Jul 16, 2008


I don’t think I can make justice to the moments. There’s no way to describe how we felt, trapped in the house for a whole week. I’ve read tales of war, of death and murders. I am Colombian is hard to be one without being related to someone that can tell a drunken chilly story about someone’s death by the hands of the guerrillas.

Could’ve been worse? Yes, much worse! Was it anything compared to the grieving and terror some people live in other sides of the world in countries ravaged by war? No, hell no, it wasn’t. Did I fear for my life? Did I think that maybe they would just storm into our houses and take us away? Did I think that maybe the country was going to hell and all of us with it? Was I scared? Did I worry about the friends and family that I knew were out there marching? Was I worried that our fridge and pantry was empty and no way to go groceries shopping? Yes, yes to all, as unfounded as some might find my fears that didn’t make them any less real.

When all you’ve seen is peace and comfort, when all you have witnessed are some mild clashes, an armed strife of this magnitude can scare the shit out you. I sat in front of the TV with my mom, for the first time in my life regretting it was only us two in such a big and lonely house, watching the people tear each other apart, the crazy fanaticism in the eyes of the Chavez's supporters, the scary way they screamed and howled when he spoke, the passionate anger they felt. It didn’t seem like a happy following. They didn’t seem like a multitude of people filled with hopeful inspiration. They didn’t seem as if they were waiting to be saved (which is what they claim he did). They looked... vengeful. Their meekly following more like the obedience of a resentful pupil who expects the evil master to punish those who he thought had wronged him. I felt sick by the despicable signs they wrote saying "Dirty Colombians go back to your hole". I felt so bitter, so divided, I am Colombian but Venezuela was my land, it was my home. I felt like I would’ve felt if my mom had suddenly risen from the couch and told me to leave.

When did all this happen? How did we get here? When did we make the wrong turn? It was the reality of the new Venezuela, in front of my eyes, in live TV and still I couldn’t grasp the concept. But we are so mild! We are so lazy! We couldn’t be bothered with going to vote or stand up for the national anthem yet here we are standing in the street fighting our neighbor over this monkey-man that sits in our presidential chair! Where did all this belief come from? Where did all this passion? Since when does the national anthem make us want to cry? Since when is it cool to walk the street wearing the flag colors? Since when do we care about freedom? Since when do we chant and inexhaustibly march for what we believe? When did we start to care? I guess we all feel like fighting when everything that we hold dear seems threatened. When everything so precious that we took for granted is suddenly on the balance we all turn into fighters.

I could just sit and think. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why us? Why now? Why him? Not very original for an aspiring writer, but no other thought would form in my head. I could do nothing else but repeat that to myself over and over drowning the sounds from the street, the angry shouting the noises of the entire city that had pots and pans and banged them together all night as a sign of protest. I sat there and asked myself how and why until the TV showed the Chavistas breaking into the RCTV channel building; I asked myself how when the channel on TV went blank and the silence offered no answers to my questions.

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