Friday, August 19, 2005

What the opposition really thinks of most Venezuelans 

The topic of race is certainly an interesting subject in Venezuela. Anyone who has listened to opposition propaganda for any length of time will know that the opposition makes the claim that Venezuela is almost virginal with respect to it. If fact, I have seen people, with a straight face, make the claim Venezuela has never known racism!! I guess we could call it “Venezuelan Exceptionalism”.

Of course, everyone knows this is non-sense. In fact Venezuela’s last dictator, Perez-Jimenez, actually opened the door to large scale European immigration in the 1950’s to try to increase the “white” population. Racism is alive and well in Venezuela even if it may have a different history and manifestation than in some other countries.

This manifests itself even in the ongoing dispute between the Venezuelan opposition and the Chavez government. I was reminded of that yesterday while reading opposition newspaper Tal Cual wherein was published the following cartoon:

The cartoon shows a guerilla with a gun saying “dangerous” while the guerilla with the oil drum says “extremely dangerous”. This reference to Chavez, his government, and his supporters as guerillas or monkeys have been quite common amongst the opposition. These references in Venezuelan society were normally used to reference people of a lower class or with a darker complexion, often the same thing in Venezuela. Now the Venezuelan opposition, which is largely composed of the upper and middle class elites, uses this as a blanket, and derogatory, reference to Chavistas. For example, here is another such reference, from the same newspaper, which is even more explicit:

The cartoon, showing Chavez giving a speech to his supporters, has a play on words as its caption. The word “monotheism” is divided with Chavez being the “mono” or monkey and his supporters having a religious worshipping of him, hence the “theism”. So Chavez is a monkey and by extension so are his supporters.

This type of class and racial hatred fostered by the Venezuelan opposition is despicable. And it goes along with other divisions that they try to promote such as homophobia and sexism. Anyone who attends an opposition rally (back in the days when they had them – thankfully they are no more) can’t go 10 minutes without hearing disgusting and vile references to Chavistas being monkeys, a drunk mob, faggots, and criminals.

Of course, the Venezuelan opposition really has nothing to offer to their fellow citizens – no ideas, no program, no hope for a better future with them. So all they can do is try to divide and foster hatred in this way. All I can say is thank god the sun is setting on these people.


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