On behalf of the Peoples they oppress, dictatorships get economic resources to survive

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

The absence of democracy is the best way to create economic misery, as evidenced by humanitarian crises in Cuba and Venezuela, and economic crises in Bolivia and Nicaragua. Concentration of power, absence of control and accountability and impunity enable countries without democracy to falsify economic data, until the misery of the peoples reveals the falsehood. Using their own crimes as an argument, dictatorships manage to get credit and international aid, manipulating the peoples they oppress to obtain resources that allow them to hold power.

The liquidation of freedom in order to indefinitely remain in power through a system of state terrorism, institutionalized violation of human rights, corruption and impunity, with organized crime and narco-states’ building capacity, are the elements of the Cuban Castro’s system in the previous century. This system has criminally improved in a criminal way and expanded politically since the 1999 alliance between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez that marked the 21st century with the denomination of ‘Socialism of the 21st Century’, also known as Castro-Chavism. That system today controls Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua with the support of the governments of Mexico, Argentina and and now Peru.

Without democracy, the fight against poverty and inequality is simply not possible because freedom, respect for human rights, the rule of law, the checks and balances of the branches of public power, freedom of social and political organization, and the possibility of freely electing public officials and holding them accountable is the basis for development. There is no sustainable development without freedom.

Freedom for entrepreneurship, respect to people’s rights and private property, opportunities based on education, technology and access to capital are minimum conditions to generate more open and fair societies. This can be proven by the massive forced migration that plague the Americas in the 21st century, since the countries which migrants are ‘expelled’ from are those that aren’t democratic. People do not escape from freedom; they flee from state terrorism, violence, insecurity, absence of opportunities, lack of guarantees and a viable future.

Current international economic organizations are part of the new order established after the Second World War, in which “democracy defeated fascism,” at a cost of millions of deaths. This is how freedom prevailed over dictatorships. It is very important to remember this detail now, at a time when the world experiences an axis of confrontation that has surpassed intense confrontations during the Cold War and in the so-called triumph of capitalism that followed, to return to the basic confrontation between freedom and oppression.

The axis of confrontation today is between regimes that violate freedom and the governments that respect and defend it. Those regimes use ideological or religious arguments more as alibis that seek to justify events that humanity has always recognized as crimes.

There is no argument whatsoever that justifies the institutionalized violation of freedom and human rights, nor the existence of political prisoners and exiles, nor torture and crimes, nor the use of the judiciary to falsify evidence and criminal processes aimed at oppressing others, as happens in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua in the Americas region, and in Iran, China, North Korea and more.

Some democracies in the world, such as the United States, Canada, and the European Union, impose political and economic sanctions on non-democratic regimes that violate human rights or threaten social and political peace because of its connections with international terrorism, drug trafficking, and other crimes. The permanent argument of those non democratic regimes is that such sanctions should be limited because they “affect the peoples”, because applying sanctions would produce more needs and suffering. The matter is that in this way victims of dictatorships end up being used as shields, insurance or exchange currency so dictatorships hold to the illegitimate and illegal power they exercise.

International organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank have granted important credits -not precisely for economic development- to regimes with political prisoners and exiles such as Nicaragua and Bolivia. One of the agreements of the currently suspended negotiations in Mexico between the Maduro dictatorship and the Venezuelan legitimate government has been to allow the Maduro regime to have access to multilateral credit. Another discussion today is whether the United States replenishes remittances to Cuba… And so dictatorships continue to receive resources and hold themselves in power on behalf of the peoples they oppress. This is the question.

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

Published in Spanish by Infobae.com Sunday November 7, 2021.

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