August 16, 2007
My Disillusionment Is Complete
Well, not just now, because it's been that way for a while. But I'm big enough to admit that, when Hugo Chávez first became the popularly elected President of Venezuela, I excused his past coup attempt and fell for his democratic veneer.
I had good friend at the time (with whom I've since lost contact) who is from Caracas, and she supported former Miss Universe Irene Sáez. I debated in Chávez's favor, because I viewed Sáez as a mere puppet of the corporate oligarchy. Plus, she was socially quite conservative. My friend argued that the so-called corporate oligarchy actually consisted of educated, sensible people who had the best interests of all Venezuelans at heart, and who would do a better job of running things than the "gangs of thugs" from the ranks of the vastly more numerous poor. (My friend was from a wealthy family, it seemed.)
Not so much little by little, but in spurts, Chávez's attractiveness waned, and has since been replaced by something akin to disgust. Today's news is the latest nail in that coffin. I hate it when this happens.
But hey, I learned how to make arepas while arguing Venezuelan politics (in Michigan, of all places), so it's not all bad. I made some the other night, and prepared Cuban-style black beans to go with/on them, I suppose in a backhanded culinary tribute to twin foes Chávez and Fidel Castro.
Hey, I'll eat the food. I don't care if it's Iranian, North Korean, or even French. Food and music bring people together. I've seen it work with Serbs and Croats, Taiwanese and mainland Chinese, even Yankees and Southern rednecks.