Will My Son Know Venezuela?
EspañolBy Joel D. Hirst
Every night, from a distant land, I watch with heartache the nightmare of modern Venezuela. I listen to the pleas of my friends on Facebook as they mourn for their lost country and desperately hope that, somehow, they will succeed in winning their freedom. On twitter I follow the battles, armed military against its own people; and on Instagram I watch the beatings. In my mind’s eye, I am there. I can smell the carnage and the chaos of Venezuela’s streets; I can hear the screams of the victims and I can see the injustice like a noxious green gas.
And I make common cause with the 2,000,000 Venezuelans who helplessly watch from a distance in horror. You see, my son is half Venezuelan. For this reason, the tyranny is personal; the violence hits close to home; the tremendous evil unleashed by the monster makes me mourn as I selfishly wonder, “Will my son know Venezuela?”
Will he feel the hot white sands squish between his toes as he ponders the endless tranquility of the waters in Morrocoy? Will he awe at the underwater beauty of the fish in their world; or watch the stars from his tent pitched only meters from the quietly lapping sea? Will he take a catamaran and fish the fertile waters of Los Roques? Will he stop at the encrucijada for a cachapa; will he eat empanadas de cazon in Puerto Cabello? Will he eat carne en varra and drink whiskey on a hot llano night; listening to the music that takes its name from that place? Will he swim with the pink river dolphins of the Orinoco; or soak his sorrows in the spray of Angel falls? Will he get lost in the endless expanse of the Gran Sabana? Will he know the festivals – like the Devils of Yare? Will he watch the baseball games; or party at the clubs in Las Mercedes? Will he soar like a condor above Merida; paragliding the privileged winds? Will he fall in love with a beautiful Venezuelan girl – like I did?
I know these must seem selfish musings. Too many others are having much more existential thoughts. Leopoldo Lopez is wondering if he will know his son. Ivan Simonovis is wondering what his teenage daughter, who has grown to a young woman, is like. The thousands of mothers who have lost their sons are wondering if there could have been another way. The parents of the students who are protesting wonder if today will be the day their children will be detained, or killed, or simply disappear. Many more are wondering where they will work; or how they will eat as the economy dissolves away like the sandcastles my son would be building.
Despite all this, I still wonder, “Will my son know Venezuela, the Venezuela I have known?”
Joel D. Hirst is a novelist, author of “El Teniente de San Porfirio: Cronica de una Revolucion Bolivariana” and its English version “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio.”
This article first appeared on blog.joelhirst.com.