This evening my guys and I did our part to support local theatre. We went to see 'Bell, Book and Candle' at the Country Playhouse. It's the current production using our season tickets. The play was really good, some fine local acting talent and of course, the story is great. It's the premise for which the tv series 'Bewitched' was created. We can all use some magic in our lives.
I'm sipping a little Pinot Grigio now and ready to post.
"We are heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it," Chavez said at a ceremony in Caracas to swear in new Cabinet members. That is a quote from the Houston Chronicle.
In 1991, the husband accepted a contract to work in Venezuela. The contract was for a year's assignment. The plan was for him to go ahead of us, get settled into a place for us to live and then the baby and I would join him. My sister, her husband and their new son came from Montana to spend Christmas with us in Lafayette. The husband left the week between Christmas and New Year's. He set up residence in Maturin. We joined him in March. The town was small but did have some amenities as far as convenience of grocery shopping and small shops were involved. We lived in the 'penthouse' of the apartment building. I use the term loosely. I had a maid 5 days a week.
Venezuela is a third world country, make no mistake about that. The poverty was rampant and the people were dealing with unemployment. Militia men were armed with uzis and enjoyed setting checkpoints to demand drivers stop their vehicles and show proof of identity and the occasional pay-off. It was known as standard operating procedure.
Caracus was ok in the areas made for tourist trade. The rest of the city is ghetto housing settlements all around and dangerous, prone to robbing for money and jewelry as a way to survive. Our hotel was nice, catering to tourists. It was a Hilton or a Hyatt, I don't remember. I remember my stay there with our son for two reasons - the swimming pool had a swim up bar and my son had his first adventure with a bidet. My toddling son wandered off to the bathroom as I was unpacking his pajamas for bed and he turned a knob that produced a rocketing fountain of water up to the ceiling. He enjoyed it immensely and was quite proud of himself.
The next day we caught a small plane, propeller-style, to Maturin where we were met by the husband. I am blessed with a child who has been an excellent traveling companion since birth. Otherwise, our first trip out of the country together would have been tons more stressful.
Unless you are living la vita loca in a small section in Caracus, like Hugo Chavez, then Venezuela is not a place where an American would like to live. We are never more aware of all that we have in America than when we travel abroad. The sheer numbers of people wanting to move here tells the tale. Even those oh, so sophisticated Europeans, flock here.
Chavez fancies himself the protege of Fidel Castro. The Cuban model is the vision of the future for Venezuela as far as Chavez is concerned. The far left political faction in this country embraces Chavez because he talks trash against President Bush. Further evidence of the sheer naivete of the radical left. My brother in law, bless his heart, is a good example. He and his wife went to Cuba a couple of years ago and this was to be such a cool trip. The frosting on the cake was that it was against U.S. policy for them to travel there in the first place. Stickin' it to Bush, you know. Brother in law is a musician, living in a coastal community a ferry's ride from Seattle. His wife is a part time musician herself but has a day job. The brother in law works in a music shop as his day job. When they were back from the Cuban adventure, he called and I spoke with him, as I answered the telephone. He told me his shock that the people with whom they stayed were forbidden to have their Bible out in the open. The whole suppression of religion thing was a real eye-opener for him. I thought to myself, wow, where's he been? He's not an ignorant man, he is well educated and travels frequently. But, he is so far left that he is out of reality. NPR is too conservative for him. I'm not kidding.
So, Cindy Sheehan and her posse from Code Pink travel on down to Camp Gitmo to protest it's existence. After they get the chant down, they proceed to march and do their thing. What wasn't commonly reported, shocking I know, is that Sheehan was asked by a prominent women's group made up of wives of jailed dissenters to the Castro regime to march in protest for them. She turned them down. She and her group went to Cuba to protest the American government, not the murderous dictator of Cuba and his regime.
Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
In the town where Camp Gitmo is located, there are 14 prisons filled with political dissenters. In Sheehan's Nirvanas of Venezuela and Cuba, she would be living out the rest of her life in a prison at the first sign of political dissent from her.
Camp Gitmo is of a level of excellence like no other as far as prisons go. Sounds strange, I know, but it has been stated over and over again. The Red Cross regularly visits Camp Gitmo and it passes it's list of requirements with flying colors. The Red Cross is not allowed in Cuban prisons. Officials from Belgium visited and stated that Camp Gitmo is far superior to European prisons. The average prisoner gains 18 pounds there. A soccer field is available for exercise and Qurans are issued with clothing and other necessities to each prisoner. They receive the call to worship five times a day and they are issued prayer mats. They thank the American soldiers stationed there by spitting on them and throwing feces and urine at them.
Living in Venezuela was an interesting life experience.
I've never been prouder to be an American.