Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Caudillism, a Repeated Evil / Fernando Dámaso

Caudillism, a Repeated Evil / Fernando Dámaso
Fernando Dámaso, Translator: Unstated

The Latin American left, old, new or newest, in its love-hate
relationship with the northern neighbor, has always railed against it,
making it totally responsible for all our political, economic and social
ills. Added to this has been the contribution, over the years, of many
of our intellectuals and artists who, enjoying most comfortable economic
positions, have tried to establish a kind of political patronage over
the masses, trying to cleanse, with them, their bourgeois stigma, which
they deny but enjoy. It's not worth recording their names, because the
list is endless.

Acknowledging our shortcomings is something extremely difficult for
Latin Americans. We've always like the role of victims and it has paid
us good dividends. Immensely rich lands have provided us with wealth or
well-being and all for the fault of others: first it was the Spanish and
Portuguese who destroyed the magnificent and idyllic aboriginal
civilizations, which respected the human being, did not go to war and
lived in peace and harmony, resting on the banks of rivers and lakes,
singing and dancing in honor of the gods, who were so good and so
undemanding that they showered them with offerings of tropical fruits.
Then there were the British, Dutch, French, etc. who also came to
exploit and take over our natural resources that we, wisely, didn't
exploit, reserving them for future generations. In the end came the
Americans, getting rid of all the designated governments and doing what
they pleased, and so on.

This story, well told, is very comfortable for our leftists and allowed
them to disregard the reality and the real causes of our situation: our
own incapacity. Other countries with fewer natural resources, with
adverse geographical and climatic conditions, with submissions and wars,
have been able to struggle, overcome obstacles and develop without
exploiting anyone: Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Thailand, Malaysia, to
name a few. Why has Canada developed while Mexico hasn't, both having
borders with the United States? Is it that the United States has been
magnanimous with Canada and stingy with Mexico? Or is that Canadians,
instead of wasting time in fratricidal strife, have dedicated themselves
to work hard and develop their country? The answer is obvious, despite
the silliness of our left. If we review the history of Latin American
nations we find only a string of wars and warlords in a violent and
interminable struggle to seize power and benefit from cliques outside
the people's interests, although they often disguise themselves as such.

The people meekly followed these mythical characters and have relied on
an endless carnival, which has plunged us into the most appalling
underdevelopment, without real hope of leaving it. All leaders have used
the same scheme: from liberator to dictator.

Until our people stop whining, blaming everything on their neighbor
(whom they envy) and decide to work hard, to settle the caudillism and
establish a truly democratic system, where what matters is the
management of government and results, not personal sympathies for one or
another figure, until we establish and strengthen the institutions that
can prevent someone from seizing power and operating at will, until
democracy really works and not the current freaks, we cannot solve any
of our problems.

Meanwhile, our leftists, supported by the festive leftists of the
developed countries, continue to entertain themselves organizing protest
marches against everything, burning effigies of Uncle Sam and the
incumbent president as well as flags, to the rhythm of a Brazilian
samba, a Colombian cumbia, a Venezuelan joropo or a Cuban conga, with
large portraits of Bolivar, Che and other convenient figures. It's easy
and convenient to shift onto the shoulders of others our own historical
incapacity and indolence, to be able to continue lying against the trunk
of a coconut tree napping, while responsible nations and workers cross
in front of us and leave us behind.

March 30 2011

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