Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Watch the video: We Are Global Voices!

We report on 167 countries. We translate in 35 languages. We are Global Voices. Watch the video »

Over 800 of us from all over the world work together to bring you stories that are hard to find by yourself. But we can’t do it alone. Even though most of us are volunteers, we still need your help to support our editors, our technology, outreach and advocacy projects, and our community events.

Donate now »
GlobalVoices in Learn more »

Venezuela: Video ‘Caracas, City of Farewells’ Sparks Discussion on Emigration

It took the Venezuelan blogosphere only a matter of days to unleash an avalanche of criticism and mockery on the video documentary “Caracas, Ciudad de Despedidas” (“Caracas, City of Farewells”). The video compiles seventeen minutes of interviews on the experience of emigration in Venezuela and explores the reasons which have driven several of its citizens to join the growing Venezuelan diaspora. The sheer force of the response led to the video's removal from the YouTube channel on which it was initially posted, and resulted in public statements from those behind and those featured in the documentary.

Overall, the video met with a strong wave of harsh criticism, mockery, video responses, remixes [es], parodies [es], caricatures, memes and tweets, with the hashtag, #meiriademasiado [es], an allusion to the comment of one of the subjects in the video, “Yo sí me iría… Me iría demasiado [sic]” (“I would go, I would so go”) becoming a trending topic en Venezuela.

The video did receive some shows of support, albeit very few, which backed up the validity of its ideas, pointing out that behind the tone and the rhetoric (the most criticized aspects of the video), the video had served to stir up a highly sensitive topic within citizen media: emigration due to urban violence.

El brujo [es] points to what, in his opinion, was the main flaw in “Caracas, Ciudad de Despedidas”:

El problema del autocensurado video [...] y de sus participantes, radica en la absoluta ajenidad y desconocimiento absoluto de la sociedad a la que dicen pertenecer, emitiendo juicios de valor totalmente sesgados y prejuiciados respecto a asuntos que obviamente conocen por lo que les dicen sus padres …

The problem with this self-censored video [...] and its subjects, lies in their absolute alienation from, and ignorance of, the society to which they claim to belong, passing completely biased value judgments and spouting prejudice about issues on which quite obviously their only knowledge comes from what their parents told them.


Meanwhile, Luis, on Panfleto Negro [es] (Black Pamphlet), underlines the main message:

…detrás de todo el mandibuleo [*] y el “me iría demasiado” hay una realidad a la que no queremos dar la cara; Venezuela no ofrece a sus jóvenes ni un presente ni un futuro viable, ofrece más penurias y que todo vaya a peor antes de ir mejor. Hablar de porvenir en un país donde se depende de la salud de una sola persona es casi tan ingenuo como los testimonios de estos chicos.

…Behind all the “mandibuleo” [*] and the “me iría demasiado” (“I would so go”), lies a reality which we do not want to face up to; Venezuela offers its youth neither a viable present nor future, the country offers more hardship and the idea that things have to get worse before they can get better. To speak of the future in a country in which that future depends on the health of a single person is almost as naive as the views expressed by the kids in the video.

[*] In Venezuela, “mandibuleo” is a term used to describe the speech of upper-class youth in Caracas (who are also known as “sifrinos”).

On the other hand, Vanessa [es] opines:

Yo pienso que ellos sí tienen derecho a opinar lo que les dé la gana, así sea mandibuleado y mal redactado. ¿O es que acaso ya en Venezuela estamos tan acostumbrados a la mordaza en la boca que nos escandaliza una opinión distinta a la propia? Se ha formado una especie de dictadura opositora donde, al igual que los chavistas, todos repiten al unísono lo que les mandan a decir los “líderes opositores”. Al que se salga un poquito de la línea, los demás le caen a peinillazos.

I think that they do have a right to express their opinion on whatever they feel like, even if it's “mandibuleado” and poorly-executed. Or is it the case that in Venezuela we are so accustomed to being gagged, that we are scandalised by any opinion different to the one we hold. A kind of opposition dictatorship has sprung up, just like the Chavista one, in which everyone repeats in unison whatever the “leaders of the opposition” tell them to say. Let anyone step the slightest bit out of line, and the others come down on him like a ton of bricks.

Laura Solórzano, en her blog Debilidades y Vicios [es]  (Weaknesses and Vices) points to another fact:

[...] mi preocupación es que muchos de esos “jóvenes del este del este["] que estudiaron en los mejores colegios y universidades” sigue sin entender el verdadero problema en Venezuela. Que esos chamos de “me iría demasiado” son los hijos de esos venezolanos que hicieron plata y se olvidaron que existía un país y que algún día les tenían que responder.

My concern is that so many of these “east of east["] youth, who attended the best colleges and universities still don't understand the real problem here in Venezuela. Namely, that these kids with their “I would so go” are the children of those Venezuelans who made a lot of money and forgot about the existence of a country which they would one day have to answer to.

Meanwhile, Mirelis Morales Tovar [es] explains why the video moved her:

Me movió… Si, no lo niego. Quien tiene dos hermanos lejos, otro con un pie aquí y otr[o] allá, así como casi todos sus amig@s a muchas horas de distancia, no puede ser indiferente a lo que se plantea en el video Caracas Ciudad de Despedidas.
Es una realidad. Queramos o no. [...] Todos quienes vivimos en esta ciudad tenemos el temor de no regresar a casa y eso no es precisamente una sensación con la que debamos acostumbrarnos.

Pero fomentar la idea de que emigrar se ha vuelto la solución a los problemas que nos agobian en este país es ir creando una generación de desarraigados.[...] Otros países han vivido situaciones similares o peores. Y es el espíritu de su gente lo que les ha permitido salir a flote. [Venezuela] es una nación herida. Herida por su propia gente. Pero también es tierra de gracia, de oportunidades.

It moved me… Yes, I'm not going to deny it. A person with two brothers living far away, and another with one foot at home and the other abroad, and on top of all that, with almost all their friends living several hours away, can't just be indifferent to what was going on in the “Caracas, Ciudad de Despedidas” video. It's a reality. Whether we like it or not. [...] Everyone who lives in this city carries this fear of not being able to make it home and this is not a feeling we ought to get used to having.

But to foment this idea of emigration now being the solution to the problems overwhelming us in this country, is to create an entire generation of rootless people [...] Other countries have been through similar or worse. And it's the spirit of their people which allowed them to rise above it. [Venezuela] is a wounded nation. Wounded by her own people. But this is also the land of grace, of opportunity.

Asdrúbal [es], for his part, comments:

lo que sinceramente no me gustó [de las opiniones expuestas el video] fue el hacer entender que la responsabilidad de mejorar al país era de «otros» exclusivamente.

What I sincerely disliked [about the views expressed in the video] was the idea that the responsibility for improving the country lay exclusively in the hands of “others”.

Of the participants in the video, Raquel Abend van Dalen, was the first to break her silence. In her blog Merienda en el Espacio [es] (Snacking in Space), which was made private days later, she wrote:

La realidad de Venezuela nos afecta a todos. Tanto a los que viven en ella, como a los que se tuvieron que ir. Y cada quien busca la forma de sobrellevarla y de aportar para un cambio positivo. Yo amo a Caracas, yo a amo Venezuela. Es el país en donde nací y crecí. Venezuela es el espacio que me ha hecho ser quien soy, y que me ha brindado todas las oportunidades para crecer como persona y como ciudadana. Esta situación me ha servido de lección de vida: se vive y se aprende.

The reality in Venezuela affects all of us. It affects those who still live here, just as it does those who had to leave. And everyone is looking for the right way to uplift the country and to bring positive change. I love Caracas, I love Venezuela. It's the country I was born and raised in. Venezuela is the place that has made me who I am, and which has offered me every opportunity to grow as a person and as a citizen. This situation has served as a life lesson for me: you live and you learn.

The youth involved in the documentary published a communique [es] in response to the reaction their video received. In it, they explained their reasons for producing such a video, adding:

Nunca nos imaginamos, esperamos o quisimos este alcance y ahora que lo tenemos no nos lamentamos, porque a pesar de que la forma parezca banal, lo que ahí se expresa sigue siendo la verdad: tenemos miedo por la inseguridad que existe en Caracas y por ello no hemos podido vivir nuestra ciudad como quisiéramos.

We never imagined, hoped or desired it to reach this level, and now that it has, we don't regret it because, although the form might appear banal, what's being expressed remains as true as ever: we are afraid of the insecurity that exists in Caracas and because of it we have not been able to live our lives the way we would have wanted to.

The communique concludes:

Respetamos las opiniones diferentes a las nuestras, agradecemos el apoyo de quienes nos han respaldado e invitamos a todos a mirar más allá de la forma y analizar el fondo, a leer entre líneas y considerar que todos formamos parte de lo mismo aunque seamos diferentes. No es una cuestión de discriminar a un grupo, es de exponer a otro y no es para ofender a nadie, es para compartir lo que algunos sentimos.

We respect opinions different to our own, we are grateful for the support of those who have backed us and we invite everyone to look beyond the form and analyze the substance, to read between the lines and consider that we are all part of the same thing, even though we might be different. It's not a question of discriminating against a group, it's to display another, and there is no intention of offending anybody, this is to express what we feel.

Finally, Leopoldo Tablante [es] reflects on the similarities and the discourse of the upper and lower classes, and on how this mirrors a common spirit which makes living together and social advancement difficult:

Por novatada o por lo que sea, el video parece inspirado por un muy particular espíritu de indolencia ante el proyecto de construcción del bien común. Y sin ese espíritu, ¿qué nos queda?
Por la izquierda o por la derecha (si es que estos clivajes siguen teniendo vigencia), en la urbanización o en el barrio, Venezuela suena en monofónico. Y con ese empaque al vacío, ¿a quién le queda fuelle para pensar en una reconciliación?

Out of naivete or whatever the case may be, the video seems to be inspired by a very particular spirit of indolence, in terms of the project of working on the common good. And without this spirit, what do we have left? Whether on the left or the right (if these cleavages are still relevant), in exclusive housing developments or in the ghetto, the sound of Venezuela is in monophone. And with such an apparent void, who still has breath left in them to think of a reconciliation?

World regions

Countries

Languages