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A year of hope....

By Sol Castro

04.01.06 | In a person's life a new year is always a promise of hope, of new endeavors and new dreams. It is not that different when it comes to a country. After all, it is the sum of the lives of all its nationals, all their dreams, and expectations. Venezuela, as its inhabitants, faces this new year with apprehension, with the conviction that difficult times lie ahead, but also with the determination to fight for the right to dissent and to choose, and above all, with the certainty, that reason and values such as truth, and good will prevail, no matter what.

Today, Evo Morales visits Venezuela in what looks like a recreation of what started seven years ago for Venezuela and Venezuelans. Now, Bolivia will slowly, but surely walk the same path. Likely, it will be even less lucky since there is so much poverty and so many differences among its nationals. On the other hand, it will have the "cooperation" from Venezuela and Cuba from the very start; something Venezuela got only after the events of April 2002 when Chavez saw his presidency lost and resorted to Fidel Castro to help him perpetuate in his post.

So much has happened since. Many see it as mistakes; blunders of a confused opposition. I personally think they are all part of the journey Venezuela was meant to embark on. A journey to rediscover its mission and vision, completely lost of sight with the oil boom of the 70s and the shortmindedness and greediness of the existing political parties, and the indifference of a civil society who would rather turn to look to the other side than face what was right there in front of its nose: a nation getting lost in the hands of thieves and charlatans while more and more people were falling behind in an attempt to make ends meet. That is what made Venezuela so vulnerable to the charlatan of the time who showed up with promises of rescuing the poor and punishing the corrupt. Today, sadly, there are more poor people while there are also more corrupt people than ever. Ironic if it were not so tragic.

What has been reaped in those long seven years has been an unbelievable number of unemployed, underemployed, malnourished, infant deaths, exiles (political and economic), political prisioners, and casualties (product of insecurity or political reasons) never seen in all of Venezuela's democratic history. Venezuela has lost in this seven years, especially in the last two, the very root of democracy: the separation of powers and the right to choose who will preside over its destiny. Very soon, a National Assembly, in the best tradition of extinct socialist regimes will gear towards constitutional amendments which will allow consecutive reelections of the country's authorities, and an Electoral Power which has had no qualms to admit it cannot be objective, and responds to the "soon-to-be-crowned emperor" will make it not only possible, but a fact. The other two powers, also in the hands of the so-called leader of the integration, will say Amen.

What neither power of the Republic will expect or take into account, what no analyst can predict or measure tangibly is the wall of resistance that will rise to the obscene trampling attempt that intends to wipe out everything we have known and grown with. It is there that lies the hope, not only of Venezuela but of the whole region, when once again, the lyrics of our national anthem will resound and be heard beyond our borders: "If tyranny raises its voice, follow the example that Caracas gave."

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