Thursday, February 05, 2004


Yesterday Raven and I were going to check out the solidarity march to celebrate 12 years since President Hugo Chavez' failed coup of February 4, 1992--an attempt which led to his spending 2 years in the slammer and being elected President in 1998. I am afraid we were not as intrepid as the thousands of folks that marched 8 kilometers and spent much of the afternoon and evening being rained on.

Did you notice, Rave, that in the opposition's march most of the folks had umbrellas?

"Yeah. And there were very few in the chavistas' march. Maybe umbrellas are a bourgeois symbol here?"

Maybe. I am sure glad I have one, though. I would have been soaked without it.

"Well, I have nothing to do with that. My feathers see me through just fine."

Raven and I were watching the end of the march on tv, listening to Chavez' very emotional recounting of the 1992 attempt to change the trajectory of Venezuela--a country with one of the most venal oligarchies in Latin America, divided by race and class and intensely dependent on imported food and goods to satisfy basic needs. Toward the end of his speech, Chavez talked about reclaiming more land in the areas surrounding Caracas to plant yucca and other basic food products.

"I don't like yucca", Raven indicates. "It doesn't have any flavor."

I have to admit that I don't care for it either. But it's a traditional element of the diet here in the Caribbean Basin. And the point is not the taste, it's to have a self-sustaining agriculture.

"My species inclines to hunting and gathering, not planting. Speaking of gathering, what do we have for snacks?"

Some kind of cream puffs. And peach yogurt.

"I'll pass on the yogurt. Break out the puffs."

Raven beaks into one of the puffs. Ravenously, you might say. I am giving him the eye.

"What's the problem? We're watching tv. Watching tv without eating is like--oh, I don't know...."

This isn't exactly "The Simpsons". Or "El Chavo del Ocho".

"I know that. Eating is a learned response to watching tv. Probably why most of the people in the US are so grossly overweight."

Shut up and listen, will you? We're watching a country's people grab hold of their future. Those moldy oldies in the opposition march with their candles and black dresses and wreaths of flowers, they're all about the past--when their privileges were all that mattered here.

"And umbrellas." Raven crams the last of the cream puff into his beak. "Don't forget about their umbrellas. Who said, 'After me, the deluge'?"

One of the Louis--15th or 16th. That was a question in questionable taste, guy. Under the circumstances of a nation's people recovering their birthright, anyway.

"Sorry. Speaking of taste...."

Have another cream puff.

"Hmmm. Sounds a little like 'Let them eat cake', don't you think?

Maybe you'd rather watch "Grounded for Life"?

"I'm ignoring all threats--with veils or umbrellas. Turn up the volume, will you? This guy is dynamite."

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