Washington DC: Embracing privileges that we don’t innately deserve

Yes, this post comes from the same person who told you in 2011 that we should by no means feel guilty for being privileged. I said that after the great experience that I had at the conference Plan País at Yale University, where young, bright and extremely privileged Venezuelans gathered to discuss the future of their country. Back then, after hearing Lorenzo Mendoza’s (CEO of Polar) final speech, I realized that one of the few obvious truths that the Bolivarian Revolution pointed out –that one of the worst problems in Latin America is inequality– had managed to make a lot of people (especially the youth) feel guilty about their wealthy or privileged origins. What good comes out of guiltiness? My conclusion back then was that guiltiness doesn’t equal actions, and that privilege must be embraced and used responsibly for just causes. Continue reading

What if I don’t agree to disagree?

This is my response to the TEDTalk video by Margaret Heffernan sent to me by a dear American friend with whom I have disagreed.

UWC (United World Colleges) taught me something that I will never forget: It taught me that it was ok to disagree, and that it was possible – and necessary – to have conversations with those who had extremely different opinions and beliefs from my own. Why? Because sometimes people would be wrong (and someone needed to help them get their facts straight), sometimes I was wrong, and because sometimes – beyond right and wrong – the two, three or four sides of our separate arguments and beliefs would be strengthened by our conversations. In other words: by genuinely talking to someone with different beliefs, you are strong enough to believe that you can change their thoughts, but also humble enough to accept that you might be wrong. Continue reading

Maria Corina Machado: Times of Political Innovation

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Photo Credit: Marcela Colmenares

A couple of weeks ago I saw a post in the Telesur website with the following name: Fascism, the face of the right-wing. The post meant to “educate” people by explaining to them what Fascism and Nazism is, and proving how those movements resemble a hundred percent the Venezuelan opposition and its leaders. In one of the sections of the post, Telesur shows pictures of Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet and Francisco Franco, next to representatives of the opposition such as Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo López – to name a few. I won´t waste your time explaining why this comparison is ridiculous and unacceptable, because it is obvious that the German genocide, the Chilean military dictatorship and the Spanish Civil War cannot be compared to a Venezuelan opposition that has even been denied the possibility to speak in its own National Assembly (Legislative branch of the government). However, the Telesur post cannot be taken lightly, because very much like fascism and Nazism brainwashed its population, the Venezuelan government is on its way to brainwash ours. Nazism and Fascism are mentioned on a daily basis in this ideological war. And if they want to talk a bit about fascism and Nazism, I will give them something to talk about. Continue reading

Miguel Chalita: The story of a choice

Miguel Chalita has been living 2 years in the United States of America and, according to his lawyer, he is the first Venezuelan who has received political asylum in Richmond, Virginia. He and his wife are the kind of Venezuelans that welcome you from the very first moment they meet you, and as I explained them how my blog works, Miguel decided to trust me and tell me the story of how he ended up in the United States. His story is similar to the story of many Venezuelans who are part of a system and a routine that consumes them. And, in a way, it is the story of many people from this generation, and many more in the history of humanity. His story is the story of a choice, a loss, and hopefully, a reward. The choice that we all have, even though we do not realize it. Continue reading