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?!


Curt said...


I felt the connection to the words you wrote. What a trying circumstance! I enjoyed installment number one and look forward to reading more!

Jenn said...

This is great ... when do we get part 2?

Memory Lane To USA said...

Just stumbled upon your post. As a legal immigrant, I'm curious about how illegal immigrants think and live. So were you ever a citizen of Venezuela? I'm not understanding what "resident" means exactly. I hear lots of citizens in Venezuela love Hugo. Knowing your citizenship status will help me better understand your negative sentiment towards Venezuela. No, I'm not a fan of the government of that country, or Columbia. I'm just curious about other immigrants' journey to the USA, that's all.

Mel82 said...

Memory Lane,

I was a legal resident of Venezuela. I never became a Venezuelan citizen. I lived in Venezuela from the moment I was 3 years old until I came to the US. I never relinquished my Colombian Citizenship, I lived in Venezuela as a legal resident, (think of it as a Venezuelan Green Card)

Do a lot of Venezuelans love Hugo Chavez and his memory? Yes, of course they do, otherwise the country wouldn't be as polarized as it, or was then. Now, Venezuela has a new regime with Maduro, who even fans of Chavez hate.

I have zero negative sentiments towards Venezuela, I loved that country, it was my home and I consider it my home still. It pains me every day to read news of how things are going and it breaks my heart each day to talk to my friends and family still living there who go through the horror of not finding medicine or basic food.

I do, however, resent the people in power, their greed for more and their blatant disregard for the plight of their brothers and sisters, their shameless words when they lie to the citizens and act as if everything is okay and they have not been raping the country from its wealth to keep it among themselves while the rest of the country starve.

Do no mistake my contempt for the regime with contempt for the country or the people of Venezuela.