Seen by the first world | Erasmus experience Caracas

Seen by the first world

I love talking about my country; about our food, our climate, our beaches, our character, our beautiful women... I love to speak about our good and bad things, and at the beginning, I also loved to talk about our politic, the miserable life we are forced to endure right now, and my Venezuelan sense of humor allowed me to laugh about it and smile at the jokes and make jokes myself. But everything has limits. I dont care when my friends make jokes about Venezuelan people that doesnt have food or medicines; I know its material for jokes. I dont care, really: most of the times they are really funny but there are times in which I just feel guilty because I dont have the right to be here, travelling and enjoying a life that is not mine while my people is there having a really hard time and on the top of everything, joke about it.

People ask: is everything true? Is it true that you dont have coffee, milk... food? Is it true that you have to wait in line for hours just to buy sugar? Is it true that you just work on Mondays and Tuesdays because you dont have electricity? And I have to answer with the most painful 'yes'. And they ask why and I try to explain something that I dont understand; because I dont know why we are in this place, I dont know what the Venezuelan people did to deserve it. Yes, the country voted for this and they were wrong and we are paying for that mistake, but we shoud have the possibility to make it right. And, even though I try to explain the economic and political reasons of all this, I try to explain it knowing that they wont understand. They listen, they ask questions and they nod and everything but, how can they really know?

I don't know how they picture Venezuela. Maybe they imagine it like this Caribbean country with dust roads, small houses, candles, animals on the streets... Maybe they dont know that we have huge buildings and shopping centers and embassies and highways and all that kind stuff that cities have. I dont blame them... How do I picture Haiti? I am probably wrong about that country that I have never visited. For European people is even harder because they can picture the bad things, of course, but they cannot know the feeling of despair when you are not able to walk saved in your own streets. They dont know the fear and the injustices we live everyday. Of course, in their countries they also have a lot of bad and unfair things but their problems are mainly what in my country we call 'first world problems'.

I dont know what they think when I speak about people being kidnapped and gentle kidnappers in the same sentece. Because my country is like that: they can take all your money and even clothes and leave you the wedding ring because they know is an sentimental thing. They have asked me how can I be so proud of Venezuela? How can I mention so naturally that Caracas is the most dangerous capital in Latin America? I dont really know the answer. I know that Venezuelans are guilty but I cannot blame my people and I cannot condemn my country. It is as simply as that.

I love my smart, cultured, European friends. When they ask they are really curious about it and I know they suffer a bit with me, but they do it because they are sympathetic with me, not because of the country, of course. I would love so much if they go to see what I love and what I hate and they would get how all this contradiction is possible, but at the same time I understand if they are scared or not interested in such a country, even when everyday I tell them at least one worthy thing about Venezuela.

Anyway, I dont know how is Venezuela seen from the eyes of the first world. I dont know if they even wonder or care about it. But ignoring the current situation that is only temporary and that doesnt define the country or the people, I can say a few things on the matter. I will introduce Venezuela to those who doesnt know it: Venezuela is a beautiful country in the north of South America with the best weather and fantastic Caribbean beaches. The people are cheerful and kind and warm, because we are tropical. We joke about everything, specially our worries. We have the tallest waterfall in the world and the cheapest petrol. We have amazing food: we have arepas -the best breakfast in the world, said by not Venezuelan people- we have cachapas and pabellon and hallacas and all kind of fruits. We have the best rum. We have 7 Miss Universe and the Disney movie up is about Venezuelan part of Amazonas. We love reggeaton and merengue. We love people with spark, people that goes and takes what they want -maybe this is why we are where we are-. We have a lot of oil and gas and water. We play baseball and we are good at it. We are religious -even if we say we are not- and family is the most important thing. This is Venezuela.


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