Unless you were on Neptune last week, you heard about Venezuelan President Chavez’s death. I have to say I’m one of those people who quietly expected it,
but was still shocked when the announcement hit the news. It has now been added to one of those events, like September 11th and January 12th, where you’ll always remember where you were and what you were doing when it happened.
After watching the CNN coverage for about an hour, I decided to see what was being said on the social media sites. Twitter was as expected with links from different sources and people talking about how Venezuela had changed (for better or worse) over the past 14 years. What surprised me was what I saw on Facebook. People were actually celebrating the President’s death. I mean literally expressing elation from the news. Who does that?! The worst part is that these people aren’t even Venezuelan. They don’t have any family who are Venezuelan. So explain to me how their lives could be so negatively impacted by President Chavez that they would actually lose their decorum. I was speechless.
I realized that these are people with whom I’ve had pleasant conversations. We’ve laughed together. Shared stories.And yet, we can disagree politically without wishing each other harm, can’t we? I’ve never felt comfortable with this macabre idea of “justice”. If I wished death on all the people on Facebook with whom I disagreed politically…and got my wish…well I would have a lot fewer “friends”. I have no other way to describe this experience other than sad. Our societies have come to accept this type of behavior and people don’t think twice about posting this ridiculous and hateful rhetoric for all the world to see. Just sad.
In the meantime, contrary to popular belief (or at least what my friends and family are hearing), what I’ve observed here in Caracas is respect from all sides. Businesses have observed the days of mourning and people are getting back to their regular activities. So in order to get back to a place where people show some decency, I simply get off of Facebook and walk outside. Who da thunk it