El karma de vivir al norte

El karma de vivir al norte de Carlos Velázquez, editado por Sexto Piso.

El karma de vivir al norte de Carlos Velázquez, editado por Sexto Piso.

PABLO RAMÍREZ MORALES  |

(El karma de vivir al norte, Carlos Velázquez, Sexto Piso, 2013, 194 pp.)

A mí en lo particular, como lector, la crónica no me llama especialmente la atención. Será que, derivado de mi poco conocimiento sobre el tema y el género, la asocio inmediatamente a Carlos Monsiváis, a quien reconozco como un autor de una cultura asombrosamente amplia, pero que sus libros y artículos me parecían un tanto incomprensibles. Sus textos bailaban libremente entre el registro de hechos, la narrativa de acontecimientos concretos y reales, el análisis político y social, la ocurrencia y la epifanía. Por ello, la crónica así concebida, siempre me pareció un género resbaloso y que, al no ser ni narrativa pura ni ensayo propiamente dicho, diluía la potencia de ambos géneros.

Por otro lado, la crónica periodística intenta contar los hechos tal y como sucedieron, contextualizando su tiempo y lugar, ya sea para proponer una explicación, o bien, entregarle al lector los elementos para que saque sus propias conjeturas. Sin embargo, en esta vertiente, la crónica me parece a veces, demasiado rígida y necia por apegarse a la realidad. Contrario a la ficción que, dentro de un ámbito de verosimilitud, juega con las estructuras temporales, los puntos de vista y hasta con la voz del narrador; en la crónica, la voz es a veces demasiado neutra, para no alterar la objetividad en el registro de los acontecimientos.

Cuando leí que el próximo libro de Carlos Velázquez sería de crónica, no pude evitar decepcionarme un poco. Después de La biblia vaquera y La marrana negra de la literatura rosa, esperaba que Velázquez se aventurara en la narrativa de largo aliento; o bien, nos ofreciera un nuevo volumen de relatos, dentro del mismo cosmos surreal de sus primeros dos títulos. Sin embargo, por fidelidad al autor (como casi cualquier amante, los lectores le somos fieles a los escritores hasta que nos decepcionan) compré El karma de vivir al norte. El gozo de su lectura tiene dos orígenes: por un lado, la voz del Velázquez cronista se identifica claramente con la del Velázquez narrador, de lo que desprendo que no hay artificio, que es auténtica y entrañable. Por el otro, el giro que le da a la crónica, pues no se queda en el mero registro de hechos, sino que es lo que yo llamaría una crónica intimista, pues no cuenta lo que sucede en Torreón, sino que cuenta lo que le sucede a él en Torreón y cómo su estancia en el norte afecta sus actividades cotidianas y su salud mental.

Otro acierto del libro es que tiene una estructura narrativa similar a la de una obra de ficción, lo cual le da unidad a todo el volumen; esto es, no son crónicas cuyo único común denominador son el cronista, el tiempo y el lugar. El primer capítulo es la justificación de Velázquez para escribir sobre el  horror en que se ha convertido vivir en la Comarca Lagunera. Los siguientes textos van delineando el panorama, el clima, la violencia, el miedo, pero a partir de hechos concretos, no de puras reflexiones en el aire. Complementariamente, en los relatos se insertan pasajes del pasado del autor, de su niñez, de su adolescencia, con la finalidad de darle al lector un antecedente y ensayar una explicación de cómo se fue gestando un clima de violencia, que explotó y llegó a su punto más álgido a partir de la llamada guerra contra el narcotráfico.

El eje alrededor del que gira el libro, desde el primer hasta el último texto, es el miedo del autor a que su hija crezca en una ciudad que se descompone y cae a pedazos. Su motivación es explicarle, explicarse a sí mismo, por qué hay días que no salen a la calle, por qué es normal escuchar ráfagas de metralleta a la vuelta de su casa, de que sepa por qué él tiene tanto miedo y qué le sucedió si un día no vuelven a verse. El autor percibe su incapacidad para responder a las preguntas de su hija como un abismo entre ambos: el libro es un intento de cerrar esa brecha, de abrazar a su hija y de evitar que ella le guarde rencor si un día desaparece.

Poco a poco los textos van ganando intensidad y van subiendo de color: un buen día aparecen cadáveres a la vuelta de la casa del cronista. Los retenes militares y policiacos son cada vez más estrictos e intimidatorios para el ciudadano común (pues los criminales siempre encuentran la manera de darles la vuelta). Cada mes hay más ejecutados en la ciudad. El gobierno del estado parece no enterarse de todo ello, hasta que las cosas se calientan en Saltillo, la capital. Un buen día hay una balacera en lo único y más sagrado de la Comarca: el estadio del Santos. Para nadie es un secreto que Torreón es un cruce de caminos estratégico para el tráfico de drogas, por lo que los Zetas y el cártel de Sinaloa se destrozan para tener el control de la plaza.

En uno de los textos Velázquez busca la esencia del lagunero y la encuentra en la producción de leche y carne, en la cerveza, en la cumbia lagunera y en su propensión natural para la violencia, lo cual quizá no es un análisis demasiado profundo pero no importa, es lo que ve el cronista, es lo que a él le importa, no como un intelectual, sino como un ciudadano conectado con su realidad. Además, para explicar lo que vive a diario, recurre a los referentes que le proporcionan la cultura popular y sus lecturas: el volcán de Lowry, la guerra contra el narco en The Wire, la salud mental de Tony Soprano, el tráfico de droga de Breaking Bad. La violencia en Torreón es una serie de televisión en 4D, que nadie sabe cuántas temporadas tendrá: imagen precisa para transmitir lo que el autor ve y vive todos los días.

Como en toda obra narrativa hay un clímax: un buen día, lleva a su hija al cine y salen casi a las diez de la noche, hora en que es prácticamente imposible conseguir un taxi. Finalmente, un carro se detiene frente a ellos y, en su desesperación por no permanecer indefenso en la calle, con su hija en brazos, se sube sin fijarse en el conductor. Hasta no estar en el asiento de atrás, se da cuenta que es un sicario y que viene hasta arriba de quién sabe qué droga(s). Su mirada, sus risitas, sus palabras eran todas amenazas y entre las líneas de ese texto, se desborda el miedo que sintió Velázquez durante los minutos que duró el trayecto, así como su obsesión por que su hija no se diera cuenta de nada; quizá la libró únicamente porque la llevaba a ella.

Lo que hace entrañable al volumen y, en especial ese relato, es que no cuenta lo que le pasó a otros, sino lo que le pasó a él: el horror de que algo le hicieran enfrente de su hija, que ella saliera lastimada, que quedara traumada de por vida. Finalmente, hay un desenlace: el cártel de Sinaloa expulsa de la plaza a los Zetas y con ello disminuye la violencia. Sin embargo, el peligro está siempre ahí, la incertidumbre de regresar a casa una vez que sales no desaparece. La plaza ya no está hirviendo, pero sigue calientita, cocinándose a fuego lento. Velázquez lo sabe, todo Torreón lo sabe y eso condiciona el ritmo de su vida, su salud mental, su estabilidad emocional, suficiente razón para encontrar un desahogo a través de la crónica intimista.

RMM|PM|

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