Friday, September 12, 2008


OK one last item of the night. One of the most bizarre and amazing things for me is how this country is so jaded on presidential theater. Tonight, I took a cab to meet friends for dinner. The cabbie was freaking out about how the president had just gone into "cadena," which is when the government takes over all airwaves for a special announcement, in order to give a typically lengthy speech in which he talked of the "Yankees of shit" and told them to go "100 times to hell."

I met my friends and we walked to dinner, passing pungent fallen guavas on the sidewalk, arriving at length at a beautiful Moroccan Jewish restaurant under a mango tree. We ate a tasty dinner as did everyone else in the place. I took pictures of a gecko on the wall chasing a junebug bigger than the lizard's body. We talked of the city and art and plazas and makeup and the usual topics. We left and watched lightning over the southern suburbs and one of us played harmonica as we walked and it was a lovely and remarkable evening and there were no loud conversations of politics and no words of worry from any quarter that the president of the country was evidently trying to start a war. While he plays like he is under attack, it felt nothing like Bolivia today, or like the U.S. seven years ago, or, I imagine, like Chile 35 years ago.

The lack of passion among those opposed to Chavez (look! his name shows up at last in this blog!), and among many of his ostensible supporters, is really the shocker to someone coming from the outside after hearing about the supposed revolution. There is "revolution" without revolutionary fervor, or much counterrevolutionary fervor. Most people just want to get home to dinner with the family and can't be bothered to worry so much about far-off concerns like whether the U.S. was behind riots in Bolivia or abstractions like unnamed pitiyanquis.

1 comment:

Quico said...

Ah! Good to have you.

On the passionlesness thing...well, it's just that this is a 74 act play and you can in at the 72nd act. We're all passioned out. Nothing Chávez could say could, as a matter of logic, be any crazier than lots of stuff he's already said. And everything that might have been said about it has been said about it, once, twice, a million times. People are tired. Who can blame them?