author photo

Armando Chaguaceda: At 33, I feel sometimes old and tired; other days I wake up with the desire to strive, to be surprised and to persevere—with decency, affection, ideas and values. I was born in the town of Regla, with its provincial charm and custom of ignoring the sidewalks. I grew up atheist, surrounded by believing friends, in a family of Martí followers and enemies of dogma. I have assimilated my growing marginality, in relation to so many friends who have emigrated, fellow “fighters” of daily Havana life who, regrettably, have been added to the growing bandwagon of the “apolitical.” For 12 years I have combined my dying passion for politics and social sciences with teaching. I’m currently in Xalapa, Mexico, but I feel within me the imperative to return and do something in a Cuba too present, too uncertain, too beautiful, frank, harrowing and different. I hope I will.

Venezuela, Politics and Time

January 12, 2013 | Print Print |

Now that I’m weak, I’m asking you for my freedom, because that’s your principle; but when I’m strong, I’ll deprive you of your freedom, because that’s my principle.   — Charles F. R. de Montalembert

Armando Chaguaceda (Fotos:Caridad)

HAVANA TIMES — History, as Marx told us in one of his most lucid political analyses, often repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce. Like in a play, the actors and backdrops might change but the script remains the same – or its worst subplots are amplified. In this same way, an observer who looks at Venezuelan political life will not fail to notice certain continuities and contrasts.

A few years ago, Venezuela was nauseous with money-generating oil that mortgaged nature, the economy, society and the soul of the people.

Today the actors and the scenery have changed… but the script remains the same.

Some years ago, on a continent plagued by the most sordid dictatorships, Venezuela exhibited a form of democracy that was politically decent, though with significant deficits in administrative transparency and social inclusion.

Today, on a continent plagued by deficient democracies, Venezuela displays a formally democratic regime, where — in a proportional manner — we can see increases in both social inclusion and political exclusion.

Some years ago the Venezuelan judiciary and legislature interrupted the mandate of an elected president who overstepped his authority.

Today the judiciary and the legislature are extending the mandate of a reelected president who is unable to perform his duties.

Some years ago the new Bolivarian leaders promoted legal changes that encouraged participatory governance, empowered citizens and decentralized power, bringing it closer to the people.

Today those same leaders (now older) are seemingly unaware of the importance of an autonomous citizen. They concentrate power and distance it from the people.

Some years ago, reprehensible Venezuelan institutions — pressured by the citizens’ outcry — granted clemency to a lieutenant colonel who attacked the constitutional order.

Today, reprehensible Venezuelan institutions — ignoring another citizens’ outcry — are keeping imprisoned civilians who have committed no violence against the state or their fellow citizens, undermining the constitutional order.

Some years ago Venezuela was a country weary of political corruption, administrative inefficiency and social inequity.

Today it is a country weary of polarization, administrative inefficiency and danger in the streets.

Some years ago, bank accounts, public offices and political posts were bridges to success for the old democratic elites.

Today public contracts, military epaulettes and fuming rhetoric — impervious to facts — are the standards for promotion among the new revolutionary elite.

Some years ago, popular hope and intellectual wisdom imagined new laws, policies and institutions necessary for change.

Today these “forms” are unknown, and what persists is “continuity.”

Some years ago, human rights defenders were “comrades” who participated in the creation of change.

Today they are “destabilizing agents” in the eyes of their old comrades-turned-revolutionary-cadre.

Some years ago — and up to today — the shortsightedness of some opposition forces saw Chavez supporters as a flock of sheep on the hunt for resources.

Today, given the shortsightedness of some Chavez supporters, they see the opposition as mere conspirators and traitors.

Some years ago the rancid elitism of various — accustomed to their economic privileges and power — led them to despise the marginalized population that clamored for justice.

Today a new elite — accustomed to their revolutionary privileges — speak on behalf of those marginalized without sharing their good fortune or power.

Some years ago there began the resuscitation of popular democratic dignity and social justice.

Today we see the amplification of an assault on those very freedoms that allow people from below to demand those rights.

Some years ago a group of civilians, accompanied by soldiers, violated the rule of law and the Constitution in the name of democracy.

Today, those who were aggrieved from back then (other civilians and military personnel) violate those same rights in the name of revolution.

Some years ago, doctors, athletes and teachers arrived from Havana to serve many thousands of poor people who had been excluded by the old partyicracy

Today Venezuela’s national sovereignty is ailing in that same Havana.

Some years ago a new inclusive and participatory process was being constructed, with robust democratic anatomy and a comprehensive expansion of rights.

Today a cult of the personality has replaced law and institutions, with an authoritarian physiology and an official offensive against citizens’ rights.

Some years ago, with its hegemony over communications, the private media ignored the changes that were necessary. They misinformed the people, inciting the subversion of the constitutional order.

Today, with the government’s hegemony over communications, it ignores the changes that are necessary and misinforms people, violating the citizens’ rights enshrined in the constitution.

Some years ago, for many Venezuelans the left and socialism were synonymous with change, the promise of renewed democracy and the realization of deferred justice.

Today they are, for many Venezuelans, synonymous with privilege and exclusion and disillusionment.

Some years ago, posters appeared in Caracas saying “Venezuela belongs to everyone.”

Today they speak of “the people” while capriciously excluding 44 percent of the electorate.

Some years ago some students took to the streets in a peaceful social movement and mobilized the consciousness of the citizenry, warning them of certain impending constitutional changes.

Today, those in power incite — and threaten — anyone who takes to the streets, threatening the public peace.

Some years ago they said “within the constitution, everything; outside the constitution, nothing.”

Today those precepts are mere “formalities” for those who rule.

Some years ago the strategic line of the opposition was to ignore Bolivarian legality, undermining the rule of law.

Today, the strategic line of the Bolivarian government is to manipulate the law, undermining the rule of law.

Some years ago, the coup attempt by the right wing — ignoring their own mistakes and the clamor of their countrymen — sought to violently stop the train of history with an undemocratic reverse in direction.

Today, the government — ignoring a segment of the population and the lessons of history — wants to impose its obsolete and undemocratic hegemony.

A long time ago the people, in their diversity, cherished the hope of a better life with justice and freedom, and they did their best to achieve this.

Today in Venezuela, like in the rest of the world, there persists that need to preserve this hope and the urgency to fight to defend it.


What's your opinion?

  • Cort Greene

    Some of your analysis is correct but the grassroots and the rank and file militants have not given along with their international supporters.There are 10,000’s of grassroots organizations who will fight to carry forward the revolution and don’t support the elements of the corrupt bureaucracy.

    just today is this meeting

    Cort

    for Spanish go to the url and excuse this poor translation.

    http://www.luchadeclases.org.ve/volantes-leftmenu-186/7280-unidad-pueblo-bolivariano

    Meeting promoted by the National People’s Political Unit Bolivarian
    Written by Aporrea.org
    Friday January 11, 2013

    change of the venue : the organizations promoting the national meeting report that the meeting on Saturday January 12, at 9:00 am, which was scheduled to take place Humboldt Building, has been changed to a bigger space and will be performed in Los Chaguaramos UBV, Floor 3 .

    MEETING TO NATIONAL POLICY UNIT TO ENSURE GOVERNANCE Bolivarian people REVOLUTIONARY

    The Venezuelan revolution lives in moments that require an iron Bolivarian People’s Unit at the contingency caused by the poor health of President Chavez. The Bolivarian people once again assumes the defense of the process and all the gains made, which means strengthening governance from the grassroots revolutionary process that constitutes the other hinge with Chavez, which guarantees the construction of the Socialist Motherland. Both Nicolas Maduro as Diosdado Cabello should contribute to the creation of a collective political leadership to the people who live only for their work: support of the Bolivarian revolution. In this framework, different social groups we have considered promoting a National Meeting of Popular Bolivarian Movement and their organizations.

    The realization of this national meeting of the Popular Movement Bolivarian we propose fundamental objective pursued political unity of the people, the unity of the social organizations and left factors historically committed to the construction of the Bolivarian revolutionary process and the tasks of the socialist transition . A unit designed from the construction program, support working people and exploited sectors in struggle, and deepen the participatory nature of the subject leading constituent, which together with the leadership of Chavez have consolidated all victories accumulated so far. As directed by the same President Chavez, accompanied and close ranks in the primary task of giving a change of course to ensure the deepening of the revolution . We understand the national meeting as the beginning of a process of relaunching the popular movement organizations, within the framework of the debate on the role and tasks of the working class and the people in the revolutionary transition to socialism.

    Facing the trance we live by the health of President Chavez must preserve what has been conquered and work for a long term and strategic unit.

    The victories of October 7 and December 16, 2012 we should be used to take policy initiatives to make revolution. We are calling for a national meeting of the Bolivarian Popular Movement to lay the foundations of a large unit, revolutionary and socialist to defend the process, building a common political front in the permanent threat of the Right, capitalism, and U.S. imperialism lackeys, always marching along the role of the Bolivarian people.

    The National Meeting of the Bolivarian Popular Movement aims to prepare a people and with all our revolutionary organizations in governance at all levels, in the middle of the contingency which means the disease of our President. Define who we are, what we pursue, we raised and where we go. Join as equals in the construction to ensure a true and genuine revolutionary institutions: Ni claudication, or reversibility of the process .

    The Bolivarian people, with its intuitive political genius in times of danger, has been tested in many battles. We must prepare for a process of reunion of the popular movement, their organizations, their spirituality and their ability to make policy directionality in the history of our country.

    The National Meeting of the Bolivarian Popular Movement boost from all areas of the country a great discussion on the methodology of plenary, democratize and deepen popular participation at all levels of public life, even with all sectors: worker @ s, Obrer @ s, s peasants, youth, students, women, different genres, Afro-descendants, indigenous farmer ‘s. We propose to discuss the economy model of transition to socialism what is the production model? The revolution demands action against global capitalism that failed : a model that makes people sick and threatens the permanence of life.

    We are millions of revolutionaries in our people and hundreds of millions worldwide Bolivarian accompanying this process. Encounter Bolivarian National People’s commitment to working people and youth. We have generations of relief to continue the struggle, that is what we guarantee no return . Chavez and here we are with no declines. This is done every day revolution, striving to make a heroic creation from the people and promote a unified force with the struggles of the peoples of the world against capitalism and building socialism as a real possibility of salvation of humanity and the preservation the planet.

    Neither claudication, or reversibility of the Bolivarian process!

    A 200 years of the Decree of War to the Death: Jail speculators and hoarders!

    On January 10 the Street: to enforce and expand the decision making exercise of the Bolivarian people !

    Organizations signing this declaration:

    A.C Divas de Venezuela, Alfredo Maneiro –El Valle, ANROS, APORREA, Asamblea Combatientes, Asociación Nacional de Medios Comunitarios Libres y Alternativos (AMCLA), Bloque Popular de la Vega, C.C. Dr. Carlos Diez del Ciervo-Propatria, Campamento Bolivariano Carpintería Mader-Arte, Central Bolivariana Socialista de Trabajadores, Centro de Formación Ideológica (CFI), CLAD, Coalición de Tendencias Clasistas (CTC-Vzla.), Colectivo “Carbonell”, Colectivo 4F-27N, Colectivo Alfredo Maneiro, Colectivo Ana Karina Rote, Colectivo Chavista BAEL, Colectivo de Trabajo Revolucionario 13 de Abril, Colectivo Deportivo y Cultural “Rafael Carmona”, Comisión Danilo Anderson, Comité Ali Primera de Monte Piedad, Comuna Cariagua, Comuna Mitare, Comuna Elida Bustillo, Comuna Ecológica Patrimonial Alba Caribe, Comuna Montesano Canaima Zigzag, Comuna Socialista Comandante Carache, Comuna Socialista Máximo Vizcaya, CONAMEV, Conciencia Zurda, Confederación de Consejos Comunales José Leonardo Chirino, Consejo Comunal “Alirio Díaz”, Consejo Comunal Carmen “Clemente Travieso”, Consejo Comunal Evita Perón, Consejo Comunal Teatros Miranda, Cooperativa Manojo de Ideas, Coordinadora Popular de Caracas, Coordinadora Simón Bolívar, Organización Política Revolucionaria Corredor Noroeste, Crea y Combate, Crítica Estudiantil Internacionalista, Distrito Motor Comunas Lara Portuguesa y Yaracuy, EFPC Guaraira Repano, El Pueblo Avanza (EPA), Ensayo de Formación de Educadores y Educadoras Populares de Vargas (ENFODEP-V), Escuela Coriana Socialista, Escuela de Formación Ideológica y Capacitación Francisco de Miranda, Espartas, Frente Carlos Escarrá, Frente Cultural de Izquierda FCI, Frente Cultural Monagas, Frente de Trabajadores Rurales del Estado Vargas, Frente Itinerante de Discusión Agroecológica (Frida), Frente Müller Rojas, Frente Resistencia Guaicaipuro, Frente Revolucionario de Artesanos de Venezuela-FRAV, Frente Revolucionario de Mujeres IVSS, Frente Revolucionario Guaicaipuro, Fundación Comunitaria Radiodifusora Sonora 99.5 FM de Cabimas, Fundación Comunitaria Cabimas por la Verdad de Cabimas, Fundación Cultural Alí Primera, Fundación Lanceros, Fundación Socialista Bloque Patriótico para la Economía Comunal, Fundación Urimare, Grupo de Opinión Resistencia y Dignidad Revolucionaria, Guerreros Juveniles, ISILA Salud como Práctica de Libertad, La Guarura, LIBERCOOP, Los Cachucheros P.C., M-28, Marcha Patriótica, Marea Socialista, Movimiento Campesino Jirajara, Movimiento Continental Bolivariano, Movimiento de Inquilinos, Movimiento Gayones, Movimiento por la Defensa de la Salud Pública MDSP, Movimiento Vencer de Trujillo, Organización Política Revolucionaria Bravo Sur, Parx1, Patria Joven, Periódico “Por Ahora”, Periódico Desde Abajo, Periódico El Salitre (EFE-P), Periódico Proceso, Plan Guayana Socialista, Praxis Revolucionaria, Proyecto Infantil Brisas Pantaneras, Radio Alí Primera, Radio Huayra, Red de abuelos de Venezuela, Red de Artistas Plásticos de Venezuela, Red de Comunas Socialistas de Moran (Lara), Red de Medios Alternativos y Comunitarios de Carabobo (REDMAC), Red Nacional de Círculos Bolivarianos, Red Nacional de Comuneros, Red Nacional de Sistemas de Trueke, Residencias Estudiantiles, SURCO, Televisora Comunitaria Catia TV, Totumo de Guarenas Frente Norte, Trabajadores Anauco Suites, Trabajadores Mercado Chacao, Tupamaro Municipio Pampanito Trujillo, Unidad de Producción Audio Visual El Pequeño Ejercito Loco, Waku.

  • Mark G

    Armando’s analysis is very astute. Too many times in recent human history today’s dissidents became tomorrow’s dictators.

    The political polarization and the demonization of one’s political opponents is worrisome for Venezuela’s future. While Chavez bears some responsibility contributing to this polarization and demonization, he did for the most part respect democratic norms and the constitution. Hopefully that will continue to be the case in Chavez’s absence though the extremist rhetoric in the statement posted by Cort above does give me pause.