Original art by Mario Dávila @modográfico

I

I’ve been haunted by something that happened last Saturday. I went to a birthday party for one of my dearest Venezuelan friends, a gathering of arepa-expats in a posh Madrid barrio.

There’s a round of handshakes, warm hugs and kisses; and it hasn’t been 15 minutes when the host, a good friend of mine and transparent as they come, comes up to me and says:

“Hey, listen. I don’t want you to be upset, I really don’t want you to leave, but Bolichico Rodríguez is coming over.”

I wasn’t happy about the surprise. The fair warning is appreciated, but was soon drowned in confusion. You know, “Should I leave? But I just got here. And why should I leave? I’m not the thief!”

A good half-hour goes by, I have a beer in my hand and the bolichico in question walks in. You know the guy: graduated from a famous private school in Santa Paula, nicely dressed and a swagger that you just want to punch out of his face. By his early thirties, this guy was worth more than some of the Kardashian sisters.

I’m disgusted. I switch my poison from beer to scotch, and try to avoid eye-contact with this guy. It didn’t last long.

“Pedro”, says my host, kind of troubled, “meet Bolichico Rodríguez and Mericiana Pérez”.

“Oil” Bolichico states and sips from his glass. “It’s oil related.”

He extends his hand, I imagine the same way it goes out before deals are brokered and fortunes built on the hunger of children.

“Hey”, I shake his paw. “Nice to meet you”.

I turned around. Tried to focus on the food, on my friends. I pour myself a second scotch to flush away this knot in my throat.

I notice a family member is quite pissed and leaving the party. He can’t stand the idea of being in the same place with Bolichico Rodríguez who, oblivious to the effect of his presence, makes ridiculous small talk with a Spaniard guest.

“Yep, we’re moving to Madrid,” he says.

“Oh” the person said, “are you guys looking for a job?”

The notion makes me giggle, but also really sad.

“Nope, I have a company in Venezuela. We’re opening a branch here.”

“What is it about?”

“Oil” Bolichico states and sips from his glass. “It’s oil related.”

Rage has me chugging yet another scotch. A fire down my throat equal to that in my veins. I made sure to bring the Spanish fellow up-to-date about who his conversation partner was.

Now, I know for a fact that Bolichico avoids public places frequented by Venezuelans in fear of escraches. Conundrums of life; you have a lot of money but you may not hold your head up high. Is it worth it, I wonder, not being able to go anywhere you please? There’s also his companion, who I assume is his significant other. Does she notice this situation? Does she care? Is love really that blind? I’m sure going to teach my soon-to-be-born daughter that no lifestyle is worth losing your dignity and peace of mind.

II

Thinking back on the Venezuelans present, their faces and actions, I can tell most were rather uncomfortable. But the truth is plenty of Instagram stories and Facebook pictures show many compatriotas treating these bolichicos as if they were honest businessmen. They party with them, travel with them, even marry them.

Conundrums of life; you have a lot of money but you may not hold your head up high.   

Differences aside, I can’t help but think of how the Colombian upper-class disowned drug lords, but did business with them and drank their champagne behind closed doors. Is this how’s it’s going to be in the future: are we going to normalize bolichicos and other 5ta República criminals into society? Someone once said that we will need bolichico money to rebuild the country, which in turn will make them even richer. It’s disgusting, but not unlikely.

Once the situation changes and the truth about corruption comes out, we may have to sacrifice justice in the name of peace, wondering if such an arrangement can really last. I, for one, am still pondering my actions. My father taught me to be political (choose your friends wisely, but shake hands with everyone) and my faith tells me to “love my neighbor as myself.” But my cédula thrown somewhere in a drawer disagrees and I really doubt I’m alone in that. One of the reasons to leave Venezuela was to avoid getting salpicado por toda esta mierda.

The next day, I could do nothing but revisit the party. Sure, I wasn’t going to ruin it by going crazy on this dude, but should I have left in protest too? Should I have said something? I did voice my discontent to my host, but perhaps a comment in front of Mr. Rodríguez  would have been proper. Morals are a funny thing: I worry about being a jerk to a motherfucking thief.

Too heavy thoughts for a hungover Sunday morning.

Previous articleWithout Conditions
Next articleEmpty Universities

Pedro is a public affairs and policy consultant based in Madrid. A self-hating millennial, he likes all things politics and hopes that Betancourt reincarnates and rules Venezuela once more.

51 COMMENTS

  1. Public Affairs Consultant and likes politics, and yet you do not know how to handle such an imposition.
    I hope the irony is not lost on the author, it certainly was not lost on me.
    Trust me, if you were based here with us, i think your clarity of thought and action would have been more direct, at least i hope so!

  2. It would be difficult to keep your cool, the moment you realize that your family in Venezuela is going hungry to keep this mofo on top of the arbitrage food chain… not to mention the repression and the murders, by police and by criminals…

  3. Really, you couldn’t kick the shit out of him and take the punishment that the Spanish law would have put on you??? I would’ve happily kicked his ass into a wheelchair for the rest of his life and would’ve turned myself in. Couple of years in prison at most and being fucking proud every single day of it. Next time call me, I live in Tarragona so can be there within 5 hrs!!!!

    • Its one thing to say it. Another to do it.

      A about 25 years back, I was at a weekend, outdoor party (kegger), when two cousins (professional people, unrelated to me) got into it, regarding some childhood transgression (accusations of rape/sodomy). It was about to come to blows, when the aggrieved party grabbed a knife and threatened the older cousin if he didn’t leave.

      The older cousin laughed, and said something akin to, “I dare you… you wouldn’t last a week in prison!” Whereupon, the younger cousins son (a heavily tattooed biker type) grabbed the knife and told a couple of his biker buddies to “hold him down”, and said to the older cousin, “I’ll do you, fucker. I’m not afraid of going to prison”. The older cousin, who only moments before had been so cocksure and arrogant, ran faster than I have ever seen a human move outside of a track and field event. He FLEW past me (I was leaving post haste myself. I’m not one to stick around events that turn violent)

      The point being, some people have nothing to lose. Some people have everything to live for. Mr. Bolichico might have a proper ass kicking coming, but why take the chance of making him a martyr, or going to prison for a symbolic act? Smart money would find out more about his habits before something unfortunate would happen to Mr Bolichico. The Chavistas already know how to play that game. Does anyone believe that SEBIN just shows up at events, unplanned, and hauls off MUD members?

      • Prison in Venezuela. ..no I probably wouldn’t be able to survive that, prison in Spain. .. in a fucking handstand. I made a mistake in 1997 and did 2 years and 28 days in Germany so I know what it is to be locked up in a foreign country. Yes I have a wife and two kids but would happily do a prison stretch knowing i would’ve taken away the ability to walk ever again from Hector Rodriguez!!!

    • Your patriotic duty would be to report this guy to the FBI, with evidence of course.

      Soon or later his assets will be frozen and his ass locked up for a very good, long and sweet time. Nothing makes a thief more unhappy than losing everything.

  4. I would’ve left. No amount of alcohol can help me stomach an individual like that. Maybe having to deal with everything Venezuela on a daily basis makes it easier for me to disregard those people. My parents taught me good manners, but they also always said; dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres.

    Also, like ElGuapo says above, why would the host invite this person? I would leave the place as soon as the bolichico arrived, thanks the host for the invite but let him know that I would not attend any future gatherings if he’s to invite such people. There are plenty of nice Spaniards and Venezuelans in Madrid to spend your time with.

    • Also, why call him Bolichico Rodriguez throughtout your piece instead of using his full name. It’s like you’re kinda trying to protect Hector’s identity.

      • Yes, not using his name is totally hypocrite… but thats part of the Bolichicos scape goat… it makes me laugh this people who blames this guys for everything but they go to party with a bunch f people that had make a lot of dishonest money (ALSO) with this revolution… its a way of cleaning your awareness? Being anti Bolichicos is cool and every ones accept that … but what about being really anti corruption? we as Venezuelans if we dont talk to corrupt people we dont get out of our houses… so STOP THE BULLSHIT…

      • “Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres.” That’s a darn good saying. La vaina es, cuando te encuentras solo. Y es por eso, que yo creo en Dios.

  5. Excellent piece. I wonder why would he be invited to this party, why would the host submit his guests to this discomfort. I remember ages ago having to uninvite a friend because he worked for Smartmatic even though we were friends from our youth and he “allegedly” was just a low level technical expert. I hope we don’t normalize, there is plenty of good/healthy money and brains to reconstruct when needed.

  6. Yo tengo un rollo de ese mecate. It happened with one the bolichicos too, I did not make an scene in front of everybody because I respect my friend’s family and did it for them. I avoided the shaking hands situation and left the party after telling my friends why I was leaving.
    Next day told my friend how disappointing was for me he can be friends with a person like that, and asked how he would explain to his son when he asks about the relationship in the future.
    If justice is not made by courts it should be done by society. I don’t talk anymore with another former close friend who was involved in some BANDES scandal, I don’t think we have the same goals in life anymore.
    When you keep friends like that or keep socially engaging with corrupts but at the same time you criticize the government’s corruption, is because you are pissed you did not have a chance to get dirty, that’s it. Pure jealousy.
    My father always told be ” If you are going to make a decision think about how hard will be to see your image in the mirror the next morning”

  7. normalize bolichicos and other 5ta República criminals into society?

    Criminals have to pay for their crimes. Otherwise in the near future, another criminal will come along knowing he can get away with anything, and we’ll be back to square one.

  8. “are we going to normalize bolichicos and other 5ta República criminals into society? Someone once said that we will need bolichico money to rebuild the country, which in turn will make them even richer. It’s disgusting, but not unlikely.

    Once the situation changes and the truth about corruption comes out, we may have to sacrifice justice in the name of peace, wondering if such an arrangement can really last.”

    Look at Nicaragua, and you’ll have a pretty good picture of what will happen if Venezuela “sacrifices justice for peace”

  9. I had the great displeasure of having been invited to speak at a local non-profit that hosted a dinner for volunteers and politicians.

    The group I represented had spent many months helping build schools, churches, and a wing at a hospital in Columbia. I was down there helping with things I know how to fix/build.

    Just as food is getting brought out, in walks the gringo version of Bolichico Rodríguez. A local sleeze who rises up by tearing others down and stands high on the coffins of those who he killed to get where he is at.

    The dinner was informal, but, he has on a $1000+ suit and drove up in a $90,000 Porsche. How does a “community organizer” afford vehicles like that?

    As I finish my brief overview of the work we had done and the letters from locals that followed our visit, he gets up to try and take credit. He’s not from our congregation, didn’t visit the country, and has barely read the program that was left on his table.

    After he disappears when he finds out its a cash bar and no free drinks, a dozen or so of us gathered around to discuss Bolichico Rodríguez. He had already gone through his 4th wife and was now trying to get out of child support payments for the 3 bastards he fathered. He managed to siphon off thousands of dollars from different non-profits to line his coffers with money that was meant for the buildings we erected. Because he is best buds with the (former) Federal DA, no charges were brought but his “companies” where banned from bidding on other non-profit functions overseas.

    • Nada cuenta un cuento como la verdad. (“Ain’t that the truth, though!”) I looked into a couple of non-profit organizations and found salaries comparable to execs of for-profit organizations. I kind of like to imagine that God is a stockholder. There’s nothing quite like clean money, even if it’s just a token for clean work.

  10. These kind of people were normalized already during the Cuarta.

    Bolichichos are just the new kids on the enchufado block, and they are not even that new.

      • Sad as it may be but clientelism, crony capitalism and nepotism have been long standing traditions in our country and are all taken for granted as common ocurrences in all matters of business and politics. The Hipocrisy of Venezuelan society runs deep.

        Like the popular phrase says. “they used to steal, yeah, but not this bad, it didn`t affect us this much”

  11. Well meeting someone that you understand is a corrupt person in a friends house poses something of a problem , you dont want to offend you friend or his family but neither do you want to make the bolichico feel that he can get away with his delinquencies and still savour the social respect we bestow on ordinary people , one thing that you can do is be icily cold curt and short in the manner in which you address the person without being overtly uncivil , Ive done this to people whom I deemed worthy of disdain..and have seen the look of deep hurt in their eyes , they know they are being insulted but they dont know how to respond……, if you are witty enough you can also add a bit of irony to the gesture …….!!

    The brits are great at this ………they dont use hachets to insult people but sharp stilettos that hurt more because they go deeper.

    • When Nixon visited the residence of the US ambassador to Rumania returning from a trip to Moscow he very ungraciously commented on the modern paintings from the ambassadors collection that hang on the residences walls calling them ‘crap’ to which the wife of the ambassador replied ‘better crap Mr President than that now walks over this embassys carpets’……. , the biggest insults dont alway involve confrontations !!

      • Normally I agree with the statements you make here on CC Bill. But please tell me what good would it doesn’t trying to embarrass these types of criminals. How many lives would that save back in Venezuela? Violence is what the understand so that’s what you’ll have to give them imho.

  12. A new reality for Venezuelans but not so for a number of others who have lived or experienced deep political divisions in their homeland. The expat Spaniards know it as the civil war and subsequent Franco dictatorship deepened those divisions, heck in present-day Spain proper those historical divisions are alive and well. Chileans have their own divisive history at home and abroad, and it’s always interesting to see how the navigate them when two Chileans meet for the first time. They’ve developed a type of cultural short hand to determine whether one is part of those who left after the ’73 coup and those who stayed behind.

  13. Pedro Zapata, I didn’t know you where face to face with one of the most fanatic corrupt CUNTS Chavismo has ever produced. Hector fucking Rodriguez!! You spineless piece of shit you, why the fuck didn’t you send him straight to the hospital!!!! Preferably in a everlasting coma!!!! It’s a shame you didn’t choke on your scotch!!!! Fuck its like meeting gobbels and doing fuck all. How the hell are you going to explain that to your children???

  14. I am really shocked.

    This is the point: Chavismo has been the source of most destruction for Venezuela since the Federal War AND this bloke is an actual criminal.

    Whether you are a friend with the person who organised the event or not does not matter. You do not have to be a saint to realise it is not ethical to participate in an event where such a criminal is having fun.

    How desperate can yet another Venezuelan be for a bloody Scotch?

  15. As you note, if you’re a religious person, you are governed by the tenets of your religion in this situation. Your forbearance may bring you closer to God.

    If you are an activist at heart, you might create a fuss and post it on Youtube. That might help with solidarity building. It may even generate some revenue if it goes big- I don’t know how that works.

    If you are interested in a fleeting act with long lasting and self defeating effects for you, you will follow the advice of your detractors here in the Caracas Chronicles comments section. No explanation needed.

    But I think you are a writer – are you not? As a writer, when encountering a bolichico it is your duty to be governed at all times by your curiosity.

    I understand your dilemma, but I think you should have poured bolichico and his spouse a drink. Or a few.

      • Canucklehead i am surprised that you of all people quote the brilliance of an English conservative.
        Maybe its the pull of the apron strings? you little colonial.
        Remember “it is your duty to be governed at all times by your curiosity”.
        Mate, a person would have to be blind, deaf and dumb to take advice from you.
        But as ever i applaud your comedic value.
        Do carry on old chap.

        • As a great conservative once put it, applause is the spur of noble minds, but it is the end and the aim of weak ones.

          Now back to: who is the fiercest Caracas Chronicles commenter here? Here’s my two bits on that.

          Duncavd says bolichico is like Goebbels and would therefore send him to hospital, but I’m disappointed Duncavd would not take out Goebbels right on the spot if he had the opportunity.

          It shows a lack of character I think, that someone would not just take out Goebbels if they met him at a party, preferably with the weapon they were already carrying for such opportunities. So while Duncavd is so far the bravest and the toughest commenter, I’m waiting for some real heroes to step up to the comments section.

          • Murder might get my a life long prison sentence and the “victim” gets off easy. Putting his ass in a wheelchair or in a everlasting coma gets me less than 10 years and the “victim” is reminded each and every day why he’s in that state, well in the wheelchair option, the other option is an reminder for his family and friends.

          • “I’m waiting for some real heroes to step up to the comments section.”
            My little colonial, you wouldnt know what a hero was if it smacked you in the mouth.
            Armchair freaks like you allways give me a good laugh.
            After spending 22 years in the British Army and then a further 6 years working in Iraq and Afghanistan on Government contracts, i can say i am not a hero.
            But i have the pleasure of knowing a lot of friends who are.
            There is a big difference to your life and mine, in that i lived mine in the real world, with real politic and real violence deployed in most of the shitholes in the world. And you i expect can play world of warcraft on your computer and tell everyone you are a competent expert.
            You espousing on your above comment about people “showing lack of character” really only mirrors your own vacuous existence.
            As i have said before you amuse me greatly.
            Keep your head down and remember keyboards are dangerous.
            ‘An nescis mi fili quantilla prudentia mundus regatur’

          • Attacking bolichico at a party in Madrid is a really bad idea. Spain is a country of laws. They should be respected.

          • Duncan -vd
            “You spineless piece of shit you, why the fuck didn’t you send him straight to the hospital!!!! Preferably in a everlasting coma!!!! It’s a shame you didn’t choke on your scotch!!!!”
            Yes mate YOUR comments are as irritating and useless as your nickname on this forum.
            You must be one mega hard hombre with statements like that? now Fu#$k off, as i really dont give two shits what you think. Knobber.

  16. I don’t move in bolichicos circles – todos somos ‘pelabolas’ por aquí. But I think I would not have attended the party and I would think hard about keeping a friendship with somebody that invites a bolichico to their house.

    When chavismo was at their peak, I’d avoid meeting Venezuelans as they were most likely to be chavistas. For many year I was ‘in hiding’ from fellow countrymen. I cut off a few friends when I found out they were Chavez sympathisers. Sorry yes it was radical, and not very tolerant on my part, but I could not stomach it. I have never had a chavista friend, yes, I said it. That’s probably why I’m still a pelabola, but you know, I’m proud of it.

    So to be at short distance of somebody that has so shamelessly stolen public money and to not do a escrache, chico come on…!

  17. I have always maintained conversations with people Like that and if you want to really irritate them, keep asking them questions in a normal innocent like tone about things you know they really don’t want to talk about. i.e. Oil business? So what exactly do you do in the oil business? Have you been doing that long? How did you get started? Must be a really big investment, how were you able to fund that? Do you have partners? Who are they, I know people in the business maybe I know them, and on and on and on, eventually they will not want to continue the conversation and not want those near to hear their answers and will move on to a different group, but you will have made your point to them and those who were present.

  18. I have to add that chavismo was made possible due to the “normalization” of criminals in venezuelan society, sacrificing justice for peace’s sake.

    The same garbage that brought the rotten one to power is the same manure that swindled most venezuelan money during the 4ta and continued to do so through the 5th.

  19. No wonder you’re into politics, since you would rather not “insult” your friend before standing your own ground. If you didn’t care about the Bolichico presence then I would understand keeping your mouth shut, but the fact that you took the time to precisely narrate the event with such spite tells me otherwise. Then again, you didn’t even act according to your own beliefs. Because ultimately if you really really cared that much you would’ve done something, even the slightest.

Leave a Reply to Kepler Cancel reply