When Juan Guaido was sworn-in on 23 January of 2019 as the President in Charge of Venezuela, we believed this to be the start of a transitional government to remove Nicolas Maduro from power and end the dictatorship. When Janine Añez was sworn-in on 12 November of 2019 as the interim President of Bolivia, because Bolivians had just achieved the resignation of the dictator Evo Morales, we believed the transition towards democracy had started. Soon enough, however, with the peoples’ outrage, we concluded that such “transitions” from dictatorship to democracy do not exist. The dictator and his dictatorship continue in Venezuela and worse yet in Bolivia the dictatorship had never ended and the dictator is now back.
Venezuela and Bolivia share essential aspects that they both have in common. Both of these are established regimes operated and sustained by the association of Hugo Chavez with Fidel Castro that birthed Castrochavism, they both are vote-catching dictatorships that have eliminated the essential components of democracy and use the ballot-box as the means to counterfeit the popular will, both are regimes who solely exist to preserve Cuba’s dictatorship, both have institutionalized the violation of human rights with political persecutions, imprisonments and exiles using judges to repress the people. Both of these regimes seek to indefinitely hold power, disguising transnational organized crime with politics with the goal of enjoying impunity.
Castrochavist Venezuela and Bolivia are an extension of Cuba’s dictatorial project, its methods, and its disgraceful infrastructure. They all have the same foundations based on constitutions with which they supplanted the “Republic” creating a “Bolivarian Order” in Venezuela and a “Plurinational State” in Bolivia. Legislating and creating “despicable laws” that enable a “dictatorial institutionalization” that is neither republican, nor democratic.
Their foreign policy -controlled by Cuba- is based on the fight against imperialism and is put into practice in a wide range of ways, from their votes at international organizations, support to terrorism of Islamic origin, opening to Russia, China and Iran’s penetration, their anti-Semitic posture, all the way to their practice of implementing the Castro-Che Guevara doctrine calling for flooding the United States with drugs to annihilate its youth. Venezuela is the main narco-state and Bolivia is the narco-state producer of cocaine.
In this context, it urges us to analyze the reasons for the failure of two processes that have the same enemy. Venezuela’s transition that does not exist but that still has a chance of opportunity because Guaido is still the President in Charge. Bolivia’s transition that never existed because the interim government turned out to be a government of dictatorial continuity and fully restored the Castrochavist regime.
In Venezuela there is no transition towards democracy as publicly confessed, because on 5 February of 2019 the National Assembly approved as law the “Statute that governs the transition towards democracy in order to restore the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” and in that “political agreement” setup a collective system annulling the President who never formed a government. They committed an error by not first addressing the “liberation from the autocratic regime” and not having the means to do it and then effecting the “conformation of a provisional government” and the “holding of free elections”. The very first thing they should have done was to conform a government to free themselves from the regime.
In Bolivia, the Constitution of the Plurinational State is the result of multiple counterfeiting and crimes. President Añez and her government kept the legal judicial dictatorial regime refusing to restore into existence the Republic of Bolivia. A presidential decree is all that was needed. Añez’s government, for its own convenience, retained the counterfeited Constitution of the Plurinational State and thus publicly revealed its true nature of being a “government of dictatorial continuity” that she later ratified when, using the dictatorial legislation, she chose to be a candidate in upcoming elections that she was supposed to effect as the mandate of her interim presidency. Her late withdrawal from her candidacy to the presidential elections only confirmed her scheming maneuver. This was ample proof that “the dictator but not the dictatorship had been ousted from Bolivia” and so Bolivians were again ambushed with another “elections under dictatorship”.
In both cases, the inexistent transitions were at the hands of the opposition parties that today are suspicious of being “functional oppositions” or accomplices. In both countries there are very concerning signals of “corruption of the opposition parties in the dictatorial system” and noticeable signals of “under the table” arrangements (explicit or implicit) with -possibly- the granting of “impunity”. Time, in this case very brief, shall prove or refute these heinous crimes against the homeland.
Real facts show that -with very few exceptions- neither the opposition members, nor leaders of the opposition, nor political parties in Venezuela and Bolivia have been up to the required height level of courage, decision-making, and the needs of their peoples. The people are now beginning to identify them as part of the disgraceful and corrupt system.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.