Francisco Toro of Caracas Chronicles signs off

April 29, 2003

 


Francisco Toro, author of the very well written blog “Caracas Chronicles’ has decided to sign off and stop writing his blog, he will be missed. As with everything here in Venezuela these days, his reasons are multiple and complex. But nobody can explain it better than him. We wish him the best in his new venture!:


 


A number of you have written in to ask whats up with Caracas Chronicles, which hasnt been updated in a while now. The proximate reason is rather pedestrian: blogger.com, the service that hosts my blog, seems to have gone to pot over the last couple of weeks; it keeps giving me an incomprehensible error message and wont let me post.

But lets get real: the way Venezuelan politics is going, even if blogger was up and running, I probably wouldnt have been writing much. Its simply too depressing a panorama.

I dont know quite how to describe it. The last couple of weeks have closed a kind of cycle of disenchantment for me. Starting from the heady days of expectation and excitement of 1999, the cycle took me through the slow disillusionment of 2000 and 2001, then through a kind of rekindled idealism with the growth of the opposition last year, and now to a new and very disheartening understanding of the depths of dysfunction this society, all of it, has reached.

Its no longer interesting or fun or exciting or quirky observing public life here. These days, its sad. Just sad. A meaningless, intensely
destructive fight thats plunging millions of people into real destitution for no particular reason at all.


I could write so long as I kept faith, kept faith in a future that was both possible and worth getting excited about. At this point, Ive just lost faith. Ive seen one too many Globovision segment and El Nacional article that twists and stretches and omits for cheap political gain,
Ive seen one lie too many coming from the opposition leaders who are supposed to save the country from the dregs of chavizmo. Ive seen one instance too many of the appalling lack of integrity that permeates every aspect of public life here to retain any level of idealism at all. I
dont even want to think of myself as a member of the opposition anymore:
theres too little honor in this opposition, too much willingness to tolerate the intolerable for political gain.


It took me a long time to come to this conclusion, it was an excruciating process coming to see things this way, but at this point, I just cant believe that this kind of opposition holds out the slightest hope for a better future even if they were able to get rid of the mad autocrat
which they arent.

What it comes down to is that I can no longer see a plausible path to a desirable future for Venezuela.  As the governments quasi-dictatorial intolerance and the oppositions reactionary myopia grow in tandem, feeding off one another in a vicious circle, it becomes impossible for me to imagine the path that links the country I live in now with the imagined country I would one day like to live in, the fair, decent and prosperous society everyone claims to be working towards, but that so few seem to be able to envision clearly. When I wrote the tag-line for Caracas Chronicles, it seemed fascinating to have a front-row seat to a society while it falls apart at the seams. It no longer feels fascinating. Today, its just a sad, soul-sapping spectacle, and I just
dont know that I have the stomach to chronicle it anymore.

So, this fall, Ill gladly become a statistic here, a figure in a chart
detailing the exodus of university-educated Venezuelans during the Chvez era. Come September Ill enroll in the doctoral program put together by the United Nations University and the University of Maastricht, in Holland. Four years from now, if all goes well, Ill have a Ph.D. on the impact of innovation and technological change on economic development in the third world. Its a mouthful, I know, I guess youd call it Development Economics for short, but the long and the short of it is that I cant live here anymore, its bad for my soul, and an escape into academia seems like just the solution at a time like this. Im quite excited about the program, in fact, and definitely looking forward to life in a sleepy provincial town on the Dutch-Belgian border after the unremitting megacity craziness of Caracas.

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