It is not about the poor, it is about power (letter to a reader)

Dear Julian: Since you wrote your comment in Spanish, I'm starting the response with a rough translation of your comment (hope it is accurate enough) so that the rest of the readers can catch up with our talk:

“Well, I’m curious to know why you don’t like Chavez. In particular, which ones of his policies do you disagree with? We must remember that Chavez arrival to the national scene and his great political ascend comes in a context of decades of frustration with a ruling class that always acted in the name of the interests of the great business man, at the working class expense. For example, what Pérez did in 1989 with all the economical liberations and the change of the Bolívar price which made 80% of the population fell in an extreme poverty situation. We can speak about democracy and human rights but deep inside what’s happening is a war between classes on which the poor seem to be winning at the moment. And, how are you going to support an opposition that constantly closes hospitals and social missions that only serve the most vulnerable people? That doesn’t make any sense except that you don’t care about the poor...That the great Revolution continues!”

I’m sorry for the delay on answering to your comment. But I’ll start now, and I’ll go straight to the point.

You asked me why I don’t agree with Chavez. When Chavez aroused to the political scene by leading a failed coup d’ etat in 1992, I was 7 years old and lived nearby a military airport. The experiences I had that day were responsible of the political opinions I develop later. In that day I learned that a war is simply a painful, scary and a non desirable event; no matter the causes, no matter the reasons, its consequences are enough to drop the idea of a war. So when you speak about a war between classes and also cheer such thing I don’t have other choice but to be against. Please understand: it is not because I am against the poor. It is because I am against war, of all kinds under all excuses, no matter who wins and who loses.

But this, my blog, my stances, my life in Venezuela 17 years after that failed coup, is not all about Chavez. Chavez is just a man, and to be honest he’s not that important. What matters are the views and ideas sold carrying Chavez’ face in the cover. I think that those views are not suitable to provide a fair and stable political system that can bring some progress in my country.

In reality, there is no such thing as social classes. People make up different tags to categorize people, mostly according to their convenience and those categories are flexible enough to go beyond their original definition. Take the poor people for example. We all understand what “poor people” really means: people who lack something: economical resources, opportunities, you name it. But Chavez uses this worldwide known category and change slightly its definition. For Chavez the poor are not just the poor as we know it, the poor are also the “people”, the “Venezuelan people”, the only citizens of the country and the most important of all: the ones who agree with the Revolution.

The ones whose don’t agree with him, despite our incomes, are immediately tagged in the “enemies” class: “the rich people” who are not all really rich, but for sure there’s not even one revolutionary inside that group. And the Bolivarian Revolution has repressed in many ways the ideas, expectations, and civil rights of the ones tagged as “rich” (they can be students, politicians, reporters, employees) and I have to say this again: despite our incomes.

So this is not about being “poor” or “rich” or about being against the poor. This is not about taking sides. This is about what is fair, this about respecting everyone despite their ideas, their ethnicity and their incomes as well. I would rather have a political system that promotes inclusion instead of exclusion (doesn’t matter which is the group excluded), that doesn’t promotes hate or resentment and that simply looks forward to the future, to a future of more opportunities so that any Venezuelan can develop its life in the way we deserve: a way that is free enough to respect our desires and expectations but not free enough to disrespect others. I would rather have a system who is respectful of everyone’s ideas and that does not lose time categorizing someone as the “people” and another as the “enemy”.

As for Chavez’ programs in particular I’m not against Chavez because I’m against his social programs. I’m against Chavez because of his exclusion policy and his attempts against a democratic system. You should check this blog archives so you can read many first hand examples of that policy and of those attempts. I don’t have anything against any program that can systematically improve life conditions, as long as it is applied in a fair way, without discrimination of any kind and as long as it doesn’t force anyone to compromise himself with the revolutionary ideology. Chavez’ social programs pretend that is possible to buy a person, and turning it into a “revolutionary” individual by giving the bread he so desperately needs. But we, human beings are more than bread, and I hope not all of us can be bought. Plus, it is the government’ duty to guarantee a minimum of decent life conditions for all its citizens, we shouldn’t cheer a government so much for doing what he must do. We don’t cheer the bakery man for making the bread. It’s his job.

Last but not least, I wish you could tell me your source for the information you gave in your comment. The historical events are simplified and not quite accurate. Plus, the last paragraph when you blame the opposition of closing Chavez’ social programs it is simply far from being true. The opposition can be blamed for many things, but not for this matter.

Your comment ends cheering the Revolution, and in that way, it shows what it was truly obvious: that your comment is filled with an ideology. An ideology I don’t agree with, but even more: an ideology that the Bolivarian Revolution has spread worldwide, selling it as it were the truth. And that ideology has been sold as something beautiful, as something created to help the most vulnerable people. But it isn’t about that, it just about holding more power to the expenses of the ones who are against the Revolutionary System, again despite their incomes. It is not about the poor, it is about the power.

By writing this blog, I believe I’m making a contribution to the hard task of showing what it’s behind the Bolivarian Revolution ideology and events. I hope I can open some people eyes, according to my life experiences and perspectives. But it doesn’t matter if you can’t see what I’m seeing, you already read this. And that’s enough for me.