Saturday, May 06, 2006

Criticism from Venezuela

Here is some criticism from Guillermo Parma, a Venezuelan poet whose politics I criticised in a post a couple of weeks back called 'A Bolivarian Bach?'

I'll reply to Parma's specific points when I have the opportunity, but in the meantime he and anyone else who's interested in my take on Venezuela can read my analysis of the origins and direction of the Bolivarian revolution and the Chavez government here, in a semi-academic paper I wrote but never delivered last year.

You can check out Parma's blog here.

Hello,

First, I should thank you for your kind words about my "lucid and interesting discussions of literature" at my blog, venepoetics.

I do suggest you visit Venezuela and see for yourself the type of military regime Chavismo has installed before you label us in the opposition as "hysterical." Don't just depend on the Chavista tour guides. Go out and see how poverty and crime have multiplied throughout Venezuela in the last 7 years. You might not want to believe it, but Venezuela was never as fucked up as it is today.

In the last 7 years, close to 70,000 people have died from violent crimes. Meanwhile, the "revolutionary" government has yet to implement a serious plan for fighting & reducing violent crime.

The so-called "revolution" in Venezuela probably seems romantic and exotic to you from afar. But try living in a country where the murder rate has increased to such an alarming degree that more people die each year from violent crimes than they do in places like Colombia or Israel.

I already know I won't convince you. But I thought you should at least be told by someone that you're supporting a farce. Years from now, non-Venezuelan leftists will bemoan their complicity in helping a reactionary, gangster-like military officer drive a nation into perdition.

And no, I'm not an "oligarch," nor am I a prominent intellectual. I'm a teacher and unknown poet whose family in Venezuela is firmly rooted in the political left.

One more suggestion. Find out who Oswaldo Barreto is and read the translations I've done of his columns at TalCual (Petkoff's newspaper). Barreto was an advisor to Castro and Salvador Allende. He was an associate of Che Guevara in North Africa. He was close friends with the Salvadoran revolutionary poet Roque Dalton. Barreto is an eloquent and serious opponent of Chavismo who cannot be dismissed as a "former socialist." He risked his life for decades in the cause of revolutionary emancipation and he continues to do so (with words) in the struggle against the reactionary policies of Chavismo.

But wait, don't tell me your an apologist for Fidel Castro, are you? The Cuba-Venezuela military-political alliance is the first sign any insightful leftist would have that something is rotten in Venezuela.

Sincerely,

Guillermo Parra

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