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“How much blood are we to spill in the name of freedom?,” I asked myself for a long time. That question was in my head for too many years after my late father told me “for Venezuela to be free, son, it will take a lot of blood.”
Looking at the latest developments in the United States, it is impossible not to feel my heart wrinkle with Ashli Babbit’s assassination at the hands of the American Secret Service. She entered the Capitol with the mob that was on the march. She was not an Antifa, she was not from BLM. Around her neck, Ashli had a flag with President Trump’s name on it.
The reason I am writing these lines is that, based on my father’s lesson, I understood that thanks to a certain kind of leadership at key moments, the worst finally happened. And if my father were here, I would tell him that a lot of the blood that is shed is because of them.
And I don’t just mean Trump, who I praised countless times deservedly. I mean the entire American elite. This chaos is the result of a system that is on the verge of oligarchy, thanks to corporate and partisan factions that came together to disbelieve in the Republic and destroy it. That same people who disdain half the population that for years was forgotten and pushed into the shadows, are today silently celebrating these unnecessary deaths.
The worst has happened. The people who entered the Capitol aren’t Jesus expelling the merchants from the temple. The people who entered aren’t sent by some anti-Globalist god. The people who entered were driven by a totally legitimate anger, they were driven by the mistrust of a political system that still persists, which although it may not be finished, it is definitely eroding. The people that rushed in, did so because there was no strong enough and authoritative leadership to deter the masses from being instigated by hooligans.
Anger is legitimate, and so is frustration. The action was legitimate until they broke into the Capitol and began to think that vandalizing congressional offices would persuade the officials so they “could be heard.”
The most worrying thing isn’t about those who broke into the Capitol, but the legitimacy that the Republic and half of the population are losing. And all of this has been compounded by many Latinos whose legitimate suffering I share. But no, my friends, it’s far from comparable. The United States is not a backyard of tyrants given over to the demons. America does have its internal enemies, but just because they are in Congress, doesn’t mean its facilities should be destroyed. That is absurd.
The Republic is constituted by laws that citizens decide to obey and exalt, because in them rest, develop and deepen virtues that enabled citizens to lead decent lives. Diego de la Llave, a young Spaniard with whom I sporadically talk to, but whose lucidity I always applaud, wrote an article where he recalls the decadent times of the Rome that once shone, and how they resemble the current state of America.
First the elites freed themselves from their duties to the Republic in the name of personal benefit and worldliness. Later, differences among people grew and became deeper. The people, eager for identity and cohesion, placed their hopes on charismatic leaders. These leaders saw that more than a natural element of the State, force could be an end in itself to achieve whatever their political objectives were. What happened next need not be stated; you can go to Rome and carress its ruins.
Those Latino champions of Homeric poetry who ask for blood in America are the darker side of my father’s prophecy. Surely they don’t know how fast one’s blood freezes and how the universe suddenly swallows your stomach when you hear the motorcycles of the Bolivarian National Guard and the communist paramilitaries approaching with long weapons, to which thousands pretended to fight with wooden shields and bear hands. They don’t know, and if they lived through it, they didn’t learn anything, which is even worse.
Meditating on my father’s lesson, I think that blood has always been necessary. In a way, my father’s blood brought me to the ideals that I treasure so much today. I also think that what my father wanted to tell me, with his slightly drooping eyes, with his comforting voice, is that sacrifice will always be present, but we can never live through other people’s sacrifices. That only happened and will happen once.
My father always referred to Venezuela, not the United States. He thought correctly, unlike those who transform the frustration of the loss of their country into a thirst for blood in other countries. And if it is not bloodlust, but hysteria, then they are part of the reason we lost our countries in the first place.
I don’t care who likes or dislikes this reflection. I only pretend to be at peace with God, with my father, and the rest of my loved ones who are dead and yet alive in the lessons they left me.
For those fools who call to destroy America in the name of America, in the end, blood is cheap as long as it is not theirs. Grief and regret is what I feel, thinking that at some point I will have to make a country with these people. But it is a patriot’s duty.
… So help me God.
Rafael Valera, Venezuelan, student of Political Science, political exile in São Paulo, Brazil since 2017 // Rafael Valera, venezolano, es estudiante de Ciencias Políticas y exiliado político en São Paulo, Brasil desde 2017