When we started LS, we spent quite awhile batting around possible names. One suggestion was por ahora. Here's the back story.
Guerrero started supporting Chávez in 1992, on that fateful day when the then-unknown 37-year-old colonel launched a failed coup of his own. When defeat appeared imminent, Chávez surrendered. To avoid a bloodbath he went on television and asked his compatriots who were still holding two cities to put down their weapons.
During that short live broadcast Chávez did two things that electrified the Venezuelan imagination. First, he took personal responsibility for the botched coup. This seemed to many viewers like a significant break from the standard political tradition of lying and blaming others for failure. Then, in explaining the defeat, Chávez said, "For now, the objectives that we have set for ourselves have not been achieved."
During the next two years, while Chávez was in prison studying, that key phrase--"for now," or por ahora in Spanish--became a rallying cry, a slogan of defiance painted on walls, a talisman of hope in an otherwise
squalid and corrupt political landscape.
Today, we find on Planned Obsolescence the following:
To the Pomona College community:
On Tuesday, March 7, Miguel Tinker Salas, Arango Professor of Latin American History and Chicano Studies, was visited in his Pearsons Hall office by two men from the Los Angeles County Sheriff/FBI Joint Task Force on Terrorism. To avoid rumors, I wanted the Pomona College community to be aware of the facts.
The agents asked Professor Tinker Salas a number of personal questions as well as questions about the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan community in the U.S. During the meeting, they told him that he was not a subject of investigation. The tone and content of the questioning, however, troubled him deeply. He was also troubled by the fact that the agents reportedly questioned some of the students outside his office while waiting to see him.
Miguel, as all of you know, is a superb Wig Award winning teacher and a fine scholar on Latin American history, politics, and culture who is sometimes asked by the news media to comment on topics related to his research, including Venezuelan politics. The College supports him and his scholarly work without reservation.
I am extremely concerned about the chilling effect this kind of intrusive government interest could have on free scholarly and political discourse. I am also concerned about the negative message it sends to students who are considering the pursuit of important areas of international study, in which they may now feel exposed to unwarranted official scrutiny.
The College is currently consulting with legal advisors about the most effective way to register a strong official protest about this intrusion into our scholarly and educational activities, and we will take appropriate action as soon as their advice is received. We are also asking for their help in assuring that all members of the College community are fully informed about their rights and their options in such situations.
And Kathleen Fitzgerald asks the right questions:
-- If Venezuela is in fact the subject of official anti-terrorist scrutiny, how much of that scrutiny really has to do with terrorism? How much has to do with the threat of socialism? How much has to do with oil?
"Por ahora" has suddenly taken on a whole new - and wholly dark - new meaning. For if we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop - "they're interested only in terror, in the middle east - they're not interested in me and what I say or think or write...For now, things will be OK..." - it is becoming increasingly clear that por ahora has already become just plain ahora...