In August of 1992, almost 25 years ago, I arrived to Venezuela between two coup attempts taking place that same year. Because of the difference in language and culture, I found myself initially in a separate reality, understanding little of all the commotion around me. My way of thinking and expressing myself marched to the beat of a different drum than those in my new home. Nevertheless, in time I became accustomed to my new reality, which despite all of its craziness, I began to like, and as such have now been here after so many years.
At the time, I also became aware of another separate reality. I found that despite not having many of the things I had been taught to be necessary for happiness, many were happy anyway. On the other hand, in the United States, where I was born and raised, I saw others who were unhappy despite living the “American Dream” and having all the toys money can buy.
In 1999, I moved to Argentina where I saw another separate reality begin to unravel and which culminated in 2002, when the government lost control of the artificial parity they maintained between the Argentine peso and the US dollar. The result was an “economic adjustment” leading to a “corral”, effectively devaluing the value of Argentine investments from one day to the next and dramatically limiting access to investors’ capital. Panic led to demonstrations, looting, and general dissatisfaction within the society.
In recent years, I have lived a separate reality, once again in Venezuela where the government sees one reality and the opposition another. We now live in an “actual reality” where the same event can have two completely different versions depending on who you listen to. Pay attention to only one of the two political forces, and they each seem to be right. Listening to the arguments of both leads to confusion and a lack of confidence, and in many cases, it’s virtually impossible to know who to believe.
Living in a separate reality can be convenient at the time, so as not to get carried away by what is happening around us. Nevertheless, there comes a time when it’s necessary to come back down to the actual reality surrounding us, accepting what we cannot change and modifying what is within our control.
The reality today in Venezuela is that it isn’t easy to happy with the hate, anger, and division in the society. As such, Venezuela needs a new reality; one designed to unify a divided country. Instead of making new laws, we should abide to those that are existing, while increasing productivity, well-being, and tranquility.
In order for this to happen, each of the “separate realities” should come together on one important point: instead of talking about “us” and “them”, we should begin to work in function of the betterment of “all”, covering us in an environment eliciting a wonderful collective smile.
∞ Rob McBride ∞
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