That in Venezuela there are very serious tensions, nobody can deny: upheavals typical of an unprecedented process of political, economic and social change in the country and which divides Venezuelans both by its mere existence and by the pace with which it is being implemented.
Pablo Sapag M.
These are however changes that from the end of 1998 with Hugo Chávez’s electoral victory have made Venezuela a key player on a regional as well as international level like never before.
As such the experiences of other Latin American countries such as Arbenz’s Guatemala, Allende’s Chile and revolutionary Cuba were repeated. Countries which, despite their relative size, wealth and political influence, became global role models for their attempts at internal transformation.
In the case of Venezuela, however, this path has proved much more dangerous from the outset for defenders of the status quo in the region given the country’s enormous resources and the fact that it also exerts influence in the Caribbean, and the Andean region.
It has been a dangerous road also because Venezuela has in Simón Bolívar a symbolic icon that San Martín, O’Higgins, Artigas or Sucre never overshadowed when it came to representing, in the international collective imagination, the idea of an independent Latin America free from custodians of any kind.
For, while San Martin was essentially a military man and O’Higgins was one of his lieutenants, Bolivar was in addition always an ideologist in favour of the Great Latin American Homeland. It is precisely this historical footnote that is allowing Venezuela to rescue itself from an apparent existential crisis.
A crisis which is added to by Venezuela’s internal political differences and mistakes made by the government under the presidency of Nicolas Maduro who is no Chavez; who although erroneously and unlike Raul Castro, for instance, has tried to copy the style of his predecessor ignoring his own, to the delight of the enemies of the Bolivarian government.
To the list of internal causes is added the hysteria of a disorganized opposition lacking any plans beyond overthrowing the government and whose most eminent representatives are merely deceiving those who are ignorant of Latin America’s social, racial and cultural reality.
The obscene mansions of several of these invariably white opposition leaders who claim to represent all Venezuelans, including those in the shanty towns of the hills surrounding Caracas, and the elite American university courses each costing several tens of thousands of dollars which are unashamedly presumed to provide a hollow guarantee of efficient management of Andrés Bello’s homeland by these opponents are for many Venezuelans overwhelming reasons for moving forward with the process.
This is the attitude, which despite the many errors in implementation, has sought to overcome the enormous social, racial and cultural inequities of a country which in terms of resources must aspire to be much more than a Miami full of indigents and historically gripped by crime and the most corrosive corruption – intensely long-standing situations which are well described in Rómulo Gallegos’ “Doña Bárbara” which dates back almost a century.
It is the internal weakness of the opposition that has led some of its members – not all, certainly – to seek an essential crutch for their cause by prompting international disquiet.
In the era of global communications this is easy to do, but also, as demonstrated by the case of a Syria allied with Venezuela, tremendously dangerous if short-term results only achievable through internal political action are not achieved.
It is dangerous because fuel is usually added to the fire from without and the internal context ignored; and hence you go from allegedly good intentions – which in reality hide shallow interests – to crude excessive meddling.
This was the case in Syria with a very high cost in lives but also with the final defeat of the internal and external destabilizers.
This is happening now in Venezuela concerning the huge strategic blunder of the US which threatened, through the voice of its president Donald Trump, to yes… intervene militarily in Venezuela if his expectations for that country were not fulfilled.
Even the staunchest opponents of the Bolivarian political and economic model in the region have without hesitation condemned the US threats, emphasizing thus that what is being played out in Venezuela today goes far beyond the internal dispute. What is at stake is Latin American independence.
The Venezuelan Government would do well to take advantage of this twin present – a genuine guarantee of the survival and reach of the process if the Government is both in form and content up to the challenge – which the opposition and Trump’s US have unintentionally gifted them by highlighting Venezuela’s immense regional and international value.
With far fewer economic resources, however, some of its regional and global allies are showing it a path already mapped out by Bolivar.
(Translated by Nigel Conibear – DipTrans IoLET MCIL – firstname.lastname@example.org)