Saturday, 29 September 2012

Because he is a promoter of equality, equity and humanism

The first time I heard President Chavez' discourse, I realized something of transcendental significance would happen in our lives... and that's the way it turned out. 

This man, besides thinking about human beings as individuals, also pays attention to our collective wellbeing, and works tirelessly in that direction. It's no small thing, the whole road of progress Venezuela lives through today, thanks to the momentum President Hugo Chávez has given to the nation's development; to the fact that today all of us have become deeply aware of our rights and duties; that we can express ourselves in complete freedom, in any number of spaces, and that our opinion counts for something; all of which are some of the Revolution's undeniable achievements

I vote for Chavez, because, together with him and many others, I travel this path of transformation towards Socialism; something that cannot be achieved simply by arriving at a given point, given it's a process that requires time and effort, something this tireless dreamer of the Alba strives for all the time, accompanied by his people, by his fellow men and women, "shoulder to shoulder".. 

It's comforting to see how, despite all the vicissitudes and destabilizing attempts by those who remain in the dark, our leader continues to enjoy that trust in his liberating drive, and remains charged with courage in everyday battles, always heralding his vision of continental unity, and an unstoppable force, which spreads to all of us as Venezuelans.

When a Nation awakens, it's almost impossible to put it to sleep again. Chavez and the whole Venezuelan revolutionary process, structured around social demands, has spearheaded that awakening of consciousness, has motivated us to be the protagonists and participants of our history, to fight from our respective trenches, and take the necessary steps to achieve a more humane, just, exalted and balanced society, thereby attaining the "greatest possible sum of happiness".

I particularly thank President Chávez for all that he has helped promote regarding gender justice and women's rights, being myself among those who work to promote gender justice, from my own tiny space. To have his backing in this important task amounts to a reward of incalculable for me, given that only on this path are we furthering the change needed for that "other possible world".
Onwards, comandante…

We will keep advancing, towards the October 7th triumph! We will prevail!

Angie Sánchez

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Because I don't want to be invisible again

About three days ago, I was invited to write, in simple terms, a reason why I'd vote in favour of president Chavez; currently candidate, and the object of this write-up. A very good friend girl, of those friends you think of as having known your whole life, even if you've just met, suggested the idea and I accepted with excitement.

I straight away began to think about the precise words, the commas, the full stops, the accents, and the dramatic moments of those primitive ideas, and right there, only seconds after beginning to ponder the task at hand, an immediate problem sprang up. What single reason could I choose from the thousands I could muster? What profile should it have? What qualities did it need, in order to be placed above all the other possible reasons?

So I saw myself up against the conflicts that emerge when you contrast an idea with another, all of which, to my mind, are of vital importance for our nation, for all Venezuelans, and -without wishing to sound romantic or cliché- for our entire continent: the social missions, our liberty and sovereignty (true freedom and sovereignty), the meeting of social help demands, our constant efforts as a country for greater regional integration, the battle, as a political and social process, to raise world awareness about the terrible and more than proven consequences that the Capitalist system has inflicted on our ecosystems, and on the delicate balance that makes life possible on our planet; the trascendental and radical shift in World History, following the skewed vision we had of it, the economic, political, sporting, technological, social and cultural awakening that Venezuela has had, and its impact for Latin America; and if I continue, the list would never end.
But this morning, on waking up, a phrase by Eduardo Galeano came to my mind, which transported me to that conference where, with his particular measured and intelligent voice, he spoke about that very strange and peculiar "dictator" that Chavez is for the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and for world elites. A poor Venezuelan who was interviewed at some point in our recent times, said simply: "I don't want Chavez to go, because I don't want to be invisible again."

And what a great phrase that is, not just because of its social weight and power, nor because of its enormous emotional content, but because, to all practical and real effects, in this modern society of people made invisible, it takes on an incalculable philosophical dimension. Probably that man (the one who said the phrase), wasn't thinking about philosophical questions, or currents of world thought, nor was he trying to sound clever, in terms of a well rehearsed answer to a question. He was talking straight from his heart, and he summed up one of the most important reasons that could ever have existed for any Revolutionary on this side of the planet. How many of us, and for how long, were simply a statistic? How many were just a piece of paper in a cardboard box, which used to perpetuate the white [Acción Democrática] or green [COPEI] party in power? How many of us were only heard of when they did a demographic census? Who could, in times gone by, make opinions, or dare to make opinions about politics or about Government, without fearing or suffering repression, persecution, or even assassination or being made to disappear? How many voices silenced during those awful times when the Right badly governed?

Every four years somebody different, or not so different, came to power, to promise, in Alí Primera, "our right to our little right".

I remember how the social help any of those governments boasted so much about, barely amounted to handing you a little quarter of milk, a Caribe notebook, a quadrant, an eraser, a pencil-sharpener and a pencil, now and again. Some times there was a little arepa [corn bread] along with the quarter of milk, or an extra pencil. But with a little arepa at every electoral event, you couldn't feed a people who was dying of hunger and neglect; who had to endure endless queues for a cube of water on some forgotten hillside slum, overpopulated thanks to the deceptive promise of Capital.

I don't want Chavez to go either, because nowadays we are no longer invisible. We can finally have an opinion, and opinions certainly have been expressed in Venezuela over the past 13 years; we have made firm and giant steps forward in the mass access to culture, and socio-cultural events, mostly free-entry, are organized in communities every weekend, the Librerías del Sur [Southern Book Shops] network, where thousands of books are sold at fair prices; radio and TV programmes that are directed, created and produced by and for the most disadvantaged; where Empowerment takes on its highest expression through communal councils, which receive funds to carry out works for the improvement of their communities; free health for the poorest communities and/or those most distant from state capitals; food at fair and supportive prices; free quality education. Those of us from below are, without doubt, no longer invisible.

The world clearly changed. The peoples' drive and their just struggles, in the quest for their own sovereignties and liberties, was reborn 13 years ago, when our president told the empires: "Venezuela now and forever belongs, firstly, to Venezuelans". From that moment onwards, Latin America, and South America in particular, began to be recognised throughout the world. We are no longer just as a backyard, playground, or a big mine to extract resources from; we are a brotherhood of sovereign peoples, who cry out together to the old system: we no longer want you, Capital; and we shout out to the old vices that we do not accept any more hunger, pain or exploitation; any more wars, destruction, lies and inequality.

For this reason mainly, and for a thousand more, I remain enormously convinced that my vote will contribute to our ongoing visibility. At last, after so many years, I feel that my actions are of vital importance, that I am not just a work beast that is blindly led to the electoral slaughterhouse. I am aware, now more than ever, that when I prss that button on October 7th, I will be saying 'yes' to the social missions and to social investment; 'yes' to our fair and supportive economic system, 'yes' to our right to be sovereign and free, and above all, 'yes' to our supreme right to Happiness. It's no secret that there have been great difficulties, that the struggle has been neither smooth nor easy. But what historical process of such proportions can ever be straightforward?
Onwards and and upwards, comrades! Your vote is the most important of all that can have been cast in our history. We are the majority, and we are no longer invisible...
On October 7th there can be no single Venezuelan who doesn't go out and vote!

Freedom, freedom and more freedom! Our sovereignty is ours, at last...

Alberto Plaza

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The invisible beings

In August 1998, six months before the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela, official figures released by polling company Datanálisis revealed that of a population of 22,789,025 of the country's inhabitants, the number of people within the D and E sectors (structural and critical poverty) reached 77%, which meant that more than two thirds of Venezuelans were miserable, of which more than 7 million children had no home or school, and of these more than 4 million endured severe malnutrition. 
These were the invisible beings, heirs of other invisible beings, a thousand times betrayed.
Everything that was done or undone in the course of half a century to change this devastation was not only pointless or mendacios: the devastation had increased to such proportions that it politically devoured its creators.
While the invisible beings -invisible to official history, individualist paroxysm and frivolous insensibility- struggled to survive in neglect and excluded from almost any human right, others by contrast, performative and visible, either in their own right or through their proxies, assaulted and plundered the public treasury and properties that belonged to the common good, in cahoots with the powerful and with debased civil servants, until they left the country and its people in such a state of agony as that denounced by the aforementioned figures and realities.
Such iniquities heralded these insurrections, at the victorious helm of which Hugo Chavez has been elected by our people time and time again.
Because, from then on, the invisible beings became visible.
And I now hope forever.
Gustavo Pereira

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Because he saved my life

Reason No. 12

Chavez saved my life. I was ruined and without hope before he came to power.
Times used to be very hard. I have always been a progressive, and for that reason I paid a high price. 

At that time I understood that if your vote is not going to really help transform the order of things, then it’s just not worth it.

In 1998, when Chavez won, I felt differently. At the time my apathy was already changing, eager to see what would happen in our country with a president who was different to all the others? A military man, irreverent, dark, Amerindian and brave.

I say he saved my life, because given the rythm of hopelessness and frustration that I had endured, I don’t think I would have endured much longer.

Nowadays I keep up with the press every day, with people on the street , with the TV, with the changes taking place. I have developed a genuine interest in what’s going on in our country, because for the first time in many years I feel identified with someone, with something. 

I feel I have been taken into account, basically.

Carlos Luis Mendoza

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Reason No. 11

The main reason is that I love my country. That is the basic reason.

And Chavez taught me to truly value my country.

The fact that you should care for your neighbour, for our living together, for the environment, is an important change. Before we were kind of more shut-in: all that mattered was what was "mine", full stop.  Now it's about what's "ours".

Before we were so heavily infiltrated that it was easier to learn about foreign stuff than our own.

When I begin to feel the benefits of the social missions -because I really do benefit from such programmes as Mercal [subsidised groceries], the CDI [Integral Diagnosis Centres] and the Barrio Adentro mission [health modules in disadvantaged areas]-  that's when I truly realise the significance of these 'misiones'; and not just for me, but for my whole family, even if we have private health insurance.

I also realise I love my country when I go back down memory lane and remember the times when other people used to take our country's resources away, and left us only the crumbs, if at all.

The big fish used to eat the little fish. That's what they were doing to us. Now what's ours is truly ours.

In my own case, I used to study Design in a private institute and used to work in the FEDECAMARAS [Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce] building. But when my employers found out I was pregnant, they fired me. I was forced to abandon my studies. I tried to survive for a while with my redundancy pay, . Thankfully, my family helped. In contrast to those times, I now find that our New Labour Law (also known as 'LOTTT'), protects women and children far more. What happened to me then would no longer happen to me now.

During El Caracazo [1989 urban riots], people went out in desperation to sack food from the store near where I live, and the National Guard, without any consideration whatsoever, came in to get people out with tear gas. We were choking! That date marked me forever.

During the 2003 Oil Strike (organised by the anti-government elite), I used to live in the port city of La Guaira, and it was outrageous to see the banks closed. They were closed with my money inside, and I couldn't buy milk or food for my daughters, just because someone decided to shut them. That decision was taken by an elite. In those days, the Bank of Venezuela was owned by the Spanish Santander Group.

You had to queue up the whole day, in order to fill your tank with petrol. I expect those bankers didn't have to queue up at all.

I have always seen Chavez as our hope. and events and actions confirm it. Even beyond our borders, he represents hope for many people. Leaving aside the TV or newspapers, Chavez has transmitted us his empathy and love.
¡I remain firmly by his side, wherever it takes!

A note of caution: I am no fanatic, I am attentive to our errors, and I am a critical person. But he truly does stand for hope. You can relate to him as if he were someone from your own family.

He is a teacher and every time he speaks to us, he teaches us something of history, geography, culture and of life itself; and I want him to continue his mandate because I don't want to return to the dark hole where we had been buried for so many years.

You feel Hugo to be part of the family, a friend, and if he could hear me right now, I'd tell him:

Hi Hugo! You can count on me. I also want a country to be proud of!

Dileny Jiménez

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

In order to not go into reverse

Reason No. 10

I'd vote for Chavez in order not to turn back, to set limits to that past of ours, those grey sleepless times that obeyed a logic that was neoliberal in as far as it was oppressive.  

Pedro Ibañez

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Because he has been the President of Inclusion

Reason No. 8.

The whole of society that had been excluded during previous governments has been taken into account by President Hugo Chavez' Bolivarian administration.

I say this as someone who belongs to the indigenous Wayuu people. As an architect and researcher, I have devoted myself to rethinking my people's housing, adapting all the knowledge I gained at university to my roots, to the land of my ancestors; and I have found that this governement has opened up all the possibilities to develop new approaches and projects for my people.

This is the most important reason for me, so you can say it's about awareness of our sovereign well-being! 

Alonso Morillo Arapé