El País on Venezuela’s Lost Generation

Magnus Boding pens a piece for El País on the country’s young adults that will make you yearn for beach parties and friends you won’t see again.

Photo: James Forde retrieved

Over at El PaísPlaneta Futuro section, Danish correspondent for Latin America, Magnus Boding, writes about how poverty, exodus and political oppression have shaped millennials, which he labels “Venezuela’s most international generation.”

The piece also focuses on Irina and Alejandro, a young couple that after eight years of relationship — two in different countries —, got married in their small town near Caracas, surrounded by their remaining loved ones. Those who couldn’t make it, sent a video with their good wishes. The bit has gems of joy buried in sadness and nostalgia:

“In the 1,600 meter-long sandbank there are no robbers or trees. Just a couple of empty fishing shacks and the tents in which they spent two nights. Between rum and music, those who had moved out talked about the countries where they lived at the moment and what they missed the most.”

Young people have grown with some of the world’s highest rates of homicide, robbery and kidnapping. Some have become dour and shy.

For Boding, “young people have grown with some of the world’s highest rates of homicide, robbery and kidnapping. Some have become dour and shy. They are rarely seen hanging out in public places or talking on the phone in the street (…) Everyone knows a victim of violence and many are awakened by nightmares.”

Included in the text is data from a 2016 UCV study portraying how half of the Venezuelans between ages 25 and 29 still live with their parents, a number probably higher nowadays. The article also references a Consultores21 poll, pointing out that 40% of all Venezuelans have “intentions to migrate.” 51% of those are between 18 and 24 years old.

Overall, it offers nothing new for us Venezuelans (there’s an interesting section with comedian Ricardo del Bufalo who, despite having an Italian passport, has chosen to remain in Venezuela, commenting on the paradox of Venezuelans speaking badly about their homeland while also being extremely proud of it), but Boding’s strength is in characterization, and the piece incorporates James Forde’s pictures, elevating that sense of yearning in the text to something unique.

You can read the piece in full (in Spanish) here.

José González Vargas

Freelance journalist, speculative fiction writer, college professor, political junkie, lover of books and movies and, semi-professional dilettante. José has written for NPR's Latino USA, Americas Quarterly, Into and ViceVersa Magazine.