People love jerks. It is a truth I understood soon in my life. In the beginning, when I noticed I thought that this social phenomenon was only in Latin America countries. I grew up in a world where most of the protagonists in telenovelas were jerks; our sports stars were jerks, and, of course, our politicians were (are) jerks. I came to the U.S. in 2012, since the first day I realized that jerks are popular here too. Americans love Don Draper (Mad Men) or Christian Gray (Fifty Shades of Grey) who are jerks; there is an adoration for Mike Tyson that I do not understand; people forgot that this guy raped two women. I am not going to start talking about Charlie Sheen because I do not have the time for that. But the best example of how much America loves jerks is our last presidential elections.
Please, don’t assume that I do not like President Trump because all he says about Hispanics, but it is not my main problem with him. My issue with Trump is how similar is to Hugo Chavez.
My problem with jerks is not new; let’s say I have daddy issues. My parents met in Houston in February in 1980, and they got married the same year in December. I think they barely knew each other; even after all these years, I can’t see how their engagement was. Not, my mom was not pregnant; I was born an exactly year after the wedding.
My parents’ marriage was everything but happy. There was no violence or alcohol; please, don’t misunderstand me. My dad was just a passive jerk with my mother. For example, he used to expend more money that he made -money was a topic that drove my mom crazy; his complicated relationship with his mother who was the worst mother in law, or my father showed how much more he liked other women than his wife (my mom). My father made my mother miserable, but all their family said that it was my mother’s fault. She had bad temper; the fact that her husband was a jerk didn’t matter.
Fifteen years ago, when Cubans talked about Chavez, they compared him with Fidel Castro. “Fidel did the same and looked the island. Venezuela is becoming Cuba.” My answer always was: “We are not Cuba; we are Venezuela a different country in a different century.” Today, Cubans have food, medicine, tourist and Channel’s store while in Venezuela each day twenty-eight kids die of hunger.
After thirteen unhappy years, my dad took his things and left us. I wasn’t sad; actually, I wanted them to be divorced; I did not like my home at that time. The problem was my father became a jerk with us, his children.
I can write a book about all my memories where my dad was a jerk with us. Maybe one of the best is one Christmas Eve. My brother and I used to go to my uncle Bebo’s house -my father’s little brother- on Christmas Eve. I liked it; my dad’s family were friendly with us, they had many presents for us, and my father was not there.
One year it changed; my father came to my uncle’s house. It was uncomfortable, but we could handle it until gift delivery moment. My dad had presents to everyone but my brother and me. I am talking about fifteen people, so fifteen different gifts. My family didn’t say anything; he was (is) a bad father and everybody treats him like he is not doing something wrong. Like he is not a jerk.
Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was the 10th President of Venezuela. Venezuelan bipartidism was broken; the country had many economic and social problems; people were asking for a change, and Chavez knew what to say. He emerged as a new option which was going to resolve all the issues and make Venezuela the rich country it had been before. Does it sound you familiar?
Chavez did not like the media. In fourteen years being in power, he closed more than 200 media. He tolerated that his supporters hurt journalists; he did not allow opposition media to be in his press conferences because they made uncomfortable questions. He only spoke with international media until CNN in Spanish started bordering him. Patricia Janiot in an interview mentioned that Venezuela was the most dangerous country on the planet. Chavez who was joyful in the interview changed his facial expression and tone of voice; he said that was a lie and changed the topic. After that, CNN could not be in his presence. Does it sound you familiar?
His family was (is) part of his government. His father was governor of one state for ten years; two of Chavez’s brothers worked with him as ministers; his son in law was in the Congress and today is the Vice-president of Venezuela; one of her daughters is Venezuelan Special Envoy to the UN. Does it sound you familiar?
In his election campaign (1998), Chavez said that the origin of all problems in Venezuela was rich people. Being rich was bad. He explained several times that rich people stolen jobs; they were criminals who made Venezuelans life worse, but as soon as he would become president, he was going to make them to pay. Does it sound you familiar?
Chavez loved to be on TV; being the star was a master of giving crazy declarations that somebody had to fix or re-explained what he said. He was a showman who loved Russians. Does it sound you familiar?
When I heard Trump, I say: “He is like Chavez,” and people answer me: “Don’t worry, we aren’t Venezuela, this is the U.S.”
Don’t get me wrong; I have liked jerks too. My ex-boyfriends are good examples, but at least I don’t marry them, have kids with them, or vote for them.