28 January 2010

Marcel Granier and Gustavo Cisneros

(*) Granier has done what few had dared. In these times of group think and collectivism, individuals also embody archetypes. As such, in a great part of the collective imagination of Venezuelans, Marcel Granier and Gustavo Cisneros have ceased being persons turning into symbols of the country's integrity or decay. Like Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's novel, or Hendrik Hoefgen in István Szabó's film MEFISTO, Cisneros has transformed, in our political imagination, into the embodiment of a typical literary, mythology and folklor character: the one that sells his soul to the devil. With the stigma of the meeting with Jimmy Carter and Hugo Chavez, in which Venezuela was sacrificed at the altar of Venevision (Cisneros' TV network), Cisneros does nothing but represent all of those individuals who have allowed the consolidation of totalitarianism for personal gain, and all of those that have lowered their heads and have sold principles and integrity to maintain their businesses and profit one more day. That's the image of decadence, of failure of elites that did not assume responsibility with the country and yielded to fear, and to the prospect of continued participation in rent seeking practice.

Marcel Granier, on the contrary, seems to have come out of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a John Galt and Hank Rearden type of character, archetypes of creative force and individual freedom unmoved by power. For characters such as "Felicitadores" and "Cerebritos", from Mario Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat, Granier has commited entrepreneurial suicide, he has immolated himself unnecessarily owing to rigidity and stubbornness. However, Granier has done what very few have dared: to sacrifice his property to become a symbol of resistance and integrity. Like in Globovision, and in some other Venezuelan refuges, the image of the man who loses his state for loyalty to country, is a sign of the potential we still have to regain our freedom.

* Translation by Alek Boyd, of an article written by Axel Capriles, published by El Universal.

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