This article was published in Wednesday’s El Nacional (page A-11)and was written by Anibal Romero who wrote with Antonio Guzman-Blanco the comprehensive response to the Oxford Human Rights Seminar at Oxford University published here. I really liked the article, and thus have translated it liberally for your enjoyment. Unfortunately, El Nacional has changed its format in such a way that I can no longer provide a direct link to the original article, but has to be searched for manually (bad Web practice).
The revolution is dead, the despicable regime lives on
By Anibal Romero
Fundamentally, there are three factors that support political regimes: people’s fear in the face of repression, myths (understood as beliefs and values that support the collective spirit) and the will of power of the control groups. In Venezuela, the so called “revolutionary process” has maintained its presence only due to the dwindling presence of the third factor. People lost their fear a while back, and the myth of “Bolivarian” changes has sunk in the deepest and most irrecoverable abysm of incompetence, corruption, arbitrariness, begging and ethical degradation. As to the will of power of the caudillo and his partisans, the principal motor is the fear of abandoning the walls of protection that grants the formal Government of the Republic, a fear so delirious in front of the sure reality of a future and implacable sanction to its excesses.
From this experience we derive several positive and important consequences. First of all, the collapse of the Venezuelan left, deep in mud up to the marrow of the chavista muck. It will be difficult for socialist ideas to raise their heads again in the country and this will also open spaces for different visions, modern and equitable as to the course to follow both economically and socially. In second place, it is probable that we Venezuelans will get out of all this some sort of creative learning that will allow us to choose leaders with better aim and fulfill with fervor and dedication our civic duty. Third of all, it is important to emphasize the enormous achievement of the civil-military unity demonstrated by the alliance between the democratic coordinating committee and the dissident military officers of Plaza Altamira.
Even the most blindly antimilitaristic individuals of our Jurassic left and the most inflated egos of the opposition have made their self-criticism public and have accepted the importance of the crucial gesture of Altamira. Nobody dares to say anymore “you are either a citizen or you are military” and it is possible to observe some individuals hurriedly gathering yesterdays’ words cornered by the impact of the military disobedience. All of this is welcome and is manifest proof of ideological maturity.
The success of the opposition up to now can only be measured in its legitimate magnitude if we remember that the “Project” attempted to carry out a radical revolution of unequivocal leftist signature in Venezuela. Even if it is true that the goal seems preposterous, it is also true that the attempt was made with persistence and audacity. It has been the resistance of many common people, defending with courage their liberty in the streets, of the media, in the various trenches a tenacious combat, which has saved Venezuela from a brutal and disastrous destiny.
The revolution has died; there is no formula capable of recovering in the spirit of Venezuelans the fleeting attachment that the now discredited Bolivarian rhetoric enjoyed.
The caudillo that believed he was capable of raising an insurrection to the whole continent today is kept at a distance by his colleagues at international summits, as a sort of plague-infested individual and is used as a scarecrow in electoral campaigns to scare away voters, as happened in Brazil. Hugo Chavez pretended to emulate Fidel Castro and is ending his path, only much faster, harassed by the ghosts of his despotic ambition and abandoned by a population that has lost all respect.
The revolution is dead but the despicable regime remains.
The will of power fueled by the fear of moral and judicial punishment, and the instrument of manipulation and buyout of consciousness which is provided by the money of the public treasury, still preserves in power the band of ruffians that at a bad hour took control of the Venezuelan state. It is imperative for the opposition to maintain the sensible path that it is crossing, cultivate and make more solid the civil-military union, not to fall for the traps of the regime and not to present battles that it can not lose.
The objective, now, is to weaken the will of power of the governing group, evidencing its isolation and illegitimacy. Impatience is our biggest danger and serenity is our most useful ally. We should not fight on the ground chosen by the enemy, but in that which we select. We should not fight in the time frame that the adversary wishes, but in the moments of our convenience. And above all, we should remember that civilians and military are all Venezuelans: we are the problem as well as the solution.