Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating the struggles the face living in one of the few socialist regimes. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations in which they are forced to live in.
In this edition we interview Carlos Equiz, anarchist, cyberpunk and programmer.
How is it being a cyberpunk anarchist in such a socialist country as Venezuela? How is your everyday life?
It’s a constant battle, especially of ideas. In this current version of Venezuela where the masters present themselves on TV with rifles, the best weapon to fight is knowledge to sharpen our intelligence.
It is a well-known fact that Venezuela is one of the countries with the slowest Internet in South-America, how do you deal with that?
If there is one thing in particular which has strengthened my patience, it is the speed of my Internet, of 1 mb maximum. Add to this service interferences and you will get an idea of how much of a challenge it is to download and upload any content.
The government has invested money and publicity in promoting free software systems… What are your thoughts on that?
I am a free software user in my daily life, I recognize that there is a free software community dedicated to the development and promotion of that type of culture, but their ideological compromise with power completely steers away from my principles.
Indeed, the majority of the software used in Venezuela is free or has been liberated. In any place you can obtain a pirated Windows copy and that software is widely used in big businesses, banks, government entities and even in our own homes.
You are from the east of Venezuela, how are things there? Do you suffer there from the typical Venezuelan situations of “scarcity-insecurity-militarisation”?
We’ve suffered the same fate as everyone else, scarcity is acute, queues for food are very long and the repression and abuse from the military is also becoming present. Reality slaps us in the face when we see uniformed men in supermarkets with their merchandise, demonstrating that you have become a second class citizen.
Do Internet networks contain certain anarchist traits and practises? Without hierarchies?
Currently the most used Internet networks are capitalistic, so people do what CEO’s tell them to do.
Do you engage in “Bachaqueo” online? What are your thoughts on whatsapp networks used to inform people where regulated products are located?
I don’t do bachaqueo. I am currently unaware about these whatsapp networks.
Scarcity has generated new apps that inform their subscribers where to obtain certain products. What is your opinion on this?
From an optimistic perspective, I think that the constant need to innovate through apps that informs people of the availability of a product can be of great help for people living in isolated zones away from the city. However the real problem here is scarcity itself.
What are your thoughts on groups like Anonymous Venezuela?
From what I know they are an organization that supports ethical hacking, but I have never contacted them.
A question that has never been formulated to an anarchist is: What is
your opinion of social networks? Facebook, twitter, Instagram? Where is the limit between spectacle and propaganda?
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram obey economic interests, it is a little hard to put into context the amount of information they control, and what they do with it. Basically, every piece of information that users give to these networks grants them the power to submit us all to close inspection to present content that, in their own words, “interests us more”, so you must always question everything you see in these networks.
In Venezuela many people have been arrested for tweeting against the government in social networks. What are your thoughts on this situation?
I extend my solidarity to them if we don’t share the collective ideology, I think people are experiencing a very delicate situation, as evidenced by the cruelty of the totalitarian state. I don’t know all the cases and I dread to think that by simply writing a tweet the government can destroy your house, accuse you of being a terrorist and destroy your life by sending you to jail.
Venezuela is living in a strange situation… ex-anarchists being deputies or culture ministers… How do you see this?
There is no such thing as an ex-anarchist because they never were one in the first place. Pizarro and Ñañez represent everything that I don’t want to become when I grow up.
What should our attitudes be towards the crisis that Venezuela is facing?
They have taken away lots of things and imposed others. It’s time we end this passivity and submission.
Thanks for the interview. Any last words you want to say?
I am very grateful for this interview, it has been really fun to answer your questions, you are more than welcome to come and appreciate our beaches and contaminated sunsets.
Text taken from Venezuelan anarchist newspaper “El Libertario” (http://periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com/2016/05/cronicas-negras-entrevista-salvador.html)
Originally written by Rodolfo Montes de Oca
Translated by Pietro Casati