No, it is not a death in the family. Not yet. But many are in piercing agony and slowly dying on their feet; feet that are weakened from the daily struggles for survival. This is survival for anything and everything, with hard emphasis on the basics of living, of making it through another day under increasingly harrowing conditions.
As headlined in an online article dated April 4 in the Washington Post, there was that wrenching question: “Why are you crying, Mami?” That moving, heartfelt cry came from a young child to her mother.
There are really no immediate answers to what just should not be. And the great, savage irony of that forlorn question and the bitter circumstances is that there is so much around that pleads: how can this be?
The Washington Post continues in the frail lament of Jackline Moncado, the mother of that child. “We are such a rich country. It is unfair that this is happening.” But it is, and in one unending cascade of woes after another. And what a cascade it is.
“First it was money, then food, then electricity, now water.”
To those one could safely add sanitation, health services, and security. These are things all citizens should take for granted, as rights, regardless of where they are.
As if to make matters truly unbearable, there is still another sinister side to the growing crises: armed progovernment groups have taken to the streets to challenge those standing in opposition. All of this is happening right next door in Venezuela, in a very richly blessed country.
It is one of the most resource-endowed places on earth. And yet there is this human misery, these unending curses.
“There’s no money. There’s no power. There’s no water. I feel powerless.” That was Giomar Salazar, a 62-year-old homemaker speaking in eastern Caracas. “Everyone is guilty -the opposition and the government. It’s all the same. Everyone wants power and the people are worst off for it.”
Lawmaker Gregorio Graterol, a member of the opposition, had this to say about utilities failures. “The crisis is not circumstantial -it is structural. The causes have been there for a long time: corruption, incompetence…and the politicization of the public-utility companies in charge.”
Meanwhile, the mass of the people, cutting across all classes, “are caught in the middle” and continue to suffer. Terribly.
Taking into account what is unfolding here, what threatens right here close by Guyana, those not-so-foreign degradations over there could be an indication of what may be in store locally.
That is what is promised, if there is continued hard posturing, and resistance to reasonable, practical solutions; and of unwillingness by political leaders to submerge egos and sprawling visions toward compromising for the greater good, the widest peace.
This is Venezuela today. It could be Guyana tomorrow. Tomorrow is not so distant; it ought not to be so inconceivable to those citizens still allowing themselves to recognize the troubling writings there for all to see.
For in Veneauela, political hands and fingers are crossed over the body at others in poor imitation of some macabre gang sign. Government blames opposition; opposition blames government. Government blames powerful outside influences. Should sound familiar to Guyanese. For the time being, the good news is that it is not Guyana. Not yet.
Is Guyana heading down this road? Toward that same desperate pass reached by clearly one of those societies with an overwhelming share of nature’s bounty? One that has everything? Except tranquility? Are Guyanese listening and absorbing? Hopefully interpreting as to where things can deteriorate and lead?
This is not about the political powers and their promises or platitudes; their defenses and crisscrossing criticisms. It is about the voting public, who will be the ones paying bitter prices.
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