Venezuela: Politicians versus NGOs | Opinion


Venezuelan migrants on the border between Mexico and the United States, in an image from January 23.
Venezuelan migrants on the border between Mexico and the United States, in an image from January 23.GO NAKAMURA (REUTERS)

During 2021, facing the pandemic, the sanitary mobility restrictions in force throughout the continent and the raising of increasingly insurmountable migratory barriers, more than 100,000 Venezuelans came to plant themselves on the border between Mexico and the United States with the intention of requesting asylum in this last country.

It is already a topic of the press to compare the exodus of millions of Venezuelans during the last six years with the migration crisis caused by the war in Syria. UN authorities affirm that it is already 20% of the population and it is certain that the figure will exceed eight million emigrants this year.

A great French thinker, Marthe Robert, used to say that in order to begin to see clearly in any area of ​​reality, it is advisable to be on guard against the spell of specialized jargon, the eagerness to make distinctions so typical of experts, and the distracting and numbing effect that everything it can have. This is especially true of the humanitarian nerve.

To be fair, the organizations that in today’s world attend to the needs and suffering of the majority of people have had to specialize their language over time in order to communicate better within themselves, to better share what they are discovering, to make themselves understood of others, to be more functional and effective. We owe a lot to them and the noble ideas that move them.

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However, distinguishing between “displaced persons” and “refugees”, as experts on migration issues never fail to do, neither adds nor subtracts from our compassion for Mayerlin Mayor, the teacher from Maracaibo who, as a victim of human traffickers, lost to Victoria, her seven-year-old daughter, at the Rio Grande crossing.

The shocking event, which occurred just three weeks ago, will soon be forgotten, as will be the names of the couple of award-winning university professors, Pedro and Ysbelia Salinas, she in her seventies and him in his eighties, whose pensions as retirees, volatilized by hyperinflation, they were less than five dollars each. They were found dead in their apartment in Merida, for what the forensic experts ruled as “protein-calorie malnutrition.” Hungry; they starved.

Both tragedies, that of Mayerlin and Victoria and that of Ysbelia and Pedro, are inevitably lost in a technical definition—”complex humanitarian crisis”—which, like other expressions, is easily perceived today as one more emanation of the tweeting rhetoric of our opposition leaders. A mechanical twist that already enjoys the same trivializing status as the phrase “building a narrative” or “the most vulnerable”.

Our politicians—I speak now only of Venezuela—are not interested in any idea that does not have a handle to use it and they tend to mimic in public the authority with which the most alert and honest spokespersons of the NGOs speak. Or from academia, or from the arts. That’s why they steal their language. But, usually, there is nothing on their minds other than the next regional election. There are exceptions and I will say it again so that I am not branded anti-political: there are exceptions.

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In Venezuela we have seen over the course of two decades how the animosity of a large part of the opposition political class against academia and NGOs has grown. They are expressed as onegers but they hate the guild to death.

I wouldn’t know if that animosity is pure anti-intellectual reflex or merely “scenic jealousy”, as Chekhov called the mistrust that dissolves the magic of a cast. In any case, between us, the suspicion of politicians towards NGOs is resolved, without further ado, in mimicry and… none.

Human rights? Political prisoners? In this matter, orthodoxy demands that Provea be disregarded and I’m not even going to mention the figures of Foro Penal. State violence, extrajudicial executions? report her in Toto, It is the best; Why provoke Maduro by invoking the work of the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence? Poverty, malnutrition, criminal omissions in the face of the pandemic? Corruption? NGO affairs, investigative journalism portal.

Politics is the realm of the possible, my doctor. The tasks of dialogue in Mexico are different, mate. Pretend, for example, that you have enough influence in Washington to have the sanctions lifted. The mantra now is “electoral conditions for the 2024 presidential elections.”

The other polar idea is “control of oil assets abroad.” Let’s leave it at “electoral conditions and oil assets”. In the NGOs there is a lot of resentment, corduroy, a lot of failed politicians, people who wanted to and couldn’t. Lots of broken bats, lots of infiltrators, lots of loose cannon rolling on the deck.

With the NGOs it is better to be far away.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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