Original art by @modográfico
In the real world, people pay as much attention to Venezuela as Venezuelans do to the real world. For a society with a heavy Louis XIV outlook on its place in the universe, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
It’s been just over six months since I left the comfort of home searching for actual comfort, and the reality is that we’re just another headline out here.
The talk of domestic terrorism cells, the local football league, the latest bestseller, and the works on the subway system are all the attention span can grasp. That’s news. Venezuela, if it’s mentioned at all, is as any other tragedy that happens abroad. People, the few who are aware of what la patria grande is and suffers, feel bad about it. But that’s that.
There’s no talk of the Dominican Republic diálogo, no clue who Óscar Pérez is or even that the country is malnourished, out of medicine and in the midst of the worst economic crisis in its history. That’s our own little bubble to wallow in. It’s its own blessing, I must admit, to not go through hours and hours of the same exact conversation every day.
The same way no one discusses Brexit, the Trump-Kim tit for tat or anything other than Venezuelan chaos back home, people elsewhere focus on what really matters to them. And that’s fine. It’s not a suffering competition. People cater to their own needs and worry about their own concerns. A tropical shitstorm they might not have even heard of can be spared.
In the end, as sad as it might be, we’re just one of those countries that burned itself to ashes.
For a country whose capitalinos know of only three nationalities (caraqueños, los del interior y los del exterior), this comes as a shock. The notion that we aren’t the center of the universe is odd, but reflects reality.
Yet, once you’re out of the maelstrom, the pallet of dark tones that paints this tragedy of ours blends into a solid and dull grey. It’s just another heartbreak song. Even expats with family and friends still in the frontline have a hard time telling truth from lie, real news from clickbait, what’s staged and what actually happened.
And in truth, little matters when credibility is hard to come across, no matter how close to the elephant you stand. Polls speak louder than the clout, and when every involved actor lacks a positive influence on voters, what expats do or don’t read shouldn’t matter.
The overreliance on the outside world to find a solution, which spans from American sanctions to a craving for military intervention, makes it hard for Venezuelans abroad to look away. Yet in the end, as sad as it might be, we’re just one of those countries that burned itself to ashes, a petty cause among many for those with no horse in the race.
Like the Sudan crisis, the Greek economic meltdown and even the Argentinean Corralito, to those not involved in what Maduro says or does and how the country suffers for it, it’s just a five minute conversation over coffee, at best.
La crisis is an icebreaker, a college kid’s cause, or something you come across as a well read guy. It would do us good to realize how much less of an option “the international option” actually is, when seen from abroad.
Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported.
Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.Donate