Even art becomes a victim of the revolution

November 6, 2005

One of the hallmarks of the Chavista revolution has been its ability to destroy institutions, traditions and methods in Venezuela, without implanting an alternative. Chavez may talk about revolution, third way, XXIst. Century socialism but in the end they are empty words as seven years after his election he still ahs not defined any of them as he switches from one to another in his apparent need to promise something new all the time. Even the Bolivarian Constitution which was specific, is overrun, bypassed, mutilated and spindled daily by its creators. As someone said, the Constitution was written with the frame of mind of being in the opposition, but they happen to be Government.

Case in point is the mural by Venezuelan kinetic artist Carlos Cruz Diez which surrounds the port of La Guaira near Caracas. Cruz Diez, one of the top Venezuelan artists of all times, designed in 1991 a mural which is 2 Km. in length to decorate the wall surrounding the port. He donated his time and supervised its implementation. While I could not find a picture of the original mural, below are three outdoor works by Cruz Diez from the same period and similar in design and spirit than the “Muro de Induccion Cromatica” in La Guaira:

With time the mural, below left, suffered the lack of maintenance by administration after administration as well as its use by most political parties to cover it with advertising. It would have been a simple matter to maintain and repair, the key was in the design, Cruz Diez did not actually paint all of it. It would have been an easy matter to fix it. Instead it is being torn down as shown in the picture below in the right. He has actually been quite gracious about the destruction of his work of art, saying it was a gift and as such people may or may not accept it.

The reasons? A multitude of them from the fact that it block the horrible view of the docks to what lies behind the whole idea as expressed by the President of the Cultural Foundation of Vargas state: “(It) does not identify itself with the idiosyncracy of those that live in Vargas state”. Of course, he makes no definition of what those idiosyncracies are and makes no alternative proposal, as the mural is being replaced by a wire fence. Such is the ways of the revolution

This is simply a barbaric act of ideological revenge and stupidity, where we are seeing wholesale destruction of everything as a way of simply erasing the past. Fixing it would have been rather simple, I am sure art students from all over the Central region of the country would have been delighted to donate their time to fix it. Relocating it with the same dimensions would have been rather easy in Vargas state, which continues to suffer from the devastation of the 1999 floods, as reconstruction has been limited and vast empty spaces with destroyed houses and building remain there for everyone to see as a tribute to the Government’s incompetence. But the easy and symbolic destruction of the mural fits the character and spirit of this soulless revolution. Destroy, destroy and destroy, maybe one day they will realize there is nothing left.

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