Jun 24, 2008


No country but a country that has suffered the indescribable pain of civil war can understand what it means to be divided. To have the citizens of a nation go against each other seems unnatural, yet somehow history keeps repeating itself, and while it has happened and possibly will happen again, and again, and again in countries around the world, it had been years since deep beliefs had father and son confront each other, hate each other in my country.

For the first time arguments that used to be about baseball turned into political ranting. There was no more pleasant bantering, no more funny bets to walk around the neighborhood naked if the team didn’t make it to the finals. This time it was important. This time it was more, this time it was everything. This time it was brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, friends and girlfriends and boyfriends practically hating each other. All of the sudden there was a “them”, there was a line and there was a wall between us that never existed before. The friendships lost the broken families. No one would have imagined that would happen to us.

I dropped out of school after my finals. To say that I was heartbroken doesn’t cover it. I felt cheated. By life, by the system I had promised myself to learn how to defend. Cheated by the country that had given me so much, cheated because my dreams were crumbling, cheated because life wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to be. Cheated because I had known all along I wanted to be a lawyer and all of the sudden I had no purpose, no dreams and no goals to look forward to cross. I was lost.

My sister pounced. She had been trying to convince us to move to Spain (which she had fallen in love with on her trip) practically since she landed. She spoke of how beautiful it was, how mild the weather, how gorgeous the architecture, how hot the guys (for my benefit) how the three of us, my sister, my mother and I, would totally rock the town. How Spain was ours for the taking. How nothing could stop us now. She knew I wasn’t planning on going back to school. She knew what buttons to push and in less than a month we were convinced. Things in the country were tense enough for us to make the decision without regret. We could come back for vacation and every time I felt an ounce of hesitation my sister would say: "Paris is a train away"and she would reel me back in.

So with an aching heart plans were made to leave Venezuela. Passports were renewed and we spent hours online checking local listings of apartments for rent in Madrid. We would spent hours giggling and talking about the bars we would visit, the museums we would learn from and the weekends in Paris to be had. I also researched college campus and was even more impressed by those than by anything else, the possibility of maybe going back to school too sweet, too great for me not to consider it. College, like always was my first love.

Jun 19, 2008


The night of his acceptance speech, I decided in all my generosity, to give the man a chance, a chance to prove himself, the chance to do some good, the chance to give this weary and hurt nation some healing, show them some good deeds, and bring our beautiful country to better times. And to tell the truth, his lack of pomposity, his down to earth attitude, his informality was appealing. He was funny in his own way, giving hesitant but heartwarming steps toward making the country what it should be, showing the forgotten that better times were coming and the privileged new ways to be more so.

Europe happened summer of 2000. My sister went backpacking for two months. I was seventeen and about to graduate. My life was magic. Three days ago someone asked me which was the happiest day of my life and I could say without a doubt that it was one day that summer of 2000 when I found out I had been accepted to go to law school. My life was perfect I was graduating, I had an amazing social life, my dad was making a lot of money and being very generous with it, I was taking short trips to Margarita Island with my cousins and learning how to drive the cute stick shift car my dad gave me for graduation. I had the life every teenager dreams off.

I was also going to the most prestigious law school in the country and I couldn’t wait to be a college student. I had fallen in love with my school one day I was visiting college campuses my junior year. Schools back home aren’t like the schools here; there is no ivy, no ancient buildings with red brick and cobblestone streets, no gigantic libraries and nothing that would make them beautiful enough to be a tourist spot. They are efficient and utilitarian, they look like schools, organized and simple, no ruffles no frilliness, just tons and tons of cements and windows and green. But my school’s campus appealed to me. Its simplicity spoke of hard work and no nonsense but the parks and gardens and grassy areas invited us to sit down and play around, to juggle and listen to music while you unloaded for a bit the heavy books. College life spoke to me like nothing else aside from writing had before. I felt like I belonged. My feet walked that campus as if remembering steps previously taken. College was my first love.

By the time my first year of college was over, however, I was painfully disappointed. What is already a hard career was made so much harder by Chavez arbitrary changing of the constitution, by his rewriting of laws and his childish attempts at law making. It was heartbreaking knowledge that my teachers were learning along with us. Not quite knowing what to teach when to stop in case the new referendum brought new surprises, the classes just a room for heated debate hour after hour between Chavez sympathizers and the opposition. Endless classes spent arguing about his accomplishments and what he had done for the misfortunate and how the oligarchy (he loves that word) was just bitter because they had to learn how to share.

Everything could have been easier if Chavez had no followers. I probably would be back home right now, a lawyer, without employment and speaking only Spanish. The sad fact is Chavez had followers, not only followers, but passionate followers, people that believed he was a saint, short of a messenger of God come to deliver us.

There is nothing scarier than fanaticism, and that is what they were, fanatics. Before the country had time to say "Saint Hugo?" Its people were divided.

Jun 11, 2008


Some people ask me how I ended up here, in the melting pot that is America. The truth is my trip to America was a discombobulated escape full of drama and lack of planning. Before I knew it I was here and sometimes I forget how it all started, how I ended up here. Well here’s the answer to those who’ve asked:

It all started with Europe and the 1998 Venezuelan elections. The events curiously enough chronologically unrelated but for the purpose of my story intrinsically tied. I was fifteen years old. That year, one fateful December night of 1998 Hugo Chavez was elected president.

I was minding my own business, going to school, crushing on boys, shopping with my daddy’s money and living unknowingly the charmed careless life only a teenager can live. I had no way of knowing that my life would change so much. As bad as things have been politically in Venezuela in the past most of the population has always been pretty apathetic towards it. Never once in my 12 years as a Venezuelan resident (I had moved from Colombia my country of origin when I was 3 years old), had I been the witness of incensed patriotism any feverish passion for the country. People all around sat instead of standing when the national anthem was being sung and kids in school changed the lyrics for limericks. If Hugo Chavez has done something for his country is to make a patriot out of the most indifferent one of us.

He was... refreshing. In a stinking pile of stiff-necked, smiley-let-me-kiss-your-baby phony politicians he was a breath of fresh air with his unpolished speech and his polo shirts. He was so different to what we were used to that we had no other choice but to give him a chance. We as a population had been taught with decades and decades of shameless corruption, reckless waste of our resources, hunger and rampant crime to immediately mistrust any politician who smiled too bright, shook hands too often, kissed too many babies and wore a tie.

Maybe, just maybe (we thought) this is what the country needed, someone young (inexperienced) someone casual (poorly bathed), someone who the less fortunate could relate to (with only a high school degree) someone a little rough around the edges that like a rough diamond could be improved with a little shine (vulgar, abrasive, tactless), someone who had gone to prison for treason (wait what?) someone who the world would know was an ex-convict (World says: good going Venezuela *shakes head*).

Yeah, we hired an uneducated, tactless, ignorant, ex-convict as our president. What in the fuckity fuck where we thinking?!