustrated, fearsome and ultimately sad of the current state of affairs.
      Nowadays, I realize that no matter if I return to Venezuela, if it gets fixed, if all the sudden our culture enables us to achieve what we know is attainable due to our resources, that no matter how good we get it in the next 10 or 20 years; I will be always be a foreigner even in my own land because that is the price we pay for living abroad, for being exposed and adapted into other cultures, that is the thought we will always carry even if we dare to go back which we may never do.

      So, Fire (sic) wtf are you writing about?

  18. I went to school in the US. Came back to Venezuela for 7 years and returned to the US for 22, when, for family reason had to come back to Venezuela. My life in the US was great and I miss living there dearly. Still, regardless of how bad things are down here, now I have stuff that I didn’t have there; and I’m enjoying them. Maybe the fact that I was in the US by myself and left relatively young, made it easier for me to adapt. Since I didn’t have friends and family with me, had to make new ones. Met wonderful people that taught me about the idiosyncrasies of the American culture as I taught them about Venezuelan culture. I believe everyone has a lot to learn from different cultures; and if you combine that with what you bring from your own culture, you end up being a much better person. Its’ important to make the best out of any situation if we truly want to be happy. If life gives you lemons ……

    • Agree, Charlie. It’s all about getting to know, learning about, and sharing with others, preferably with those of a wide social range. That’s the best to learn about communities around the world and what makes people tick.

      I remember the first time I went abroad. My father told me: be an ambassador of your country. Wise words. Over many decades I’ve enjoyed getting to know all kinds of people, preferably on a one-to-one than in a clan-based scenario. Some stories are ordinary, others are extraordinary, but all are valid within a sincere and truthful framework. I tend to avoid meeting with charlatans, phonies, and the mentally unstable, for I’m not a good social worker. But you have to make wee allowances, for there’s a lot of nonsense out there, some of it unavoidable.

  19. Hard to go back to the actual post after reading all the comments, but I’ll try.

    I think – although not certain, we’ll need a sociologist’s opinion – that this attitude has to do with the reasons that got those Venezuelans out in first place?

    I see it here too: the new Venezuelans immigrants (those that left after PDVSA’s massive firing) don’t integrate that easy, they only get together with other Venezuelans, they eat in latin restaurants, go to church in spanish, they hate hockey “because is too vilolent” (go figure) and “die” if they don’t eat an arepa with white cheese. Most of them blame the government for them being here, as they were forced to leave. Most of them will be back to Venezuela in a heartbeat if this government changes.

    Those, like me, that left Venezuela before Chavez, running away from the praising of the viveza criolla, the corruption, the abuse of power that was already there and that, I believe, are the real reasons why Chavez got to power in first place, those people, are perfectly adapted, and most of us, will not go back. We left Venezuela looking for opportunities in a country that will offer stability, transparency, guarantees and security, where working hard and in an honest way will be the value to praise and to admire. Where there is respect others for what they are or have (black, white, rich, poor, ugly or beautiful, gay or straight, or with small boobs).

    So at the end, the reasons for leaving the country have to do a lot, in my opinion, in how you adapt.

  20. Some big splotches of brute and distilled xenophobia coupled with racism in the comments section, I fear all Venezuelans in the inside are and will be for a long time both things, more now than ever as that idiocy was fed with truckloads of social resentment and now with craploads of apartheid-style exclusion seasoned with so much hatred.

    Also, the term isn’t “frustrachera” nor other of those mixed things, “frustration” fits exactly the description, because that’s what anybody who was trying to make a living in relative peace in Venezuela feels after being kicked out of her country and having her life basically shattered into pieces by a bunch of fucktards who appeared out of nowhere.

    And, about the chaburros having the good life outside Venezuela, fuck them, they deserve to be exposed as part of the gangrene that rot Venezuela to the core and turned it into an unlivable place.

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