The Tropical-Communist Utopia you’ve been looking for!
Part of our "voices from Venezuela" series.
by David Parra @prosapistola on twitter
The communist paradise of Venezuela!
Hey there, friend!
Are you tired of a bitter system dominated by evil corporations that want to sell you their supremacist ideals disguised as superhero movies? Is the capitalist empire poisoning you with processed food and keeping you from thinking for yourself?
Are the digital distractions of the modern world leaving you feeling alienated and purposeless? Do you weary of all the pop-culture distractions from what’s really happening?
Is all the free-time that you spend instagramming on your iphone making you want to reconnect with the old ways? Do you want to stick it to both the neo-libs and the neo-cons and live the Bolivarian revolution in person?
Well, my friends, put down that Starbucks latte because this is your chance! You can be free of all of that!
With a new lifestyle taken from the Tropical-Communist Utopia of Venezuela, you can start anew! You can be “more productive” for both your family and your community! And you will never have to worry about boredom again!
I will even offer you a one-hundred percent money-back guarantee after 30 days if you’re not completely satisfied! (Disclaimer: your currency may have experienced 1000% hyperinflation during that period. All investments of both time and currency are dependent upon “Imperialist scum” market forces, despite claims to the contrary).
It all starts early in the morning, you wake to the sound of generators being turned on. There’s no power, so you leave your room and ask your mother, siblings or your neighbors if they know what time the power cut out. This is where math skills come in handy: If it was cut at 7 AM, it will probably be back on at 10 or 11. If it was cut at 5 AM, then it should be back at 8, and so on. There are usually three rationing hours per day, or maybe today there will be six, split between morning and nighttime.
There are also water trucks that come from time to time, but they are guarded by very friendly and very heavily-armed soldiers who charge you up to $250. They say it's for "sodas for the boys". You definitely don’t have that kind of money. Dollars are for lattes anyways! Who need em? I guess those soldier guys drink a lot of sodas.
Friendly soldiers selling water from the Fatherland to those that can afford the price
So you take two old paint buckets, each with a capacity of approximately 10 liters, and leave your house. An average family needs approximately 300 liters to hold on for a couple of days, so you’ll need to carry the buckets for several streets and climb three floors of stairs back to your apartment at least 15 times to stock up. Think about it, man, you will save yourself all the cardio, the spinning and even the pilates!
You’ll be done with this by noon. It doesn’t seem likely that today the power will be restored anytime soon, so it will probably be back in the afternoon or maybe tonight. It’s all just so uncertain. Communist energy can be so fickle!
It’s already time for lunch, but first you need to do two things- grind your own corn to make fresh meal, and heat up the water to cook some lentils. Since you can’t find domestic gas for cooking, and complaining to the state is definitely not recommended, you must learn to cook with firewood.
Now you're cooking with, gas! Well, without gas rather. Good job! Bringing down the Empire one meal at a time!
Yes, good old-fashioned wood, like the boy scouts do with their totally awesome fires! Or if you like, you can imagine you’re at a beach party, or a weekend barbecue with your friends!
You are probably already stocked up. You can buy it at a store or cut it yourself with an axe. Now you improvise a small fire with a grill and two bricks in an open space in your house- perhaps a patio or balcony.
Very carefully you start the fire to cook your food. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Man vs. Wild, you’ll do just fine. If a friend can help you by carrying the water for the lentils, you can finish faster. It’s not my thing, but there are even some places where you can hunt and fish! (If you’re into that.)
Alright, you’ll need about a kilogram of fresh corn meal, so you go to the corn bag stored in a cool place in your house, maybe your room, and head to the pulley grinder in the kitchen. Get ready to grind everything! Your arms are going to be very tired, but it’s great exercise and really builds up the appetite.
An hour and a half later, you’ll have your own artisanal-ground cornmeal. Now you know what is like to be Amish or a European peasant from the 19th century. You take the lentils off the heat, and cook your arepas on an iron. You watch them so they don’t burn and that’s it. Lunch is ready!
Once you're done eating, you start thinking about how you will find dinner.
In our socialist utopia, true patriots don’t use money. That’s a horrible invention of capitalism used by politicians to dominate the world! Things are done the old-fashioned way. An exchange of goods is the most honest way to live: exchanging sugar for bread, bread for tomatoes, tomatoes for flour, packs of flour for a haircut, cutting people’s hair for some gasoline, exchanging gasoline for cheese to eat with your arepas at night.
"Nah man. This isn't enough rice. I need more for the carburetor I gave you. I'm trying to take a bus uptown!"
You also move around on foot. You don’t even have to get on a bus anymore! Instead, you can take super fun rides on dangerous trucks that take you wherever you want for a pack of rice.
If you have enough cheese to exchange, you can even get cool stuff like a second-hand cellphone, a motorbike spare part, or a pretty dress for your girlfriend. The cheese-coin is very popular in my town; the world’s most organic crypto-coin! Many people are also used to foreign currency, but it is often very hard to obtain. Besides, we don’t like foreigners- they want to steal the oil that makes our quality of life so rich.
In the afternoon, you clean your corn grinder. Now you get to grind your own coffee (better than that processed and flavored shit from Starbucks); you lower the flame of your fire to boil the water you collected in the morning. In every sip of that coffee is all the physical, mental and emotional effort you've invested this day, so enjoy it. You go out to the street, walk in the park and you see that people there are soaking in the sun, trying to think about something else and breathe a little. They had a hard a day much like your’s. They deserve a little rest!
Sadly, it seems that power won't come back today. Some sniper in the jungle must have shot the fuse box in the Amazon dam again, or maybe an electromagnetic pulse sent from Brazil or Colombia (by the CIA) turned it all off. Normally, we just have our fair rationing, but there are some days when Trump wakes up on the wrong side of his bed, eats breakfast ignoring Melania, drinks coffee while reading a couple of Twitter threads about all the times Justin Bieber cheated on Selena Gomez, checks how things are going on the stock market and, using an app on his cellphone, cuts off Venezuela's electric energy supply.
Night falls and you make your arepas with the cheese you managed to get in the afternoon. You light some romantic candles to ward off the darkness and have dinner listening to the sound of rain (which you capture in buckets to flush your toilet with). Some people, if they have enough time, go to school or have jobs, but most of us just stay this way.
The next day, you get up, and do exactly the same. Again and again.
"I love the smell of arepas in the evening, boys! You smell that? It smells like proletarian freedom!"
It’s an infinite loop where you're stuck in the same reality day after day, unable to do anything else but survive. Many people seem to be just fine with this, others just snap- they forget there are other ways of living and settle into the punishing routine in an almost drug-like stupor.
However, if you are bored and exhausted from living in a neoliberal power-nation and have already run out of all your Twitter insults to defend the Bolivarian Revolution from satanic Imperialism, I highly recommend you come and experience this paradise firsthand. I'll be more than happy to trade places with you for a while. It's just like living in the world of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. We don't have the imminent threat of zombies, of course, but everything else is included.
Don't forget to follow Muros Invisibles on twitter for more stories on Venezuela
Editors note: When I asked David for a story on daily life within Venezuela, I was not expecting such punk-rock reply, but I loved it. I found myself crying and laughing at the same time. I also thought about all the hate mail I get for writing about Venezuela and advocating for the people there.
But more than anything, I just thought about the Dead Kennedys. Be on the lookout for more Venezuelan writer's as part of our "Voices from Venezuela" series.