Greetings from Venezuela. I arrived yesterday ‘ after a very long, but not too uncomfortable, flight from Beirut. Upon arrival, I was greeted ‘ almost at the airport door ‘ by a representative from the ministry of foreign affairs, and, along with another group of international observers of the constitutional reform referendum ‘ were then escorted to the hotel. and then to registration at the hotel. and then to a long cocktail and then back to the hotel. we returned to the hotel around midnight ‘ venezuela time. which meant that i had been awake for far far too long.
but that´s the short story. the short, uninspiring, just the facts story.
the ´more´to the story ‘ is the sense of hope that emanates off the streets. i stepped out of the airport and felt myself in awe of the majestic, truly majestic, beauty of this country. the lush mountains, the heavy low white clouds, in the distance. the luscious temperature (29 c and wonderfully humid and with a breeze). the smiles of all the people around me.
along the drive into caracas, i saw colorful, humble homes (some much more humble than others, that, as the rep explained to me, were the result of the IMF structural adjustment policies prior to the Chavez and the revolution). and again, those mountains in the distance, and the rolling hills all along the highway.
and then those signs on the highway. ´Si Chavez.´¨´Vota Si¨¨
vote for the constitutional referendum on Sunday. (more on that later)
as we drove into the city, we were greeted with what the rep said was traffic. in the beiruti sense, it was not traffic at all, but another typical rush hour, one that, since we were still moving, would not even count as grounds for complaint. i told them i was stunned with the silence of the city. they laughed ‘ what silence ‘ they said. i said there are no horns beeping. they replied )the two reps) ‘ ah, but that is because there is traffic. i told them ‘ in Lebanon, we have a full traffic jam with cars at a stand’still and still everyone beeps. ah, they said, we are patient here.
but the traffic, as they called it, was due to a pro´yes demonstration. streets filled with people in red t´shirts.
the hope of it all.
not so much that people were protesting.
but that they were demonstrating FOR something. they were supporting a policy. supporting a vote.
imagine how beautiful such a demonstration is. not to demonstrate against something but to actually demonstrate FOR something, something that is tangible and can be actualized, something that comes as part of 10 years of change ‘ social change, change that has resulted in poverty dropping from 40 percent to 20 percent in the country.
how beautiful is that! how inspiring!
how could i then not stop smiling?
i am already in love with this country.
thus far, my only complaint about this magical country is their love of the air conditioner. it is frigid indoors. i am wearing a sweater and a jacket in a country whose outside temperature is 29 C. problemo, non?
i will write a more coherent, detailed post later. this post is primarily for Marcy ‘ i couldn´t resist writing an entry when i saw an internet section in the conference room at the hotel.
oh, one more thing, i must say this. coming down the elevator this morning in the hotel )a hotel named ALBA, which, alone is reason to smile, and if you don´t know what ALBA is, just do a search on this web and you´ll see), anyway, i saw this poster in the elevator
´palestina necesia de ti´´
i am not sure what that means ‘ but the graffiti in the poster included support for the palestinian resistance.
imagine ‘ such a poster in a hotel elevator!
viva la resistance.
much more from the land of the bolivarian revolution
and excuse my rambling first post