Cuando en 2015, al rector de la estatal universidad venezolana formadora de educadores, UPEL*, Raúl López Sayago, se le ocurre otorgar al (buen) cantante del género "salsa latina" Óscar León Simosa (alias "Óscar D'León") un Doctorado Honoris Causa, aparte del desestimulo que ello significó para muchos doctores de verdad-verdad y muchos estudiantes de doctorado que a la sazón allí pujaban dignamente por formarse desde las aulas, llevó consigo -no obstante- una serie nutrida de discusiones caracterizada, más que todo, por el siguiente nudo conceptual (teleológico): ¿Qué es lo que debe caracterizar a un ciudadano que sin cursar formalmente un doctorado, le sea conferido por razones de honor universitario, el título del más alto nivel que el Alma Máter concibe? Tales discusiones trajeron a colación otros casos harto polémicos de doctorados honoríficos apuntados a políticos como el venezolano Hugo Chávez, el nicaragüense Anastasio Somoza Debayle, el español Francisco Franco, el paraguayo Alfredo Stroessner, el cubano Fidel Castro, etc. También pulularon en esa discusión, asuntos relacionados a otras premiaciones de honor las cuales sin ser propiamente universitarias, aportaron ajíes y pimientas, como por ejemplo, el brollo que generó en Reino Unido (1965), las medallas otorgadas a Los Beatles por la célebre monarca de esa poderosa y múltiplemente instalada nación con sede en Londres...
When in 2015, the rector of the Venezuelan state university that trains educators, UPEL*, Raúl López Sayago, came up with the idea of awarding the good singer of the "Latin salsa" genre Óscar León Simosa (alias "Óscar D'León") an Honoris Causa Doctorate Apart from the discouragement that this meant for many real-true doctors and many doctoral students who at the time were bidding there with dignity for training from the classroom, it brought with it -however- a nourished series of discussions characterized, above all, by the following conceptual (teleological) knot: What should characterize a citizen who, without formally pursuing a doctorate, is conferred for reasons of university honor, the title of the highest level that the Alma Mater conceives? Such discussions brought up other highly controversial cases of honorary doctorates awarded to politicians such as the Venezuelan Hugo Chávez, the Nicaraguan Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the Spanish Francisco Franco, the Paraguayan Alfredo Stroessner, the Cuban Fidel Castro, etc. Also swarming in this discussion were matters related to other honor awards which, without being properly university, contributed chili peppers and peppers, such as the brollo that was generated in the United Kingdom (1965), the medals awarded to The Beatles by the famous monarch of that powerful and many times urged nation with headquarters in London...
With the extreme deafness that regularly characterizes the people who -at a given moment- hold power (be it micro or macro; be it from here, there or everywhere), since the aforementioned rector of UPEL (and the entourage accompanying him obediently in his management), because barely 6 years after such an occurrence, he decides to grant another doctorate of the same honorary bill (now post mortem), but directed at a religious reference "clearly, militant". It is about a Venezuelan character named José Gregorio Hernández Cisneros (1864-1919) who, although he is openly recognized in his country for his dedication to the medical profession, drawing dedication and philanthropy (in addition to teaching), the popular culture of his country attributes supernatural elements to it. This to such a degree that the Venezuelan Catholic Church is organically committed to turning the respectable personality of Hernández Cisneros into what the faith of that sect calls "saint." It is that when in Venezuelan popular culture they speak of José Gregorio Hernández, well, people associate him with spiritual faith, with miracles, with Catholic militancy.
It is not difficult to connote that when the aforementioned rector and the obedient entourage that supports him, point their gazes of recognition at the deceased character, since what prevails is the religious factor as a punctually Catholic militancy; This, without seeing that constitutionally Venezuela embraces religious freedom and the State (and the public university, of course!) is not confessional (like the current Iran or the Libya of the ill-fated Muammar el Gaddafi). That's how we see it. It seems obvious to connote, therefore, that this rector and his obedient entourage, participate in that line so popularly installed in Venezuelan popular culture, to see José Gregorio Hernández as "Venerable", "Servant of God", more than for different reasons.
Ah, the occurrences of the UPEL rector and his support ladies (vice-rectors and institutional secretary) do not end there... Renewing all kinds of disregard for the doctoral programs (almost a dozen) that this house of studies has in good fight throughout the Venezuelan nation, because these witty University Authorities decided a short time ago to confer the Honoris Causa title on a folk good singer known by the pseudonym "Rucio Moro" taking into account the title of one of the successful songs and a Caracas bar that apparently is associated with his business skills. Reynaldo Armas Enguaima is his name. (Inscribed in this decadent wave, other study houses have been registering, such as one that is located in the llanera region of that country and whose acronym is UNELLEZ **).
POLÍTICOS DE TODOS LOS CUÑOS (INCLUYENDO DICTADURAS Y AUTORITARISMOS) VIENEN BAILANDO AL RITMO DE LOS DOCTORADOS HONORIS CAUSA*** / HEMOS DE AÑADIR EL CASO DE LAS MEDALLAS A LOS BEATLES (1965) Y LAS REACCIONES ÁCIDAS...
POLITICIANS OF ALL KINDS (INCLUDING DICTATORSHIPS AND AUTHORITARIANISMS) COME DANCING TO THE RHYTHM OF THE HONORIS CAUSA DOCTORATES...***. / WE HAVE TO ADD THE CASE OF THE MEDALS TO THE BEATLES (1965) AND THE ACID REACTIONS...
Here are some "pearls"...
The Cuban Fidel Castro has been "honored doctorate" on different occasions (universities in Cuba, former Czechoslovakia, Ecuador, Nicaragua...). The Spanish Francisco Franco (Santiago de Compostela University) has been "laureate". Both the Chilean Augusto Pinochet and the Paraguayan Alfredo Stroessner and the Nicaraguan Anastasio Somoza Debayle were "doctorates" at the University of Guadalajara. The latter, also at Hahnemann University in the United States and at the Central American Institute of Business Administration (Nicaragua). The Libyan Muammar el Gadhafi, in universities in Serbia, Tunisia...; Venezuelan Hugo Chávez in universities in Venezuela, Libya, South Korea (that is, the one on the capitalist side), Brazil, China, Chile... The Bolivian Evo Morales in a Russian university...
The case of The Beatles, year 1965, although it was not referred to honorary doctorates, is probably relevant here; above all because it is an award that at the time was highly significant in terms of state power (the United Kingdom) and given that the receiving entity vividly embodied show business, popular music, pop, rock, mass merriment.
As we know, in that year Queen Elizabeth II conferred on this Liverpool cuartero, some medals that symbolized one of the highest honors in state affairs; namely "Order of the British Empire", assigning Paul, John, Ringo and George the status of Members. As we may remember, this situation generated an uproar of extreme dimensions; This to the point that not a few citizens of that nation who had received such honors in outstanding conditions given their respective participation in "World War II", returned their prized medals symbolizing such action, a protest. Yes. A protest for sharing with those boys, such a national honor.
ALGUNAS CONCLUSIONES PROVISIONALES PARA EL DEBATE...
SOME PROVISIONAL CONCLUSIONS FOR THE DEBATE...
1)The Doctorate is the highest level degree offered by the university institution. When doctors carry out formal teaching-learning sessions, instead of being called "post-doctoral", they should be called co-doctoral. Well, those PhD degrees that are awarded for reasons predominantly of honor, must be conferred on citizens of the university environment who have honored in outstanding conditions any of the 3 themes of intellectual production; namely, science, technology and the humanities. In science, objectification is the deciding factor. This is with the understanding that factual verification is extremely important, but not sufficient. In technology, it is the honor both to the scientific knowledge that is had in the historical moment in which the instrumental is generated, as well as to the hierarchization that is had of the historical-concrete sense of its utility. In the humanities, the matter is much more complex.
2)If taking into account what has been brought up here, something makes sense, that "something" is that the humanities is not "anything goes"; No. We have no doubt that behind those so-called laudatory doctorates that we have cited here in light of the show business and the circumstantial somersaults that social power gives, there is no figure of special merits for the university institution to confer the figure of Honorary Doctorate! Cause.
3)Although it is true that in the field of pop and rock music it had not existed in those '60s. a greater and better reference than The Beatles, it is plausible to estimate today that the lady who reigned England and countries aligned to it, came up with something intemperate at that time when conferring an order of such a high state level, on a group of British citizens who only shone as musicians, as show people; not as state activist people.
4)It would be nonsense to think that an Honoris Causa Doctorate would actually be offered to someone from an organization like Oscar, Grammy, Ariel, etc. It also seems to us a mess that there are universities that gobble up elements of show business, immediate politics and other media, to the highest university instance of Doctor Honoris Causa titles.
5)For a citizen of the university world to opt for an Honoris Causa Doctorate, talent is not enough; not even the product is virtuous. It is necessary for this citizen to evaluate his intellectual production, to criticize it sufficiently.
6)Although it is true that, at least in Venezuela, the public university was born (second decade of the 18th century) under the religious (Catholic) and monarchical (Spanish) aegis, its community carried out -even so- a sustained struggle against that pair of historical hindrances managing to emancipate from those already at the end of the 80s of the 19th century. Such a heroic bid is led by the civil hero, Dr. José María Vargas, and the military hero, General Simón Bolívar. Occurrences such as the one that we alluded to at the beginning of this article (the case of José Gregorio Hernández and the rector López Sayago), go against not only history but also the genetic principle of the Venezuelan public university. That's how we see it.