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Logbook to despair. Part IX

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So, what are the nice things about Venezuela? Go ask the people and they will tell you many things are so: the beaches, the coast, our mountains, the beautiful women.
The weather.
It makes me shift into despair when they claim so because people here do not understand one thing: countries are not their geography. Caracas, for example, sits in a wonderful valley that must have been an impressive sight when the first Spaniards rode along and saw it. It is a series of connected valleys, crisscrossed by a lovely river (non navigable) that provided plenty of water for the settlers. But the thing is that the river and the valleys and the main mountain that shelters Caracas from severe storms were there and have been there for longer than man has existed. People in Venezuela do not seem to understand that the Angel Falls, the tallest water fall in the world and a source of national pride was there long before Venezuela existed and will be there (hopefully) long after we fade into history. Geography does not make a country; PEOPLE make a country. It is your culture that defines the political and economic structure that is a country.
And my people don’t get it.
I anger a lot of my fellow Vennies when I tell them that we are not good people. That our faults are deep and serious. I explain to them that we are under a dictatorship, a brutal regime of repression and torture and retrograde politics but the people engineering all this suffering are also Venezuelans. I already said this but it is worth repeating: we have not been invaded by Colombians running us to the ground, we have not been ran over by any foreign country that have captured our borders. These are Venezuelans mistreating Venezuelans, these are Venezuelan National Guards caught on camera beating to a pulp an unarmed Venezuelan student.
Again, we did this to ourselves.
And I say, in another phrase that gets me in deep trouble, that we are like alcoholics, we are like a drug addict. If we really want to get better, we need to start by acknowledging the flaws in our character. From the simple ones (we are unpunctual to the point of standing up people regularly, we are unreliable to the point of Chinese manufacturing) to those that are graver: we do not respect any rule or law, we always try to get away with cutting in line or abusing somebody else. In my two weeks here at home I have seen those gestures many times.
We are hyper aggressive behind the wheel, we seldom will stop at a traffic light or yield to somebody else, either a driver or a pedestrian.
Were we always like that? No. The elders will tell you we were not. We were better, we were polite and more relaxed. Yes, the situation people live in nowadays leads to this despair I am writing about and which permeates all of our acts and therefore leads us to our worst behavior. But that is, by definition, something we can control and we must. If everybody treats everybody else a little worse every day, the vicious circle is perpetuated. And a cultured people will always be able to see so and start the correction.
Venezuela’s remedy is simple, and I will plagiarize one of my favorite authors: please, a little bit less love, a little bit more decency.
And a little bit more honesty. We are alcoholics of the soul. And if we were only to put down the bottle and look in the mirror, we could start being better.

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