February 27: an Unwanted Celebration of Democratic Disruption

To celebrate the beginning of chavismo amidst the collapse it has brought upon us seems cruel, but why would that stop them?

Photo: Wall Street International

The fireworks started at 7:00 am near my house. Someone was assigned to torment us with volleys of cohetones, with music booming later. I knew it was a chavista event but I was oblivious as to the occasion. Forty minutes in, there was a power outage that hit the entire Guarenas-Guatire area and immediately a cacerolazo broke out, with people cursing Maduro aloud. The music came back, and the cohetones continued.

They moved on despite the blackout. I finished my chores, put on my shoes and went out to take pictures or record something with my phone. I brisk-walked up the street to the Guarenas Seguro Social building at 10:45 am, crossing the remaining distance in long strides: the shrieking chavista music guided me.

I soon saw the police, a throng of GNB, milicianos and moto-taxistas who looked suspiciously like colectivos prowling around the back end of a stage raised in the middle of the street. Better to keep my phone in the pocket. They had a generator on site. I couldn’t see any face on stage, but there was a small crowd of people in red shirts and 4F caps waving banners, cheering and clapping, trying their best to sound happy. After a moment, the recordings of Alí Primera gave way to a live band.

Here’s Jorge! Born during the saqueo and now he’s here to celebrate this 29th anniversary with us!

I figured the show was meant to celebrate Maduro’s bid for the presidency. The band finished the last song and a woman announced that the act was about to conclude. I was already walking home when I heard the presenter, “Here’s Jorge! Born during the saqueo and now he’s here to celebrate this 29th anniversary with us!”

“Of course, it’s February 27!” I realized.

They were celebrating the Caracazo, the alleged genesis of chavismo, and they cheered someone for being born during the lootings. They do this every year in my neighborhood, where it all started. They even renamed the place “27 de Febrero”, a pathetic monument for the memory because, besides the blackout, we haven’t had water for days and the CLAP hasn’t been seen since January.

The regime still surprises me, not with their brazenness, but with their complete lack of connection with reality. The current failures in public systems are caused by their incompetence and corruption, and they now lack the resources and operational capacity to keep la fiesta running. It’s a matter of time before a full collapse, yet here they were, exalting the Caracazo in a sea of misery.

Even when everything stops working, chavistas will still put up a show and waste more time and money to keep up appearances. Their lies have lost much of their punch, however, so even here in Guarenas, the so-called Cradle of Chavismo, they can only inspire indifference and, worse, outright disdain.