Yesterday I read in the news that Transparency International published its annual Corruption Perception Index which ranks 180 countries according to the “perceived” levels of corruption. While the sentence “perceived corruption” makes it sound less factual and more conjectural I am sure it is a fairly accurate list.
Venezuela was ranked 162 on the list, just 18 spots from the last, only 9 above from Iraq and 5 above Iran. How does that make any sense? We are talking about two nations that have been at war with each other, with themselves, with other countries for the greater part of a century!
Venezuela was lucky enough to only have one battle in its history, the battle for its independence and never ever since has been at war. It suffered through three dictatorships at the beginning of the century and although forever plagued by the corruption of its dictators (Castro, Gomez and Jimenez) who stole millions from the country and even more corruption from its elected presidents like Lusinchi and Perez (who also stole billions) Venezuela was blessed with a certain level of peace, safety, openness, embracing all. Immigrants from China who wanted to have more than one child came to Venezuela and were happy to have as many children as they wanted. People from all over Europe (Portugal, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, etc) made Venezuela their home and it welcomed them with open arms. Jewish people felt safe to also make Venezuela their homes and migrated there from countries all over the world during WWII and before that.
How does a country so rich in natural resources, so rich in culture, so diverse, so beautiful and generally peaceful finds itself ranked among nations like Iran and Iraq that have not met peace in decades, Haiti who has been ravaged by nature and political unrest since I can remember? How could it be bellow countries like Vietnam who just 30 years ago was at war? Ethiopia who was just 10 years ago at war with Somalia who is the most corrupt on the list? How could be tied at number 162, TIED with the Democratic Republic of Congo! TIED!!! with a nation who just declared its independence like 10 freaking years ago for Christ’s Sake!!
While I find myself so incredibly thankful that I am here (in country number 15), I cannot help but be thankful with a heavy heart. I cannot feel fully satisfied for having move on when some family and plenty of friends remain behind. I cannot help but remember how it was before I came. I lived in Venezuela for 17 years. It seems so little now that I have been here in the U.S. for almost half that much, but it was an important 17 years. I left Colombia when I was three years old and I hardly remember the 3 years I spent there. Venezuela has always been home. I grew up there. Ran, kissed my first boyfriend, danced my first dance, drank my first beer, went to college, and graduated high school. All that I did never feeling in any way that my country lacked anything! How silly I was. In 2008 Caracas (the capital) was declared murder capital of the world. I was never even robbed once in the 17 years I lived there!
Now more than ever I am enraged with its “President’. For his appropriation of every privately owned industry in the country, for his appropriation of the Hilton Hotels in Margarita Island, for everything he has ever done in the almost 11 years on power. Now he is talking about declaring war to Colombia who is Venezuela’s sister land. Simon Bolivar must be dust rolling on his grave!
God forbid that from happening.
Note: I dont appreciate the fact that I have practically turned this into a political blog. I don't like! I don't like it!