The ghost of the Cold War seems to continue walking the streets of Latin America.
Since the beginning of the student and political demonstrations in Venezuela, which were strongly repressed by the regime, countries like Uruguay,Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil have expressed their unconditional support for Nicolas Maduro, emphasizing the values of democracy and condemning the alleged incitement by the U.S. to popular insurgency. While Latin America’s dogmatic left and some frustrated revolutionaries applaud the radicalization of the regime in the face of the rise of “fascism”, others, like me, denounce the big irresponsibility of these illustrious hominis politici.
In fact, without any compelling evidence confirming the involvement of Leopoldo Lopez in an alleged coup engineered by the government of Barack Obama, Latin American leaders would be tacitly supporting the totalitarian excesses of Chavez’s regime, accepting the numerous cases of media censorship, participating in the political persecution of the opposition, approving the creation of chavist paramilitary militias and justifying the deaths of students during the protests that massively erupted on February 12 throughout the country’s main cities. Eventually, Latin American leaders would almost become pathetic. Could someone enlighten me, because I do not see it: where is the democracy they so much defend?
However there is an even more disturbing aspect. What motivates countries like Paraguay, which fought until a month ago against the entrance of Venezuela in the MERCOSUR – given that the Venezuelan government did not recognize the new President Federico Franco – , to lean on the side of the Bolivarian Revolution? The answer is simple: fear and dependence. And while the neighboring nations are victims of the oil-diplomacy and prefer to be silent in front of injustice – i.e. subject to Venezuela’s soft-power -, in the country of Simón Bolivar, the shortages of food and other first necessity products have created a great social instability allowing for the proliferation of the underworld in the streets and for massacres in broad daylight. In Venezuela, protesting became a necessity in front of the abuses of the armed forces, against the corruption of institutions, against the lack of independence of the judiciary system. Although it might be hard for us to accept it, protesting is also a necessity when confronted with the joke of having Nicolas Maduro as President, whom, without any solid argument to stay in power, goes on incessantly designating scapegoats to cover the disaster caused by just one year in office.
In my continent, many will say that advocating for the Venezuelan opposition immediately turns a person into a pro-American right-wing capitalist, but I would emphasize that denouncing the abuses that have occurred, are occurring and will continue to occur in Venezuela does not mean having a defined political position. It means having a conscience and a bit of intelligence while facing the facts. The problem is that since Venezuela is a regime which acts under the moto of the eradication of poverty (actually impoverishing all the population) and that encourages the popular struggle against the elite (Which elite? The diaspora of Miami or Bogotá?), we have to shut our mouths before the alleged moral superiority of the so-called revolutionary left. Yes, the same revolutionary left that ended the yoke of dictatorship in Cuba 55 years ago while making it automatically enter another, or the one that today walks through several countries in the region mixing politics with cocaine and terrorism.
Saying that the defence of the fundamental freedoms of the opposition and of the Venezuelan students is an attempt to destabilize democracy, is equivalent to accept that ruthless wars like the one currently waged by Bashar al-Assad might continue. On February 19th, this latter sent a warm and affectionate note of support to Nicolas Maduro praising the “path of peace” that he had initiated.
As such, and by enlarge, after a reiteration by the MERCORSUR of its support for the Venezuelan regime, we enter another vicious circle of two blocks. Just as in the times of the Cold War, we see the countries which back up the Western powers and those which do not. Thus, no matter what is the cause, the idea is always to go against the flow.
Ah, yet, we must not forget: the Yankees are still our main trading partners.
STEFANO BADALACCHI is an Italo-Colombian who has been studying political sciences and international security in France, and is currently working as a risk consultant. He lives in Paris, France and comes from Bogotá, Colombia.