Venezuela.From Chavez to Maduro.
An extremely complex situation
The current situation in Venezuela is very complex, much more so than the situation in Ukraine which is pretty much clear cut as far as the players, the stakes and what it means for each of the two parts in conflict, the west ,and Russia.In Venezuela there's many players and each has their own horse in the race.The government is strongly influenced by its strongest ideological ally, the communist government of Cuba.The opposition is supported financially by the embattled oligarchy and the United States.But then there's most of the left leaning south american countries which obtain great economic benefits from their trade with Venezuela's current regime,and don't want to see Maduro toppled.There's also the government of Iran that sees the south american country not only as an important political ally but also as a gateway to establish themselves as economic partners in the whole continent and therefore diminish the relevance of the US government's economic sanctions.The neighboring countries of Colombia and Panama both play their role as favoring the opposition,Colombia because of their belief that Venezuela's government harbors and protects the guerrilla movements of the FARC and M19 .And Panama because it's the place where the Venezuelan oligarchy has established the home away from home for their finances so they weigh heavy on the Panamanian government's policies.You also have the national adversaries in "The Situation".The government has the support of organized labor,the poor,government employees,most of the military and police as well as the hordes of armed paramilitaries that ride in motorcycles around the cities .The opposition has the support of the middle class and upper middle class that was used to live their life at an economic standard similar to that of the people they saw on the american television shows they watched,be able to shop at well stocked supermarkets rivaling any supermarket or store in the U.S.and burn fossil fuels indiscriminately driving around paying the lowest price for gas on the planet.Also for the opposition are many thousand of opposition party sympathisers and voters who were displaced and replaced by chavista people.Of course the wealthy and the people who were in the ruling class before Chavez came into power want to recover their place in the venezuelan society,as well as the means to become richer and more powerful.And the students who were the igniters of the current upheaval with their marches and demonstrations,as students the world over have historically done in rebelling against injustice and repression.
How was the current situation brought about?
The venezuelan government was refered to as a dictatorship by the opposition when there was really no justification for doing so.Hugo Chavez was democratically elected president by large majorities of voters, and he was called a dictator both by opposition leaders in Venezuela and by politicians and influential figures in the United States.The fact that he had a different political ideology than the United States Government or the venezuelan political adversaries did not by any means make him a dictator.The fact that he sympathized with the Cuban Regime didn't make him a dictator just like the fact that the United States is one of China's biggest business partners doesn't make it a communist country.The opposition parties were for many years more interested in removing Chavez from power by means of a coup d'etat with the help of the United States than by engaging in political activity and win elections,and while they insisted in their lazy ways Chavez solidified his political and electoral advantage and developed an aura of charisma and leadership greater than any venezuelan political figure of the recent past.There is a reason why the working class and the poor supported him,and its because his government redistributed the wealth to benefit them in many ways,like it had not been done for decades.But the macroeconomic results of fifteen years of the Chavista government can only be described as a disaster of epic proportion.The criminality that has always been a problem for Venezuela is now worse than ever,the stores and supermarkets are empty,people are allowed to buy very limited amounts of even basic foods on a weekly basis.and toilet paper has become a luxury item.The monetary speculation of the embattled government is ridiculous with several different exchange rates for dollars no one is allowed to buy anyway.
Not a dictatorship
So just as it is true that the current venezuelan regime is not a dictatorship because there have been elections and it has won them .it is also true that the regime has over the years implemented anti democratic measures and rigged the electotal system to facilitate its remaining in power along with curtailing the freedom of the press and civil and social liberties.The act of arming hordes of militants who ride around terrorizing the civilian population is not a democratic practice.The regime has been seen by the whole world exercising indiscriminate repression against unarmed civilian protesters the majority of whom are students that have the right to do so even under the constitution that was sponsored by Chavez himself.There have been cases of torture, assassinations , and the taking of political prisoners .newspapers,radios,television channels of the opposition have been silenced and expropriated .And to those who tell us not to believe our lying eyes I say "don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining".
So that brings us to the 1970's
The reason many Latin American countries have not come out publicly condemning the Venezuelan government is because the wounds of the American intervention in Latin America in the 1970's are still open, the memory of democratically elected governments toppled by the United States acting in complicity with the local armed forces and installing brutal military regimes is still present along with the pain for thousands of "desaparecidos".So it is very difficult for these governments to publicly align themselves with forces that want to topple a latin american government that was democratically elected even when they realize the said government has gone astray,and has become authoritarian,corrupt and repressive.Just as repressive as those right wing military dictatorships were back in the 1970's.
Anyone who considers himself a socialists should have the moral fortitude to denounce tyranny regardless of the name it wants to give itself even if that name happens to be the same .