In a recent image search my father discovered this picture and it a sparked a conversation between us. Since I am soon to embark on yet another trip to Caracas on March 23rd for work purposes I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you the insight my father gave me on this image. The picture you are viewing is a shot of one of the many slums there are all over Caracas.

Caracas is a fairly large metropolitan city complete with a metro system to get around on, taxis, buses and all of the things any modern city has to offer. Yet there is major poverty in this city as well, as reflected on the picture. Now, it is interesting to note that many people during the last ten years seem to enjoy blaming this extreme poverty on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias. Yet these slums are a direct result of the last 60 years of the so-called democracy prior to Chavez’s election in 1998.

The oposition in Venezuela, and mainly in Caracas, seems to have forgotten about these thousands of inhabitants that daily work in humble jobs and live in these humble shantytown shacks called in Venezuela, “los cerros de Caracas.” These people have lived marginalized during the last 60 years of “democracy” up until now. The opposition likes to ridicule the current government regime saying that their programs don’t work, that they have not irradicated the poverty and the slums but let me ask this: who in ten years can irradicate what was built up over 60 years of a government catering to the imperialist North’s every desire and whim while forcing its people into extreme poverty? Only a few people in the private sector and high ranking government officials from that time benefited from the revenue of Venezuela’s petroleum production and now that this industry has been nationalized where are they now? Many are part of the opposition complaining because for the first time the people are calling the shots and not a select few of the oligarchy (sound vaguely familiar?). For the first time in the history of Venezuela the revenue from the petroleum industry is actually being used for the benefit of the people as opposed to lining the pockets of the greedy oligarchy who saw themselves as the righteous owners of Venezuela.

What would happen if the opposition, instead of pointing fingers here and there, began to actually become actively involved with the people of the slums themselves? Afterall, it is a condition of their own making. How different things might be if all tried to help one another instead of being self-serving like the majority of the oligarchists usually are. These shanty shacks will not be irradicated in the next 4 or 5 years but at least there is someone thinking about those who live there and the entire country in general. The success of the programs implemented by the government has been well documented and can be found in many great websites that point to these success. The following websites are worthy of checking out: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/, http://www.rethinkvenezuela.com/index.html, http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/joint_meeting_against_imperialist_intervention_latin_america.htm. I cannot include them all here so that this post is not too long but facts are facts and cannot be ignored. Those who do not want to recognize this are blinded by their own selfishness and ought to examine their hearts and remember that we come into this world with nothing and leave it the same way! Lessons that one must learn in life.

If we want to better the living conditions of our communities and keep our cities beautiful we need to start by really caring for those who are in need and giving accordingly. That is what the government programs in Venezuela are for and we could learn a lot from the sense of community that is given through these programs instead of complaining and playing the blame game. Power to the people!

PS: For those of you who want to be informed about what is actually going on in Venezuela, as opposed to a burgeois view from the likes of El Universal and El Nacional and etc., please check out the links above and others like them.

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