Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End / Miriam Celaya
Posted on March 25, 2014

HAVANA, Cuba – The stunning images of the National Guard repressing
marches in Venezuela reveal a stark contrast between the capability
achieved by mankind to communicate globally at breakneck speed and the
existence of apelike behavior: the authorities using their beasts
against unprotected civilians.

Things are not going very well in a nation whose president, supposedly
democratically elected at the polls to lead to a successful destination
all its citizens and not just his followers, has adopted repression as a
resource to establish "peace", while he stokes the fires of hatred and
polarization as a means to "solve" the crisis, behavior which evidences
the failure of his political performance beyond the period of time he
may yet stay in power.

The complexity of the situation in Venezuela is also reflected in that
the protests being held steadily since February 12th are not initiated
or led from the well-known opposition figures, but are mostly student
and civic demonstrations against a government trying to establish itself
as a dictatorship. The discontent has been growing from within society,
not only because of the increasing shortages and the growing gaps and
civil liberties violations, but also since President Nicolas Maduro's
Parliament sought and obtained full freedom to exercise despotism at will.

And, though control of the situation has slipped from Maduro's fingers,
(if he ever had any control), and though he is deserving of, but sadly
destined to go down in the country's history as the perfect scapegoat of
the Castro-Chávez experiment that seems to be reaching its end, the
truth is that the late Hugo Chávez would not have been able to sustain
indefinitely the Bolivarian project either, in the presence of an
economy that had begun its countdown at the time of his death, after 14
years of nonsensical policies. The outcome is only a matter of time.

The end of an alleged paradigm

It goes without saying that any leftist project inspired by a "Cuban
Marx-Fidel-Martí" ideology — and for some years also "Chávez-Venezuelan"
— which manages to achieve political power in Latin America, carries in
itself all the essential elements that, though originally intended to
perpetuate the new ruling class, leads instead to its failure: contempt
for property, populism as a platform to support the
political-ideological government programs, the destruction of the
infrastructure and of the institutions inherited from earlier periods,
the elimination or limitation (radical or gradual ) of civil liberties,
the reformulation of the legal basis in favor of the interests of the
new controlling power and the identification of an external enemy that
hinders or prevents achieving government programs, among others.

This last element, which decades ago allowed F. Castro to polarize
society from his power base by establishing a watershed between the
government and its supporters (the worthy ones, the Patriots) and those
in the opposition (the evil ones, the stateless), currently constitutes
a political immaturity that is not delivering the dividends of previous
decades, since the ever-villain U.S. government is not showing too much
interest in taking part in Latin-American conflicts, an issue that
weakens the regional nationalistic outbursts of a sub-continent with a
historical past plagued by the interventions of its powerful northern

And if that were not enough, the so-called "Bolivarian revolution"
supports, in addition, an extra burden: while Castro's revolution
assumed, relatively successfully, a regional symbolic leadership managed
to date – this must be acknowledged — with great skill by the Cuban
leadership, Chávez's revolution risked economic leadership by
subsidizing the region's leftist and other related projects, squandering
generously Venezuela's natural energy resources with the consequent
deterioration of its very economy, ultimately leading to the current
crisis. In short, just like Fidel Castro long ago depicted himself as an
image of the Messiah, Hugo Chávez, in his time, ended up as the image of
a patron saint, while the fickle masses will end up someday seeing
Maduro as "the guy who ruined everything."

As for the rest, and for the detriment of the radical leftists,
Venezuelan oil is the lifeline of that pipe dream called ALBA, conceived
as an economic locomotive of the "Latin American integration" which has
allowed so much nationalist populism to be reborn in a region
particularly addicted to sentimentality and caudillos. Little fortune
could be predicted in an alliance whose central axis has its household
upside down. Just in case, each fairly astute chieftain should be
reviewing his accounts and stuffing his personal savings under the
mattress. When XXI century socialism eventually stops developing in its
Chávez cocoon, it will drag with it whatever parasites are feeding on
Venezuela. It is possible that, at least in that nation, a very long
sleep awaits the fundamentalist left.

Translated by Norma Whiting

Cubanet, 24 March 2014, Miriam Celaya

Source: The Beginning of the End / Miriam Celaya | Translating Cuba -

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