VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: I must admit that I had not previously attached much relevance to it, perhaps thinking that it is something that one grows into through individual immersion one into the other, but a recent radio broadcast on the BBC World Service brought the subject of 'clash of cultures' clearly into a sudden realization and focus on the human strengths and frailties that make up this wonderful world.
It's the age-old battle for survival of the fittest but it isn't always the fittest who, in the long run, survives.
I've been lulled into a sense, a perception of an East-West division of the world, perhaps grounded in the old Cold War propaganda of the threatening Soviet bear contrasting with the derring-do paternalism of the American eagle or the British bulldog. The rest of the world -- the Third World, Asia, Africa and South America simply didn't exist other than in photographs of naked dancing indigenous ladies surreptitiously torn from school copies of the National Geographic contrasting with dormitory smuggled smutty copies of Penthouse or Playboy.
But that was yesteryear! The 'clash of cultures' has taken a compass swing to an off-kilter West (loosely seen as anglosaxon America, Europe and some former imperial colonies) and the East -- now represented not only by some sectors of the former Soviet and Asia, but South and Central America as well as the North American hinterland to the south of the Rio Grande and other non-British, Spanish-Portuguese-speaking former colonies around the world.
WASPs in the West have, somehow, taken it upon themselves to know what's best for the world, and they're not tardy in trying to impose it on the rest ... by force of arms, stealth bombing and/or covert terrorism in the name of Homeland Security if need be. The rest of the world looks on, aghast, but effectively powerless to contain the madness, much less to understand it.
Is it really so difficult for the self-aligning West to understand that the fact that non-West cultures, peoples, human beings, do not always thrill at the prospect of being told what to do by western marauders? How then the abject indignation of the self-assuming West when alien interests want to buy their seaports (USA?), control/monopolize their national airports (UK?)! Woops! What then when the marauded shows face to turn the tables on the marauders and tell them basically to go to hell with their monopolizations of oil, base and precious metals and stones and the basic functions of their nation's economies ... like in iron & steel, construction materials and telecommunications... Oh dear?
Is it really so difficult for the West to accept the fact that their need of alien (Hispanic slave labor to do the dirty jobs) has led to a surge in Spanish as the mother-tongue of millions of Americans ... though why USAians should have the exclusive use of 'America' is beyond me!
Is a Mexican of lesser human value than a Puerto Rican or vice versa? Is a Canadian of lesser value to humanity than a Brit ... or a Venezuelan of lesser value than a Colombian?
Of course, in the Bush-ite mentality (or lack of it!) the Colombians are valued friends (because Washington and SouthCom can run all over them) while Venezuela's insistence on national sovereignty and respect is apparently plain stupid (because it resists the efforts of Washington and SouthCom to run all over it!).
Getting back to the BBC World Service broadcast, they highlighted the fact that Latinos and Latinas have lived so long with United States arrogance that they have built a protective shield in their own mentalities to protect their souls from the abuse meted out to them over the centuries, first by the Spanish conquistadores and then by the Monroe-indoctrinated corruptibles (usually of Spanish-conquest descent) who have dictated Venezuelan destinies ever since the Liberator Simon Bolivar kicked the Spanish out and then resigned himself to the fact that Caracas was completely, politically, unmanageable before he, himself, decided it wasn't worth the effort and decamped to Santa Marta in Colombia and left them to get on with replacing the conquistadores with their own home-grown.
Small wonder then that the ordinary grassroots descendents of the Spanish conquest's oppressed victims have grown weary of a succession of neo-conquistador ruling classes whose sole purpose in life is to emulate the nefarious practices of the new-West against subordinate cultures.
It's in their nature NOT to trust foreign and national authorities further than they can throw ... or overthrow ... them, and rebellion lurks just under the surface ready to boil over if they are pushed just that millimeter too far!
The Venezuelan clash of cultures, therefore, is very much several tiered! And Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recognized the fact from the earliest days of his political career, post-incarceration in the wake of two luckless coup attempts in February and November 1992 from which he emerged surrendering "Just for now!" to do battle, successfully, via the ballot box in 1998. His 1992 failings were to have attacked just one of the tiers in Venezuela's multiplicity of cultures. While he scared the 'bejeebers' out of the exploitive rich at the top of the tree, he hadn't managed to cut the Washington DC branches and foliage from the stem although he got to the roots of the population and has since begun working upwards all over again.
Instilling a sense of national identity, patriotism and a collective belief in the future has been only one facet of the whole but this coming November -- while the 'rah-rah' brigades come out in force across the United States of America to decide the toss between Obama and McCain -- Venezuela will be pondering its own future in local and regional elections which count on the identification of each Venezuelan voter with their own culture, their own nation's destiny.
- And if that means a total disregard for the imposition of the master's wishes a la Washington DC, well and good!
It's about time that the gringos understood that Venezuela is for Venezuelans and if there's any culture involved, it's best expressed by 'gringo go home' ... mind your own business in your own backyard!
Roy S. Carson
Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.
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