Saturday, January 13, 2007

Venezuela and Cuba

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.


Gattina said...

Sorry that I stirred up a hornets' nest, I mean we all (or almost all) live in a democracy and everybody can have his own opinion. I only wonder that sometimes people are living or travelling through foreign countries with closed eyes, learning and hearing nothing. Finally it's not the number of countries you have visited or lived in, but what you have learned out of it. More than half of the American population have the same opinion as me and the rest of the world too. Have you ever had a president who has created so many negative jokes, fun pictures and movies about him, who has become such a a common laughing-stock ? There are even "count downs" on blogs which show how many days, hours and sec. he will remain president. I don't know anybody else. And do you think sometimes about the poor soldiers who give their life for nothing else but petrol business ? And who know the truth ?

Try to find "The Sandbox" it is the place where soldiers are blogging from Iraq. Unfortunately I lost the link when my computer broke. It is very sad what you read in there.

srp said...

Gattina, this has nothing to do with oil. This is a group of radical Islam followers who want to rid the world of infidels. What is an infidel? It is anyone who does not convert to Islam. I don't know where you live but if you are Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, they consider you an infidel. You may say, this is not possible, they could never do such a thing...... look back to history.... Hitler almost accomplished the complete destruction of the Jewish nation. And France... along with other European countries with populations of malcontent muslim radicals that are growing by the day. If you don't take a stand and are willing to die for your freedom or your democracy, you will lose it. Radical Islam is willing to sacrifice and die to kill the infidels....they won't stop because you offer an olive branch. Where would Europe be today if Americans had not been willing to sacrifice their lives for you in World War II? Living in a very different society I am sure.

Paul is a Hermit said...

Without "Petrol" the American military ceases to function, it is not solely about trips to the grocery store but our very Independence. Ask the German tank drivers during the Battle of The Bulge what it is they needed most.

The fact that the left, are ill-informed and lack the decency to be respectful is a condemnation of them and not a vindication of their foul manners. They are as school yard weaklings who blindly follow a bully about hoping to curry favor, as Hussein had, as Chavez has, as every dictator has.

If I show you 100 soldiers who love George Bush will you agree that all soldiers are then happy with him?

It is America's weakness to allow her soldiers to be treated so poorly in Guantanamo. People who are sure they will lose a few teeth, suffer broken noses and torn ears, loss of all prayer privileges and more, like, made to eat everything they throw at guards, are much less likely to throw what courtesy says they should not.
Yes Ma'am, Ms. Gattina, I'm one of those barbaric, poorly-educated Americans and not having traveled, I've not seen the light of the world way, like at the United Nations.
I'm thinking you may be a troll, so this is all I have or need to say.

Janie said...

Gattina, please do your research.
Oil is not the reason for this war.