A letter from a German resident to us Venezuelans

January 29, 2003

The following letter has been circulating at the local German School in Caracas, from a parent (I have translated it liberally as usual)


Good Morning Gentleman


My name is Stefan Welch, I was born in Germany of British parents. I arrived in Venezuela two years ago through my company. The first two years I was not happy, I had difficulties making Venezuelan friends because they always seemed like they were mad, did not collaborate, selfish and they were not attentive when I asked for services or went to the supermarket etc. Before I had lived in Brazil for seven years and my friends considered me “tropicalized” and “adjusted to Latin life”. I did not understand why I could not adjust here.

This perception of Venezuelans has changed in the last six months exactly because of the opposite reason, for all the things that have happened and what is taking place now. People become more united by the day, more open and they have an incredible willpower to fight for their country that I had not seen before. What impresses me is the immense patience the Venezuelan people are showing with what is happening here. As I said before I am not Venezuelan and, sincerely, my education and culture would have made me lose my patience if all of this were happening in my country! As you know, rarely in European history has so much patience been shown, on the contrary, we had many ugly wars etc.

Even a President like you have here would have resigned by now so as not to reach these levels and if not, we Europeans would have done something more definitive. Is what our history teaches us.

The word COUNTRY was added to the vocabulary of Venezuelans, I want to tell you that this renewed love for your country is something contagious and it is already affecting me (and many other foreign friends that stayed here). I march nightly with people that live in my neighborhood, I have a home made drum made by a plastic jar of Montana paint (my fourth up to now, I have broken all the previous ones) and I also march in the large marches here in Caracas, despite the fact that my Embassy has recommended three times that I leave the country. I prefer to leave that airplane seat for those that sympathize with the Government. The wish to be present and participate in the new Venezuela is much larger; I am not afraid neither of the bombs, nor of the violent people, nor the military and least of all of your President!

I am as anxious to march towards Miraflores as many other Venezuelans.

Congratulations in particular to the brave and dignified Venezuelan women, to the ship Captains, to Juan Fernandez (my favorite candidate for President), to Carlos Ortega, to Carlos Fernandez, to Leopoldo Lopez, to Orlando Urdaneta, to Alfredo Pena and  to the participants of the negotiation table that have shown so much patience, not only with the Government but also with the OAS itself. Thanks for being here when your country needs you!

I hope we can get out of this as soon as possible, with the least possible blood, NI UN PASO ATRAS (Not a step back) -1000 steps forward and YES to the referendum. If the people need to pay for the referendum because its President prefers to spend the money on airplanes, gasolula (Imported gas from Brazil) and other things, know (since I can’t vote) I am willing to pay for 100 Venezuelans that may not have the financial ability to contribute- and independent of their political opinion and final vote.

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