It’s becoming obvious, self-evident, that oil-rich Venezuela is turning into a country dependent on the remittances from its diaspora, like Cape Verde, or the Philippines. Using the people we love as hostages, the regime forces us, the Venezuelans abroad, to wire more and more money every month and week, in a race against hyperinflation that, even with dollars, we are losing.

But we must assume other responsibilities beyond selling USD in the black market and shipping the ocasional box with tuna cans, diapers and pills. Those who are there, need from us way more than money. They also need some help to remain sane and grow resilient.

We must assume other responsibilities beyond selling USD in the black market and shipping the ocasional box with tuna cans, diapers and pills.

We can and must assist our people in Venezuela to see beyond the demands of survivalism, as long as we acknowledge our real vantage point: we’re out, at our respective paths and diverse destinations, and they’re in, in that particular reality. We cannot experience anymore the high-definition, touchable hardness of life in that place. It’s them, and only them, who are on the terrain, and we cannot replace that immediate knowledge on those specific conditions.

But we can use, to their benefit, the space available in our minds now that we don’t have to spend a day in line for subsidized food. We’re free from such stress, and we can generally rely on electricity, internet, and many basic and not so basic resources, so we can gather information that could be useful for our people in Venezuela.   

I’m talking, of course, to all among us who overcame the initial stages of immigration and living functional lives, our basic needs covered and a roof over our heads. We have a well-fed brain, inside a head that’s not pressed by the cannon of a gun. So let’s use it.

What for? For a wide arrange of things, among which are some you could have already made. For instance, to talk to someone about the dilemma of staying or leaving, not to force a particular decision, but to ponderate pros and cons from our experience, pointing at the right questions that our friend or relative might not be considering within the cloud of panic or pressure of his or her local circle. Or we can suggest ways to earn some money by freelancing from Venezuela.

We can and must assist our people in Venezuela to see beyond the demands of survivalism.

Our people there need to be heard; we can listen, without judging. They need to be treated like human beings, not like a mass of mendicants or an army of enemies; we should show them respect and recognition. They need certainties, truth, instead of propaganda and aggression; we must say to them nothing but what we really think is true.    

On this last matter, I think we must also contribute to the Venezuelan sphere with the openness and the clarity that are so scarce within the shooting range of SEBIN. If there are still thoughtful and responsible voices writing or speaking in those conditions, such as Naky’s, among many others, how can we not show at least the same degree of responsibility when we step on our Twitter accounts from the relative safety of Spain, the U.S. or Canada?

We should inoculate a responsible speech on social media. We need to resist the pressure to join the collective hysteria. If we’re complaining, insulting or spreading fake news through Facebook or Whatsapp we’re not helping, but making the lives of our people harder, and they’re already extremely difficult. We just cannot add fuel to the fire of ignorance, which dictatorships need everywhere.

Our people there need to be heard; we can listen, without judging.

So, given that we are out of reach for the regime’s cadenas and we have decent internet, we have no excuses to stay blind and keep with us the prejudices, misconceptions, myths and generalizations that have been so auspicious to polarization and fanaticism.

I know I could be asking too much. But that’s my job also. Actually, it’s the job of all of us who can write: to try to push up the level of our common conversation in this age of online Inquisition and viral hate. I think we must sink our arms in the tangle of lies that is threatening even the oldest democracies and try to open some space for reason in it, organizing arguments, sharing good ideas, asking important questions.

If we cannot bring back to life, at least for now, the democracy we did lose, we can attempt to keep our democratic voices alive; we must do it for the sake of the world we had, the people we still have, and the values we still embrace.      

If we cannot bring back to life, at least for now, the democracy we did lose, we can attempt to keep our democratic voices alive.

I don’t want to engage in the debate about the possibility of many of us returning and rebuilding the country. I want to talk about what we have, here and now. How to help our loved ones, in the present context.

If we cannot give them hope, we sure can provide some clarity, good sense, empathy. Reassurance. Love, coño.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I like the intent of this piece, but I don’t see any practical answers offered to help those left behind.

    For example:

    “It’s the job of all of us who can write: to try to push up the level of our common conversation in this age of online Inquisition and viral hate.”

    Really? What’s this going to do?

    The only chance to save VZ is for the diaspora to ramp up the inquisition and hate, because if they don’t, who will?

    • I’ll bite.

      I would LOVE to hear about practical solutions! Please list yours!!!

      The only practical solutions my extended family had was

      a. smuggling in US dollars inside of foreign language “MEGO” business journals;
      b. CARE packages full of hard to find, but easily bartered goods; and
      c. evacuation.

      Things went OK until the packages started getting “lost” in Venezuela customs.

  2. This is all idealistic BS. Zero concrete answers or definitive solutions.

    Again, most of the pueblo-people who are left are either tragically uneducated or complicit/corrupt, or both. Usually too ignorant and/or enchufados to learn anything or react. Most have barely heard of ‘feisebuk’ or ‘tuitel’. Let alone being ready for innovative ways of “freelancing”. Freelancing is what they do and have done for decades: Matar Tigres. Ozquierdazos. Mordidas. Bajar gente de la mula. That’s what most of our so-called “bravo pueblo” has done to survive, instead of educating themselves, working hard and fighting against the genocidal narco-kleptocracy. As they say in Cuba, “rebuscalsela”, hay que “invental”. That’s what brought Chavismo in the first place: a populace ignorant indians “freelancing”, pero a la criolla.. Not all, of course, but most: Corrupt, unskilled, submissive, ignorant, complicit. Millions and Millions. Including the entire “fuelsas almadas” police, sebin, Gualdia nazional bolibanana, the 35 “ministerios” and the countless “alcaldias” with MILLIONS of enchufado indians. That’s who you want to educate from overseas?

    Without tough laws all they can do is continue to find ways to STEAL, or barter, as they do in Sub-Saharan Africa or Haiti. Write to them? Yeah, let’s tell’em all about China’s history or the travails of Tolstoy. Let’s talk to them ‘por wassop’ about the failures of Castrismo and the inevitable virtues of Capitalism. Heck, teach’em about James Joyce and Balzac while you’re at it, or preferably Hemingaw: some shorter phrases about fishing they might understand.

    Additionally, many of the people that left recently are also uneducated, highly corruptible, unskilled indians. They are often called ‘hambrezolanos’ even in Colombia, Ecuador or Peru. What are they going to teach to the ignorant/corrupt pueblo people left in Klepto-Cubazuela? The cans of tuna and dollars they send is just part of the Chinese/Russian/Castrista Master Plan: Remesas pa los indios sumisos, zombies, dolares y euros para seguir robando. Has worked very well for decades in Cuba and many other dictatorships or shitholes like Haiti. Working perfectly in Kleptozuela.

    Teach them how to be brave, organize themselves and REVOLT. Bribe some discontent military for your $$. Because that’s all they care about too. That’s how you can help, innocent Rafael.. Send better drones next time, shut down the assets of the 1300 “Generals” in charge in the USA and Europe. All of them, plus the crooks below them. Plus the crooks in PDVSA. STRANGLE them all, by the thousands, economically overseas. Until they choke and revolt. Do that Rafael, instead of dreaming about “hope” pretty words.

    The few good people who can will simply continue to leave that hellhole, those who stay will help to maintain it for decades, becoming part of the system, as many already have. Cuban style, decade after decade. Unless some military FORCE lays down the hammer one bright day.

    • Well, Poeta, I agree with you 100%, with your well-reasoned non-rant. Venezuelan remesas are basically from U.S./European origin, going to the less than 10% middle class still remaining in Venezuela. The rest, 90% poor classes, receive very little/nothing from their millions of relatives emigrated to Colombia/Ecuador/Peru/Brasil/Argentina, because these relatives are making a few hundred $ MINIMUM WAGE/mo. and are barely covering living expenses in their new homeland (Cuban emigres in the U.S. are able to send substantial remesas to their homeland relatives due to their much-higher U.S. incomes). What emigrant Venezuelan middle classes can try to do is pressure the puto S.A. countries, many drowning in unwanted Venezuelan immigrants, to outwardly agree to an outside military solution to Venezuela, instead of outwardly rejecting it, as 12 of them recently declared publicly. As for platitudes/moral support on social media in Venezuela, they’ll have the same effect as Capriles banging on a cacerola. And, if you want to find out what”s REALLY going on in Venezuela, read CC, particularly the Comments section, especially comments of those who have lived in Venezuela, and of those few brave souls still living there.

      • Yeah, I rant too much, type too fast and hardly ever re-read. Some of these posters just piss me off. They’re almost as ignorant as our own ‘bravo pueblo’, sometimes. And demagogues like Rafael here or the UCV “political scientist” from before, piss me off even more. In part, Venezuela became Klepto-Cubazuela thanks to such useless habla-pajas. With such Muddy “opponents”, and supposedly well-educated “intellectuals” – Kleptozuela is royally screwed.

        And the greater the need for some military intervention, if all they’ve got is mediocres like Ramos Allup, Borges, Capriles, the “UCV political scientist” and Rafaelito here, living in some dreamworld. Facing Thousands upon thousands of CRIMINALS that hijacked a clueless and often corrupt populace.

        The issue with foreign military intervention is freaking politics. Very complicated these days. We’re not in the 80’s when the Marines could easily hit Grenada or Panama and the World would freaking accept it. So methinks Drones or Snipers and other covert operations would be best. “Ah, yo no se” “yo no no fui” style. The CIA and the FBI have lots of agents for that. Back up some local malcontents with technology and money. Bribe a few pissed-off tenientes or coronels. Purchase a few accurate Snipers in Barquisimento or Maracaibo, train them. Blow a few top Chavistas up, set the example. The Rodriguez Evil siblings would be a good start, so they can join Chabestia and Fidel in Hell. See where Padrinita and Cabella hide after that.. It’s probably gonna have to be an inside military insurrection from Chavista military weasels, now malcontent. With covert support from international special forces and financial rewards. Bribe them and give them lots of high precision rifles and the latest Drones.

      • Exactly NET!! The Venezuelans in the exterior need to get organized, since they have the right to protest, and protest for a HUMANITARIAN (er MILITARY) INTERVENTION IN VENEZUELA!!!! Let the world know that our opposition is bought and paid for and those saying there should be no intervention are in bed with the DICTATORSHIP (and that is why they should not listen to the fake opposition, like Quico does). That is what has happened with the group of lima.

        Secondly, they can HUNT DOWN ENCHUFADOS and make their lives miserable abroad. We love nothing more than to see an escrache of a Chavista. That will lift our spirits.

        So Venezeloanos living abroad: rather than be keyboard warriors or just offering moral support, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR COUTNRY!!!!

        Pathetic article by a cuck male. Grow a pair of nuts Venezuela or Venezuela will be lost forever.

    • Yes, well done poeta. And yes you are right shutting down generals bank accounts and dissolving the military is a great idea. Problem is you start actively Talking about doing that and you are going to get one of those midnight visits. The military here was alway oppressed/suppressed and weren’t even allowed to vote before Chavez came around and changed all that. Now they are the elite (the only ones who come to the beach and who are actually constructing very ambitios projects are anyway) and they will not go quietly into the night.

      • Offered enough money by the CIA/some wealthy Venezuelans, there’s gotta be a way to bribe a few discreet military, or at least train some dead-on accurate snipers and sneak-in better drones. It’s probably very tough and dangerous for them, granted, but I’ve heard there are some working on it for quite a while. We’ve seen a couple fail already (Oscar Perez, drones guys, etc). Others with the real cojones and the real brains should come along. Say 1 million $$ for Delcy and her lovely brother’s trip to hell. 1.5 Mill for Cabello’s courtesy visit with Hugo Chavez where ever he may be.

        That’s the only way to get shit done in Kleptozuela, it seems. And it’s easy for us in exile to talk about it. But some older military guys with some resemblance of a conscience and true patriotism might go for it (what they signed for in the armed forces to begin with: protect el pueblo y la constitucion from filth like Chavismo). Tarek? 600 Euros, dead or alive.. Padrino? 300 Trillion Million bolivares soveranos, cash, when jailed right next to El Chapo. Ramirez and the PDVSA crooks hiding in Europe? 1 Million US$ per head in jail, or right next to Fidel Castro.

        That’s what wealthy Venezuelans and “the international community” should be doing: chasing crooks like Luisa Ortega and Ramirez, and hundreds of other Top Chavista Criminals in Vzla or abroad. To set loud examples to the remaining thugs with power: leave, or get dead, or go to jail should be the message. Loud and clear. They would start ratting on each other and running like the rats they are, starting with the 1300 criminal “generals”. Some pueblo-people would then support street protests, behind MCM, in much larger numbers than we’ve seen in Kleptozuela or Nicaragua. But it has to start with real shows of deadly FORCE. Enough talk already.

  3. That’s a refreshing and useful message.

    We are only now fully understanding the scope by which people are manipulated through their internet and social media use. Those forces have long been at play in Venezuela and these mediums feed a toxic rumour mill.

    I’d just add: if you can afford it, pay for your sources of news. That reduces the chances that it is fake news for which you have been chosen as the target market, and it supports serious reporting and investigation.

  4. “That reduces the chances that it is fake news for which you have been chosen as the target market, and it supports serious reporting and investigation.”

    Any suggestions? NYT? WAPO? Daily Socialist? Socialist Worker?

  5. Pravda
    Granma
    IRNA
    Workers World
    Green Left Daily
    New York Times/Washington Post/LA Times
    Korean Central News Agency
    Daily Kos
    The Chron
    CounterPunch
    Huffington Post
    Mother Jones
    ThinkProgress
    Business Insider
    Salon
    MSNBC
    RussiaToday
    Sputnik
    VenezuelaAnalysis
    ColombiaReports
    DemocraticUnderground
    Yahoo/Google News

    All would be happy to give you the Libtard* version of news AND be happy to take your money.

    ~~~~~

    *Canuck would call them, “mainstream”

    • You’ve inadvertently provided an excellent example of Mr. Osio Cabrices’ concern here with your comment El Guapo, as follows.

      Let’s start with me. The evidence in on this blog in the comments section is that I’ve supported the reporting on Venezuela of two sources on El Guapo’s list above: the Washington Post and the New York Times. The rest of the list is made up, and a lie.

      That’s important. El Guapo is lying. He is deliberately making stuff up. He’s got a bunch of supporters for that here. They are not expressing opinion supported by any evidence. They do it casually.

      Now, I don’t really care about whatever religious or moral universe El Guapo purports to live in, or what particular issues might motivate his being a liar. That’s for El Guapo to sort out and live with. The disheartening thing is, lying like this is a general phenomenon on the internet, it is being normalized, and the internet supports that normalization. Lies are easily repeated and spread. The lies delight a critical mass of viewers and attract new viewers captivated by the thrill of lying without consequence.

      That is how the internet is a vehicle for authoritarian regimes and dictators.

      So what does this lying mean not for me here, but something that really matters, something that affects everyone?

      It has gotten to the point where people ostensibly opposed to the Maduro regime, are delighting in spreading lies or things they have no reliable basis to know are true, about the Venezuelan opposition, without a thought of what that means in the real world. These lies, or indifference to the truth, support the regime and discourage its opponents, as the author of this post argues. This phenomenon has powerful results in the real world. This universe of lies, repeated over and over, and the normalizing of lying, can overwhelm peoples’ judgment and defeat democracy.

      Back to El Guapo’s post. His comparison between the NYT/WaPo and say, Granma or Venezuelanalysis, is false equivalency. The comparison is ridiculous on any reasonable standard of judgment. But ridiculous standards of judgment, like lies, can be normalized and spread. That’s what happens in a totalitarian universe.

      So there’s lying, and there’s false equivalency. Another tool of dictators.

      Then there’s whataboutism, another tool that defeats rational discussion and debate, and is a feature of totalitarian discourse. There will probably be examples of whataboutism here soon after I click “Post”….

      • Well, here is the simple question you have been dodging:

        Name ONE political party in Venezuela who doesn’t embrace Chavismo Lite as the answer to the current political debacle that is Venezuela.

        Still waiting…. though I have a feeling we will be waiting a LONG time for an answer.

        • ….Here’s the “Whataboutism” I referred to above. El Guapo wants to talk about something else now.

          El Guapo, in addition to not being truthful, you draw inappropriate comparisons between the situation in Venezuela and the concerns of conventional electoral politics and party positions.

          We can debate the merits or not of the policy positions of the various Venezuelan opposition groups, but the overriding, important point is that MANY people in the Venezuelan opposition support democracy, whatever their policy positions.

          You conflate policy positions on the role of government in a democratic society with the beliefs and practices of an authoritarian regime. That is what you are doing when you say: the Venezuelan Opposition is Chavismo Lite.

          You do the same thing when you conflate, say, liberals in your country with communists, the New York Times with Venezuelanalysis, et cetera.

          So there’s no dodging. The premise of your question is ridiculous and it slanders good people. There are many Venezuelan opposition leaders and supporters who have suffered and sacrificed greatly and you insult them and their sacrifice with this kind of nonsense and know-nothingism.

          Additionally, you don’t care what I think about Venezuelan politics. Therefore the point of the question you say I am “dodging”, is not discussion. It is to perpetuate this mischief that the author of the post identifies.

          • Great synopsis by Abelardo Izaguirre of what the hell went on in the last week (that has been abscent from the Arepa and super important news).

            He also TAKES A BIG SHOT AT THE NYTimes editorial board as always defending the “Castrocommunista liberal” position (or the douchebag leftists in Che Guevara tshirts who are indoctrinating your children on college campuses or infiltrated in the leftist mainstream media). Starting at 4minutes.

            Love the way this guy connects the dots, something we dont see here at the Arepa anymore (exception Naky and the comments section)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVvPZp2UsFw

            Most Venezuelan commentators in Spanish I have heard say that the NYTimes has no clue what is really going on in Venezuela. Are extremely naieve and that the Castrocommunistas have their plants in the US State Dept (T Shannon the poster child for this) who will leak news at crucial times to relieve pressure and give oxygen to Venezuela, Cuba, Socialismo del Siglo XXI.

            So it is a fools errand to defend the NYTimes at this point in time…that is, why defend these tools until they have a more balanced editorial board that is not just trying to overthrow Trump or give oxygen to communist dictators.

            As Izaguirre says, at the end of the day this is Trumps decision, an executive action, which will be like swinging for the fences at the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded. The more pressure for impeachment, perhaps we have a wag the dog moment where all of his detractors on CNN are oohing and awing over the success of a humanitarian intervention.

      • Bravo Canucklehead!
        I truly admire your patience and resolution to fight back the spread of “misinformation”: the old term used to describe the Soviet regime counterintelligence media tactics, what today we call fake-news. In those days, misinformation was only effective where the media was fully controlled, but not outside. Nowadays, with the internet, its power has been amplified multiple times, aided by social apps, clickbaits, viralism, fake-news “agencies” and trolling.

        The fact that you are the sole voice of reason in this comment section, which used
        to be a haven of good discussion, shows the power of the misinformation to make reasonable people shy away and cede those places to the spreaders (wittingly or not) of lies. That is in fact one of their objectives, to squelch productive discussion.

        I remember when Quico tried to implement a method of rating for comments (and for commenters) but it got hacked and he gave up, maybe too fast. StackOverflow is one of those places that has been able to manage well the contribution/comment using an elaborate and sophisticated system of rating for commenters. Maybe that deserves another try.

  6. Buen post. Escribo en castellano porque me dirijo a los venezolanos:

    creo que entre otras cosas debemos crear nuevos métodos de presión internacional, protestar
    ante las embajadas…y no me refiero a las embajadas venezolanas, sino ante todo ante las de Cuba, Rusia y China. Digamos la verdad: que el régimen ya ha robado y matado mucho màs que la dictadura de Pinochet.
    Debemos tener la absoluta seguridad de que los de los medios gubernamentales de esos países tratarán de hacernos ver mal. Estemos preparados. Debemos avergonzarlos.

  7. I want to really like this article but it tastes like frosting and no cake.

    I kept waiting to read where something is actually done. Or can be done. Or would actually help.

    I got all the way to the end and felt like I read a collection of CC summaries stitched together.

  8. I would LOVE to hear about practical solutions! Please list yours!!!
    ———

    The challenge is that the changes WE wanna make are unlikely to be the changes that the majority of have-nots are looking for. You cannot impose a democratic system that puts self determination and self sufficiency at a premium on a populace reduced to beggars or at any rate, dependents addicted to the Cacique model of leadership. Any solution is going to be very slow, very costly, and very traumatic because it’s not just Chavismo who is adverse to change of any kind. It’s the pueblo as well. Do they want better conditions, freedom, justice, a chance to feel worthy and useful? Of course. But the mentality and means to achieve same, for themselves, has been largely co-opted by the failed promises of socialismo and the systematic acceptance that any system is a system to game.

    None of that is gonna change in a year or even a generation. It’s a task no foreign power can or is willing to directly orchestrate. At this point, all pleas to seek a “negotiated settlement” or to stick with diplomatic channels is a convenient ploy to stay the hell out of Venezuela.

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