The Greatest Damage

The greatest damage the regime has done is not the destruction of the oil industry, or the disappearance of gold, or the bankruptcy of agriculture and industry. It is not the condemnation of 10% of the population into exile, or the destruction of the educational system, or the fact that Venezuela has the greatest inflation on the planet, or that the daily mortality is only a statistical figure. The greatest damage is not that children are dying of malnutrition.

The greatest damage inflicted on Venezuela has been the demolition of the national soul, hope and dignity of a people. Common sense, kindness, tolerance, compassion and respect have also succumbed to the crisis' assault on sanity. The greatest damage done has been to our hearts. Hearts that have become incredulous and distrustful. Hearts that see evil and betrayal everywhere. We no longer trust anything or anyone. Any opinion other than our own seems, to us, to be self-interested, despicable, and deserving of aggression and insult. We are in a Tower of Babel of emotions. The destruction is, therefore, much greater than it seems at first glance. There are  moments when we doubt that Venezuela will have salvation. We are a land in which all evil has its seat. We are close to what Hobbes called the "state of nature," that is, the state prior to judiciary ordinance, to moral laws and to norms of coexistence that make the individual a human being. We are -  as Hobbes would say - "in a state of war; one where everyone is against everyone".

St. Thomas Aquinas said that a tyrant appropriates not only the material goods of his people, but also their cultural patrimony. He negates values because he requires a people to be the least virtuous as possible and promotes enmity among citizens by appealing to the old principle of "divide and conquer". The tyrant, "stripped of reason, allows himself to be dragged by instinct, like the beast, when he governs," says the Angelic. In this way he manages to vilify the citizens to the extreme, because he knows, through this tactic, that  he can better subdue them. Without a doubt, in Venezuela, this instinct has worked perfectly. Venezuelans have been vilified to the extreme.

What will we do to believe in ourselves again? To consider ourselves a people worthy of progress and well-being; of freedom and democracy? A people worthy of living happily without having to flee the homeland? These are questions that concerns us all. On our horizon there is too much hunger, too much blood, and too much hatred. We urgently need to believe in something again. To believe that things are possible and that we can respect and tolerate each other. To believe that eating is a normal human activity and that we can walk safe in the streets. To know that disagreements do not condemn us to murder each other and that there is hope and a future for us and that this future is built on a foundation of the collective effort we put into it. It cannot be that a land that is capable of producing so much talent, so many intelligent and capable individuals, is condemned to failure. This struggle begins within. Deep in our hearts, we must see Venezuela reborn, renewed by a faith in our spirit and a commitment to our collective values, principles and ideas. The struggle is outside and it is inside. Believing in ourselves once again is the first step to overcoming the destruction wrought by this crisis. With this unity and collective faith, there is no human force that can subdue our people. When this day of less division comes we will see tyranny vanish until it becomes a bad memory, like looking at an old portrait of ourselves and realizing how ugly we once were.

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