By: A. A. Alvarez
Publisher: A. A. Alvarez Publishing
Publication Date: October 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2010
Professor Carlos Rodríguez was uncomfortable returning to the country he was born in and loved, but nonetheless was anxious for the plane to land. Bernardo Acosta, a major player in Venezuelan politics, would be meeting him at the airport, but he considered him to be “nothing more than his old school buddy.” They say that home is where the heart is, but his heart no longer lay in the land where he was born. He left Venezuela twenty-five years before when he was a teenager. “Insecurity, social unrest, political instability, and a rapidly decaying economy were the main factors that pushed him abroad at the time.” (pg. 12) A lo hecho, pecho...Carlos had to move on and he did. He was now coming back as a “guest” speaker in his homeland, a land in which civil liberties had flown the coop right along with him. Carlos was passionate about the socio-political ramifications of programs imposed by the dictatorial leadership, but he said little. Would he be able to speak his mind? Perhaps, but he full well knew the consequences of audacity.
Most people knew better than to buck authority, but over the years there were those few like Eleazar Maso Gallardo who were born to become a thread in the historical tapestry of Venezuela. He was a mere shoeshine boy who would claw his way to the top of the Venezuelan military and political ladders. He was ruthless, so much so that he disowned his own brother. He was there when they tried to overthrow President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Lt. Colonel Hugo Chávez Frias was the leader of the military dissidents, but he was, at that time, an unknown. Eleazar too, was a nobody but was a well-respected member of the elitist Air Force. He was seriously ambitious and at the base “he was a leader, a tough guy, an officer in the making, a role model...and after February 4 of 1992; a revolutionary.” (pg. 25) The attempted coups in 1992 had awoken his spirit. Eleonor, his daughter, was the only person to whom he could say he loved, but that love was not reciprocated. Just how far would he go to have a desk in the Palacio de Miraflores? He had been known to beat Eleonor’s mother, Patricia, but how far could his unconscionable ways weave their way into the lives of innocent Venezuelans?
Bernardo Acosta was a young man who would be the man on the other end of the teeter totter, a thorn in Eleazar’s side. Eventually he would practically pierce his side when Eleonor Maso took notice of him. Was he the man she had always waited for? He was an opposition leader of note from the Central University of Venezuela who started out as a member of “Somos Venezuela” (We Are Venezuela) when he was a young law student. He had marched at Altamira Square and would run up against the Chavistas. He too was a thread in the tapestry of Venezuela and had nearly died for the privilege. There were many men vying for power, for control, but they underestimated the power of one woman, a woman who was looking closely at Bernardo. Eleonor had become his “number-one follower” and “It had been well over two years since she started sending him letters of support with highly privileged information about the government’s future moves against the opposition.” (pg. 78) What would be the future of these three men, men whose power shaped the policies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela? What could or would the country look like if any one of their plans succeeded?
The passion A. A. Alvarez feels for Venezuela oozes from every page of this tale, a tale that interweaves fact and fiction, taking a glimpse at the past and making a hypothetical leap into the future. Each of the characters is so well developed that I could sympathize and side with them depending on where I was in the book. It was as if the author spun a cocoon around them and unraveled the thread bit by bit uncovering their motivation and obsessive love for their country. This is not a book that gives the reader a wide spectrum of the country’s history, but rather microscopically zooms in on the socio-political aspects of its revolutionary history and its potential ramifications in the future. I was quite impressed at how well the author was able to impart what this country’s political climate is all about without becoming overly judgmental. Light shades of criticism can be felt, but there was no bashing of any particular political ideology, something that is difficult to accomplish in such a work. This was an impressive, groundbreaking view into the lifeblood of Venezuela, a country that more people should take a look at, examine, and think about.
Quill says: If you would like to get an understanding of a small, but powerfully intense country, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and its socio-political climate, this amazing book will define the meaning of the word, “passion” for you.
For more information on v2036: A Tale of Sociopolitical Struggle in a Militarized Venezuela, please visit the author's website at: www.aaalvarez.com