By Franco Vielma – Nov 4, 2022
What to say about the Venezuelan diasporas in the United States? To begin with, it is not possible to speak of just one, but several diasporas. It is not possible to speak of the Venezuelan diasporas in the US as if they were identical to those who have gone to other countries, because in this case the thing is not the journey itself, it is the destination. This topic implies a complete and detailed analysis.
The Darién ceased to be news. Now it will be the place that it has always been, a route for migrants who go from various Latin American countries, where some or many may die, but we will not find out.
TikTok video recordings from the Darién are no longer out there, because those who have always crossed and will continue to cross, who are not Venezuelans, do not bother to record themselves and let us know. We will never out.
The latest immigration measures of the Biden government, aimed at Venezuelan migration, put an end to a gloomy parade that the same government had created once the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) favorable to Venezuelans, boosted a wave of migration towards the United States under the false promise of warm reception. But the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was in charge of receiving and imprisoning migrants, until Republican governors in the US south sent them “willingly” to states governed by Democrats.
We no longer speak of the Darién, but we do have the multiple opinions for and against that measure and the diaspora that ended up either in Times Square or in the Rio Grande.
First impression: everything that remains of this “debate” suggests that there are Venezuelans who hate each other; that the vast majority of them, anti-Chavistas, hate each other.
Have you seen the video of some working-class Venezuelans “poor but in the United States” who eat a $1 McDonald’s hamburger in a park during their break, bragging about their status? There is a TikTok video of a delivery man who supposedly delivers good driving a Mercedes Benz. There is another case of a Venezuelan in Gringolandia who celebrated that “the garbage” [new Venezuelan migrants] was not allowed to enter the US.
Do you remember the video of the lady (she probably lived in an public housing in Cabudare) who was muddy in the middle of the Darién and said that Biden was no longer going to let Venezuelan migrants in because tobacco spit was found in Times Square, and “what a shame that kind of people are, my God!”? What to say about the video of the girl crying because she could not enter “the country of hamburgers?”
Well, almost everyone has watched Yoaibimar’s video “la tierrúa en niu yol,” who had left Venezuela with her disabled son, which went viral, more than because of the staging itself, but because of the reactions it generated. Never has a video received so many comments from the “Visa kids from Venezuela.” Never ever.
A new image making the rounds is that of a group of Venezuelans trying to cross the Rio Grande with a giant Venezuelan flag being greeted with pellets, and then running back to the water and to the Mexican side.
Only twice in recent history have Venezuelan flags been seen crossing (or rather attempting to cross) a border only to end up getting humiliated in a widely broadcast televised scene of defeat. The day that Venezuelan flag-carriers tried to enter the Venezuelan territory through the bridges between Colombia and Venezuela with imaginary “humanitarian aid,” and this time just days ago, between Mexico and the United States.
It is the same sad story: Venezuelans trying to take something by force, guided by political and/or personal impetus, but humiliating a flag that used to cross borders only to defeat colonial Spain and establish independent nations.
Let’s look at what they wanted to convert us into. This started from [opposition leader] Capriles stealing Chávez’s 8-star tricolor cap and claiming it to be the opposition cap. But it became a symbol of migrant identity. Also included in this pack are the tricolor bags that only should be on the shoulders of a child studying in Venezuela.
It should also be noted that those who migrated with the cap began to hate those with the tricolor bags, because the latter are surely poorer (or appear to be) than the former. The class hatred began to take political form when it began to be said that those poor Venezuelans (those with a tricolor bags) who rail against the country or against Maduro, supposedly “are Chavistas.” But let us not fall for lies, they are not chavistas by any means.
Nothing sparked as much outrage among the diaspora as when the famous [Venezuelan government-provided free] schoolbag was photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Social media platforms became a field of indiscriminate crossfire. The “Visa Kids” versus those who crossed the Darién, white Venezuelans from Miami versus black Venezuelans in a homeless shelter in New York, but it went even beyond them, to Venezuelans in Colombia, Peru or Chile versus Venezuelans in the United States.
Let us not forget that many of those who went to the heart of the empire via Darién were already outside of Venezuela. So, they weren’t fleeing from the Chavista “humanitarian crisis,” but were leaving “prosperous” neighboring economies, and that any attempt to cross a jungle full of sadists, narcos, paramilitaries, crocodiles and the like, is better than returning home “with nothing to show.”
Let us not forget that if a “black” Venezuelan with “reggaeton look” (police euphemism for “thug”) is seen somewhere in the “country of hamburgers,” it could be “an embarrassment, my God,” because what will those civilized people living in the most powerful country in the world think?
Let us look in depth, that the central and sentimental knot of all madness is in how self-conscious and ridiculous the Venezuelan diasporas are, among them the only people in all of history who broadcast their passage through the Darién. Then there are also those diasporas who live in “los yunaited,” and the diasporas who could not manage to enter, all of them, including those who return to Venezuela on a flight from Mexico of the Vuelta a la Patria program of the Chavista government, but who no longer have internet and hence do not broadcast the return.
Those who already lived in Gringolandia are more amazing. To give just one example, I am talking about the complex of believing that some “blacks from Petare” are going to make things “ugly” in New York.
Friends who are reading this, believe me, in New York there are people who shit inside Metro trains. US cities are swarming with tents on public thoroughfares and overcrowded shelters for the homeless and destitute.
In the United States there are “drug streets,” or places where there are hundreds of “zombies” in plain sight, a degraded and tolerated show. The United States is the home country of the rap style and the reference center for the “urban” image that has standardized a segment of the underworld on a global scale. To put it more precisely, the United States is the world capital of vulgarity, of bad taste, of ridiculous people, who coexist in tense social relations due to their racial diversity. The Kardashians live there. Don’t you see it?
So, to be honest, a “black guy from Petare” is not going to be noticed among millions and millions of US citizens and immigrants dressed in the unifrom urban gringo style that globalization imposed.
But to put it in perspective, it’s not the “black guy,” it is classism, racism, the complex, the obsession.
“Good vs. bad”
The anti-Chavista stereotype turned into a US diaspora, or aspiring to it, once again flaunts that binary logic that they imposed in Venezuela since the “best” days of political oppositionism. In those times, it was “the educated and thinking class of the country” versus “criminal and vulgar chavismo.”
The logic today among these diasporas is “good vs. bad,” “cultured people” vs. “uncultured people.” Those who were already inside the US versus those who arrive now or want to enter. Those who “behave well” versus “those who behave badly.”
But that is a weak dispute, without trying to generalize, since they place this migrant “lumpen” as the “bad” people who want to enter, even if it is illegal, while there are other Venezuelans who “have done things well,” as in the case of paperwork.
It is as if they say “honest people” to refer to so many Venezuelans who have entered the United States in previous years, under the condition of “politically persecuted” and “refugees,” when we know that 99% of them used the category of “political persecution” to bypass the US immigration system, get preferences and a Green Card, without being subject to any pressure, legal requirement or any threat to their life in Venezuela. They are fakers.
Venezuelans living for years in “the country of hamburgers” are irritated that a poor Venezuelan decimated thanks to an economic blockade that they applauded enters that country without having done the paperwork. They have carried high the “meritocracy” since 2002 wherever they have gone, and it continues to be the glass with which they look at everything.
At the end of the day, speaking of “good people,” one has to look at who make up a good part of the Venezuelan community in Florid: fugitive bankers, business-owners who shore up capital in foreign accounts, drug traffickers, corrupt officials from the governments before chavismo, “models” (or rather high-class prostitutes ), and to top it off, almost the whole of Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) and Guaidó’s closest retinues. Could there be worse thugs among these “good people?” Next to them, any “rogue” crossing the Darién would be a baby.
In Venezuela, the logic of “one against another,” “good vs. bad” was based on a country that did not exist, but that some felt had been taken away from them. “Decent opponents” versus “marginal chavistas.” But outside Venezuela it is a runaway dispute, where in real terms it rages among a people who have in common a contempt for Chavismo, a contempt that is sometimes extended to the country.
But the center of that dispute is no longer Venezuela, now it is the “American dream,” that country and its “right to be,” the “right” of some to possess a crumb of the dream, the merit, the achievement. It is the discourse of “those who can adapt” and “those who cannot.” Once again the repeated discourse of “the educated” versus “those who have nothing inside their head.” And that is all the narrative.
When the Visa kids blamed the ragged people in the Darién for the changes in immigration measures, they did not bother to add that Trump, campaigning for the mid-term elections, claimed that Maduro was “freeing prisoners from the prisons to send rapists and murderers” to the US.
They also ignored that Marco Rubio pointed out that migration to the United States “was created by Maduro to harm” his country.
Venezuelans with visa are little interested in gringo politicians stigmatizing their people and themselves, because the preposterous anti-Chavista discourse is important in the vulgar US campaign.
Estados Unidos | Las nuevas medidas contra la migración venezolana da final a la llamada política de "fronteras abiertas" tan preconizada por el tándem de Joe Biden y Kamala Harris. https://t.co/Yyko9oWy4G pic.twitter.com/h9JVl4TJUu
— MV (@Mision_Verdad) October 24, 2022
Among the diasporas there is little or no sincere reflection on whether blockading the Venezuelan economy has a link with migration out of the country or not, although there is a compelling statistics. Venezuela depended on more than 90% of foreign currency income through oil, and the blockade on crude oil exports greatly reduced the base of public finances, on which everything from public services to the State payroll depended.
The purpose of blockading Venezuela was precisely to manufacture “fucked up people.” Of course, there was the hope of overthrowing Chavismo, but in the end the “fucked up people” inside and outside of Venezuela is a collateralization of that misnamed “political diatribe” taken to aberrant levels. In the opposition today, no one is responsible. Nobody says “I went to ask for sanctions.” But they all continue to politically exploit the people they screwed over.
Few have been more used than migrants. They have been exploited for everything, to support the narrative of the “interim government,” to ask for money on their behalf, to feed mafias and frauds, coyotes, troupes, political shows… let’s stop counting.
Other Venezuelans who look at the country from the outside, and even at their peers outside, tend to do so with disdain. They do not care about the people, they care about the “argument” and establishing a supposed political “reason,” a “common sense.” They are interested in the diatribe, the stigma, pointing out, vilifying. Towards whom? “Everyone else.” Those who live in Venezuela, those who migrate if they are “dirty,” if they are “rogues,” if they are “bad people,” if they spit tobacco in New York. Put thousands of et cetera here.
A segment of the country was trained to hate automatically. All the derivatives of the treatment of one diaspora against another is hate with different types and levels of nuances.
The stigmas, the instrumentalization and/or exploitation of “fucked up people,” the ridicule and the supposed moral superiority of some over others, are expressions of hate. Classism and racism are hate in its purest form. Exploiting migration is another form of hate. The supposed “common sense” of the misnamed “debate” of Venezuelans abroad is viral and visceral because it allows hatred to be vented. Everything coincides in hate.
The root of the hatred is in anti-Chavismo itself and the construction of its political subjectivity. The opposition became an opposition thanks to the vehicle of hatred towards Chavismo, but then they turned against themselves, dividing themselves, confronting each other, reaching the point of asking for the blockade of an entire country even though their own fellow opponents, ordinary people, would suffer as well. That explains why those “who came first” hate “the others.”
Hate is a force that knows how to change shape and has tremendous adaptability, in such a way that it can drift like a loop; it is inexhaustible and can go in any direction, at any moment.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Franco Vielma is a Sociologist, writer. He is part of the Mision Verdad collective.
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