Amarillita, Azulita y Rojita…

Red. One of the three colors of our flag, it came to signify the profound invasion the regime was already exercising on our society by 2006. Chavismo sought to dismember our identity, to blow it apart by subjugating the yellow and the blue. Some Venezuelans still have a hard time reconciling with that color today. This post was originally published on November 28, 2006.

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If you ask me, the best part of Rosales’ campaign was the way he set up the contrast between his “Tricolor Avalanche” rally and Chavez’s “Red Tide.” I’m talking about the titles here. His choice of tags mirrored his use of “For 26 millions” in contrast to Chavez’s 10-million slogan: both set out to contrast a vision of inclusion and tolerance with Chavez’s sectarianism.

But I think the “Tricolor Avalanche” – the name itself – was far more symbolically resonant. Why? In school, we were all taught that the yellow stripe on the flag symbolizes the riches the conquistadores sought in our land, the blue stripe our distance from and connection with Spain and European civilization, and the red the blood spilled in the brutal, fratricidal wars of independence.

Together, these three stripes encapsulate our complex and contradictory identity: our tendency to equate wealth with worth, our simultaneous connection-to and alienation-from European modes of thinking, and our usually latent but always present wild-side, with its rejection of all civilized values and its glorification of savagery for its own sake.

These three intertwined (if contradictory) strands, brilliantly described in J.M. Briceño Guerrero’s writing, make up the deep core of our culture. Their coexistence and permanent tension is what makes us unique, what makes us us.

Rosales, in embracing the Tricolor in explicit contrast to Chavez’s monochromal obsession, draws attention to the way chavismo seeks to dismember our identity, to blow it apart by subjugating the yellow and the blue strands, burying them, and recasting our identity through a sectarian and exclusionary celebration of struggle as a goal in itself, of anti-intellectualism and violence (for now, mostly symbolic) as the exclusive marks of true Venezuelan-ness.

Venezuela cannot be made roja, rojita and remain fully Venezuela. The embrace of the tricolor in contrast to Chavez’s dreary, unyielding red underlines a basic reality no amount of state power can overcome. As Briceño Guerrero puts it, “they can oppress us, repress us, compress us, depress us and squeeze us, but in the end they can’t impress themselves upon us, they can’t suppress us.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Bottom line is that Chavismo has stayed in power for almost 20 years. Bottom line is that there are still millions of Venezuelans who still claim to be Chavistas, and millions on the Rojito Rojito direct payroll. And the days, months, years continue to pass by.. by now, they are used to that “socialist” crap.

    Bottom line is that Kleotozuela resembles Cuba more and more every year. And Millions – not thousands – of the 30 million people left there are CORRUPT, and COMPLICIT with the Genocidal Narco-Kleptocracy. I’d venture to say, that in one way or another, most are corrupt, complicit and thus deserve what they are getting. And what they will continue to get, for the foreseeable future, probably several more Roja Rojita Decades. And if/when some below-mediocre “MUD” government get back in power, Venezuela will continue to be a mess, the deep, deep damage has been done, and it would take several decades of very severe, austere economic measures to start fixing that profound economic/social/political mess.

    Let’s face it: our “pueblo” ain’t that great, now is it? Corrupt? You bet!! Poorly educated, with loose moral values or none at all. Most of them are, in one way or another, involved in some GUISO. Ladrones hasta la medula, en su mayoria. Que lo disfruten. Lastima por la minoria, pobres muy mal educados, los que no tienen mucha culpa, y que no se han podido ir del pais.

    Hopefully, at least, that bunch of THIEVES, millions of average corrupt “Venezolanos”, mind you, somehow manages to preserve whatever’s left of Venezuela’s natural beauty, El Avila, Choroni, Los Roques, La Colonia Tovar, Los Andes, Los Llanos, Roraima, El Amazonas.. at least some of it, so future generations can catch a glimpse of what it once was.

  2. “Venezuela cannot be made roja, rojita and remain fully Venezuela. The embrace of the tricolor in contrast to Chavez’s dreary, unyielding red underlines a basic reality no amount of state power can overcome. As Briceño Guerrero puts it, “they can oppress us, repress us, compress us, depress us and squeeze us, but in the end they can’t impress themselves upon us, they can’t suppress us.”

    I guess that didn’t quite work out that way, huh?

  3. Tricolor Theory vs. Now-Rojo-Rojito Petro-State Peon Reality, quickly reverting to pre-Petro-State poverty/misery, or worse (coffee/cacao peons earned maybe Bs. 2/da., about $0.60, or roughly $12/mo.; U.S. oil cos.offered Bs. 8/da., roughly $2, or $40/mo.; current min. wage +cesta tickets (not all receive) is roughly $5/mo., and decreasing daily….

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