“I would have never imagined that at the exact same age my grandfather was when he died, I would be forced to migrate to his country of origin. My grandfather, Jaime Vivas Sagarra, was born in Spain; he was a Catalan. Now I’m in Spain, petitioning for the restitution of his birth citizenship rights as a Spaniard which he had to relinquish when opting for his Venezuelan citizenship in 1900, since Venezuela, back then, only allowed citizenship in one country.
I am 66 years old and my life was peaceful, happy and quiet at my home in the State of Nueva Esparta, Venezuela. I always felt like the Island, Margarita, was a country within the country. I don’t know if it was due to the ocean and the mountains, which give you a sense of freedom and isolation, while also leaving you less exposed to the dangers and difficulties that threaten the big cities.
I was living in what I truly considered paradise until politics destroyed the economy and the security of all Venezuelan citizens. Corruption made its way into every corner of every place in a privileged country possessing immense wealth.
It affected everyone, however, the hardest hit was taken by retirees, the senior citizens. We receive a pension worth the minimum wage, but not the food bonus compensation that all workers get by law for their monthly work. On top of the outrageous hyperinflation that has gripped the country, known to be one of the highest hyperinflations worldwide and close to the tragic ones seen in the past, there is a shortage of medication and food. This has created a dramatic situation and a struggle to survive it.
I always said I would never leave my country no matter what happened, that in the worst-case scenario, I would always be better off here, at home. I don’t know what I was thinking by the term worst-case scenario, because I never foresaw a war, persecutions or a Narco-dictatorship.
I would have never imagined that after having bought my own house and my own car with the arduous work of many years in the old Venezuela, I would be forced to migrate in order to be able to count on the very basic needs of any human being in order to survive, to stay alive. I had the infinite luck to have my daughters and my brother living overseas, and they are the ones who helped me and encouraged me to emigrate.
Before traveling to Spain, I tried to get some cash. It was such an ordeal, something really dramatic. We haven’t had paper money in over a year. When I went to go and withdraw my pension, there was no money at the bank. I saw elderly men and women crying because they did not know how to use their debit cards to pay for things. Many didn’t have the internet, a computer or simply didn’t remember their pin numbers. I remember them complaining about not finding their medication or not being able to afford it anymore. It was all really depressing.
People go to work by hopping on cargo trucks by the hundreds as if they were horses. Crime is rampant; life is worthless; adults and children sift through garbage for food. It is something really Dantesque.
That made me migrate. I saw my own personal holocaust way too close for comfort, even as privileged as I am. I had to wake up, take action, and avoid being run over by the worsening misery. It’s amazing how a government can ruin a country. How can it already be 20 years, and things still manage to get worse. Why are they trying to take our dignity away and our will to fight for our rights? We have seen our younger generations die trying to defend their country, as they are murdered point blank by officials.
Criminals kill people all the time just to steal their shoes, jewelry, cars, and lately, even their bags of groceries. People are dying in the hospitals from all the blackouts, the lack of supplies and the lack of sanitary conditions and even running water. How can you survive under circumstances like this?
I really don’t know what I’ll do, but I can’t go back home. It’s my life that’s on the line here. I can’t go back to get malnourished, broke, sick, abandoned and lose everything I fought for my whole life. I prefer to tell my story as an outsider, as someone who was forced to abandon her lovely land and I never will give up on the hope that one day, not very far away, Venezuela, our beautiful and blessed country, will break free from the power of evil that’s haunting us and that all of us Venezuelans gathered around the world will again have a place to call home. Again have the land that they dreamed of.”
In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)
Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey
January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan
February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asryan
March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez
April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Toni Wallis
May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko
June: A Girl Pedaling – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas
July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk
August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido
September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández
October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino
November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake
December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva
Background – Context
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
More work by Veronica Cordido
The Crib of Uncertainty – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)
Instability, A Stable Reality – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)
Hanging by Extremes – Veronica Cordido (transposing emblem)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: Venezuela – Waiting in the rain – Daisy Camargo (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed