August 22, 2004

Eyes wide shut... for Justin Delacour

In Venezula, during the mid eighties, in the middle of the damned "IV Republic", robbing restaurants became sort of a fashion. Once, three or four thieves robbed a luxury restaurant in Caracas called "La Madrina". After taking every cent from the cashier, and every piece of jewelry and de luxe watches from the clients present, one on the assailants took his weapon and, putting it on the brow of a fat man, cried: "I want the keys of the red Mercedes Benz parked in front of this place or I'll kill this man!" Absolute silence. The thief repeated his threat, and, after a longer silence, some clients, mostly middle class people, took their car keys and threw it to the thief saying: "It's not the red Mercedes, but take my car... please, don't kill the man". The thieves accepted, and left in four different cars, laughing. The life of the fat threatened man, a journalist and editor called Oscar Silva (alive and kicking, and able to tell the story), was saved by unknown, human, normal people, who willingly sacrificed their cars because, well, a human life was more valuable...
About five minutes later, a silent man stood up, went out, and drove away in his red Mercedes Benz. For several years afterwards, he told the event as a joke in every literary party. The punch line was: "Only a moron would have exchanged MY Mercedes for that stupid fat guy". The owner of the Mercedes was (and is) a well known "leftist", a "human rights activist", a writer, one of the most respected intellectuals of chavista nomenklatura: Luis Britto García, author, among other books, of Venezuela: Investigación de unos medios por encima de toda sospecha. Such an eye opener!