Gente que Cuenta

Rothschild in Quiriquire,
by Rubén Azócar

Anne Murphy Atril press
Anne Murphy,
Lectura de verano, s/f

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      My father, José Azocar Aguilera, was born in Quiriquire, one of the oil fields of CREOLE, in the state of Monagas, Venezuela, in March 1939. He was the penultimate of six siblings and arrived when my grandfather, who was a watchman at the oil company, was already older, beginning to feel the effects of poorly controlled diabetes and a bit of a curmudgeon. Therefore, his older brother Alfonzo, an oil worker, assumed the paternal figure and made sure that my dad grew as healthy as possible: vaccinated, dewormed, and with at least two meals a day. He also ensured that my father continued to attend school and occasionally bought him clothes from the oil company’s supply store. Thus, my father completed primary school, finished high school, and eventually graduated as an Agricultural Engineer from the University of La Molina in Peru, one of the best in Latin America in that field. My uncle called my dad Rothschild. My father never knew exactly why, but he never ceased to remind me that without the support, discipline, and love of his brother, none of that would have been possible, and how grateful he was for it.

One day, at a garage sale near Boston, I saw a beautiful winter coat for my son José Agustín, who was then 2-3 years old. It was navy blue, thick, with a pleasant weight, and that would have been really expensive if it had been in a shopping mall store. What caught my attention was the brand: Rothschild. I understood that perhaps my father’s nickname was based on a clothing brand that the children of watchmen or oil workers in that Venezuela of American oil fields could not have, but that my uncle aspired to for his younger brother. It was not just about clothing, but about having better opportunities and a brighter future. Opportunities and a brighter future that helped my father and, therefore, also opened doors for me.

More years passed, and my nephew-godson Jesús, Alfonzo’s grandson, knocked on the door seeking to leave Venezuela in search of better opportunities and a brighter future. A biologist, researcher, and highly talented musician, how could I not help Jesús? Not only because he is family and a compatriot, but also in some way to close the circle of helping his grandfather, helping my father, and now me helping him. As the saying goes, what is sown is reaped. My uncle sowed, and we are still reaping.

Ruben Azocar Atril press
Rubén J. Azócar es caraqueño, médico anestesiólogo e intensivista, fanático del béisbol y vive en Boston -desde donde escribe- desde hace más de un cuarto de siglo.

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