Anne Esther, my beloved mother.
Happy Mother's Day to all Venezuelan mothers!
Today, like many other countries in the world, we celebrate Mother’s Day. For me, the celebration produces mixed feelings. I have never been friends of institutionalized celebrations that end up having a commercial use (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Children’s Day, etc.). Even though most people think that we should celebrate our mothers every day and our love should be expressed in every single act of kindness, respect, and honor towards them, it is a fact that mothers like to feel especial.
Who does not like to get presents? Who would reject special tokens and words of gratitude and admiration? And here is when my mixed feelings emerge. How to make a woman feel special when you cannot even afford a short trip to pay her a visit or send her a present, even the humblest one?
My daughter, Anna, taking breakfast to her mother. There was a time one could give some money to our children so that they would buy a present to their mothers, take her our to eat or to the movies. Breakfast in bed will have to do for now.
Venezuelan mothers are probably the group that has been affected the most by our crisis. They are the ones who constitute 90% of the people waiting in long lines (usually under scorching temperatures) to buy food. They are the ones who have faced the heartbreaking experience of seeing their children leave the country, fully aware that they may not see each other again. If they do not lose their children to exile, they lose them to crime or state terrorism. Protecting their children has always been any mother's greatest challenge and merit. In Venezuela it has been taken to another level. Behind a healthy child there is a warrior mother who is doing a hell of a job.
The young Venezuelan mother faces the unprecedented prospect of not knowing how long their children will live, will they survive infancy? Will they see their children attend school? Will there be schools to attend? Will they have to prioritize survival over education? Will these mothers live long enough to see them grow? Will they have to be the ones to migrate and leave their children behind?
Today’s Venezuelan mothers face questions no other generation of Venezuelans faced after the Federal War (1859-1863). Even during the ruthless dictatorships of Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1935) and Marcos Pérez Jimenez (1952-1958) mothers knew that at least if their children did not get involved in politics, or did not oppose the government, they might have a chance of a future. Now, not even the mothers who sympathize with the government have any guarantee of a future for themselves or their children. They might feel a false sense of security by identifying themselves with those in power, but they and their children equally suffer the Dantesque scenario our country has become. They also starve or die due to lack of medicines or to out-of-control criminality.
They face the double curse of being screwed by the very government they support and becoming the enemy for 85% of the country, which is the estimated percentage of those who oppose the bolivarian revolution and find it absurd that anyone in their right mind could support corrupt, unscrupulous, and inefficient politicians.
As they say now, being a mother is a blessing and privilege, but being a Venezuelan mother has become a heroic enterprise. All my solidarity, encouragement, and admiration to the women of this country, who have to fight like very few other women in the world.
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