In today's sobremesa, Juan calls for a truce.


For years, this column has been an attempt to stir the pot with some enlightened cynicism.

I am convinced the only way to learn is to contrast your own world views with those of somebody who thinks differently. From that confrontation, we grow as human beings. I am even doing research on this issue. My goal has always been to challenge conventional wisdoms head on, and to get a heated conversation going.

But this week, we can take a break.

We’ve walked too much, and fought too hard. We’ve spilled too much blood, and engaged in too many painful discussions. We’ve despaired far too long, and written far too many angry posts.

We’ve come a long way, baby. Today, it’s time to rejoice.

Just like negativity begets negativity, we are going to need an optimistic outlook if we are going to continue winning the battles ahead. Because, let’s face it, the war is not over. The beast is wounded, but it can still do much harm.

So today, in your sobremesa, let’s feed off the joy. Instead of focusing on the latest infighting inside the MUD, on the bad ideas coming out of our elected deputies, or on Venezuela’s dismal economic outlook, let’s focus on the positive.

What the Venezuelan opposition lacks in all manners of attributes, it makes up for in bravery, as Mario Vargas Llosa points out in an op-ed today. What they lack in ideas, they make up for in guts. And the love we have for Venezuela is stronger than the animosity some of us feel for each other.

That, my friends, is no small thing. If anything, it is these things that are going to keep us going. Our optimism will fuel us across the finish line.

Psychologists say that people sometimes cry when they are happy because of a need to balance their emotions. Similarly, we need to bask in our joy as much as we can to restore some sense of balance after years of political depression.

There will be a time to nitpick and criticize the opposition again. There will be many boneheaded decisions that will come out of this new National Assembly. At times, we will even wonder if the opposition winning last Sunday was a good thing.

But to paraphrase the great Tina, it’s time for letting go. Today, we just need to say thanks, rejoice, and partake in dulce de lechoza … as a family.

Have a great Sunday, everyone. And have a peaceful sobremesa.

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  1. It’s tough to be optimistic about Venezuela, for numerous specific reasons. Chavismo will not just go away without tremendo pataleo, and I am afraid, acts of violence. They risk too much: Jail and/or losing their fortunes, their guisos. And the Economy will not miraculously recover overnight, people will not begin to engage in Venezuelan agriculture, local manufacturing production, self sufficiency, much less exporting. That will take decades, and the oil was already sold to the Chinese.

    What that means is that popular discontent is not about to disappear next year. It’s likely to get worse. And the only Economic measures that should be taken will be painful. We all know what they are. So unless, (like Lorenzo Mendoza and Ricardo H. were saying), the International community steps in, bailing Venezuela out of an even more catastrophic economic and social crisis, with massive Loans of hard Cash, I am stuck with Laureano Marquez’s tragi-comic view of the “light at the end of the tunnel”. (Look up his recent interview on the Jaime Bayly show). It’s gonna get even worse, before it gets better.

    No matter how many dulces de lechosa, and even hallacas and pan de jamon one can have in other countries now for Christmas. It’s hard not to worry about Venezuela now, especially when “la bestia esta herida”. The Chavismo beast is wounded, they are criminals, and they will put up a fight, sorry to say.

    Thanks for the links, and the positive attitude. The Vargas Llosa article is encouraging and quite correct in some aspects, notably that they have to Free Leopoldo, and all prisoners. That, in itself, is a reason to celebrate.

  2. The Vargas Llosa point, that MUD disunity would be a gift from heaven for Chavismo, bears repeating. Seen from far away, the idea that the MUD would quarrel over the honours before the beast is slain, appears insane.

    I can hardly think of anything less responsible to MUDs historic responsibility than infighting at this point. Chavismo will try to create it; but mature politicians will refuse to bite.

    Once a fully-democratic Venezuela is in place, there will be plenty of time for jockeying for position.

  3. Juan is right. While not forgetting about the challenges and battles that lie ahead, we should not forget to celebrate our victory. I think Lilian Tintori said it best in her tweet after seeing Leopoldo Lopez for the first time since the election: “Lo visité, lo vi, lo besé, lo abracé muy fuerte y gritamos: Lo logramos!!!”

  4. Another reason to celebrate is that, thanks to the efforts of many, including Caracas Chronicles, the world is finally paying attention and is on our side.

    From Mariano Rajoy of Spain: “Quiero reiterar mi fe en Venezuela. Parafraseando a un Nobel de Literatura, la adversidad es grande pero más grande aún es el espíritu de los venezolanos. Este es mi mensaje: creemos en vosotros; contad con nosotros.”

    Translation: “I want to reiterate my faith in Venezuela. Paraphrasing a Nobel (prize winner) for Literature, the adversity is great but even greater is the spirit of the Venezuelans. This is my message: We believe in you; Count on us.”

  5. Amen, Juan.

    While a long hard road still lays ahead, it is a good, healthy and necessary thing to celebrate the important steps along the way.

    Like Churchill once said: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning…”

    ¡¡Viva Venezuela (and Go Blue)!!

  6. They always say if you seek revenge, dig two holes: one for your victim, and one for yourself. Reconciliation starts with recognizing hope lives, especially in the little things, the small acts of kindness and bravery we have seen during the election. Maybe there is a God after all. Feliz Navidad.

  7. And, then, JCN sweeps aside the dulce de lechosa, replacing it with a bowl of lychee with kumquat, and slowly peels back his skintight prosthetic mask, to reveal his Alter Ego, one many of us have suspected for some time–YES, the twisted face of the nefarious LEE ANN KEW!

  8. ‘ We live in an age where unnecessary things are our only necessities ‘
    The beauty and potential of Venezuela are unlimited, slavery has been abolished , you have to clean your own mess


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