One year after the opposition's decisive triumph in legislative elections, we survey a panorama tragically devoid of hope.

Today is December 6th. Exactly one year since the Venezuelan opposition won 2/3rds legislative majority in a dazzling display of competence, bravado and sheer will.

Since then, I’ve tried to rationalize what the year-long journey has meant for me, and it boils down to my uneasy relationship with one monosyllabic word: Hope.

December 6th, 2015 is the day I thought I learned what Hope meant. That day, I was  behind-the-scenes MUD technical staff. Like hundreds of others nationwide, I worked myself ragged in the weeks leading up to the election. That night I was, of course, deeply satisfied when the hundreds of hours that thousands of volunteers poured into a grueling civic effort paid off. I won’t lie, it was euphoric.

 It felt like the start of a new era. It felt like hope.

But the real joy, the raw transcendence of that moment, came from seeing, for the first time in decades, an actual possibility of change in my country.

Because there were numbers to prove it.

In the days following 6D, friends and relatives who had been planning on leaving the country decided to stay. People who’d spent years abroad started to think about coming back. It felt like the start of a new era. It felt like hope.

Remember that feeling?

It’s only now, on December 6th 2016, that I can finally say I know what hope means, because I’ve completely lost it. I don’t have any.

As it stands today, I have no faith in my political leadership, no strength to fight their insistence that I’m wrong, no way of helping those around me, and no means of justifying my life in Venezuela.

You can’t expect someone to generate hope if they don’t have it themselves.

I’ve also realized that I’ve been unfair towards MUD in blaming them for my loss of hope. You can’t expect someone to generate hope if they don’t have it themselves.

MUD displayed a total lack of hope when it agreed to trade its dignity, its credibility, and the mandate it received one year ago in exchange for a ridiculous dialogue.

It’s not so much that MUD is hopeless, it’s more like MUD has lost all hope in its ability to effect change. There’s no other explanation for their behavior.

I’m ashamed to admit that the powerlessness that stems from abandoning hope comes as a relief. There’s comfort in apathy, in giving up.  Now I get the allure of disenchantment.

Now I understand MUD.

As I start the futile-exercise-in-caring that it is December 6th, 2016, I want to leave you with this video of Vladimir Villegas’s interview with María Corina Machado last Thursday. There’s solace in her lucidity. I’m really grateful that someone like María Corina has not yet abandoned hope. I only hope that MUD tries to do the same.

Emiliana Duarte

Emi is a cook, a lover of animals, politics, expletives, and Venezuela. She is the co-founder of Caracas Chronicles LLC and Managing Editor if the site until December 2017.