Photo: retrieved

La Nona, by Roberto Cossa, is an Argentine theater play premiered in 1977 and published in 1979. This tragic comedy emerged during a time of conflict in Argentina, characterized by political and social instability, during what was called the National Reorganization Process (1976 – 1983), a bloody and authoritarian civil-military dictatorship that left thousands of people missing and dead, as well as a large amount of orphaned children who were taken from their families, relocated and reinserted in other families. The scars of this cruel period are still fresh.

In times of dictatorship, art reshapes its ways in order to evade censorship typically imposed by authoritarian governments. It’s a dangerous game in which subversive work is shown by mocking those in power, who remain ignorant that their façade has been taken away.

As I read the play, I couldn’t help but think about the testimony it presented about its time, taking La Nona as a metaphor of the government.

This is the case of La Nona, a play that seemingly tells the story of a middle-class family facing dire economic difficulties that force them to take desperate and ultimately useless measures. La Nona is a 100-year-old inmortal Italian woman who eats constantly; she’s insatiable and never stops devouring everything she can find inside the house. She destroys everything and everyone, forcing each family member to leave or die because of La Nona’s gluttony: she’s the cause of every disgrace.

As I read the play, I couldn’t help but think about the testimony it presented about its time, taking La Nona as a metaphor of the government, and about how this relates to the current Venezuelan situation. The Venezuelan regime is also killing us one by one, physically, symbolically and metaphorically speaking. It swallows and destroys everything, with no consideration for anything or anyone. It affects everyone who lives in this house.  

Many of the ordeals Venezuelans have had to experience during this situation are seen in the play: selling furniture, clothing or jewelry in order to survive; how the business we’ve worked for our entire lives no longer pays the bills; daughters resorting to prostitution to maintain their homes; relatives leaving to other lands in search for a better future; the lack of food and, of course, having as many jobs as possible to make ends meet and find the necessary funds.

Life has stopped being peaceful to become a daily struggle for survival.

Many of the ordeals Venezuelans have had to experience during this situation are seen in the play.

When everyone realizes that La Nona is the reason for all of this, they device different plans to solve the problem: they marry her off, they try to lose her in the city so she doesn’t come back, they attempt to choke her with smoke and poison her with arsenic, but nothing works. The crone is unusually immortal, she’s as healthy as an oak and she eats as ten lions combined. She’s an unsolvable problem, and in the end she’s the only living thing left. Like a plague, she ravaged everything, a parasite that killed its host.

I wonder if Cossa, the playwright, really thought that the Argentine State would destroy everything, and that in the end only those who supported it would be left. Is that what he wanted to say? Or perhaps he meant to hit people, shock them with the insatiable lady’s gluttony so they would relate her to an equally glutton, opportunistic and selfish regime.

The current Venezuelan regime is a clear expression of La Nona; they’re parasites who, like leeches, have drained the Venezuelan people, they’ve ravaged us and brought us to the point of starvation.

It’s easy to see that I’m not just talking about what happened in Argentina, I’m talking about Venezuela and chavismo as well; about the parallels I see between the context of the National Reorganization Process, the play and Venezuelan reality.

I have no doubt that President Nicolás Maduro and the clique of the current Venezuelan regime are a clear expression of La Nona; they’re parasites who, like leeches, have drained the Venezuelan people, they’ve ravaged us and brought us to the point of starvation. It’s up to us to change the outcome of the play so that La Nona isn’t the last thing standing because we all left or died trying to get rid of her.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. In the Venezuelan version, La Nona could have a tapeworm (Cuba) and the other family members could eat all the digital food that they want.
    Perhaps the masses will begin to understand that the digital food (endless creation of money and the Petro) provides no nourishment. They are destined to suffer regardless of how many government decreed raises they receive.
    Oscar Heck wrote an article for Aporrea describing historical income as the amount of eggs a daily wage could purchase. I disagree with Oscar on many issues. His analogy of income as eggs was a very simple way of trying to explain to the people that seem incapable of running a lemonade stand, how the government has destroyed their purchasing power.
    Until the people in Miraflores and the rest of the country understand that creating money does not create wealth, hyperinflation will continue to ravage the country.

    • Miraflores create money not to create wealth but to keep the lumpen off their backs. It’s been working for years and years.

  2. (This post relates to the recent trend here on CC of writers popping off about Latin America’s terrible “Right Wing” past.)

    Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you can make yourself look tall by cutting off your hated adversary at the knees. Yes, Pinochet wasn’t a saint. Yes, the Argentinian juntas were just as bad or worse. Yes, Uncle Sam has been very keen on getting “friendly” governments in his hemisphere. That is understood.

    But where is the GOLDEN RING? Where do the vast majority of immigrants from third world shitholes, (and first world!**) espouse to emigrate to? The last time I saw the numbers, the majority didn’t want to move to Norway, Switzerland or France. Nearly no one wants to move to Russia or Belarus. NOBODY wants to move to Cuba, North Korea on House Hunters International. It was always the United States of America.

    Quit looking over your shoulder and comparing yourself to your “horrible neighbor”. Your “horrible neighbor” might have a lurid past, and may not be perfect, but he sure as shit is a better neighbor than what you currently have in your own house. (If you want to see an example of this online, go to The Oregonian. The writers there spend 99% of their time comparing their shithole city to Seattle and San Francisco in an attempt to make their Socialist Utopia look “not so bad”)

    **A few years ago, an English newspaper polled people from the NE of England (Sunderland, Newcastle) about their lot. More than half said they would emigrate if they could, with the vast majority of these people (who have a very working-class, leftist political view) saying they would move to The United States (55%) or Spain (20%). Why the US? Because these leftists wanted the opportunity to succeed, not be guaranteed a council house and enough money to buy hard cider while on the government dole

    • Gringolandia is a mucha larger country than Switzerland or Norway. The proportion of immigrants tiny Switzerland has is higher than that of Gringolandia. The same goes for several other countries, including
      very cold Canada.
      You really must have inferiority complex to feel the need to claim Gringolandia is the best place on Earth.
      Calm down!

      • Kepler, it seems that you are the one who needs to calm down. No where in Guapo’s post does he claim that that “Gringolandia” as you call it is the end all be all for everyone. He simply stated that the U S. is the destination of choice for the majority of immigrants . Yes, of course, some elect to travel to other destinations but that does not make anything Guapo said less true.

        • Tom,

          “The last time I saw the numbers, the majority didn’t want to move to Norway, Switzerland or France.”
          There is one thing both Chavistas and Trumpists alike have trouble with and that is the concept of ratio and proportions.
          As I said, Switzerland and Norway are tiny. They have a higher proportion of foreigners than the also amazing Gringolandia.

          • But that ratio has nothing at all to do with “choosing a destination” . That is not even a factor in the decision making process for an immigrant. And again, Guapo said the majority…not all.

          • The census population of the states in 1980 was 225,000,000, which of course doesn’t count illegals who don’t take part in the census.

            The 2010 census is around 310,000,000..with again, millions of illegals unaccounted for.

            Current estimates for 2018 are around 350,000,000.

            So looking at average U.S. birth rates and death rates, this is all the result of immigration.

            So you Kepler, you can take your claims that the U.S. is at the bottom of world immigration percentages and shove them up your stupid fucking Nazi ass.

      • I am truly bewildered. What does the size of the host country have to do with the desire for people to emigrate there?

        Do people say, “I really think Switzerland is a great little country, but I might get claustrophobia in such a tiny place, so I guess I would prefer the good ole’ USA, even though they have a totally dumb-ass president.”

        • @Lorenzo: It fits Kep’s narrative. If logic fails you, go with bullshit.

          Been to Switzerland. Lovely place. Fantastic people. Expensive as f*ck. We make some pretty good jing and I doubt my wife and I could afford to live there.

      • @Kepler: Why then is the United States considered by most the Golden Ticket?

        After traveling the world, I have have come to this conclusion: As much as people “despise America” (myriad reasons) the majority of people I have actually interacted with have been very curious about what it takes to get the Golden Ticket into the United States. Chad/South Sudan, Jordan, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, and all over Latin America on mission work. While there have been a few times we have encountered angry partisans (Nicaragua most recently), 98% of the interactions have been with locals who want to move to the United States. Not Norway. Not France. Not England. Not Germany. Not Canada. The United States.

        Now, if I were a slacker (like a close relative who currently resides in Norway) I would be more interested in moving to a country that gives me everything and expects nothing in return except “silent obedience”. Which is probably why my locality is having such problems with Somalians right now. They want it handed to them, because they come from a culture where they have always been handed shit because they can’t take care of themselves. A nation of perpetual toddlers.

        That being said, Europe and Canada can’t carry a candle to the number of refugees we have allowed in throughout our history, and still allow in.

      • @Kepler “Gringolandia is a mucha larger country than Switzerland or Norway.”

        Yeah, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the PRC are much larger countries than those or Germany.

        But gee, why do you think per capita migration is higher towards them than to it?

        Size and the ability to serve a population are only one factor influencing where people go to.

        And in history that has been a VERY minor one.

        “The proportion of immigrants tiny Switzerland has is higher than that of Gringolandia.”

        Historically, No.

        Over the last few years we have the “Migrant Crisis” resulting in abnormally high figures for Western Euro states, which were already plum areas for immigration.

        But if you look at matters historically- especially for most of the 20th century, let alone before- migration to “Gringoland” was not only larger than Switzerland in Absolute terms (no duh), but also in *absolute* ones.

        ” The same goes for several other countries, including
        very cold Canada.”

        See above.

        With the addition that Canada is essentially America the Sequel, but colder and with less people.

        So it’s kind of stacking the deck, since the small (relatively) pre-existing population plus the favorable terms mean it is very, VERY easy to get high Per Cap.

        “You really must have inferiority complex to feel the need to claim Gringolandia is the best place on Earth.”

        No, not really.

        I can claim it quite handily even without that.

        Sure, I may have plenty of complexes, neuroses, and the like. But not THAT particular one.

        “By the way: it is fair to say Gringolandia IS the best place to live for some people. For others it is not.”

        Talk about meaningless drivel.

        This is a bit like saying “it is fair to say that North Korea IS the best place to live for some people. For others it is not.”

        Nevermind the fact that you pretty much have to define the first group as “The Kim Family and their still-in-favor court apparachiks”, and define the latter as “Everybody Else.”

        What’s the story for joe schmoe? Let alone non-nativeborn Joe Schmoe from-say- Ukraine, Taiwan, Uruguay, or Angola?

        I can certainly believe that there are other nations that are more favorable in several cases. But the idea that it is not one of the best is nonsense.

        “There are things that are a matter of taste.”

        Yeah, but I’m pretty sure that unless you have a taste for worms or tree bark you wouldn’t be stupid enough to try and peddle this line about North Korea.

        So why should I let you get away with it in this case?

        ” There is one thing both Chavistas and Trumpists alike have trouble with and that is the concept of ratio and proportions.”

        Pot Kettle Black, Chowderhead.

        Pot Kettle Black.

        And what’s more, there’s another thing you lot seem to ignore.

        Secondary Immigration.

        The tendencies of people to immigrate (or even just migrate) to one country, and THEN to migrate/immigrate to another one.

        We see this clearly with the likes of the “Migrant Crisis” where people landing in Greece or Italy make a beeline across national borders for Germany or the Scandinavian states. Likewise with the parade of people moving up the “Grande Isthmus” from Central America to the US.

        But we also see this from first or second generation immigrant families to somewhere deciding to uproot and move again. IIRC we even had an article here on CC about one, the heir to immigrants from Europe to Cuba, and then from Cuba to Venezuela and now an emigree from Venezuela to the still-free world.

        What’s remarkable about the us is how *lopsided* the Secondary Immigration to it is. Even among desirable nations like France, Norway, and so forth.

        Not all secondary migration goes from other places to the US. Far from it. But there’s a reason why you see more French-Africans coming to the US than you see African-Americans (either of old lineage or postbellum arrival) or Guatemalans come there.

        “As I said, Switzerland and Norway are tiny.”

        Mostly the former. The latter’s huge, it just is largely frosted over.

        But I digress. And I raised a similar point over how small Canada’s population is relative to its size.

        “They have a higher proportion of foreigners than the also amazing Gringolandia.”

        But not normally

        Try running up the numbers for 1899, 1950, and 1850 and get back to me.

      • Kep, I can’t really comment on all the immigrant ratio stuff to which you’re referring, so I bow to your superior knowledge on the subject. I can say though that on a trip to Europe I took about 10 years ago, I found that Germany easily had the highest ratio of citizens who were complete assholes to those visiting the country. What a bunch of rude and intoleranat people. Is that your experience as well?

        It surprised me because I was sure that it would be the French who would have their heads up their asses, but they turned out to be quite friendly. The Spanish less so.

        • When I was a little kid they were very rude indeed! I had an uncle who visited Germany in ’44-’45. He came home with a load of Krupp steel in his ass, and walked with a cane for the rest of his life.

  3. “The current Venezuelan regime is a clear expression of La Nona; they’re parasites who, like leeches, have drained the Venezuelan people, they’ve ravaged us and brought us to the point of starvation.”

    Dude, it’s much simpler than that. It’s just a shit load of Criminals and Thieves, Thousands of them, not just “La Nona” or “Chavistas”. NO. “El pueblo” is highly complicit and corrupt and ignorant too. (Have I ever mentioned that here?)

    When the Rule of LAW, and PUNISHMENT for theft and massive embezzlement and crimes is absent, you get Kleptozuela. A disaster, ruled by Indians for Indians, through Indians. Comprende?

    It ain’t very freaking complicated.

    Until you restore the RULE OF LAW, and punish crime, and educate the clueless, corrupt Indians (MILLIONS, at all levels, everywhere, not just “chavistas”) you have shitholes nations, Haiti, Zimbabwe, or Kleptozuela.

    Thus, Chinazuela is screwed, because such education and the restoration of Law and Order, takes a Perez Jimenez. But he’s dead. So enjoy the Kleptozuelan crap, it ain’t gonna get better in decades, because Uncle Sam ain’t bailing them out anytime soon. Why? Because EL PUEBLO, at all levels, white collar, blue collar, obreros, campesinos, gerentes, they’re all rotten. To the core. Zero education and proper moral values.

    KLEPTOzuela is there to stay. Because MILLIONS of crooks, worldwide, have gotten very rich in the process, and will continue to bribe, steal and steal some more, internationally.

    “LA NONA” is the freaking pueblo mal educado y sin leyes, is that too complicated for people to comprehend?

  4. “I have no doubt that President Nicolás Maduro and the clique of the current Venezuelan regime are a clear expression of La Nona;”

    I have no doubt you went to terrible schools and are very dumb.

    A corrupt, uneducated bus driver ended up as “president” of the Kleptozuelna clueless Indians. That’s what happens when the Elite, more intelligent, better prepared, highly educated, do not rule the highly corruptible Indians. The blind leading the blind. The corrupt leading the corrupt. A ver quien roba mas, a su nivel. Wnna get rid of you “LA NONA?” Call Pinochet. Send him over to Kleptozuela for 17 years to straighten that shit out. Then Venezuela might be better than Chile, 2 decades later, after the indians are somewhat educated, the rule of LAW and punishment is re-established, and the freaking useless/corrupt pueblo-people get to work.

  5. Sure hoping for a Bolsonaro win in Brazil today. If he becomes president he will join the resistance in LatAm to the spread of the Cuban cancer.

      • Hopefully they have ran to their “safe space”! Naky is one of the few that I have respect for. I sure hope she is getting good care and on the road to recovery….

    • https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2018/oct/08/brazil-election-2018-polls-close-after-chaotic-and-unpredictable-campaign-live
      Early results suggest bigger Bolsonaro vote than expected
      Tom Phillips, the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent, has been talking to Monica de Bolle, the director of the Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University about early exit polls results.

      The early exit poll results we are seeing suggest much higher support than expected for candidates linked to Jair Bolsonaro and an electoral drubbing for candidates linked to the leftist Workers’ party (PT).

      “It is surprising to see in Minas Gerais, in Rio and in Sao Paulo, all the Bolsonaro supported candidates or the ones who have expressed support for him, having this apparently huge showing. And at the same time the PT basically imploding,” said de Bolle.

      “These are all very partial results and I don’t want to say too much because the one sense that I always had with these elections was that they were going to be extremely volatile and everything would be decided very last minute.

      • John, it seems like almost every elected official in Brazil is running in this election. One can only hope and pray that Venezuela has served as a textbook example to the people of Brazil that socialism/ marxism brings results that are not as advertised.

      • I am reminded of election day 2016, when all the talking heads and braying Leftists insisted Hillary in a landslide. I still love watching The Meltdown on YouTube. Rachel Maddow, Cenk Uygur, Chris Matthews and the rest of the bed wetters.

        • The one that I thought was the best was the BBC. They sent a team of reporters to NYC and were broadcasting from the ABC news studios.
          One lady’s job was to keep showing the map and updating as the states were called for Trump or Clinton.
          Eventually she was saying “don’t give up hope we still have a chance if Clinton takes Pennsylvania”. While she was saying those words the map turned red for Pennsylvania. The look of horror on her face is priceless. I was laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes.
          It was almost as good as the night the voters of the UK voted to leave the EU in what is now called Brexit.
          I found the BBC election night coverage on YouTube and played it for my daughters. It is hysterical! So much for a bias free media.

          • Just watched the video posted above by Guapo….funniest thing I have seen in a long time! My sides hurt from laughing!! Thanks for posting that!

      • “The United States’ fear of losing power will unequivocally lead to the growth of the Left in Latin America.”
        -Ignacio Ayala, Caracas Chronicles, – like, yesterday.

        Yes, he really said, “Unequivocally!”

        • Pepe, seriously, if you bothered to read the actual content of John’s posts you would know and understand that he is not from the left or the left-left as you put it. Good grief Pepe…..

  6. First the middle class and professionals emigrated mostly to the US and Spain and some to Panama , then it was Chiles turn , as the debacle made less fortunate people take to the roads the countries of destination became Colombia, Peru with a treakling of people going to Brazil and Argentina ……..
    Friend of mine told me of his recent visit to Quito to attend a business meeting , their hotel was in the modern part of the city but they took an afternoon of to see the lovely churches and altars in the traditional part of town. To their surprise the old town was cordoned off by troops , as tourists they were allowed in….as they came in they were surprised to see hundreds of people hudled on the ground covered in blankets , taking up all open spaces , the central plaza and environs , the soldiers told them they were the Venezuelans , they had nowhere to go , the soldiers were there to prevent clashes between throngs of people who came wanting to throw them out and those who came to defend them . My friend talked to a young engineer from Trujillo who had come from Cucuta with his young wife of 25 and their 3 year old daughter.. theyhad nothing , he explained that he had taken to the roads because if he remained his family would starve , most of the distance they had walked , they had been able to take a bus a total of 3 times …,my friend gave them what he had in his wallet and walked away with eyes brimming in tears…..time is tough for millions of Venezuelans …..its clever to think of La Nona as a metaphor for what the regime does in Venezuela , but understanding the tragedy that now assails us is easier when I heard my friend talk about those people in Quitos central square…!!

    • As always, Bill, a salient commentary amidst the inevitable squabbling of the children, who seem to take every opportunity to trash each other ad naseum. Thank you for continuing to be a life-raft of reason upon the sea of mudslinging the CC comments section has become.

  7. “I wonder if Cossa, the playwright, really thought that the Argentine State would destroy everything, and that in the end only those who supported it would be left.”

    Well, it was certainly what at least some members of the Argentine Junta INTENDED to do.

    “First we will kill all the subversives; then we will kill all their collaborators; then their sympathisers; then those who remained indifferent; and finally, we’ll kill the undecided.” – Iberco St. Jean.

    So it seems like Cossa just read the tea leaves.

  8. “Con tan buena voz y mandando a cantar”

    And you dear Ana, aren’t you a leech too? No cupos, no money exchanged in the black market, no little “contrabandito”? And you look younger so your parents certainly did.

    If CC keeps publishing this kind of crap. I’ll start defending Maduro and his friends. He’s a baby compared with the hypocrisy of these writers.

  9. The emigration numbers to the U.S make no sense.

    I’m reading from supposedly reputable sources, and the numbers vary from a mere 75,000 and then jump to like 250,000.

    I think it’s the timeframe where most of these “news” organizations fuck up on. Like, I think the huge numbers are going back to 1999 when smart Venezuelans saw the writing on the wall and got the hell out.

    And the lower numbers just reflect those in the last two years of the migrant crisis.

    I don’t have a clue, and it seems an easy enough statistic to verify SOMEWHERE, but so far, no luck finding a reputable reference. With visas required to travel to the states, I just don’t understand why these numbers are such a mystery.

    • It appears that CC is closing comments.
      I hope they reconsider. It is the only way that I can contact MRubio because access to many internet platforms is almost impossible for him.
      Anyone listening at CC?
      Perhaps moderating the comments or some other method could be used instead.

  10. Another article that seems to show how little most Venezuelans understand the causes of the tragedy. MOST VENEZUELANS who know something of Argentina WOULD DIE to have the Argentina Junta ruling from Miraflores instead of Masburro and Co.

    The eighties were terrible years for democracy but guess what: from the FRAILTY, INCOMPETENCE, FECKLESSNESS AND CORRUPTION of the hispanic elites stem the necessity of intervention. After what happened to Cuba, the US couldn’t afford the risk to abandon the region and see if the whole or part of it fell to communism. The alternatives were not good or bad but in most cases bad and worse. In some cases they struck gold (CL among others). In some cases, horror was the only outcome (most of Central America). From the inability to understand these period stem idiotic analogies like those presented in the article that attempt to compare the current regime in Venezuela to the Argentinian dictatorship, a mostly cruel one but at least one competent and willing to let the non-leftist argentinians go on their businesses…instead of expropriating them.

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