“There is a lot of optimism and hope that things will change”

hopethingswillchange


Conversations with Daniel Troconis from Maracaibo  

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.

In this edition we interview Daniel Troconis, a libertarian colleague from Maracaibp, collaborator with El Libertario and also a musician in the bands Doña Maldad and Mar de Rabia. He will be discussing topics like being a father and an antiauthoritarian in the current state of Venezuela

  • Let’s start with a common topic amongst all Venezuelans…Have you ever been robbed? Are you part of the crime statistics?

First of all hello everybody, thank you Rodolfo for conducting this interview and I congratulate your initiative of alternative journalistic documentation…Uff of course, I have been robbed since they stole my watch when I was 13 years old; I never used that watch again and lately they have stolen things from my home. Therefore, I would imagine that I do belong to the crime statistics.

  • How is the whole health situation in Zulia? Are the CDI health centres working?

Well we are going through a very hard time, almost pandemic…What can I tell you? My father died in a village from a heart attack, they moved him to 2 CDI’s that were closed at the time. When we arrived to the hospital of the Villa del Rosario (a village near Zulia) it was already too late. Not long ago my son suffered an asthma crisis and they gave him breathing therapies, however the utter state of precariousness is undeniable.

  • Is it difficult to combine activism with being a father?

Well I think it depends on the occasion. My son is 8 years old and I bring him to all the manifestations against the Arco Minero and against the exploitation of coal in the mountains of Perijá. I think that if we are both involved, we are together. I’d say that the task of being a parent in this country has become another form of activism.

  • How can we educate and strive for liberation?

We live in constant reflection, especially with the whole dismantling of the culture imposed on us for so many years. In Venezuela the last decade has become even stronger through media manipulation towards cultural hegemony, similar to the one during Chavismo. Therefore, we have fought to dismantle capitalism, along with the lies and official narrative. The education that we provide our children must be truly libertarian and transformed to break away from religious fanaticism and politics, and directed towards equal and collective societies.

  • Not many people remember this but you were always a campaigner against extractivism since the era of CRAMA (Radical Collective Blue Morfo) during 2004. How do you see the evolution of the anti-extractivist struggle? Are the same oppressors still responsible?

Thanks for acknowledging and remembering our previous initiatives that mark today’s struggle. Many colleagues still meet up and from the very beginning we never forgot El Libertario’s motto (No Revolution is financed by Multinationals). It is just like one of the songs from our band Doña Maldad: “The battle is not to grow, there is no future with their guides and the basis is rejected. From above it isn’t possible and downwards it is simply impossible…the same oppressors of always”

  • How is the issue of wind energy going in la Guajira? Are you aware of the Military District number 1 and the militarization of that region?

In regards to the wind park energy, according to what I have heard in the meetings of the Ecologist Front, corruption stole the money destined for this project, and in la Guajira some of the parts of the wind towers are already rusting. I am not aware of the Military District number 1, but I imagine that Francisco Arias Cárdenas and his “Milicombo”, as they are referred to in Zulia. We must reject all shitty, absurd, parasitical and abnormal military.

  • How do you see the alternative music scene in Zulia?

Nowadays the bands that are still active in the music scene keep performing a lot believing in the necessity of creating an active scene. Recently bands are making an effort to compose, rehearse, record, edit and distribute their music and organize their own concerts. Now more than ever the ethics of “Do it yourself” have become a necessity. DIY has been the evolution of the Punk, Metal Grind and Trash Crust scenes in Zulia. You are all invited to having a good time in our events prepared with lots of care and passion.

  • Do you buy regulated food or go to other markets and sources? How is the issue of scarcity?

I don’t queue a lot because I simply can’t. I have to work and when I get the chance to buy something regulated I take advantage of it. Indeed, we are all condemned to working and being paid with money that has no worth to buy highly valued products for the private food chains and a government responsible for all of this shit.

  • Have your water and electricity been rationed? With this unbearable heat in Zulia has the rock tradition of wearing only black clothing ended?

Yes, my water and electricity are rationed…There is no climate that will ever defeat rock traditions: we will always wear black!

  • Speaking of wearing black: How was the bike camp in the river Socuy? How is the cyclist movement in Maracaibo?

It was a great initiative of the collective Ciclovías Maracaibo. It organized walks and routes that  coexist with the people of the river Socuy by doing some activities like cine forums that deal with the importance of water and explain why we oppose extractivist politics, like the exploitation of natural energy resources…The  cyclist movement in Maracaibo is now also leaving the city to search for new paths, always manifesting the importance of the use of bicycles as a lifestyle, as an alternative towards the culture of clean energies and the best option to turn off the car and use a bicycle.

  • After performing with Doña Maldad across South-America and Euope…Why go back to your homeland?

One always comes back after going out experimenting…Maracaibo for Doña Maldad is like a reunion, whilst Jorge lives in Bogotá, from Maracaibo Hornocity we compose new songs for the band. The essence of the band is created from the same place, here we live within our inspirations and in the streets side by side. In any moment we will go out and perform again.

  • How is the mood in Zulia? Where are we heading towards?

There is a lot of optimism and hope that things will change, but also ignorance and a lot of indifference and apathy. I hate a world full of apathy, a dead and stupid society that obeys its master, god and fears, what the means of communication impose…Direct to the catastrophe! Like The Varukers said: “no masters, no slaves”

  • Now more than ever do believe that it is beneficial to evaluate anarchist ideas in Venezuela?

It is favourable and accurate. I have realized that the youth always have had that necessity of investigating their own conducts, and anarchism is the biggest expression of order, as order doesn’t exist, so all young people search and identify with a rebellious libertarian idea. This learning environment will be everlasting, but we must destroy all of these egocentric cultures based on sexism and absurd power of valuing the individual through his bank account and other goods. After destroying the patriarchal system, false family, religion, tradition, States, governments and military, we can start to shape a new horizontal collective based on mutual support and self-sufficiency, health and anarchy!

  • To end, what do you recommend to young people?

To believe in theirselves and hold on tightly to positive thoughts, attitudes that generate social changes. After chaos there will be a reawakening!

 

Written by Rodolfo Montes de Oca (rodolfomontesdeocar@gmail.com), Cronicas Negras

Translated by Pietro Kuyath (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

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“We have become conformists. We only get angry when we are queuing”

Conversation with Glauber González from the East

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.

In this edition we interview Glauber González, our libertarian colleague from the east and musician of the musical project “think and react”. He will be explaining to us how it is being a father in the current state of Venezuela.

 

An anarchist musician in Venezuela…How is it being a libertarian in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century?

It’s complicated.

 

I know that you are a father… How do you deal with the economic scarcity of raising a child in Venezuela?

It is extremely difficult because even if you have enough money for diapers, medicine or milk you still won’t be able to obtain them; and if you somehow manage to buy these items they will cost you 10 times the amount of what they usually cost.

 

Do you normally queue or engage in ‘bachaqueo’ (Black markets)? On which side of the spectrum are you on?

Sometimes I queue, sometimes I collaborate with bachaqueo and other times I look for other solutions to my problems. I am against the government because it is so depressing, frustrating and sickening what it has single-handedly done to all Venezuelans. The government has screwed us psychologically and economically.

 

Do you have access to clean water in your house?

I have lived in many places and where I currently live sometimes the water is murky, dirty or smells strange.

 

Do you constantly have power cuts? How do you do to prevent food from rotting?

I do experience lots of power cuts. I also don’t buy too much food to avoid decomposition.

 

Have you ever thought of emigrating?

Yes, but unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to do so.

 

Have you ever been a victim of criminal gangs? Have any lynchings happened where you live?

Yes, we were on the road and they broke our rubber wheels and stole everything from our car. In regards to lynching, if people have the chance of punishing thieves then they will do so, I have already seen 2 cases.

 

How is the attitude of the police or National Guards in your area?

Other than feeling completely disgusted by those puppets most of them also engage in bachaqueo and abuse the weakest people.

 

How do you deal with boredom? Locked up in your house, with no money living in a socialist state that doesn’t represent you?

I enjoy the boredom with my daughter.

 

Do you think that people are ignoring this situation?

No, I don’t think so. As I said to you before, this government has psychologically affected all Venezuelans.

We have become conformists, we only get angry or display passion when we are queuing. Discontentment exists but we need other actions to express this feeling.

 

What should the attitude of anarchists in Venezuela be in this moment?

Everyone should aim for direct and organized action.

 

To end this brief interview, would you like to add anything?

Thank you for taking me into account for the interview even though I am currently in standby with “think and react”. I hope that I get to see you again in other anarchist meetings and that we sing new songs that make us think and react.

 

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

 

There are still those of us who think that we can plant something for a new tomorrow

Conversations with Luis Vásquez from Cantaura/El Tigre

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.

In this edition we interview Luis Vásquez, libertarian colleague from Cantaura/El Tigre, musician in the band Genoxidio and promotor of the magazine “Existencia Muerta Records”. He will also be talking about being a father and libertarian in Venezuela:

1. Is it difficult being a father in the socialist state of Venezuela of the 21st century?

Hello comrade many thanks for taking the time for this initiative that helps us remember our objectives and bring together friends. In regards to the question, funnily enough I had my children at an ideal moment, as we weren’t so bad, and being a wage-earner meant that I could buy necessities for my children. Nowadays I see engineers, professionals and common people struggling to buy diapers or milk. Even though my kids are a little older it is still difficult being in charge and finding ways to bring food back home.

2. Have you had any health problems? What have you done when one of your children gets sick? Do you go to hospitals or clinics?

Thankfully I haven’t been sick recently. However one of my kids was in it got really complicated. After some time he’s recovered and this made us work even harder so that we could provide a medical insurance for all our children. No one pays it for us, we have opted for a private policy that isn’t too expansive. This at least gives us some tranquillity in regards to the wellbeing of our children. The situation in all hospitals is abysmal, in fact one of our nephews once came into the hospital with the flu and came out with a new illness.

3. How is the topic of education? Are you teaching?

Well now I have almost a year to conduct my personal project with my colleague, and we are also teaching in UNEF. I’m also finishing a post-graduate degree in logistics, which has resulted in a fusion of ideas between the processes of transport, libertarian ideas and bicycles. Teaching for me becomes a tool for showing my experiences rather than a profession to financially sustain myself with. It is one of the few activities that give me a sense of purpose, winning the respect and even admiration of students that I teach is incredibly gratifying.

4. You’ve had several business ventures with record labels like Existencia Muerta Records and the rehearsal room Meu Avo… What is going on with these projects?

The record label Existencia Muerta still exists and survives by offering discounts of even 70% and only sending through Ipostel, which takes up to one year to arrive to the intended destination. We decided to close our rehearsal room due to the crisis and several robbery attempts. We have started a new project and had to sell all our equipment to continue building our new office. We are dedicating ourselves to something which we believe will be successful and very well received by the community.

5. How is the issue of shortages where you live?

Here, like in most capital cities, it’s a complete disaster. The amount of people that are in the streets waiting for trucks to bring products is incredible because it is more reasonable to queue for 5 hours to buy a packet of diapers.

This is definitely an ingrained social problem. I have been in queues where bikers take control of the queue and pick which people can buy products. The police never intervene, I have seen all of this with my own eyes. There is a supermarket near my house that always saves some food for neighbours, which is consoling in this perverse context.

6. Have you ever been robbed? Do you belong to the crime statistics?

Of course they have. I was robbed 2 times by bikers and one time they entered our home and stole everything. This has been a really hard blow on us, especially now when it is so difficult to acquire things. This has made me lose faith in humanity, we now sleep with one of our eyes open, as my grandmother used to say.

7. How are the rationings of water and electricity in your area? Do you have internet, water and electricity?

Here shortages occur once a day every three hours, which is a huge inconvenience for work, but I use the time to read or do some kind of activity that doesn’t depend on electricity. The internet is total crap, in fact in my house we haven’t had any internet for three months. This has been reported but unless you offer money to the technicians no one will ever fix it, but oh well, I guess will have to get used to this?

8. You have participated in several solidarity campaigns with people who weren’t specifically anarchists but still managed to fight against the contamination of Tascabaña with José Manuel Delmoral and Rosbel Rangel… Could you expand on these campaigns?

I am still in contact with José Manuel. Not long ago they threw a grenade on the pavilion where he was imprisoned in. Thankfully he wasn’t injured and managed to escape alive, 5 people were injured one person died. I think that the grenade was intended for someone who was having trouble with criminal gangs and innocent people had to suffer the consequences. José could have died, which just goes to show the dangers of being imprisoned in Venezuela. Currently he is starting a new trial, his third one. He’s unfairly been in prison for 6 years, and when his previous trial was about to end they changed the judge. This is one of the thousands of cases that are happening in the country.

9. Does the ruling party remain being the main political hegemony force in Anzoátegui?

No, here people are beginning to make more of an effort, they are passive but very angry. The opposition takes advantage of this and I still don’t understand how people still fall into the same old trap. The thing is that here there is an inexplicable passivity, which makes me think that a huge social explosion is bound to happen. And I will be there to celebrate this awakening.

10. What are your thoughts on the anarchist movement in Venezuela?

There are some fearless comrades that never give up. There are others that distance theirselves for some time and eventually come back. Finally, there are some that have completely distanced themselves from the idea and stopped believing, but there are still those of us who think that we can plant something for a new tomorrow. I have decided to do what I can, perhaps in a more individualistic manner but I’m always interested in collective initiatives. I know that now more than ever we are suffering but we will get out of this mess stronger than ever, as my parents used to say “In the face of adversity, practice solidarity”.

11. To end this interview…What would you recommend to all younger comrades? What is going to happen in Venezuela?

I am happy that there is a large community of young people, especially here in the east that organize things. I express my admiration towards them because it must be exhausting and difficult. I try to help in any way I can all these comrades. My slogan is “we have been dealt a very hard era” but this is all part of the spectacle, strong and new ideas will come out of this. I can’t even fathom that something worse is going to happen in Venezuela than what we are facing today. Ironically this is what I told myself a year ago, so we have to prepare ourselves and do things to try to survive. I have had the chance to leave this country but I still have hope, I want to stay here because this is the place where my grandparents believed in. I can’t leave this ship because of these complications, I think that we all must try to contribute something to try and improve this rotten society.

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Black Chronicles: “To change things I would return”

Conversation with Jaime “el chino” Chang

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.
In this last edition we interview Jaime Chang from Brazil, libertarian colleague, better known by everybody as “el chino” (the Chinese)  for his Asian ancestry. He was a member of the local anarcho-punk scene, collaborating with music, magazines and art.

How was to live in socialist Caracas?

Living in socialist Caracas was a crucial time in my life which convinced me that I didn’t want anything to do with the State. It also helped me grow as an autonomous individual.
I remember that working or being connected to the government was one of my goals and a solution for many people. I managed to work in many cultural projects, where a hierarchy based on status existed. There was a huge gap between newbies like me and those who had already been working there. Instead of growing together as a collective through solidarity, I noticed all the competition in the environment, as old workers felt intimidated by new competences. There was a mini mafia recruiting all of the most skilfully workers that fitted into their aesthetic group. You then saw them all in all the cultural programs and shortly after they all had new motorbikes that the State offered, it looked like there were already assigned for them and the sons of military members.
The university was decadent every day, indefinite unemployment and the dining rooms eventually stopped working.
I was very excited when everybody started expressing their discontent, there was solidarity with many teachers and we were all united in the same fight. I remember that there were student demonstrations, book sales to spread news and elaboration of banners.
We all went together to demand our rights to the principal of the university. But when the fight started gaining momentum, the discontent was divided into red or blue.

University life was reduced to queuing for a number in the secretary department to get into the waiting list. The attraction of the queue was to see in the message board the requirements that you had to present to get the paperwork to leave, it was like playing bingo.
In the social areas, the high cost of living and precariousness helped build alternative means. Amongst these the necessity of generating DIY guides (Do it yourself) arose. This scheme took into account recent events with leisure time: In youtube you can find many tutorials, including with many household materials that we discard daily.
These home meeting became more frequent and we made lots of Friends. They became offices or workshops for vegan cuisine, video forums, DIY offices and even tattoos.

What motivated you to leave Venezuela?

I left as a consequence of an emotional crisis. I felt sad, lost, fooled and like a prisoner. The social expectations were to gain respect and admiration by being the liveliest person. I simply didn’t identify with this behaviour of harming people just to benefit a few individuals, I couldn’t stand being surrounded by these types of people. I feel like one doesn’t have the chance to grow as an individual in this atmosphere.
The main reason for my departure was to destroy this past and rebuild it in another place, isolated from all these toxic people. I wanted to be able to solve problems without relying on any contacts (I am sick of pragmatic friendships), test my autonomy and continue practicing my Portuguese.

During your time in Venezuela did they ever steal from you? In Brazil there is delinquency…is it the same like Venezuela? Where do you feel safer?

They robbed me once a Discman with a cd, which is a pretty harmless robbery, whilst I was leaving the underground station of Chacaíto.
In Brazil there are lots of robberies. They tried to steal from me in São Paulo when I was returning from the place I was living in.
Comparing the fact that I don’t have to worry about the time that I have to return home, I feel much safer here. Maybe the use of my bicycle influences this, as I don’t have to depend on the timetable services of a bus.

You have travelled a lot in Brazil? Talk a little about these trips.

Brazil is huge, each state is like a country where the accent and use of words and cultural context vary a lot. São Paulo is called the grey city for its asphalts, buildings and smoke from the factories.
In December 2014 there was a very interesting festival of anarchist films in the centre of São Paulo. There were international guests of the Anarchist Federations. Representatives of Mexico, France, Radio Berlin, FAL in Argentina and the federation of Valdivia, Chile.
We did a vegan barbecue in the social centre of the comrades of popular uprisings. I talked about movements, collectives, publications and bands in Venezuela and we culminated in melodies with the accordion.
I was left very impressed by the immense market of faith that Brazil possesses. It is a block where you can see several Christian churches of different branches, all of them next to each other. In the favelas you can see rented houses with people opening churches. It is absurd the amount of churches, common in all states.
It is common to see many people that live in the street and people collect cardboard in a trolley to recycle. It has lots of people from different ethnic groups. There are lots of people from communities like the Asian, Hispanic, black, LGBT and even Americans and Europeans for work or tourism. With so much ethnic diversity I can’t explain why there are still intolerant neo-nazis in the underground. In relation to intolerance, there is a segregation of people from the north and south. The northerners are pejoratively considered farmers. I travelled in several states in which I lived with these people, amongst them:
Bahia is beautiful, its black roots are present everywhere. From capoeira to the amazing acarajés (a bean croquette with a salad), there were lots of vegan options. The warmth of the Bahia is equally reflected through the people and the weather. Here I met the collectives crust or die and the napalm raid. I stayed in the house of a great friend, the coexistence was incredible. Every day we grew together by watching documentaries, exchanging bands, making magazines, composing music, cooking vegan food and clearing the land for farmers.
With these experiences in Bahia I started building my base. My friend even stopped working in his paid job and now works independently with vegan food. We all started selling alfajores (caramel cookies).
I witnessed the best party of San Juan in Campina Grande, in June they celebrate the corn and rain. I pretended to dance until I lost consciousness. I never imaged being in a celebration were the heroes were corn and the accordion. The only thing else I needed was a cachapa to feel at home.
Now I’m living a few metres away from the beach. I’m sharing a space with 3 people from Bike Vegan, which promotes urban cycling and vegan cuisine, demystifying it as gourmet.

Are you already a master of capoeira?

I learnt all the basics and I think that I would be able to defend myself. It is admirable how all people know how to play the pandeiro. Capoeira is basically letting go, sharpening reflexes to react and control any negative intentions. Applying this to my daily life has helped me come out of challenging situations.

What are the differences between living in Brazil and Venezuela?

Differences…Caribbean beaches are enviable. There is no folkloric music that compares to ours: the unpredictable rhythms stimulate all of us to sing. Even our accent is nice.

Do you feel any nostalgia for Venezuela? What are your fondest memories?

I feel nostalgia for my family and Friends. My fondest memory is going out every Saturday to the market next to the crystal park to eat cachapas (Venezuelan pancakes), the rivers and cakes of Mérida.

What techniques and discussions learnt in anarchist groups Brazil would you bring to Venezuela?

Management and organization of events, autonomous fairs and teaching vegan cooking workshops (demystifying from its supposed gourmet label).

How do you currently see Venezuela?

I must admit that I’m a little isolated from its current situation. I only find out through my friends and I try to collaborate with art.

Would you ever return to change things in Venezuela?

To change things I would return.

To end the interview… What would you like to say to your libertarian comrades in Venezuela?

The transmission of magazines with vegan content can be a link to connect members of the community. Through this common interest, using it as an alternative to fight scarcity, a community based activity could be organized, and the money collected could be used for a common good, such as: materials for cultivating food into the communities land.
A magazine or video publication could be done which shows the community how we organize ourselves, solve problems and other learning experiences that could be useful.
Local communities could be presented with this initiative, offer workshops and organize days of this initiative with other communities, creating a type of community network. This scheme could be organized at a certain time and could raise money for a social centre.

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Black Chronicles: “We are in the best historical context for expanding anarchist ideas”

Conversation with Maroc Díaz

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.
In this edition we interview Maroc Díaz, literary colleague and teacher, who will be discussing libertarian education in Venezuela.

So you’re a professor and an anarchist?

I think that people like me use education as a link to expand libertarian ideas in order to raise awareness for students, taking into account that education is universal and doesn’t belong to any State. With regards to being an anarchist teacher, I don’t consider myself an anarchist per se. I consider myself more of a free thinker that sympathises with libertarian ideas because they are the only viable path capable of bringing about emancipation and total autonomy for human beings.

Are you encouraging disobedience through your lessons?

Absolutely, there will never be freedom without disobedience! Disobedience especially against all the regulations imposed by any system through education. Some of us educators try to teach through libertarian ideas.

How is the education system in Venezuela?

It is the same as any other type of government that manipulates for its own conveniences, it should be called indoctrination rather than education. Education as a whole is a synonym of emancipation. Now if you asked me about the salary or guidelines taken from the government program, everything taken by the government in any part of the world would be the same. Aspects like decadence, especially in Venezuela, political salaries and the shamelessness of educative reforms, such as imposing obligatory books for studies, are considered more important than any attempt to reform educational welfare.

Is it viable to reactivate libertarian education proposals?

Activate and reactivate until the end of time!

How can we develop a pedagogy that isn’t dogmatic?

By teaching people to think for theirselves without imposing libertarian ideas as alternatives. All teaching must be done through historical facts in order for people to come to their own conclusions. Many times people know the problem, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to solve it due to fear, apathy or pleasure.

Are you into Rock music? How is the Rock scene in Venezuela?

I like Rock, Metal, Punk, Blues, Jazz, Classical, Electronic, Caribbean, Afrocaribbean, Ska, Merengue jajaja I don’t have any band in particular that I identify myself with. I’m not familiar with the Rock scene in Venezuela, I think that younger people are trying to keep it active.

Do you buy regulated products or engage in bachaqueo ?

I buy regulated products and also deal with bachaqueo. When you have daughters, these are your only options, even though I’m always looking for alternatives.

Have you ever been robbed?

Fortunately I have never been robbed.

How do you encourage young people to study when being a delinquent is more profitable?

This is one of the hardest challenges for educators in Venezuela. The first thing I do is organize them into cultural, sporting and musical activities to demonstrate that creativity is always healthier and more rewarding.

How do you view the ticket price increase of public transport?

In this country there is no control over prices. The cost of eating increases and drivers also need to eat, so they raise the prices.

How is the issue of basic services in your home?

We have power cuts up to 2 times each day and water shortages every 15 days approximately.

Do you have light and electricity?

Yes, even though the service fails regularly.

How do you view the political and economic prospects in Venezuela?

Venezuela has always been politically and economically unstable since its “Democratic” beginnings in 1958. It continues to be more of the same thing: corruption, demagogy, media manipulation, numbness of the minds and all the other things that politicians always do, which is to screw us with their “government” game and create a moral crisis in society. This doesn’t mean that we have to put someone else in charge and look for possible solutions to the problem: they are the problem.

Where exactly are we heading towards?

If there are no more social outbreaks during the remaining time of 2016 then it is because we are clearly in a dictatorship. It is a political contradiction that in a “democratic” country facing such political, economic and moral hardship like Venezuela nothing is happening.

How do you view the anarchist movement in Venezuela?

From what I have expanded in my field, most of my colleagues are making a huge effort to maintain workshops, assemblies, self-sufficiency ideas and more libertarian activities. My colleagues in the state of Zulia, “La Hormiga” in the state of Miranda and your newspaper El Libertario in the capital of Caracas are shining examples of many organized colleagues and individuals that are expanding the anarchist movement in Venezuela.

What do you want to say to all your anarchist readers?

We are living under the best historical context for the expansion of anarchist ideas. We are living in a time where self-sufficiency workshops and libertarian assemblies could be strong alternatives against the social desperation of this militarist, corrupt government derived from Nicolas Maduro. It is urgent for all individuals and organizations to unite theirselves around ideas. Anarchist practises are necessary to change this decadent social world into a better place.

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Black Chronicles: “In Venezuela girls grow up dreaming of be-coming Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe”

girl

Conversation with Sol Terán

Black Chronicles are a series of interviews conducted to different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.

In this edition we interview Sol Terán, our libertarian colleague who belongs to the group of Vene-zuelans that have had to immigrate to other countries. She is the editor of feminist magazine Döder-line and member of the band BETOE.

To start this conversation can you tell me a little more about your magazine Döderline and where this name comes from?

The Döderlein Zine is an anarchist magazine elaborated manually that deals with several issues like feminism, sexual liberation, politics and punk. We gave the magazine this name because the bacillus bacteria in charge of protecting the vagina from infections and diseases is named after it. It is some-what of a tribute towards these microorganisms hat support us in the protection against external agents that want to hurt us jejeje

How did you manage to run the magazine in Venezuela with the high cost of printing and pa-per shortage?

During the days when the first number was released we didn’t really notice the paper shortage, alt-hough copies were very expensive. What we did was only print when somebody solicited the maga-zine, along with always asking for collaborations in order to get photocopies.

Venezuela is renowned for its beautiful women. Do you think that this fact is stereotyped ac-cording to those interested in managing capital?

Of course! Publicity is completely exploited, in Venezuela girls grow up dreaming of becoming Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe. From a young age they are educated into a certain lifestyle, specific ways of eating, how to dress and act. The only beneficiary of this upbringing is capitalism.

Is there any way of being an anarchist and feminist whilst maintaining the gentleness and sweetness of women?

I think that ideals don’t define your character and gentleness and sweetness aren’t conditioned by gender.

The presence of women inside initiatives and libertarian activities in Venezuela is scarce…What causes this “masculine” majority in Venezuelan anarchism?

I think that libertarian ideals are stereotyped, I have known many libertarian and anarchist women in Venezuela that embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle off the grid, working with the community and do-ing things for themselves without the necessity of using any labels. On a conceptual level they don’t know that this lifestyle entails a label, for instance in the case of women that live in the countryside and indigenous women.

How was it living in a country where you must queue for hours to obtain menstrual pads or where obtaining contraceptive pills is a nightmare?

It was sad to see how conditioned Venezuelan women are thanks to the oil income, which has given the country industrialized products without providing the opportunity for any choice and in a certain way this is a favourable advantage. Through publicity capitalism creates the illusion of the necessity of a certain product and when this product is scarce, people start looking for other options. Menstru-al pads, tampons and contraceptive pills are not a good choice, there are thousands of natural alter-natives that are less harmful for organisms and the planet. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to start this magazine was to spread these natural resources for everyone.

In Venezuela maternity is seen as an obligation and not a choice…What are your thoughts on this? Are you in favour of abortion?

This happens due to the values indoctrinated into girls when they are little, as they are taught that their only goal in life, growing up, is having children and spending the rest of their lives being mothers and looking after the house and taking care of the family. This is like a form of control caused by our overwhelmingly sexist culture. In Venezuela there are still many families that think this way and don’t propose female empowerment. I am in favour of abortion because I think that as owners of our bodies we have the right and freedom to do whatever we want, and I also think that sex should stop being a taboo in the sexual education of children.

In Venezuela no crime statistics exist, do you think that this is due to the complicity of the State?

Silence is complicity. Venezuela has a criminal government, it doesn’t take any measures against the basic necessities of people, like human rights, in a criminal state. In Venezuela the majority of crimes receive impunity because the government allows criminal gangs to acquire power by giving them weapons and protection.

In Venezuela the number of crimes committed against women has increased…are we the new city of Juárez in South America?

No, crimes against women haven’t necessarily increased, it’s just that now women have decided to report more because they now know that it’s a crime that is wrong. Abuse towards women has al-ways existed, but there was always a lot of silence due to fear of retaliation.

You are from the Andes (Andina) but you have also lived in Puerto Ordaz and Caracas. How was it living in those places?

Caracas being the capital was full of people, lots of chaos in the street, lots of traffic, it was really hard for me to adapt to that city and I was very stressed. Afterwards I lived in Maturín, an eastern city of the country that was very hot, boring and quite sexist. Going out in the streets entailed listen-ing to a variety of barbarities. Finally, I returned to San Cristóbal, which I think is the only city of Venezuela where you can live calmly, people are very shy and respectful, even though this has also changed throughout these last years.

Why did you emigrate? What pushes Venezuelan anarchists to leave their country and go to other places?

To learn new ways of living and doing things for my personal growth. In the tour that we did with our band B.E.T.O.E last winter we had the chance of sharing our experiences with many anarchists from many different places that did incredible things. This opened our eyes a little more in regards to different ways of living and doing things.

What recommendations and suggestions can you give to those who decide to stay?

Fighting for what you believe in is always comforting, it gives us all motive to keep moving for-ward.

To end…would you like to say something to your followers?

A big hug to everyone that fights every day to make this world a more just and egalitarian place! If you want copies of döderlein zine send an email to doderlein.diystro@gmail.com and we will send you copies. Thank you for the support and long live anarchism!

 

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

El Libertario, Venezuela: Black Chronicles – Luis Sulbaran

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Black chronicles

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.

Interview with Luis Sulbaran, a young anarcho-punk from Barquisimeto, member of punk band Warsystem, editor of Rebelion Libertaria and part of the collective Acracia. In April he organized anarcho-punk meetings in Guanare.

-How is it being a young anarchist in Venezuela’s current socialist regime? Is it challenging?

Well, for starters, this so called socialist regime is nothing more than a lie. Political revolutions can’t achieve anything if no social revolution exists. It is a lie that has been ingrained into so many Venezuelan people for many years. There are only change of governments, whilst the state keeps accumulating our efforts and riches, uses people with forms of blackmail like patriotism, religion and politics, thus reminding us constantly that these elements are indispensable for our lives in each electoral campaign, and as predicted, the population falls into this trap by believing the game. It’s complicated, like everywhere else, I suppose. The polarization in Venezuela has been in charge of silencing the opposition. And the people in this country are used to being dependent on the state and political parties, it doesn’t matter what slogan or colour they have because apathy distorts humanity.

You play in a band called Warsystem… Can you tell us a Little more about this musical Project?

Of course. The band is a way to enhance our lives. We are a new project that is giving rotten Venezuela D-beat music. For now we are concentrating on recording our first EP, always basing ourselves on the “Do it yourself” motto to be autonomous and make the current punk scene understand that we don’t need bureaucratic spaces to organize our events. That only by brotherhood and mutual support we can make punk a real movement in this piece of land.

Do you queue to buy food or engage in “bachaqueo”?

I despise bachaqueo. Seeing our own people screw therselves further by engaging in this activity disgusts me because the only ones that gain money through this process are the contraband food mafias. I don’t consume anything that comes from animals, so I generally but vegetables, fruits in markets and I also recycle. I try to buy the less food possible because in the big distributor chains lots of food is thrown away and they prefer wasting it rather than simply rendering it cheaper or giving it away for free. But of course, I have queued up to buy regulated food for some relatives, however I personally don’t like queueing because it saddens me to see so much miserable and desperate people that will kill each other for things like flour or a packet of baby nappies.

Have you been victim of any crime? Have they lynched anyone where you live?

This is another factor that shows the lack of consciousness amongst us: to see your own neighbourhood constantly stealing. It is not sufficient that the government and banks rob us, now your own neighbour and other people come and take your possessions by force. Yes, I have been a victim of a crime. The stole my electric guitar whilst I was walking to my house. A motorbike intercepted me with two men and I had to give them my instrument and now I am left with absolutely nothing to play with. I use my friend’s guitars in the meantime.

How is electricity rationing where you live?

Well I think that it is the same everywhere in the country. Nowadays we already have the timetables for when the electricity will shut down. However in my opinion the issue of electricity and water rationing is a hypocrisy by the Venezuelan state. On one hand they declare Friday to be a festive day to entertain people with rumba and alcohol, whist they exploit our land in La Sierra de Perija with the corporation Carboelectrica. This transnational deal based on mining produces a lot of contamination in our most important territories.

How have people reacted to the ticket price increase for public transport?

Here a ticket from the north zone to the city centre will cost you 50 or 70 Bs during the day. However at night-time they will charge you 100 Bs for the same bus. People still pay for it, they have no other option, even though they express their discontent when they are charged. There have been a couple of strikes from both users and transport workers, primarily due to the lack of replacements.

Are you having any problems with the internet?

Lately is has been relatively stable, even though sometimes it shuts down.

What is your opinion on Henry Flacon and his desire to become president?

I mainly see Henry Falcon as a parasite and opportunist. He knows this better than anyone. Just like all politicians, he tries to take advantage of his power in the government to increase his capital. It is a well-known fact that he’s the owner of many big businesses in the city of Barquisimeto. In regards to his management, I have always criticized the fact that he is a shameless scoundrel. Instead of worrying about human necessities like health, he organizes even more pathetic events with pathetic “artists” to keep on distracting the population. For instance stupidities like creating artificial beaches and building an enormous Virgin statue, wasting a huge budget that we have paid for! Our bank Warsystem talks about the wonderful management of Henri Falcon in the track “Barquisimeto stinks of shit”. This all fails to surprise me, any idiot wants to be the president because they know that it pays well.

Do you think people are growing tired of the government and opposition? Where are we heading towards?

Personally, we know that nowadays Chavismo has a huge impact on people. They were forced to vote for Nicolas Maduro with remorse and a lot of emotional blackmail and propaganda that Christians use when they want you to come to their church. Something absurd along the lines of “Chavez died for us so we must vote for Maduro”. The population is confused and cheated thanks to their dependence on religion and the state. However, now it’s an entirely different story: When hunger attacks there is no ideology of political faithfulness that is worth anything. People know that everything is screwed. Many have some hope in left-wing parties. This is ingenuous because the population have trouble understanding that no matter who you vote, they will all arrive to the government’s palace to become bourgeois. And the people? They will keep on being slaves, condemned to consumerism, obedience and death. Where are we heading for? People are hungry, thirsty and fed up. We might be close to a social explosion.

Have you ever thought about running away from all of this by crossing the border and leaving? Or do you have to stay to build and fight?

All patriots are idiots. I consider myself hugely anti-patriotic because that is another form of blackmail and a way to dominate people. The trigger of xenophobia is patriotism. I think that we must build and fight wherever you happen to be located. Given how I am in Venezuela, the fight begins here.

 What do you think about the whole issue surrounding the Arco Minero del Orinoco?

This is one of the things that worries me the most. Especially in regards to all the apathy that exists towards the topic. During the anarcho-punk meetings we talked about the Motor Minero and how we could act against this problem. This program implies the biggest eco-suicide in South-America, along with violating human rights. To obtain a gram of gold, approximately 450 mil of water is used. The water that the state refuses to give us is used in the Arco Minero in Orinoco.

The disrespect to indigenous tribes is particularly tragic. The government has manipulated this issue by stating that there would be no transnational companies working there, despite the fact that 150 transnationals have been allowed to extract gold, steel and other materials of industrial use. We have to act now and manifest our discontent in the streets against this decree which will bring devastation to the earth, fauna, vegetation, water and us.

Did you know that we all must be inscribed in the Compulsory Military registration? How do you view the militarization of society?

Of course I know. In fact, I was sharing this with my colleagues of Provea and Laboratorio de Paz in the city when I attended the workshop of “I am a citizen, not a soldier”. It is an excellent workshop. Look, we now live in a government where the leader of the followers is from the military. We also live in a place where the means of communication are released to the public, but controlled by the military. Several military companies operate in Venezuela, such as Seguros Horizonte and CAMMIPEG. For the government it is necessary to keep the population in a state of constant dependence and this path is achieved through militarisation. It enhances hierarchies and keeps their pawns ready in case they “need to defend the motherland”, or more specifically, defend the interests of power and permanent government.

-What activities are you doing in Barquisimeto? Do anarchist organizations exist?

Well, firstly this neighbourhood was characterized as a main focus of resistance groups, such as the Kiosko Alternativo. After this movement died, anarchist organizations in Barquisimeto started disappearing. There were still groups, but they were anarchists that served as electoral propaganda for the state, and they saw Chávez as “The voice of the people”. Currently, we are starting anarchism again from the bottom, we have several compatriots with common ideas and with my friend Esteban Mejíaz we have been participating in the collective group of action ACRACIA. We are gaining steam slowly, but we are never stopping. The first of our activities was the organization of the Anarcho-punk day in Guanare 2016. We are also organizing a group with the FLIA Barquisimeto with the intention of distributing independent written material on the streets, without permission.

How was the Anarcho-punk meeting in Guanare? Do you think it’s the first time that a libertarian activity was organized in the village? How was the reception from the people?

I can tell you that people quickly came around to the meeting and enjoyed the music and really liked our intention to bring something different to the community, which is only accustomed to the music they hear currently on commercial radios. I am not sure if this was the first anarchist activity organized, but I can assure you that it will not be the last and we hope to count on your support and anybody that wants to participate.

 What should Libertarians attitudes be in these moments?

Affinity and kinship, primarily. We are living in very difficult times and I don’t want to sound too pessimistic, but the worst is yet to come. We must remain united against anything that could come and always support popular fights searching for alternatives, agitating and awaking the crowds. We have to organize ourselves well and build together an anarchist movement that grows every day more. Think globally, act locally.

 -What would you like to add to conclude? What do you recommend to compatriots?

We must never give up. The fight has just begun. In all the places that we find ourselves, let’s fight for liberation, mutual support and anarchy. We must never remain silent against the state. We have to understand our surroundings and inform ourselves constantly. Anarchism, being revolutionary, can never remain motionless, but in constant movement. Let’s form free associations, counter-informative means of communication, social centres. Let’s work together and get rid of traditions based on oppression that limit our liberty. Anarchism is responsibility. Think, act, do it yourself.

Article taken from anarchist Venezuelan newspaper El Libertario (http://periodicoellibertario.blogspot.com/search/label/Cr%C3%B3nicas%20Negras)

Written by Rodolfo Montes de Oca

Translated into English by Pietro Casati