Our Man in Catia says:
6:45 pm: Just spent talking 10 mins with the other witness for the SI, and talked politics. Freddy is a 35 year old father of 4 and owner of his own clothing store in La Hoyada who supports Chavez. He dressess very smart, wears cool glasses and is articulate. He defines himself as a non-active member of the Psuv who only mobilizes when there is an election as a witness.
A summary of our exhange:
Me: How can you support Chavez if you own your own store; your not worried about private property?
Freddy: That’s a lie, Chavez is not against private property, only against some type of private property: monopolies that exploit people.
Me: But Chavez is just replacing a private monopoly for a state monopoly?
Freddy: But it’s different, state monopolies redistribute the wealth.
Me: but are you really better off today?
Freddy: Yes, several times better, economically, socially, etc. I’ve made all my money the last 10years, and before Chavez I didn’t even have money to pay for public transport.
Me: But how much of that is the result of high oil prices?
Freddy: Oil prices have nothing to do with it, with another president even with oil at $5,000per barrel, we wouldn’t feel the difference. Maybe in your area in the east of the city you haven’t felt the difference, but here in my barrio, the increase of our stanard of living has inreased several times. Before I couldn’t go to a public hospital and not that hospitals are any better now but at least they do look after you and if not we have Barrio Adentro, where my children are treated with respect and love by the cubans. Even this week I went to a private hospital where I was paying and I was mistreated by the doctor, in Barrio Adentro that doesn’t happen.
Me: But don’t you get angry with the money he’s giving away to other countries?
Freddy: But he’s not giving away anything, he is paying for help, look at the cuban doctors that costs money. The problem is that the radicals of both side take over the debate, and all you hear is the noise, but in reality, we the base, are not represented by those radicals.
In all, Freddy is just like me, a father of 4 (I’m a father of 3) looking after was best for their family. But obviously we can’t agree what is really the answer that will secure our families future. Still he’s someone I wouldn’t mind having a beer with and trying to convince anyway.