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domingo, julio 03, 2005

I'm back

Back in the U.S.... and back on the blog. Apologies for my extended absence, but I've just been moving around too much and dealing with too many other issues to write until now.

Although I won't be blogging "live" from Venezuela anymore, I still have a lot of materials to go through, reflect upon and write about, and I'll continue to monitor the news from Venezuela and post an occasional article. For those in the Bay Area, I'll also pass on notices of Venezuela-related events. Enjoy! And keep the comments coming...

To start off, here's an excerpt from a recent series of articles on Venezuela by America Vera-Zavala.

What is unclear about the appeal from Chavez is what socialism is as we understand it? Venezuela is not a socialist country, the economy is an oil-based capitalism and the national bourgeoisie are making a lot of money while pretending they are unhappy. Talking to old and young left wingers in the barrio 23 de Enero in Caracas they are all worried about the speeches on socialism and talk about the great disappointment the real socialist countries became. A young man says: "Socialism in those countries failed, and if that was socialism I don't want socialism, I want something better". It is clear that socialism of the XXI century has to replace the socialism of the XX century with something better.

Let us pick one area: international solidarity. Venezuela is a country of parallels and international solidarity is part of that parallelism. There are certainly some characteristics from last centuries' socialism to be cautious of. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, to veiling facts about trade partners, to cheer every time empire bleeds without analysing how the wound got there, and to force people to choose between two sides - as if nothing else was possible - are examples of that.

The former socialist countries, and the situation of the cold war generated a situation where people were asked to choose, complexity was put aside and an over simplified we-or- them-thinking prevailed. Familiar to Bush's US and their demand to be either with them or against them. In Venezuela people are aware of the complexity and contradictions of the process. The young left-wing generation, brought up and politicised in a post cold war world where the choice between East and West is not imposed is less inclined to accept that something is "good" because it is not "evil". Asking for international solidarity by portraying Venezuela as a paradise on earth is not useful for anyone.

Full article here.

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