Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Should schools be allowed to push politics on the kids? Indoctrination in Education. Chronicle of a chavista (Venezuelan Socialist) in New York, example of the youth with brainwashing.
I learned of it thanks to a friend from childhood, who, like me, fled Venezuela. She was just getting off the plane and was already complaining about the “atrocities” of the empire. “It’s very cold, people are anti-parabolic.” My friend waited patiently for her in the waiting room of the flight from Caracas on the Dynamic Airways line. This was Joana’s first visit to New York. She had only left her country 4 times. She once had a brief stay in Cuba and visited for a few days in Bolivia and Ecuador. She is 26 but looks much older. A graduate from the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, UBV, in Legal Studies. Since her graduation she was proud to serve the revolution with both eyes closed. Etched in her very soul is one of the phrases she learned from her commander, Hugo Chavez: “Without education, without revolutionary culture, there is no possible revolution.” So I repeated that thought to her at our meeting that took place in the heart of Manhattan, several days after her arrival in the Big Apple. When I first saw Joana, she told me that it was not quite true what she had heard. At the age of nine she accompanied her mother to one of Chavez’s meetings in Casalta, the town where she was born and raised. It is surrounded by poverty and violence that characterizes the popular Caracas residential area.
Coming to the “evil” empire
My friend went out with her in her car from the JFK via Queens. My friend called me on the phone and said that Joana had agreed to meet for interview, although she is afraid. When I learned that a young woman, raised and educated in the revolution, came to New York, I asked to arrange a conversation with her, only to inquire and confirm the hypotheses that I as a researcher have made over the last few years. Yes, I wanted to verify the extent of the damage that a generation subjected for more than 17 years to a strategy of ideologization and brainwashing, whose fundamental objective is precisely to “create a new person”, docile and malleable to the caprices of the leaders of the revolution. Our meeting As the day of our meeting arrived, it dawned on me that I would be talking to a girl so different from the ones that I left in Venezuela years ago. I had the opportunity to talk to the young girl raised in the revolution, sealed with the brand Chavismo, which has been imprinted on a part of the Venezuelan youth in recent years. With a representative of a part of the population that in exchange for favors and some alms of the State, they sold their souls and those of their children to the caudillo. A generation of youth who were the object of a brainwashing that turned part of the Venezuelans into an abulic mass. A generation of youth given over to a doctrine of obedience to the State, with resulting consequences that have destroyed entire societies and submerged them into a lethargy. In some cases has a generation leading down a path to its own destruction.
Face to face “Hi, Joana is my name”, she told me as she shook my hand. “I am a Chavista of pure knowledge and nothing can change that feeling of love that I have for Major Chávez and the current President Nicolas Maduro. I agreed to talk to you because I believe it is an opportunity to let the world know that there is revolutionary conviction in the youth of Venezuela “.
We sat down and ordered a coffee. My friend was nervous, Joana had her eyes lost and she had doubts if it was convenient to talk to a journalist, who is also “scrawny”. Despite her initial arrogance, I realized that her words were her way of building a protective shield. Wanting her to talk freely. I asked Joana if she really wanted to talk and she confirmed that she felt obligated to do so. I turned on my tape recorder, while Jose, a talented photographer who accompanied me, turned on his camera to start a photo shoot that would complement this encounter.
We met the leader, the father of the revolution She started by excitedly recalling the first time she met Hugo Chavez. “I was nine years old. It was in her neighborhood west of Caracas. This was like a dream come true, Chavez was in front of me and embraced me. My mom was proud and her eyes were bright. It was the first time we saw the commander in person. He was accompanied by a crowd noisy and cheerful. When asked what we needed, mom told him that a house of her own and that was when he swore that he would give us a home, and he did.” Joana began to talk about her cheerful memories of the Bolivarian revolution. She told me that she felt happy when she was a child, she believed that her future was made. Once culminated the lyceum was registered in the Bolivarian University of Venezuela. “I studied Legal Studies,” she confessed proudly. “My first vote was for Commander Hugo Chavez. I admire him beyond my senses. It is a fascination and I never tire of studying his legacy. I went to many of his marches, not the group that received payments or the kit to attend the rallies of the president. It was because I carried it in my heart, he is the model that inspires a good part of the Venezuelan youth. “ “ After studying at the UBV I found work with the government. I could not believe it. I was a professional and it was my job to apply the law, monitor compliance and work on penalties for those who violated them. Working as a lawyer for the revolution was a reward for my effort.”
I asked Joana, “What are you doing here in New York? If your heart loves the revolution and your spirit and being belongs to it, then why not stay to enjoy the wonders and fruits of the revolution?”. She took a deep breath and suddenly began to cry. A glass of water served to calm her. She wiped away the tears that, according to her, were due to the nostalgia produced by her beautiful memories with Chavez. “I wanted to come and see the world. My mother and everyone there told me that the gringos were bad people, that they treated Venezuelans very badly, especially those with my little color” (Joana is a brunette with straight black hair). “Now that I’ve arrived and started to meet people, I realize that the warnings they gave me before leaving Caracas do not fit the reality at all. There they exaggerate. The people here — for now — are cool and treated me very well. “
“In addition, the situation of violence in Venezuela, inflation and lack of food are other reasons why I decided to go out and look for options. I wanted to know and see what I can do — momentarily — to help my family financially, since it is in the difficult situation.” - What are you thinking for your future? Do you stay in the evil empire or return to Caracas? Do you like how you live there with the paradise the revolution promised or here with the wild capitalism? She breathed in and confessed: “My family lives badly. This is not what Chavez had dreamed of. We believe and continue to believe in Chavez and his model. But many of those who inherited the legacy of the commander have misrepresented everything, some who were not committed to the revolution, stole the money and others, from the right, took advantage of state dollars to get rich. There were many traitors to the postulates of the Commander. Although they are sad because of my absence, my mother told me that if I got the opportunity to go to the US, I would think about staying for a while. They did ask me to take good care of myself.” “And how did they change so quickly?” Just three weeks and they ask you to stay? What happened to what they had believed in for the past 17 years? “They have not changed their minds….. No….. They just want me to look for an opportunity to solve the money problem as the revolution recovers and oil prices improve. They do not want me to stay here permanently. In fact, I do not want to stay in the United States because I do not agree with this system. This is a temporary situation. When I arrived in New York, I told my family that nothing I had been told was true, that the people here did not discriminate against me because of my color, and in general they thought I was crazy. “ -Are you going to take advantage of this system while recovering the other? “I do not see it like that, but if you do, then yes. The US has taken enough from Venezuela. They stole our resources, destroyed our economy and supported the right-wing coup leaders to get the commander and President Maduro out of power. So it is not unreasonable that I come here to look for a few dollars to solve a situation that is circumstantial.” -Do you think the revolution is sustainable over time? -”Of course. What is happening is circumstantial. Once the balance of oil prices occurs and the law is applied to those who have violated it and punish the guilty parties, everything will improve.” Q: When you studied at the university, did you ever study anything about the world economic system? -Yes. I studied international law, I learned how capitalism became an atrocious, murderous, inhuman system. That is why I am committed to socialism, it is the best system in the world, the best way out of the crisis. In socialism people are happy, and we are all the same. Socialism must be perfected because of the failures they have are due to the attacks from our enemies.” -I do not understand, when you say that you came to the USA to look for dollars to help your family survive. At the same time you think that socialism is the only system that works. You can explain better. -”It is easy to understand. Socialism is the way…… but because the enemies of the revolution tried to destroy the legacy of the commander. We are going to work to rebuild it. During the crisis of the system, I decided to come here, to earn a few dollars, only that. Probably you do not understand me because you’re scrawny, and you were alienated and that makes you lose social sensitivity, capitalism is individualistic.” “Do you know Nicolas Maduro?” What is your opinion about him? “Yes, I met him, he’s a great human being. He is sweet. I think he is a victim of the circumstances, and of some who surround him and I have no doubt that he was a good choice of the Commander.”
…………And so it went … Joan is a young woman. Born into and raised in the revolution. To the extent of the model established since 1999. In her words we can see the contradiction, the gaps left by an educational system of indoctrination, with serious deficiencies. Joan is a Chavista but came to seek dollars from New York, to enjoy the pleasures of capitalism while the revolution is resolved.
Three months have passed since this encounter and it left a bitter taste in my soul. Even as Joana lives in Queens and now has a boyfriend, nothing has made an impression on her. It is hard to get accustomed to the pace of New Yorker’s work. “I do not stop and I feel exhausted,” she told me the last time I saw her. When I told her that I would publish the interview soon, she asked me not to publish her photos or her last name. “That’s because one day I’ll come back and I do not want to be accused of being a traitor to the revolution because I talked to a journalist.”
Maibort Petit Investigative Journalist based in New York City — Focus in Corruption & Organized Crime