Three Minute Showers
His words are wounding my self esteem. A soldier with a red cap stands in front of my bathroom and cuts the energy after three minutes of showering, he counts down “Five, four, three, two, one, get out lady, time is out”. I cannot believe we have become so poor that we can’t take a good shower anymore. Tears roll down my face as I ask; “Why are the CIA , the FBI and the rest of the right winger marionettes doing this to us?” Then I wake up flooded in sweat. Thank God it was just a dream.
But it is not a dream for my Venezuelan brothers and sisters. Hugo Chavez has demanded they take three minute showers as a way of saving energy. They are very close to having the soldier in their bathroom doors. The second part of the dream is also very real for them, as Chavez and his people always blame the right wing and the CIA and FBI for everything and anything that happens in Venezuela.
The state of denial in which left parties submerge us in Latin America, more specifically in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, works like a heavy rainfall in front of the eyes of the most vulnerable people. It doesn’t let them see the truth, or the truth lies behind the rainfall, which they won’t cross because they are afraid of being exposed as traitors to the revolution.
Valentina, a very poor woman, mother of four girls, has worked as a maid all her life. She used to make one hundred dollars a month until four years ago, when Evo Morales took office in Bolivia, and a good market for the week was worth 10 dollars. She looks up to Evo fiercely, and her vote is assured for him. ‘It doesn’t matter if he steals money from the government, at least it is a poor one who is getting rich, not like before, when the rich were getting richer’ are her exact words when asked her opinion on the huge amount of corruption in Evo’s government.
Today, she makes about 90 dollars, but a good market has gone up to 30 dollars. When asked about how she manages, her answer shows the denial syndrome: “This is happening because the rich are very greedy, they don’t want to pay more for rural fresh produce. It is OK to have better prices for producers” But how do you manage to buy your weekly market? I insist. “I have to back up brother Evo, there is a lot of work for us now and we have better salaries, so we don’t care about prices being high”, she says.
She would die and kill if Evo asks her. She is the best example of brainwashing techniques through marketing, drugs and bonuses. She doesn’t realize that even if there are more jobs for poor people, they are not decent ones. They have been created in non productive areas, such as marching (yes, poor people get better salaries from Evo to march than for real work), coca leave growing (24 cocaine factories are found in Bolivia every day now, as opposed to three per month before Evo) and of course, as public servers in oversized payrolls that are being supported by taxpayers who have seen taxes rise 50% in the last four years.
This happens in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador too. Venezuela, being the leading leftist country where Socialism for the XXI Century rules, is the first one to reap the acid fruit of having no energy to take a good shower, to have to pay three times more for the same vegetables, and even worse, the empty shelves in food stores. People in Venezuela have begun to shout “Hugo, stop giving away our money to Evo and others, and begin to give us a better life”. But their voices are not heard in traditional media. Hugo doesn’t let journalists inform freely.
Millions of Valentinas back up these totalitarian governments. When I said “The rich will not stop buying meat because it has gone up from 2 dollars a kilogram to 7. They can still afford it. But how can you afford meat now, if your salary remains the same during this government? She laughed and said: “By voting again for Evo. He will take away the money from the rich to give it to us. He just needs more time”.
I wonder if Venezuelan Valentinas are eager to vote for Chavez again. The bottom line to this denial syndrome is that poor people are getting poorer, as the new jobs are hopeless in terms of bringing lasting and enduring financial mattresses for every household. These presidents will do everything to be reelected. They promise heaven and its siblings. Cuban people , though, have been very loyal to the revolution and have gotten nothing out of it in half a century. The lies and the marketing have not helped Cuban Valentinas fill in the pot, they eat meat once every two months, only if the government lets them.