I had a very varied weekend. Friday was filled with errands and a lot of running around to help my sister and her kids get ready for a two week get away to Caracas. Once they were on their way I was on mine, back home to run some more errands of my own. I stayed-in Friday night reading and catching up on TV and watched Nights in Rodanthe, which made me cry, something I hadn’t done in a while. I realize a good cry is very helpful to release stress and just let things go, but does nothing good for my eyes, which were very puffy the next morning and well into the day.
Valentine’s was low key at my place. I had decided weeks back that I was going to take myself to see a movie and not worry about having or not having a special anyone to celebrate it with. But once I got to the theater there was a big “sold out” sign and I just turned on my heels and decided to go back another day. I had some things to do, a little work and a lot of reading to get done. So the rest of the evening was very uneventful.
I ended going to bed very late, I guess I was anxious and I woke up about half an hour before the alarm was set to go off at 4 am. Venezuela was having yet another referendum to ask its people if they wanted to allow Chavez, and any other egotistic maniac in power, to run as a presidential candidate indefinitely, as many times as he wants. Yes, we were asked this in Dec 07 and said No, but apparently under the constitution that he changed, he can ask as many times as he pleases.
I worked in one of the voting tables at the Venezuelan Consulate in NYC all day, from 5:30 am to around 8:30 pm when the first group finally left. It was amicable, I can’t say it wasn’t, and they were very attentive with us, serving us food and letting use the bathroom and our cell phones. But it wasn’t comfortable to be surrounded by Chavistas of all sorts all day. It’s not that these were not nice people, with families, worries and issues, as any of us are, but there is something about knowing that they are with and support such craziness, that just rubs me the wrong way.
When the conversation was political it got a bit tense. I bit my tongue more than I can remember ever doing because I really did not want to fight. But I did state my position, and it was more than clear there was nothing they could say or do to convince me Chavez has good intentions for all, or that his scheme is not to be perpetuated in power for ever.
The kicker came when one of the Chavista men at the table seemed more than smitten with me. The guys at the table (all Chavistas) started saying how opposition women were always so beautiful and how unbelievable it was that I was still single, given I was so cute.
[An aside: I can’t for the life of me understand why, in any circle, being single can automatically be equated with “Ok, you can hit on me now”. I just don’t get that. Can someone explain this to me please?]
My reaction was, ok yes, thank you very much, it’s nice to be recognized for one’s looks, thanks, now lets move on. But no, moving on, was not in the cards, some prying needed to happen, some weighing the possibility of a chance apparently needed to occur. Until I straight out said “No, no tengo marido y Chavista menos!“
For some, politics and loving can be mutually exclusive. I can be sociable with people of different opinions, I can share other parts of my life with them, even, maybe be friends. But consciously date a man I know, before hand, stands for something I detest, no, that’s not going to happen. For me it seems completely absurd. It’s like asking a Jew to date a Nazi. It’s about beliefs, it’s about who you are as a person, what you stand for. It’s about honesty, responsibility. Ultimately, it’s about integrity.
So when this guy told me “Jen, I would like to see you again”. I said “You will. Next time your crazy president sets out another referendum, you’ll see me, right here”.
We won in NYC 617 to 79, but lost in Venezuela 6,003,594 to 5,040,082. Meaning in 2012 when his second term comes to an end, he will run for presidency once again. We need to unite as an opposition and play our cards well, in order to take him down. The game is not over. We will keep on standing up for what we believe and democracy will be re-institutionalized one day. It is about integrity and when the heat hits the wire, you will see me again, right here working for freedom and democracy, which is what I believe in.