Wednesday, June 11, 2003


Yesterday Raven nearly deafened me, but he also entertained me--in the highest sense--with his translation of a little part of Hugo Chávez' comments from Sunday's "Aló Presidente". We think it's important that more people read the text, as the little part that was picked up my the news services was very distorted. It begins with a few lines from a song:

“I’m not a little gold coin that everybody likes.
I was born this way and I am this way.
Those who don’t like me—too bad.”

I am not, nor am trying to be a little gold coin. Some people don’t like my wart, but is it my fault I was born with that wart? I am not going to get rid of it. Some people don’t like my big lips—well, I was born with them, and how is that my fault? Some people don’t like my eyes because they aren’t blue—this is the way they are: eyes of the savannah--the color of the honey of the Aricas, said a writer. Some people don’t like my hair because it is curly—because it’s not blond and straight. This is the way I was born: I’m ugly—well, black or black with Indian—that’s the way I am. I’m not refined or anything—I’m a little crude sometimes—but how is that my fault? That’s the way I am and will always be—I’m not going to change; I am almost 49—how am I going to change? Some people don’t like my ideas, they don’t like the bolivarian revolution, they don’t like nationalism. Some may have the idea as one leader of the opposition said—well, a pseudo-leader—said in those days of the lock-out—they asked him what his aspirations for Venezuela were, and he said that he dreamed that Venezuela would become Miami Beach: “I dream of Miami Beach here in Venezuela.”

Okay, there are people who have their mind set on another country or another way of life—they would like those of us who are black, brown, indians mixed with white and so forth to disappear and that there would be an elite society. That’s fascism. There are others who have different political ideas and those are respected—some of you aren’t in agreement with Ch?vez and I respect your reasons—even those that seem absurd—that’s okay—everybody has his own heart and mind. Those who would like everybody to be white with green eyes—that’s okay—it’s their problem—but our little world here is made up of blacks and whites and yellows and browns and mixes—that’s the way we are and that’s how we’ll continue to be. Thanks be to God that the world is like that. We respect white people with green eyes—they’re our brothers. No one can be racist there or here.

No, no—we are all equal before God, before the law. There can’t be privileges nor distinctions by race or color. Some people don’t like it that I talk about Christ the way I do. Well, I conceive of him that way; some people see him as weak and foolis; Christ is no fool—Christ for me is a revolutionary, a man who goes around with the people fighting for justice. Some people don’t like me to say that Christ is a revolutionary—because they have a much more middle-class idea of Christ. How could Christ have been middle class if he was born in a stable? Christ was born in a stable, the son of a carpenter and the Virgin Mary and he grew up among poor kids and died crucified. Who crucified him? The powers that be of that time—the fascists of that time crucified our King and Lord and Commander in Chief, Jesus of Nazareth. Some people don’t like it that I talk this way about Jesus—they say I am sinning. Okay—I respect them because there are some who like to go to church; I almost never go to church—I don’t have time. I pray though—what I am saying now is my prayer. I love the Lord and I go around with Him and we go around in the streets, in the roads fighting for the people. That’s my Christ—I love him that way; I don’t like to see him crucified and with the fool’s face they put on him sometimes. My Christ goes around in the streets, goes around alive, not dead and crucified. Some people don’t like this; I respect their ideas.

Okay, I respect whatever difference with Ch?vez or with the idea of Ch?vez. Some people don’t like my idea about the economy, the participation of the State. I am not a communist—if I were a communist you can be sure I would say so. I don’t have hairs in my tongue, I’m not going to be hiding stuff—no. I haven’t even studied communism; even being a communist—if I were one—in this moment in Venezuela the project can’t be communist….Fidel Castro, my friend and brother, is a communist—but the project of Venezuela isn’t communist. It’s written here for whoever wants to know the economic project—in the Constitution….There are some Venezuelans—some of whom have doctorates and so forth that believe Ch?vez is pushing Venezuela towards communism, but they have been mislead. I am a nationalist, a revolutionary, a bolivariano—that’s me, I like that ideological classification—bolivariano is an ideological definition—a healthy nationalism, latin american internationalism, unity—these are some of the ideological lines which I navigate with—the same as Jesus.

**No tengo pelos en la lengua--literally I don't have hairs in my tongue--is an expression in Spanish that means I say exactly what I mean.

****Raven wants to add this description of himself that he found on eBay (his reward for the labor of translating):

In the spiritual world he is a bird who brings protection, a messenger, he warns the forces of light of oncoming destruction and battle therefore giving us the power to guard and time for preparation... he has the ability to see into the past, the future, and beyond the veil of death. He has the great ability to travel from this world to the next.

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