By Luis Manuel Aguana
I do not wish this note to be interpreted as a “defense” to Ambassador Diego Arria’s candidacy to represent Venezuela at the UN. It is not. Among other reasons because Dr. Arria does not need it. Those of us who really need Ambassador Arria to be our representative there are the Venezuelans, not him. Who is an Institution in that organization of States is he, not anyone who can even think of the pettiness of the G4 of the National Assembly, who are naming people without preparation in the diplomatic field. And Guaidó is the one who appears to the front paying the broken dishes. There has to be a culprit and he is the President in Charge.
That’s why it’s the other way around. We Venezuelans need Arria, not him of us. Arria is the most internationally recognized Venezuelan in the country. His international achievements transcend a mere bureaucratic post at the UN or anywhere else. However, without needing it, he would be willing to do so, and the only thing that is needed for him to take the lead is to be asked, but that is with absolute independence in acting in favor of Venezuela, not of the parties of the National Assembly.
And I’m sure he would do it not only for the distinguished Venezuelan he is, but because he wouldn’t mind doing a job he already did for the sole purpose of being useful to Venezuela at the worst time in its history. But there’s the detail, Cantinflas dixit. They don’t need someone to work for Venezuela, they need someone to work for them, not with them. And that’s why they won’t appoint him. They’ll prefer someone who “doesn’t opaque them,” who “follows the line,” who “doesn’t take the limelight off. That is very typical of insignificant people, of whom the National Assembly is very plagued, by the way.
What I want to emphasize in this note is that what is happening with the case of Dr. Arria at the UN is perhaps the quintessence of the problem that we are suffering as a people and that if we continue, there will be no foreign military intervention to solve the root of this problem that we Venezuelans carry within us.
We Venezuelans have to change, and if this tragedy that has happened to us does not make it, absolutely nothing will. The details of why Arria has not been appointed Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN are much better exposed than what this writer could describe here, in the article by journalist Orlando Avendaño in PanamPost (see in Spanish ¿Por qué Guaidó ha olvidado a las Naciones Unidas?, in https://es.panampost.com/orlando-avendano/2019/04/10/por-que-guaido-ha-olvidado-a-las-naciones-unidas/). But the problem has deeper roots.
Venezuelans have a very deep aversion to independence of criteria, to competition, to excellence, to the fact that outstanding people in any field contribute and shine with their own light. That is why you see that Venezuelans reach the best positions outside the country, and not in Venezuela. There are plenty of examples. I have the theory that since it is so extraordinarily difficult to make a race through pettiness, tripping and blockades in Venezuela, when you go abroad -which is also quite a lot of pettiness, tripping and blockades- the degree is so comparatively inferior that makes a Venezuelan achieve, with hundreds of times greater probability, anything that is proposed outside of Venezuela. That’s why we see Venezuelans shining all over the planet giving us pride. But it is no coincidence that they are later supported in their own country. That’s why they don’t return and all of them die outside wishing until the end of their lives to do something for their country. And paradoxically, their own compatriots, out of pettiness, do not leave them. How incredible! That’s why five years ago I wrote a note specially dedicated to the case of Diego Arria. (see in Spanish, La Fórmula Arria o cuando en la casa del herrero los cuchillos son de palo, in http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2014/03/la-formula-arria-o-cuando-en-la-casa.html).
But in the political field, things take on exponentially brutal nuances. There, the pettiness, tripping and blockades flourish, for reasons of the very low personal, cultural, educational, etc. level of the majority of the protagonists of Venezuelan politics. To recognize someone in politics in Venezuela? Never! If the Venezuelan politicians of the time didn’t recognize General Francisco de Miranda until centuries after his death, no more and no less than the only American (I don’t say Venezuelan!) whose name is engraved in stone in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and to whom France awarded the title of hero of the French Revolution and Marshal of France, do you think the politicians of today are going to recognize Ambassador Diego Arria? This is a behaviour that we have the historical obligation to overcome right now because the survival of our country is at stake.
But this must go hand in hand with a substantial improvement in the quality of those who make politics in Venezuela. You see that in other countries, as in the case of the United States, personalities who after a long career in private enterprise (as in the case of Rex Tillerson, former Secretary of State, former President of the transnational Exxon Mobil), or after practicing their profession for many years (such as former U.S. President Barack Obama, a professor at the University of Chicago and a civil rights attorney at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland) they prepared to do public service through political careers in parties seeking the votes of voters. They do not become politicians to serve themselves but to serve. It is the just end of a career in which they have already achieved their professional stability and are now preparing to give what they have learned to society.
But that’s not how things are approached in Venezuelan politics. It’s just the other way around. The system is based on using politics, not on serving the people. In using it for the benefit, first of the party and then in one’s own, to then leave what is left of it to the people. There are people who make careers in the parties, starting by putting up posters in the streets, passing by carrying the briefcases to the bosses, until advancing to the point of “vivacity”, tripping and blockades to the highest political positions. If not let Nicolás Maduro tell you, that as a driver of Metrobus he became President of the Republic, without having any qualification for that, under the shadow of a coup plotter. And that is exactly the same behavior of the official opposition that now handles decisions of the importance of those that have to be taken now with the UN. What do you think the answer will be? A person of the caliber of Ambassador Diego Arria? That’s like asking a mango tree for bananas.
Unfortunately, politics in Venezuela is the field of action of opportunists and filibusters. When the boys of the 2007 university generation joined the parties, among them President Juan Guaidó, some of us thought that they could represent some change in the way of doing politics in Venezuela. We were wrong. It was the opposite. They were mimicked in the traditional way of the old politicians of “doing politics”, to the point that at this moment they are convinced that it is the only way to do it. What a waste of political youth!
Many of those young people in the National Assembly are blind followers of the practices and thoughts of people like Henry Ramos Allup and the rest of those people who were witnesses and responsible, by action or omission, for what happened in the country before the appearance of the coup plotter Hugo Chávez. That is why the trap in which they find themselves is very serious because they don’t know how to do anything else. They don’t have the professional experience that only the years and the practice in the exercise of a profession give, that at least can give them an orientation of where to project solutions. This is what I call having had a boss. They see through the eyes of those old people who want to end their days with power. It is truly sad to waste a youth like that.
We have to flip Venezuela’s political paradigm. That may take a generation or two if we start now, after politicians like Ramos Allup, Barboza, Borges, Rosales and many more have passed on to a better life, leaving Venezuela in peace. But it also requires understanding that we have to make politics an activity worthy of being carried out and that capable people understand it as in more developed countries. Perhaps that is why the international community does not understand why Venezuelans have not named Ambassador Diego Arria as our representative at the UN, when everyone envies us that we have such a giant of diplomacy, an extraordinary person they would be proud to have, willing to serve our country, and we do not put him at the service of Venezuela in the darkest hour of our country. More pathetic and outrageous, impossible…
Caracas, April 11, 2019