The Revolution Inside

From Latin American Odyssey, to a profound investigation of the Bolivarian revolution. Hugo Chavez says: Socialism or Death! Leftists rejoice, and Capitalists squeal. But what do the people of Venezuela think about all of this?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

7,000 Women Can´t Be Wrong

I hope I never need to use my embassy while I´m in Venezuela. Come to think of it, given the work I´m doing here, they´d probably send me to Cuba if I tried to ask for help. Anyway, the reason that I walked with my friend from Cooperativa Radiofonica Petare all the way to the US Embassy had a lot less to do with my asking for help, than it did with delivering the message to the US government that it needs help - psychological help.

On International Women´s day, maybe 8,000 of us walked from Chacaito, in the financial district in East Caracas through Las Mercedes, the upscale dining and shopping district, along a highway, and high up into the hills above Caracas to deliver an "open letter from the women of Venezuela to the US government" Every state in Venezuela sent a delegation of women.

After blocking the highway for a few kilometers along with the mayor of Caracas and many other well-known functionaries of the government, we entered and exclusive, steep neighborhood. It was a grueling climb, much longer than we expected, but after a while, we knew that we had to go on, that the reason that the embassys are up there are just to prevent this kind of thing from occurring.

I mean, I don´t have anything fantastic to report, the whole thing is what was amazing. A member of the national assembly read an open letter from the women of Venezuela to the US Government, asking them to get out of Iraq. Given the high profile spat between the Venezuelan and US government recently, to stand in front of my own embassy with folks singing their national anthem was humbling.

Standing with people who consider themselves radically socialist and nationalistic at the same time produces an odd feeling for me. What would it take for me to feel proud to sing my national anthem in a group of people? And it those of us criticizing our government, standing in solidarity with folks who really have something to lose at our hands, people who look at me and say "when are you guys going to have a revolution?" - it seems easy to just reject all of our country´s symbols. What will it take for me to wave my flag around, and not see each star as a death´s head, like the picture above?


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