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A new life for Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 07 Apr. 04 – For a good part of the last five days I did not speak about Chavez and it felt bizarre. The man has become the obligatory topic of conversation of most of us whether we like or not. The business-like atmosphere of the event we were in was one of much cordiality and respect, the objective of attendants being to forge, pact, deal, distribute, sell or represent goods and services in the UK market. We arrived with great expectations and I was keen to discover how many of my fellow countrymen would attend.

Mongols, Nepalese, Africans of different nationalities, Hindis, Chinese, Europeans, North Americans, in sum people from everywhere all under one roof seeking to build bridges and expand commercial possibilities for themselves and their communities; an extraordinary ambiance indeed. A huge variety of innovative products were presented which brought much attention from the press and industry experts. As it often happens these days South Americans were sorely missed, as a matter of fact apart from an Argentinean, a couple from Paraguay, a chap from Bolivia and ourselves the continent’s representation was nowhere to be found, shame…

Spain’s stand was almost half the fair (different regions were represented); Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greece and Turkey had national pavilions sponsored by their central governments. As a Venezuelan I can only dream about such governmental initiatives happening.

A very good friend says that it is only through investment and wealth creation that a nation can come on top of its problems. To be frank I could not agree more, but it seems that those issues make not part of the Venezuelan psyche anymore, perhaps they never were. It saddens me that the life of an entire nation has been taken down the road to perdition by an insensible man that it’s not even conscious of the immense damage that he’s inflicting to his country. Nonetheless the experience served me well and gave me a lot to think about. My thoughts flew in the direction of small cooperatives of producers sending out goods and representatives; touted governmental programmes for small and medium industries truly implemented; expeditious exportation mechanisms accompanied with fast-track foreign currency allowances; soft loans; technical support provided by university R&D departments; mind you that’s the kind of country I would love to have one day. Quite obviously politicos are incapable of delivering, previous and present no distinction needs be made. Thus, how do we solve this dilemma? How do we become competitive individually or collectively without the support of our government?

Where do we start?

Since our foreign service is nothing more than an extension of the presidential viperine tongue we should commence by forming small associations of producers and representatives who will be able to engage in selling and promoting non-traditional exports. Unofficial estimates put the number of Venezuelan expats at 1.000.000 spread across the planet. Surely some of them have relatives or friends that produce something –especially after the general inventiveness and creativity has been exacerbated by massive dismissals and absence of stable jobs- that can be traded outside the country for much needed hard currency. I don’t know, maybe I’m a dreamer however I am positive about one thing: no one in this world chooses to live in misery or in troublesome conditions if given the opportunity to lead a decent life. Of course the definition of a decent life is subjective nevertheless “entre vivir pelando bola o con real y trabajo no hay mucho que pensar.”

Scores of Europeans did it after the second world war; they surpassed every imaginable obstacle to survive, rescue their loved ones and construct a solid base for future generations. The time has come for my Venezuelan brothers and sisters to do the same. We should abandon the sterile blame game with bloody politicians and start thinking outside the box. Once we become successful collectively we can get rid of the useless bunch, once we permeate the structures of power we can shape the country’s future but that will only occur if we make it happen.

In the meanwhile I am already engaged in promoting Venezuelan products in the UK and will continue doing so until we hit the jackpot. We must remember one thing: Hugo Chavez is not Venezuela. Too much attention has been dispensed to that man, it is time to pass the page and work towards a better future.

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