21 July 2007

Changing tack

After the life changing experience of shadowing Manuel Rosales for most of the presidential race in Venezuela last year, I got back to London convinced that I had wasted some of the most productive years of my life. Pondering about the experience and commenting it with my good friend and former business partner Fran Gomez I realised how right he was when he said "uno no puede ayudar a quien no quiere ser ayudado." True enough, the case with the people I came to know during the campaign was one of utter distrust towards me, perceived as I was as a disconnected elitist, true representative of the class that Chavez has come to label as oligarchic. My contention that from the disenfranchised point of view Chavez was the only possible option, given the truthfulness of the good old saying "bird in the hand is better than two in the bush," most of them thought that I was simply clueless. More specifically when I sent a collective email stating how damaging would it be for us, as opposition, to see Chavez failing to get the UN seat, a round condemnation followed, for they just didn't understand my predicament that no one more effective than the caudillo himself, unleashed and free to spit his nonsense in the UN floor for the entire planet to see, to convince the international community of his utter derangement. It was such a shame to see him burning that possibility with that spiel about the devil. What could have been truly remarkable, and absolutely hilarious, would have been seeing the New York headquarters of the UN turned into Chavez's own Alo Presidente broadcasting station. In any case that was truly our loss, not his.

So I decided a while ago to stop wasting my life and energy in a lost cause. Recently another extraordinary gain of my transit in political activism, the meeting and friendship with Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho, allowed me to express quite succinctly my feelings with regards to previous engagement:

As per my life, knowing that as a philosopher and thinker you also know this, it comes the point when a man starts appraising its position, role, impact, goals and future in the great scheme of things. Being an orphan such attitude has been a constant in my case and to tell the truth the four months that I spent in Venezuela late last year -mostly within the bowels of the political monster- opened my eyes a great deal. I consider myself a honourable man, with a great sense of patriotism, who loves his family and it stands in what you would call judeo-christian moral values. As such I was utterly disgusted with what I saw and concluded a number of things: first and foremost that I had lost the last four and a half years of my life desperately wanting to help a people that does not want to be helped. O imbecil colectivo, is a term that could be applied just as well to the Venezuelan people and I am no part of that, further I refuse to waste one more second of my life fighting such irresponsible collective stupidity. That is why Chavez is where he is and that is also why he will be in power until the cows come home.

So I decided to move on, forget about an utopic country that only exist in the minds of very few idealist like myself, and concentrate on bringing up my children according to the values I hold dear. I made the move to Spain, which I didn´t plan BTW. Now I´ll try my hardest in establishing myself here for a while and make some money in the meanwhile for the political activism left me broke, hated and lonely. Not all was lost though, I have met some fantastic people such as yourself, and only for that the effort was well worth it. The time to re-encounter myself has come.
Olavo sent back his thoughts, which I consider worth sharing with those of you interested in them:
As to the new chapter of your life: Goethe used to say that talents develop in silence and solitude, character in the turmoil of fight. These are the two pillars of personality. You developped your character up to the point of making it shine as an "exemplum vitae humanae", an exemplary life. Now you turn inside in order to take care of the other side of existence: to educate yourself through the education of your children.

As a father of eight I can assure you that raising children is the easiest task in the universe: all you have to do is to educate yourself and perform your duty; they will follow your example without any effort of yours. A few practical advices, obtained from living experience: Interfere very little in your childrens' life. Let them free most of the time, just protecting them at a distance and letting they know they are safe because a loving father is looking after them. Let they take their own decisions in most areas of practical life, keeping the weight of your authority to be used only in very important matters. A good government is a reliable guardian that interferes very little in the daily life of citizens. The height of its authority is measured by the rarity of its interference. A good father is exactly the same. May your commandments be rare and few, but if you have to give them, give them once and for all. May your words then be few and authoritative. Orders are not to be discussed or explained, but obeyed. If your chidren ask "Why?", anwer them calmly and tenderly: "It's because I decided so, my little angel" They will love you for that.

One of my last writings from Venezuela caused some controversy. Then, as now, I was looking things from a different perspective. Then, as now, the sun was shinning upon my face and the future looked as bright as the picture above, which is the first sight my eyes capture when I wake up in the morning these days. I still read the news on a regular basis, though my reaction to it has changed. Now is a mixture of bemusement and pity: bemusement because it is like watching a circus of freaks, it never ceases to amaze me how far can the stupid behaviour of chavistas go, it seems like a limitless medium, wherein normal and rational practices of civilised societies can not exist. Pity because with such behaviour they are pushing Venezuela, and its 25 million citizens, into a black hole and the consequences are to be paid for generations to come.

My fellow bloggers sound more and more like I used to: as the brainless Bolivarians push forth and radicalize the 'process,' educated, intelligent and moderate people loose the cool that once characterized them and express utter dismay, anger, frustration and despair in daily entries. Such a shame.

On the international level news outlets such as Reuters allow these days for articles such as "Venezuela a hot spot in global drugs trade" to be released, something which I have been denouncing for more than a year. Similarly we see how international organizations are unwilling to put up with Chavez's propaganda any longer. So all things considered I can claim victory in what I once set out to do, which was nothing other than to show the world the truth about Venezuela. In fact that was the name given to my site when I started. The truth is out. It is time to enjoy the show that will ensue.

7 July 2007

ETA's spokesman in public apology for terrorism

Pernando Barrena is spokesperson and one of the current leaders of the ‘political party’ Herri Batasuna. Under Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s tenure the government saw fit to forbid that ‘party’ from taking part in Spain’s politics due to its manifest and close connection to ETA, the Basque terrorist group. As Basques have known for a long time Herri Batasuna –which translates as People's Unity- is nothing but another name for what was once known as ETA Politico Militar, read the political branch of ETA. Needless to say that it toes the radical line of the terrorist group and its ideological framework is firmly built on the spread and use of terrorism to attain political goals.

A few days ago a group of Spaniards were killed by a suicide bomber in Yemen. Some of those killed were Basques, from San Sebastian and Zarautz, that had chosen that country as their holiday destination. The reaction of the government of Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero has been telling. As in recent terrorist attack whereby Spanish troops signposted under the UN peace programme in Lebanon were killed, Rodriguez Zapatero made one of those political promises he’ll never be able to deliver: “we won’t rest until those responsible are brought to justice” he said. Whatever.

However the reaction of one Pernando Barrena has got to be taken in its appropriate context, for here there’s a man, speaking on behalf of a banned ‘party’ stating for the record “obviously the attacks against innocent civilians in Yemen sought to terrorise and harm innocents, whereas what took place at the T4 (last December’s ETA bombing of Madrid’s airport car park) was not done with the intention of harming innocents.” Perhaps Barrena does not consider the two victims of the T4 as “innocents,” the fact that they were Ecuadorean immigrants working in this country notwithstanding.

However his statements, broadcast to the nation, beg for a number of questions. Firstly, how come this man is allowed to spread his message to millions of homes, given his credentials, political situation and relationship with a terrorist group? Second, how does he know that ETA’s intention in the T4 bombing wasn’t to “terrorise and harm innocents”? Thirdly, how come this man, guilty as he is of apology for terrorism, is allowed to go about his business in freedom? And fourthly, how come somebody connected with an organization that has killed more than 800 innocent people is given such media coverage?

It ain’t pretty what’s happening in this incipient democracy…