Historic Disconnects

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel highlights one of the most important weaknesses tearing at the fabric of our societies: the "detachment of leaders from people that is opening the doors to unchecked violence and destruction."

As summer relinquishes its reign to the season of harvest, two opinion leaders in the U.S. seem to have reached similar conclusions about current state of world affairs.

The New York Times posted a piece indicating that both Mr. Trump as well as Ms. Clinton were failing to place the U.S. poor at the center of their government agenda. So far, according the best seller of journalism, all policy proposals were geared towards the middle classes without any indication whether policies to ease poverty would be forthcoming.
At the other end of the political spectrum, Peggy Noonan decried the presence of a historic decoupling between leaders and the led that could bring the world to violence and chaos.
Both — without knowing — seem to be resurrecting a work by Anatole France titled “The Gods Are Thirsty” which dealt with the horrific period in French history known as the Reign of Terror.
In his heart-breaking account of those days, France points to the “detachment of leaders from people that opened the doors to unchecked and useless violence and destruction.” Could it be that we are about to enter a Global Reign of Terror?
Signs about the vicinity of such development seem to abound.
In Egypt, the spring of freedom has been followed by the winter of repression that has been in place for almost two years.
In West Africa at least three countries are toying with collapse, immersed in a sea of corruption, violence and so called low intensity conflicts led by jihadists fighters who used to follow Al Qaeda but now seem to have been seduced by ISIS.
In Turkey democracy is about suffocate under the yolk of a civilian led totalitarian regime.
In Asia from Bangladesh to Tokyo ethnic; religious and gender oriented violence seems to be on the rise.
In Latin America, Honduras has been taken over by drug cartels; Nicaragua is an authoritarian fiefdom; Guatemala continues its path towards institutional destruction while Mexico shows the shameful record of being the country were more mayors have been killed in the world.
Venezuela, for its part, is led by a group of politicians who seem to believe in mass sacrifice as long as it does not affect them or their loved ones.
Thus, Venezuela’s leaders have launched a set of economic policies aimed at controlling population growth through annihilation. As a result, 35% of the Venezuelan people are eating just once a day, denied access to medicines or treatment and allowed to die as soon as they are born for lack of alcohol to clean belly buttons.
I remember my unstoppable tears as I read France’s book when I was 14 years old. Today, headline news is enough to trigger such despair and perhaps the triggering factor of this unstoppable wrath and violence inducing resentment has to do with that growing civic and political decay is elite detachment.
Or as Ms. Noonan brilliantly described our conundrum: “This … is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. It is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signaling.
On Wall Street, where they used to make statesmen, they now barely make citizens.
CEOs are consumed with short-term thinking, stock prices, quarterly profits. They don’t really believe that they have to be involved with ‘America’ now; they see their job as thinking globally and meeting shareholder expectations.
In Silicon Valley the idea of ‘the national interest’ is not much discussed. They adhere to higher, more abstract, more global values. They’re not about America, they’re about . . . well, I suppose they’d say the future.
In Hollywood the wealthy protect their own children from cultural decay, from the sick images they create for all the screens, but they don’t mind if poor, unparented children from broken-up families get those messages and, in the way of things, act on them down the road.”
This pattern is replicated by elites all over the world with the disastrous results we are witnessing — depending, of course, on whether you are at the top or on the bottom suffering!!!

Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on August 14th, 2016