"Me, My Dad, and Chávez" in BBC World Service by Bear Guerra

Ruxandra Guidi left Venezuela for the US in 1990, when she was just 14. Over time she and her father drifted apart; he, an ardent believer in the revolution, she, disillusioned by the fate of the nation she once called home. Separated by ideology, they carried on with their lives in starkly different places, each sticking to the truth they’d chosen to hear. Now, with the situation in Venezuelan as bad as it’s been, Ruxandra is reminded why she can’t give up on her father.

Listen to the radio piece here.


New Essay: "As Venezuela Divided, So Did My Family" by Bear Guerra

“For 15 years, I let propaganda come between my father and me. The late Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías had been in power for over a decade. Even though in my twenties I too was enamored of him—of the idea of a leader with a social agenda, a political outsider who looked nothing like the previous white bureaucrats—just a handful of years into his presidency, I had completely fallen out of love with his revolution. In principle, I applauded his efforts to use oil profits to fund social programs, but over time, I saw Chávez defunding and attacking the country's independent democratic institutions. My dad, though, hadn't fallen out of love. To him, Chávez would become something of a messiah.”

Read the full essay on Pacific Standard here.


Personal Essay: Home Is Wherever There Is Peace by Bear Guerra

The demonstrations lasted for a little over a week, but El Caracazo did not end. Political instability radiated beyond Caracas over the next year. Coup d’état atttempts followed, led by an idealistic military officer from working-class roots named Hugo Chávez. The country’s foreign debt mushroomed. Corruption charges plagued President Pérez and eventually forced him from office.

El Caracazo would go on to trigger a new world order. It would go on living inside all of us. And, it would push many to leave—including my mother and me.

Read the rest of this essay here.