The Dangerous Illusion of Another Venezuela

The most recent proposal of political fiction that’s been going around social media suggests a territorial division of Venezuela. 

Like many other expressions of political fiction, this version is one of the many faces of magical thought among many Venezuelans, and especially of some spokespeople of certain political currents, a naive suggestion of two “solutions” to the Venezuelan tragedy: a military invasion by foreign forces and, now, the creation of a Maduro et al free zone, by dividing the national territory.

A while ago I began writing a novel by instalments where I envisioned a post-chavismo, divided Venezuela. I made it to the 14th chapter before running out of inspiration, as the cruel reality caught up with my intended fiction.

Unlike the proposal circling around the internet, the divided country that I had in mind wasn’t a Venezuela with good people on one side, and another full of hoodlums on the other; it was a complex territorial tangled mess, controlled by military and civilian mafias, where the good guys had to survive by dealing with blackmail and violence, with or without uniforms.

To think that a territorial divide would create a defined border between the “the good guys” and “the bad guys” is a very dangerous illusion, like the one making us believe that chavismo is an imported evil and not the expression of the society that birthed it.

You would have to ask these secessionists and those believing in the pure, non-polluted utopia, about the origin of the “good kids” from our higher and middle classes who ended up stealing thousands of millions of dollars in deals that are now hurting Venezuelans with no electricity. Did they come from the unrepentant left that we had in the ‘60s? From authoritarian militarism? Or from our particular fascism worshiping dictator Pérez Jiménez? 

To think that a territorial divide would create a defined border between the “the good guys” and “the bad guys” is a very dangerous illusion, like the one making us believe that chavismo is an imported evil and not the expression of the society that birthed it.

They came from the privileged classes who were able to study abroad, with the connections and lack of morals needed to fill their pockets through overpriced contracts and direct appointments, utterly uncaring about the electrical system and the potential catastrophe.

Questions for the Illusionists

We could also ask these illusionists, what would the borders be for this alternate Venezuela? Would this alternative country be more eastern than western? Where would the majority of the good guys be? Who determines their goodness, by which method? Who would be able to cross the border into the other Venezuela?

While these questions might seem idle (since the country’s territorial division would be the result of a fratricidal war undesired by anyone with common sense), it’s important to reveal how dangerous the separatist and invasionist illusions are. Modern examples abound: the fragmentation of the former Yugoslavia (remember its genocide and war crimes); the ongoing, bloody transition of post-Gaddafi Libya; the birth of Southern Sudan, after a long confrontation that began in the ‘50s.

Any of these options would only worsen a tragedy that has already left hundreds of thousands dead (let’s only think about the victims of crime during the chavista period) and millions of migrants in dire straits.

Illusions tend to have a paralyzing effect, sometimes. In a political and social environment branded by despair, where it seems that there’s nothing to be done about the changes that the majority of Venezuelans want, the thought of a territorial divide or a foreign invasion as a solution feeds the fantasies (and even nightmares) of those who would rather deny the local facts and the worldwide geopolitical context.

Pure wishful thinking, like the notion of “another Venezuela” with holy men and pious ladies, a fiction akin to the chavista narrative of the victimized poor and their military saviours.

Chavismo has indeed played a central role in reinforcing a revisionist history with a partisan interpretation of the Venezuelan social dynamic. But many calling themselves liberals, or conservatives (or a bit of both, meaning liberals in economics but conservative in morals), have also created their own myths. Can you picture a country similar to the 2002 Carmonazo, where a group of lawyers, businessmen, bankers, and soldiers would decide what’s best? Would it be ruled by a caste of “educated” and “morally qualified” people?

My unfinished exercise on fiction was called Al sur del infierno (South from Hell). If this alternate country ever exists, the practical reality will sure make it close to hell itself.

The post The Dangerous Illusion of Another Venezuela appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Author: Noticiero

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