Original Art by ModoGráfico

What a World Cup we had.

I love soccer and I love underdogs, I love losing my voice chanting for Real Madrid, Vinotinto and Spain, and the things I liked the most about this World Cup were the tales of the teams we never thought would make it, players with everything against. The odds were never in their favor, and still, we’ve seen stories of resilience, hope and plain old discipline. To win a World Cup, it takes more than one player. One Cristiano Ronaldo, one Messi, one Modric is just not enough to be the best. It takes a village.

We saw Croatia make it all the way to the final. Now, Croatia is not that big; it’s the 127th largest country in the world, and they have only 2,175 hours of sunlight a year. Not that much, when you consider that there are 8,760 hours in a year.

One Cristiano Ronaldo, one Messi, one Modric is just not enough to be the best. It takes a village.

Croatians survived occupation by Germany and Italy. They survived being a puppet Nazi state. Croatian Jews, Serbs and Romanis survived concentration camps like Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška, they survived the Croatian Revolutionary Movement Ustaše (or Ustashe), a fascist, racist, terrorist organization that murdered hundreds of thousands of Croatians. The Seventeen Principles of Ustaše stated the uniqueness of the Croatian nation, promoted collective rights over individual rights and declared that people who were not Croat by “bloodwould be excluded from political life.Their motto was:

“The KNIFE, REVOLVER, MACHINE GUN and TIME BOMB; these are the idols, these are bells that will announce the dawning and THE RESURRECTION OF THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA.”

Sounds very patria, socialismo o muerte, if you ask me.

Later, Croatians endured Tito and Yugoslavia. They survived paramilitary groups of Serbs murdering Non-Serbs, forcing around 170,000 people from their homes. If you look at them now, you wouldn’t tell they had to go through all that. The war ended in 1995, 23 years ago. Not that long.

In this World Cup, Luka Modric was awarded the Golden Ball, and his team didn’t even win. And that gives me hope.

In this World Cup, Luka Modric was awarded the Golden Ball, and his team didn’t even win. And that gives me hope.

I hope we can be as stubborn and resilient.

I hope we can endure and fight back.

I hope we can become everything we’ve always wanted to.

I hope we can change the chavismo that has grown such deep roots in the unconscious collective and buried itself in there, with what now looks like really mighty tentacles suffocating us all.

I hope I can one day see a Venezuelan president elected in fair, free elections, and watch him be cordial and diplomatic towards other Heads of State, like I saw Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic be during the award ceremony after the game.

I hope we can eventually have a government that makes honest, sustainable investments in every field, in arts, science, sports and any other endeavour that contributes to the prosperity of the Venezuelan people.

I hope we can grow, learn and be outstanding in every field.

I hope one day the Vinotinto makes us smile and cry tears of joy because they made it to the World Cup and we can be proud of everything they did, no matter the outcome.

Soccer is played with legs and feet, but also with heart.

Soccer is played with legs and feet, but also with heart. We need more heart, and we need conviction in everything we can be if we put our souls into it. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to do all that, and more, right here. Hopefully, we’ll be reborn from the ashes of two decades of communist devastation. As we now know, it’s been done before.

If Croatia  managed to make it, why can’t we? If they survived over six decades of wars, dictatorship, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing and much more, why shouldn’t we have hope for all Venezuelans?

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17 COMMENTS

  1. “…why shouldn’t we have hope for all Venezuelans?”

    Because it’s incredibly disheartening to see so many venezuelans in plain denial about the problem even after 20 years of suffering it.

  2. Perhaps we should mention here that Croatia is working hard to comply with the 2% NATO member funding goal, and at 1.3 % already exceeds many richer allies’ contributions (Canada and Germany come to mind).

  3. According to Quico’s latest WaPo article, any foreign military intervention (read; US Army) into Vz would quickly come-a-cropper, because El Pueblo is armed to the teeth, trained in asymmetric warfare, and would come down out of the hills to quickly wear down and defeat the invaders.

    Which begs the question: Why aren’t these tough little guerrillas making life a living hell for the Maduro regime? One can only conclude that they are happy with the status quo, thankyouverymuch.

    • Quico is trying to break into stand-up, along with Nina. The answer to Nina’s question–Because Venezuelans AREN’T Croatians, plus they have 8,760 hours of sunlight a year, live near the Equator, and have low-hanging platanos/bananas)/mamones/mangoes/coconuts growing naturally, and fish in the sea, to eat without having to work too hard to get it (plus many used-to-be middle class homes/citizens still left to home-invade/rob.

  4. In 1999 I visited in Zagreb, Croatia an old Venezuelan friend who had been born in Croatia and had returned to Croatia and become part of the Croatian Parliament. When the war broke out after Germany unilaterally(and unwisely) decided to recognize Croatia in 1991, this old Croat got on a plane and join his patriotic war as a foot soldier. At some point the Croatian president Franjo Tudjman learned about him and brought him into politics.

  5. Good article, Nina, imho.

    Apparently you have solved your earlier problem, and are now getting laid on a regular basis.

    • I was going to comment on the earlier post today where L conflates concepts and facts.. glad I waited…

      This post post by L proves he’s a troll, or pendejo, or f’ing asshat.. of all the former. To write what you do from the comfort and security of your home.. now words fail me

        • a post about life in venezuela, and how it impacts quality of life of young people… and you conflate it that you hope she’s gettin’ some.. while you are sitting where?

          hope you get dry f’d with a cactus..

          Repeat troll, asshote, asshat what ever..

          • Could you subject the readers to a little more graphic and vulgar language if you really worked at it?

          • Check out the teen pregnancy stats. Then tell me again how difficult it is for young Venezuelans to find ways to make whoopee.

  6. As an outsider, an impression I have is that Venezuelans need to like or at least respect each other enough so that a core of you can form to bring back your country.

  7. “Soccer is played with legs and feet, but also with heart.”

    It is also played with rules, which is not happening in Venezuela. So don’t fool yourself.

  8. I just KNOW this isn’t the last article on CC using the World Cup analogy, as they claim on the home page.

    Like a heroin addict, they can’t help themselves to one more taste, and I know it’s coming. Another weak FIFA piece, and this time, incredibly weak.

    Uhhhh…

    Croatia LOST!

  9. You can’t say you love underdogs and then say you love Real Madrid.

    In any case, the big difference is that Venezuelans are not Croatians. I think we should stop comparing ourselves to Eastern European countries. They are so different from us culturally. Yes, they suffered communism, dictatorships, war, but so did Cambodia, Burma, Zimbabwe, Cuba.

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