- “We sat down to make lanterns in the living room of the house to light ourselves, I already knew that the thing was going to be long, it was around eight o’clock at night, my two sons and my daughter, all three of them, watched almost without breathing while their mother helped us trying to locate a fabric, cotton or string in the darkness that served as a wick. When it was ready, the expectation of everyone was at the peak, damn, family adrenaline, because it was not just the little kids that were hypnotized with the work, it was like a film they waiting for me to light the wick in the dark, it was incredible. I could not describe the family’s euphoria, the children applauded laughing, even a tear I think I saw on Aurora’s cheek, the mom, that night we knew they could not defeat us. ” José Antonio Tovar from Petare.
“We dined those nights without light, the little ones played at telling stories without light, we lowered our little girl’s fever in the dark, we bathed without light (using “totumas”, little rounded containers), in the dark we breastfed the youngest, he was guided by the smell of his mother’s breast, he does not need light, we resist without light, without light we went to sleep, that dream of the one who is alert, with the boots on, therefore, without light we were awakened by the hot body of the girl, without light we put on her wet compresses and without light the fever was defeated, In the darkness our stubborn, intransigent, Caribbean resolve to resist was firmer. ” Julia Méndez, Barrio Bolívar, La Pastora.
“In my neighborhood, in Charallave, we made a soup with everything we thought was going to be damaged due to lack of electricity, we made a “cruzado” (soup) catfish head, chicken bones, three pieces of beef ribs, some vegetables and for the night we went back to learn how to make lanterns, we listened the music from the kids’ phones and some even dared to dance. What was a proposal from them (the right wingers) for the war, yesterday became for us (the chavistas) with that simple resistance, a celebration of a small giant victory. ” Oktyabrina Hernández, Charallave, Miranda State.
- “The family group was eight people, all around the fire in the courtyard, we told stories, we discussed the political situation, a small battery-operated radio would keep us informed, and the little kids threw sticks at the campfire. We were on alert to keep them from throwing the dog or the cat or even burning the rancho, we even played dominos. The mother-in-law commanding the kitchen group in the kitchen at the back of the yard, she was talking to one of the women. We have a well, but without electricity the engine does not help us, but one of the advantages of living in the countryside is that we always have a lot of water stored in containers. I was glad I was not in Caracas.” Mauro Parra, Trujillo State.
“I saw them and I heard them from the balcony, they were in the little square in front of me, I could not believe it. Me, damn it, with this anguish and alone in the apartment and that group of people, after almost twenty hours without electricity, playing drums in rage and dancing with laughter and shouting, they had the mega rumba. I understood something “compa”: in these moments, the primitive Caribbean rage comes out, and something else: you can not walk alone, my friend. If it was not for the seven floors I had to climb, I would go downstairs and soak up these vibes with them. ” Armando Belisario, Chacao, Caracas.
A SOLIDARITY OF WAR WAS ACTIVATED WHEN IT WAS KNOWN THAT THE BLACKOUT WAS NATIONAL AND THE RESULT OF AN ATTACK
- The first day took us by surprise and everyone remained in their apartments not knowing exactly what really happened. That night two friends from Petare crashed with us because they arrived at the Coche Metro station and it was closed. And then we had dinner, we made popcorn and turned on the radio to listen to the news and we began to chat. The second day we decided to make lanterns for the night, people got activated looking for and carrying water since very early in the morning, the kids playing in the park. There were like 100 kids playing ball, with bikes, we have a playground here along with a fitness center. People sharing with the neighbors always in calm. It was fine, talking to closest friends, drinking coffee and meeting to talk about life, waiting for the blackout to be fixed. The third day everyone got activated looking for water, we found several sources, very late at night the trucks with water arrived and we were there helping the people. Truth being said, as everyone says, it became an environment of solidarity and neighborhood support. In this situation in many people, solidarity, union, support and not misery emerged.” Belinda Aranguren, Ciudad Tiuna, Caracas.
- “We cooked with firewood or gas due to the number of people. Several families were able to join and eat, altogether 11 adults and 5 children. We realized that we were not going to resist alone and I put my house here in Cabimas at the disposal of everyone. We all bought and collected food for the crowd, we all bought water, medicines, but it was not easy at all, we tried to calm an almost eighty-year-old grandfather desperate because of the heat, a newborn child crying, some right wingers joined in and others just mocked at us. Ludo, chess, domino, Spanish cards, the conversation about the political situation or family jokes, all at night, under the light of the kerosene lanterns that we made when we realized that it would not be a single night without light. I think that this has been a teaching to prepare us for anything, even to demonstrate that they have not been able to break the most important thing to us: solidarity in difficult times.” Rosanna, Cabimas, Zulia State.
“A two days nightmare and I did not see anyone defeated in the streets of downtown Caracas. The speed of the events sometimes does not allow us to realize how we resist. With the blackout one realized that you had books, people around to talk with, stories to tell, neighbors’ solidarity, meals made as if by magic and, of course, the radio can (not) be heard from the cell phone. Not having electricity leads one to talk more, to feel the closeness of those who share the same uncertainty, to dedicate more than one glance at the sky. 24 hours without news and the world apparently continues. That was my experience and my lesson”. Nathali Gómez, La Candelaria, Caracas.
“In our building we are around 20 families. We met to make lanterns to guarantee everyone had light during the blackout, no one left without. Out of 20 families I could say that 17 made their lanterns. We had received the CLAP boxes the day before. The ones without gas were able to have their food cooked by a neighbor. We do not have direct gas, only with tanks. The whole building was like alive, active like if there was no darkness. A wartime solidarity was activated when we knew it was a nationwide blackout and that it was the result of an attack. We set up a radio to know how things were going. There was a guarimba (terrorist right wing act) only one night but it vanished almost immediately because people turned up the volume of the music in their cars and went to the street to make a big rumba, with dance and swing. The Guarimberos had no choice but to fold it up. Kid grabbed the street in the day and it was their playground. At night, together with the neighbors of the building, we met and in addition to making safety tours we shared with the army of kids their games and stories. Here we resist all together or we get fucked.” Andy Franco, Caracas.
“One of my daughters was surprised by the first attack to the electrical system leaving from Unearte (the University of the Arts in the Center of Caracas) to Palo Verde (the extreme East of Caracas).” Walking, she arrived at Los Palos Grandes where a couple of very humble janitors welcomed her and gave her shelter during the night just in solidarity. The ones with less usually gives more. ” Willians Moreno, Palo Verde, Caracas.
Translated by JRE/EF%