Civil resistance is defeating and will get rid of dictatorships

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

Faced with total control of power by the regimes of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, where violation of human rights has been institutionalized, there is no rule of law or check and balances of public powers; neither free nor fair elections, and the political oppositions have been turned into functional or are simply hostages, the peoples are fighting for their freedom through “civil resistance”. This form of peaceful action is successively and progressively defeating dictatorships and will end them.

The last peaceful resort against oppression is civil resistance as a way to peacefully oppose to antagonize, weaken and defeat a power or regime. “Civil resistance is a form of political action consisting of the execution of strategies that do not involve violence against the adversary with whom a conflict is sustained, but rather aimed at wooing the broad public opinion so that it voluntarily opt not to continue taking orders and cooperating with said adversary.”

Dictatorships, narco-states, political prisoners, tortures, murders and bloody massacres, crimes against humanity, political exiles, State terrorism, manipulation of justice to persecute and violate human rights, human trafficking, transnational organized crime organization, are some of the features of non-democratic regimes as in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, with a threatening possibility of becoming a reality in Peru.

The international system established in the 1940s as a result of the “triumph of democracy over fascism,” for the purpose of maintaining “international peace and security,” and for the preservation of freedom, has proven to be ineffective to defend peoples subject to the opprobrium of dictatorships.

Dictatorships of the 21st century in the Americas have successfully used a strategy of ‘democratic simulation’. They present themselves as if they were full-fledged democracies, staging manipulated and criminally flawed elections to claim legality and legitimacy. The so-called Castro-Chavism, with the political label of ‘21st century socialism,’ has turned Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua into “electoral dictatorships in which people vote but do not elect” because none of the essential elements of democracy exist in those countries. There can be no free elections or democracy when there are political prisoners and exiles, there’s no rule of law, and all branches of power are controlled by the regimes.

Within the scheme of ‘electoral dictatorships’, Castro-Chavism let political opposition to operate in a controlled manner, giving rise to the concept of ‘functional opposition’, that is, an opposition that helps the regime to simulate democracy. Those ‘functional’ opponents are in the end accomplices of dictatorships, and remain hostages of them.

Since the July 11th protests in Cuba, civil resistance has grown and there is nothing to stop it until the Cuban people achieve freedom. The Cuban demonstrations, widely supported in more than 150 cities worldwide last November 7th, is plainly unstoppable civil resistance.

The Nicaraguan people did not vote on November 7th elections, forcing the world to admit that Nicaragua is no more than a dictatorship that cannot be helped financially by multilateral organizations or supported diplomatically.

After 6 days of indefinite national strike, the Bolivian socialist regime announced the annulment of a cursed law known as “Mother Law”, a copy of infamous laws of Cuba and Venezuela – with which Bolivians were going to be subjected to servitude and absolute absence of freedom.

The civil society of Venezuela has made possible, with persistence and integrity, that prosecutors at the International Criminal Court initiate a formal investigation of crimes against humanity committed by Nicolás Maduro’s regime, that have been covered up for years.

The November 15th (15-N) march for the “Freedom of Cuba”; the massive absenteeism in the November 7th Nicaraguan elections that exposed Ortega’s “electoral terrorism”; the indefinite national strike of Bolivians, which forced the government to announce the annulment of an infamous law designed to control peoples’ lives; and last but not least, the filing of a formal investigation for the numerous crimes against humanity committed by the usurpers of power in Venezuela, are a successful outcome of organized civil resistance in those countries, where the struggle continues.

Beyond low-effective international organizations, most of them neutralized and full of bureaucrats; and beyond ‘functional opposition’, hostages of dictatorships, the Americas’ peoples in civil resistance will not stop until they triumph and recover their freedom in democracy.

(*) Lawyer and Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy

Published in Spanish by Sunday November 14, 2021.

“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”.