Mangled Hopes for Bridges is the paintings show by Natalya Critchley, my wife, on the Venezuelan diaspora. This exhibition opens at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center in the town of Vicksburg, Michigan, USA, on September 27th, 2020, as part of the event “Destination Venezuela: Culture Amidst Crises”. It expresses her pain and solidarity for this tragedy since in many ways we are very much part of it, part of the unstoppable and massive bleeding of the best of our country: its people.
The Simón Bolívar Bridge between the cities of San Antonio del Táchira in Venezuela and Cúcuta in Colombia has become the icon of this migration from savagery to civilization, a complicated toll Venezuelans must pay with the hope of finding subsistence and some prosperity on the other side. I have crossed it several times, by myself and with my physics students on our way to some international conference or school. Not long ago it was more practical and cheaper to fly out of Cúcuta than from the Maiquetía Airport of Caracas. We took the overnight bus of Expresos Occidente to the city of San Cristóbal, and Mr. Clinton, the cab driver who knew all the tricks of the trade, would take us across the bridge. But soon we reached the point of no return, Venezuela laid waste, we could no longer pursue our professional goals at home. The international scientific family to which we belong helped us with projects and doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships difficult to turn down.