Contrasting Reactions To A Video And The New Cadivi Student Rules

May 5, 2012

I am a little bit puzzled by the reaction to  a bunch of young kids who made a video about Caracas being a city of farewells. I found the whole reaction simply astonishing, the kids did not say anything new, they said what I hear every day whenever I am in Caracas. In fact, try to hire a recent graduate on any Major and you get the response: “Oh no, except for me and a friend, all my classmates have left the country.”

It’s a reality, kids don’t go out at night to party for fear of being kidnapped. Yes, they risk it sometimes, but when they visit their buddy at a US or European University (Thanks to Cadivi dollars)  they see a totally different attitude, people party all night and walk home without worries.

What’s not to like.

And while the video may be from kids from the East of Caracas, I am sure the felling is the same everywhere. Don’t you think the kid in Petare or San Cristobal wants to leave to? Of course they do.

In fact, in my experience, it is the middle class kids who actually look back. The Venezuelan waitress at the Chinese restaurant (no joke) or the Direct TV installer, has no money to go back and check things out. They leave, they don’t look back, they start a new life, learn a language, they don’t read Caracas Chronicles, nor the Devil nor Daniel, life is still tough, but they have a car and rent an apartment and food on the table. It is a far cry from the rancho and Venezuelan reality.

But while the video generated a reaction, I find it funny that the reaction to CADIVI limiting what careers they finance abroad faced such criticism.

Come on! It is the same kids you saw in the video that want money to study marketing and finance and journalism and whatever else their heart desires.

And guess what? They have no plan to come back to Venezuela. The cheap dollars they are asking from CADIVI is their ticket out of the country. And anyone that can get it, will simply grab it!

But remember, this is a revolution. The amazing part is that the Government wants to give CADIVI dollars to study anything other than Marxist  Economics, Socialist Planning or Advanced Cuban Spying. It is just another revolutionary contradiction or stupidity.

Thus, I find it ironic that people criticize these kids for wanting to leave and criticize CADIVI for not giving money for careers that are non-essential, when even those studying the “essential” ones are just looking to leave.

The truth is the kids simply said what a lot of people are thinking (I only watched half of it, did not have the patience) Many don’t leave, because they can’t, they are afraid or they really want to stay. That’s what a democracy is all about. Different opinions, different criteria, different thoughts.

But you can be sure these kids are not anomalies.

Ten years ago, the video was “Cedula Ciudadano” :

Five years ago, it was “Secuestro Express“.

Thirty years ago, there was no “youtube”, otherwise we may have seen: “How to get a beca and come back rich to Venezuela”

That is no longer possible…

42 Responses to “Contrasting Reactions To A Video And The New Cadivi Student Rules”

  1. Bruni Says:

    The CADIVI connection is not that clear Miguel. Are you saying that people are criticizing the kids because they want to get out of the country, while they do not criticize the kids that criticize the goverment for not giving them cheap dollars to study whatever they like?

    If that so, it is a fair, but convoluted reasoning.

    Mine is more straightforward: this kids are being criticized unfairly by those that think differently. It is a matter of freedom of expression.

    http://www.cuentosintrascendentes.blogspot.ca/2012/05/la-libertad-de-expresion-y-caracas.html

    • moctavio Says:

      Not that clear? Those that want Cadivi dollars to study marketing or journalism abroad are living in the same bubble as these kids, because in the end both groups want to leave. Yes there is freedom of expression, but so is the right not to like what others say. I found the intolerance hypocritical, not unfair.

      • firepigette Says:

        Bruni,

        In a democracy people should and do express differences of opinion, however insults do not reflect differences – insults are an attempt to thwart the Democratic process through intimidation.

        In Venezuela there has traditionally been little dialogue.People tend to go from sycophantic agreement( a sign of authoritarianism), group think mentality ( also a sign of authoritarianism) to the use of ridicule to make a point( a sure sign of the unwillingness to give ‘the other’ the respect they deserve)

        All of these traits contribute to an anti- democratic impulse.Bruni is correct.

    • Cristina Says:

      Bruni, traté de responderte en tu blog pero no pude, el software se queda pegado. Quería decirte que el comentario de Lequinni me pareció excelente.

  2. FrankPintor Says:

    Bruni, not sure I understand your comment… from what I’ve seen as an euro in Caracas, Venezuelans can leave and still buy foreign currency at the subsidized CADIVI rate, meaning that they can actually live abroad for less. They need to have savings here of course.

    And for the Devil… it’s not necessary to go to the US or Europe to be able to walk safely in the streets at 4am, most of the Venezuelans I know who left went to Mexico City where they can do that and more. Even by LatAm standards Caracas is a seriously sick city.

    • moctavio Says:

      I agree, but most students want to go to the US or Europe, in fact, you cite one country where immigration is not so hard, but Venezuelans seldom think about it.

  3. Roy Says:

    “The amazing part is that the Government wants to give CADIVI dollars to study anything other than Marxist Economics, Socialist Planning or Advanced Cuban Spying.”

    Miguel, I disagree. I don’t think you understand the government’s motivations in paying for these kids to leave Venezuela. They (the government) want these kids to leave and not come back. The government does not want educated free-thinking opposisionists in Venezuela. They want everyone who has the will and the capability to leave. Specifically, they want those capable of independent thought and action to leave. Remember the “New Man” Chavez talked about? His “new men” are docile and passive, not the types who seek to study abroad.

    Review the history of Cuba and how Castro managed his opposition. First, being so close to the U.S., most of his wealthiest opposition fled to Miami. Then, he created intellectual conditions so oppressive, that independent thinkers simply couldn’t tolerate it, and found ways to flee. By allowing and encouraging dissidents to escape, he created a safety valve that assures that the internal pressure in the society never gets high enough to support a counter-revolution against him.

    I think that Chavez and his regime are copying this strategy, but in ways that are more appropriate to a large continental country, as opposed to an island.

    • moctavio Says:

      Roy if that was the purpose, they would not restrict areas like they did.

      • deananash Says:

        Miguel, I have to agree with Roy, as I’ve seen first-hand and for nearly my entire life (I was born in ’60 – a Miami native) that Castro wanted and needed the educated to be gone, one way or another.

        I think that socialism/communism/totalitarianism would win an honest election in Cuba. If Chavez would live long enough, I think it would triumph in VZ also.

  4. cpc Says:

    And guess what many of those kids that do stay in the country end up doing… CADIVI scams! Well yes, I see more and more 20 to 30 year olds making a living in the black fx market, fake imports, goverment contracts, in short stealing, living the revolutionary dream.

  5. vor Says:

    I seriously try not to criticized the country we live on, ( at least not when you are in the country), I learned there is nothing more annoying than an ex-pat talking bad about the country you askrd a visa to live. We have 15 months in Ccs and this topic gives me something to say.
    1.- This is true, good young managers / people leaves the country every day, everyone knows that. We came here to expand, It’s hard to hire good managers and their stories are the same my friends are gone and they might leave if nothing changes this year.” I love Venezuela, but I need to think about my self” I have attend to 3 warefells , the most shocking a good guy who’s mom got ill and need to make 3 hour line at the “Clinica” insurance company to get an appointment, while the Mom was in pain crying, he came back saying I can get this anymore, he got a job from one of his contact and left behind his 5 year carrer, of course its the money, he makes more money there but expenses are way high. But also the day to day situations like this.
    Its a personal choice to live here and everyone has its reasons to stay or to leave.

    2.- Steping back , what shock me the most is the kind of comments this video has raised during the week, its totally in line with the situation / culture, people its not talking about the issue or root cause, they are criticizing their look , the way they talk, the fact that they are “sifrinos” and has not suffer enough as everyone else, I guess they like to see videos of people whose relatives where murdered or violated then they will have a valid reason to leave. There are thousand of videos in Latin America/ world critizing or expresing their pov that
    doesn’t cause this reaction. This young guys had the guts to say something that its true but nobody like to recognized and to put their names at the end, which is not common here. What Its clear for me , there is a deeper problem than freedom of expression, the anger and fear its so great that when conditions change they will have a lot to shout to each other and to the world. That day will happen in the next months.

  6. clobber Says:

    My son left after high school when he was 17. Not particularly because he wanted to go but because parental pressure convinced him that it in the long term it would be better for him. How many kids leave after high school because their parents thought that they would get a better education and be “safer” than staying in Venezuela. At 17 or 18 these guys just want to be doing what their classmates are doing, they are on an ego trip. Five years later he is now finishing his Masters at a European university and talking about coming back to Venezuela.

  7. Bruni Says:

    I got a comment in my blog that explains why this is happening. I think we got it wrong Miguel, both you and I. Read the second comment of my post.

    • Alex Dalmady Says:

      It’s all about social resentment. Doesn’t have to be poor towards the rich. It can be lower middle class towards high middle class.

  8. Alex Dalmady Says:

    I’m with you, this is a total overreaction. What’s the crime? The kids want to enjoy their youthful years in a less hostile environment. Count me in!
    If I were 20-something, Caracas is the last place I’d like to live (except maybe Teheran or Riyadh). They want to have fun. Geez, I wish I were twenty again, sometimes.

    Now they’re catching all this flak for expressing those opinions. Leave Britney alone! Kudos to them for speaking up and putting that video online, regardless of the content or production value. The venom being spewed at them is absolutely uncalled for.

    I left, you left. Big deal. I never understood the fascination with a particular section of the earth’s crust. Home is where the heart is.

    I also don’t understand the CADIVI connection you’re trying to make. I suspect that the only reason they have cut back on USD for certain careers is that they are overwhelmed by the amount of applications. Same as when they changed the allotments/procedures for travel dollars and internet dollars. They might backtrack or change the requirements again if the reaction is too great or some boliburgueses’ kid gets kicked off the lists.

  9. VJ Says:

    I don´t find the Cadivi “Lista de Carreras Prioritarias” restricted at all; unless you want to study astrology, enology, moxibustion or parapsicology.
    Here is the link to the completed list: http://www.elinformador.com.ve/noticias/venezuela/educacion/cupo-cadivi-estudiantes-sera-destinado-carreras-donde-tengamos-profesionales-listado-carreras/57176

    • moctavio Says:

      The biggest complaint was about marketing, journalism and business. Personally, I would only give it to graduate programs, most of the careers in the list can be studied (for free) in Venezuela at Government universities. .

      • Milton Says:

        Miguel, I do not agree with you. I am not going to question that Cadivi dollars are cheap. They are extremely cheap, but how are students supposed to obtain foreign currency without volating the law if it is not through Cadivi? I think it is discriminatory to deny access to dollars for studies based on the elected career. What makes better an engineer than a marketer? Why would they have to stay in Venezuela instead of studying abroad? If they are willing to fund their studies why would the goverment have to deny them the posibility? Buying dollars should not be considered a gift from the government. At the end the students are not the ones setting the fx price.

        • firepigette Says:

          Milton, this is correct….people should have free choice and be able to buy dollars without it being considered a gift.


  10. Moctavio,
    Are you saying that dollars are allotted and GIFTED by cadivi to the students of marketing, journalism and business?
    I would have thought whoever can afford to pay, should still be allowed some academic freedom? chacun à son goût
    Cheers

    • moctavio Says:

      It is a subsidy, the $ are sold at Bs. 4.3. Why shuld the Government give preferential dollars to study careers that the Venezuelan Government has in the country. I just dont see the point. As I said, I would only allow CADIVi dollars to graduate programs, not to undergraduate.

      • Milton Says:

        Miguel, Cadivi dollars and sitme are the only legal way to obtain dollars. If they are the “only” legal ways to exchange veb for usd. “Preferential” implicates that there is another option. If there were another option I could see your point. Unfortunately there is no other legal option…they are just discriminating and for a fact punishing those students who want to study another career that is not in the list…these students have no alternative and that is not fair. You could say that they could study in Venezuela but without digging into the its benefits or drawbacks, who are you, myself or the goverment to decide for this kids?

        • moctavio Says:

          There are many things that are not “fair” in this crazy Chavista system, but I dont see how subsidizing rich people to go study abroad is a priority. Why not use those dollars on medical equipment? There is a shortage of dollars, you have to prioritize them and I dont see how selling cheap dollars to study an undergraduate career is important. Personally, I would sell them at Bs. 16, but within the current crazy total exchange control system, there are many things that are unfair, people die of cancer because there are no dollars for medicines, for example.

          • Milton Says:

            The problem in establishing priorities is that they are whatever the bureaucrat in charge decides them to be. I agree that there are many things unfair in the exchange control, but that it is not an excuse to stop denouncing new unfair issues when they arise. My argument is not in favour of providing cheap dollars, it is just in favour of providing access to dollars. The exchange rate should be a fair market rate one, not only for those careers not deemed as a priority but for all careers. If the government insists in having an amazingly cheap rate that is not these kids fault. They should have the option regardless of the fx level. Same argument for dollars for medicine, importing products, etc.
            My point Miguel is we should not praise this new rule because is a “second worst”, what we have to do is realise the sort of restrictions that we are gradually being imposed. The problem is that because there are not dollars for medicine now we think that it is fine if there are no dollars for studies as well. The whole thing is wrong. Every time a new restriction arises we should not work out its logic comparing it to the previous one. We should work out the logic of the restriction compared to a free unrestricted system.

            • moctavio Says:

              Milton: the whole foreign exchange control system is unfair. But it is in place, it is a subsidy whereby some things get cheap dollars and others don’t. In my opinion, I dont see why people studying undergraduate abroad should get any subsidy. I dont see why that should be anywhere near the top of the priority. In the end, getting a susbisidy is getting free money. Governemnt’s have to establish priorities, the fact that this is a weird Government and chooses to do it in a controlled way, does not justify not using some sort of rational criteria. Within that, my humble opinion is that undergraduate careers that can be studied in Venezuela are nowhere near a priority. Take Physics, which is in the list. You can get a very good Physics education at Simon Bolivar, Central, Los Andes to name a few, why should anyone get scarce dollars to go study abroad? I just dont see it.


    • It is a subsidy, the $ are sold at Bs. 4.3
      ok :-)
      But knowing families [chavistas or otherwise], their granny o las nonas? must a grabbed that nephew/niece of theirs who makes the cadivi rules, and drummed some sense into the upstart for daring to take the subsidy from their favourite grandniece/nephew.
      I think, in the name of familial peace and quiet,
      it was wiser to let the subsidy ride :-)
      cheers

  11. syd Says:

    Thank you, Miguel, for your balanced opinion. Watching the video — a mere trifle by 20-year olds (not badly done for their age group, I might add) — did not waste as much time as did reading the vitriol against it, especially from the holier-than-thou set, some of whom I have followed over the years, and have not been entirely impressed by their good conscience or reasonable behaviour.

    Hypocrisy is alive and well…

  12. A. Shaw Says:

    ” … They see a totally different attitude, people party all night and walk home without worries,” the Devil informs.

    oooo

    If “they” move from Caracas to Houston, NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, or Detroit, they better worry as they walk home, for if the muggers don’t get them, bloodthirsty and anti-immigrant US police officers will.

    • moctavio Says:

      Of course, you have no clue what an I-20 form is. When you go study to the US, you get one, you are legal.

      • A. Shaw Says:

        Even unwelcomed diplomats … stripped search at the airport, like Maduro … are legal.

        The anti-immigrant mentality in the USA extends to legal and illegal immigrants, especially the reactionary GOP mentality that ties immigration to the worsening employment situation in the USA.

        An anti-immigrant cop in Arizona or somewhere else will make you eat your precious I-20 form as he throws you into the USA gulag with 2,000,000 other inmates.

        • syd Says:

          An anti-immigrant cop in Arizona or somewhere else will make you eat your precious I-20 form as he throws you into the USA gulag with 2,000,000 other inmates.

          Shaw: provide documented examples of a valid I-20 form being disrespected by cops. I found no evidence of what you’re saying on a cursory google search.

        • charlles Says:

          What ????? are you rambling?????????

          • charlles Says:

            Our country respects individuals rights of all people. As American reading your comment I feel sorry for you.

    • syd Says:

      NYC today is not the place it was in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. In 2005, walked from 14th and Union Sq. to 45th and Madison, around 1 to 2 am without fear or incident.

    • Kepler Says:

      The murder rate in Venezuela is over 12 times higher than in the USA. Do you get it? I have a couple of friends who are physicians in public hospitals and they tell me the amount of corpses/lethally woulded they have to deal with from shootings corresponds very much with the statistics we get from a lot of sources.

      By the way: I have walked through some of the most dangerous areas of Spain, France, Belgium, Germany…and it’s like heaven compared to Venezuela.

      In fact: I have a couple of Venezuelan friends who migrated to Bogotá and they feel much safer there, in spite of that being the second most dangerous country of South America. Guess what the first most dangerous country is.
      The same with a friend who is currently in Mexico.

      Shaw, are you a gringo? If you are, your ancestors definitely migrated to the USA from somewhere else very recently. There is no shame on that.
      Migrations happen all the time. The shame is for a government flooding in the largest and longest oil boom in history that is so incompetent and destructive that it is causing the worst emigration wave we have
      had since the Independence wars – by far.

  13. moctavio Says:

    Datanalisis: Desire to emigrate by social strata amon 18 to 14 year olds AB: 53%, C: 47%, D: 46%, E: 52%. The worse off you are the more you are like a sifrino.

  14. firepigette Says:

    In a free country anyone should be allowed to leave and the means to do so should not be obstructed.It will always be easier for some than others, but the government should not try to manipulate this.Feeling like a prisoner of your own country is not a pleasant feeling.

    It is indeed sad that so many young folks are leaving Venezuela.I hope that when things clear up, many return.But what happens when too much time lapses? People are older and have children and grand children and a life, and cannot /or do not want to return .I remember my Lithuanian friends in Venezuela were all asked to return to Lithuania to help rebuild the country.Not a single one felt up to the task.

    The loss for Venezuela is incalculable.But when you look at the insults against them, who can blame them ?Staying in a country where there is so much class hatred is dangerous.

  15. Bruni Says:

    I got a hate comment for defending the Freedom of expression of the kids in my post. I truly don’t understand what is going on. It is like people have a different reference framework.

    I am amazed at how profound is the level of hate that Chávez has created in Vzla.


    • Hi Bruni,
      congrats on your posts.[and I tip my hat to Miguel for pointing me to ccschron].
      Truth can be a terrible thing to face, especially if it is clearly spelt out; and you did just that.
      Remember- that hate post is a gut reaction. If the poster ponders a bit, he/she might just be won over by your comments. Life isn’t always black and white.
      Two year olds tend to shout ‘I’ll kill you!!, I’ll kill you!’ at their parents, and so what?

      cheers

    • syd Says:

      Bruni, the other day, I saw a video on (the new) China that had been produced and shown on the Discovery channel. What struck me the most were several references to the Mao years, and one comment from, I think, Ai Wei Wei’s mother, along the lines of ‘there was so much hatred among the Chinese during those times”. Naturally, I thought of the connection to Chavez’ Venezuela, imagining that that class hatred had been engineered on purpose.This is not to say that Venezuelans, especially Caraqueños, have always been pétalos de una rosa. But you’re right, the level of hate has skyrocketed to unbelievable levels. Uno se enferma leyendo tanta porquería.

  16. firepigette Says:

    Bruni,

    That’s it…Chavez has succeeded in taking a country relatively free of extreme hatred and created a distorted society.Even people who don’t consider themselves that way have lost perspective and have become unconsciously influenced by him.

  17. charlles Says:

    Food for thought


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