Dear comrades in Trinidad and Tobago, capitalist pig Darryn Boodan is on vacation and the Express has allowed me to use his column space to send you all a special shout-out. It was very nice of the Express to willingly oblige me. It's refreshing to not have to threaten a newspaper for a change. Trini comrades, I want to tell you how much it means to me that so many of you are standing by me during these tough times. Low oil prices have meant that Venezuelans have had to make sacrifices, like tighten their belts, wait in long lines for food, and if they are protesters, occasionally get shot.
Comrades, I admit I could be difficult to live next door to sometimes. Ever since the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez (peace be upon him) rose to power in Venezuela, we Chavistas have really shook up the neighbourhood. We gerrymandered elections, we shut down media that didn't support us, we seized private property, we threw judges and opposition leaders in jail, and we even allowed the narco-terrorist group, the FARC, to set up camp in Venezuela. And, when we told the world that we did all this in the name of “equality”, you enthusiastically backed us up. You guys are like the best friend we can rely on to tell our girlfriend we were with you all night feeding homeless people and not liming in Dad's Dan.
Take your political scientist Indira Rampersad. Only this past week she wrote a brilliant column in these pages implying that our economic woes are due to nefarious actions by the United States. “The role of the US in the Venezuelan crisis cannot be discounted,” she wrote, bravely discounting the need for evidence of it. I must admit I was worried that our policies like price controls, nationalisation of industries, confiscation of private farms, excessive spending on welfare programmes, and printing money would mean it was my fault that our economy is in tatters. But Dr Rampersad reminded me to trust my paranoid ramblings. This isn't my fault. The only reason socialism has spectacularly failed here and everywhere it was tried is because the CIA keeps stealing our toilet paper.
But it's not just Dr Rampersad who has been apologising on our behalf. Other public commentators like Rickey Singh, UWI lecturer Gabriella Hosein, “historian”' Michael Anthony, hunger striker Wayne Kublalsingh, propaganda reporter Reagan Des Vignes and columnist Raffique Shah, have all praised the Bolivarian Revolution and dismissed any criticism of us as coming from imperialist sell-outs.
I can't begin to tell them how much I appreciate their support. There are only so many times Amnesty International can call you a human rights violator before it starts getting to you. You guys are my rock, or as Joseph Stalin called it, “useful idiots”.
I have to give a special shout-out though to the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM). After a week of violent and bloody protests I expected the JTUM leaders to distance themselves from me faster than a man with a jelly doughnut seeing Minister of Sport Darryl Smith walk in the room. But instead, they actually praised me as “a man of the people”.
“We stand in solidarity (with the Bolivarian and Cuban Revolution) because they represent a vision of humanity where everybody counts,” said JTUM secretary Ozzi Warwick. Presumably he's not referring to the 50 per cent of the electorate who voted against me in the last “election” and the thousands who have fled both my country and Cuba.
Lastly, I want to thank the leaders of Caricom. Caricom has always been there when I needed them to say nothing. Whether it was when I jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, or when I had armed Cuban gangs patrolling the streets, or when I gave out guns to party militias or when I used violent force to quash protesters and pro-democracy groups, Caricom has been right there cheerleading me on—the same way they do with Cuba. They really are the best friend any tyrant could ask for.
I will also never forget that even while OAS countries are considering expelling Venezuela for human rights abuses, your very own Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, wasn't afraid to join a conga line with me. As everyone knows, you never forget your conga line partners. We are bound forever. I hope on my next visit to T&T I can do the limbo with all you wonderful people. Let's see how low we go!
PS. If it's not too much trouble can I borrow some toilet paper?
—Darryn Boodan is
a freelance writer