I close this logbook, reluctant but forced to. I do not like to leave things unended.
It has been almost two weeks since I got back from home, to home. My house, though, feels empty, slightly alien, which is a feeling I really do not want to foster. If my home is not my home, and the place I left behind is not one either, then where do I belong? Have I become a non-citizen of the world, a person that really no longer feels at ease anywhere?
I arrived to Bogota and, as opposed to taking a taxi home, I took the bus. A long connection of almost 90 minutes to get home, because it was late in the afternoon and everybody was doing the same, trying to get home and rest. The sole difference was the point of origin, which for me was 12 hours ago and two forgettable plane rides.
What is there to say about Venezuela? Can it recover? Even more so, can I make a proper analysis, one unbiased? One that truly portrays reality?
I do not believe that Venezuela will ever be viable, much less progressing. Sure, with the mighty dollar now openly running the economy, business and profits will prosper, but that does not mean that the country is moving towards progress. The reality is that there are now two kinds of people in the country, people with access to the green currency, and those left behind. And the recent pandemic has shown what happens when just a little portion of the economy collapses, even for a while. In Venezuela, the drain of people has been too much and there is a second, compounding factor: all of us took our money with us, and that drainage is not trivial. For example, the generation of my nephews and nieces is completely outside the country (except my underage nephew) and, during a family meeting with old, dear friends, I could see that the same situation repeated: my sister’s Godparents have all grandchildren, except one, living abroad. The situation is common. So Venezuela finds itself lacking two of the most important resources any country needs to prosper: a mass of people with skills and knowhow on how to run industries and make them thriving entities, and the finances to complement that enterprise. In reality, the people of Venezuela have gotten used to the new dictatorship and are simply trying to survive all the blackouts, the water shortages, the slow degradation of the country’s infrastructure. I get the sense that what Venezuela is now is a sample of what I call Global Stockholm Syndrome: an entire country simply accepts its captors are reasonable and there is nothing more to do.
I have to go back in one year, maybe sooner; I will have to go through the ordeal of getting a passport and that can only be done inside the country. But until then, there is a verifiable emptiness due to the distance from my family, the feeling that I betrayed them to a large degree when I left, and the sensation that this time I was lucky and got there in time to see my elderly mother. A certain dread that if there is a next time I may get there too late does not escape the equation, and I wonder if I will be able to do this same thing, in time and properly, if another emergency arises.
The people within Venezuela maybe cannot see anymore that they are prisoners, that their kidnappers are their own. But for those of us that are not there, Venezuela simply does not let you be. Because of the problems, because our loved ones are locked inside, a part of us also is. They may be locked inside, but for those of us outside, it is not as if we are free and with no issues related to the country. For us, the simple thing is that we are far away, but we are still chained to the country. In so many ways, Venezuela simply will not let you go. Not even for a while.