Venezuela on the edge of the abyss, and Leopoldo López

Why did Maduro propitiate these deeds? For several reasons.

Luis Almagro has led a charge again. The Secretary General of the O.A.S. — along with half a planet — found the assault by a Chavist mob on the National Assembly repugnant. He wants to gather the ambassadors to examine that shameful episode. Maybe to condemn it, if enough votes can be rounded up and if he manages to bring decency to the miserable behavior of the Caribbean islets that were bribed by Chavism with a fistful of petrodollars.

Why did Maduro propitiate these deeds? For several reasons.

This is what the Havana regime habitually does. Maduro is simply an arm of Raúl Castro’s government. It is a Cuban “act of repudiation” committed in Caracas. Although this kind of pogrom is orchestrated and directed from backstage by the intelligence services, it is carried out by alleged “indignant citizens who cannot repress their anger at the perfidy of the nation’s enemies, always at the service of the United States.”

That’s the narrative. The fact that no one believes that absurd version is immaterial. It is only a formal explanation to justify repression. The function of these repressive acts is to punish the dissidents, to intimidate society as a whole so it won’t join the opposition groups and to build a parallel reality where heroic revolutionaries combat the fascist ultra-right.

Maduro doesn’t care that the O.A.S. or Mercosur condemn him. The world has a short memory and tires quickly of protests. The dictatorship can live with those censures. What it cannot do is to live without power. He will be coddled by the communists worldwide, beginning with the Spaniards of United We Can (those merciless characters who ask for democracy for them and tyranny for everybody else), Putin’s Russia, probably China, the FARC brothers, Evo Morales, Ortega’s Sandinists, El Salvador’s Farabundo Martí, and the rest of the pro-totalitarian tribe. Who remembers that in 1989 the Chinese put a fiery and bloody end to the Tiananmen protests?

Fidel Castro always believed in the use of mobs to achieve his objectives. He resorted to them ever since he opposed Batista in the 1950s. But he didn’t send his rough-and-ready supporters against the Batistans. He used them to intimidate the members of his own Orthodox Party, who had a different concept of strategic struggle. Fidel Castro finally decided to die some months ago but left that brand of violence as part of his heritage.

Raúl Castro, the heir, thinks that Nicolás Maduro is an idiot, but his idiot at least. And the way to protect him is to copy in Venezuela the Cuban way to control society, so that never again may the Venezuelan “counter-revolutionaries” win mayoralties, governorships or a parliamentary majority.

This is achieved with a Constitution that establishes the sacrosanct primacy of the Bolivarian revolution, a system of rules that bars the “disaffected” from power and a second-rate electoral model that guarantees (as it does in Cuba) that only the “good revolutionaries” can win.

It is true that 90 percent of Venezuelans are against their country’s Cubanization, including many Chavists, but, in the communist arithmetic that Raúl Castro manipulates, the 10 percent that backs Maduro is enough to lock the cell. The magic number of the counter-intelligence, the backbone of those regimes, is only 0.5 percent of the population. Out of 2 million adults who sympathize with Chavism or benefit from it, merely 150,000 are enough to turn the key that trips the lock. To lead a flock of 200 docile and terrorized sheep, a well-trained dog is quite sufficient.

The Venezuelans have just a few days to prevent it. Who can help them? The United States is studying an interesting proposal based on the conflict between the legislative power, backed by the popular vote, and the judicial power, artificially constructed by a Chavist maneuver.

The democrats’ proposal is simple: place in escrow the daily revenues raised by the oil industry, which is the only cash that goes into the country’s coffers, and let the National Assembly, a trustee of the people’s sovereignty, decide the moment when the money will actually be transferred to the national treasury. That would give the opposition the leverage it needs to force the government to negotiate in all seriousness a way out of the crisis.

A final note

The Madrid daily ABC just broke the news. Saturday at dawn, after this article was written, 30 armed men carried Leopoldo López to his home, where he will continue to serve his unjust 14-year prison sentence. Turning his home into a cell was a decision made by Maduro without consulting anyone.

Why did he do that? In my opinion, to try to reduce the street protests and in the secret hope that L.L. might split the opposition. But none of that will happen. The popular clamor in defense of the political prisoners is on the rise. There are more than 400 of them and 3,000 new ones have been detained, many of them subjected to military tribunals. Bottom line: Maduro has taken another step toward the dissolution of his dictatorship.

Published in Spanish by El Blog de Montaner on Saturday July 8th, 2017

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