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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