The following is an inexorable truth: the U.S. government does not know what to do with the Bolivarian government of President Chavez. Our revolution is too democratic, too humanistic, too profound and too transcendent; and is therefore beyond traditional capitalist analysis and beyond the comprehension of a government of a country where values revolve around individualism. They try, through their declarations and their media and commercial power, to convince the world that President Chavez is a tyrant: an autocrat. Likewise they try to lead us all to believe that ours is a totalitarian, repressive, restrictive, un-democratic and even communist government. However, the radically democratic reality of Venezuela throws them for a loop and lands them face down. Their worry is evident. Their accusations against the Venezuelan government are now not monthly or weekly, but have become a part of the daily routine of their sensationalist foreign policy.
Meanwhile, Venezuela supplies petroleum and its derivates to the U.S. with absolute punctuality and security. Neither Australia nor Spain are better trading partners of the US than Venezuela. We are too important for them to risk losing the energy that we supply. They know well that the Bolivarian process is irreversible, which is why signs of a possible assassination attempt have emerged. However, what most worries the US is not the characteristics of a sovereign and popular Venezuelan government, nor, perhaps, a sure supply of oil; what causes them extreme anguish is the possibility of the Venezuelan process proliferating throughout Latin America. The leadership of president Chavez in the region is impressive, in spite of the communicational blockade and the media prevarication that our government has been subjected to since 1999. It is therefore conceivable that a revolution such as ours could be emulated by any of our countries. It does not require ousting governments or appealing to armed struggle. All that is needed are political will and an ethic to use representative democratic electoral mechanisms to assume power and to begin governing for and with the majority: for and with the excluded. In this sense, the democratic spirit and essence of the Bolivarian Revolution is much more “reproducible and contagious” than the revolutions of Allende, the Sandinistas, and of Cuba.
The White House, the Pentagon and the Department of Defense do not know how to transform the profound democracy of Venezuela into a dictatorship, nor a President re-legitimized several times at the polls into a tyrant, nor a people that support their government and actively participate with courage in shaping their destiny into a people that is asleep and frightened. This week they have tried to convince the rest of the world that the neighbors of Venezuela share the worry of Washington and fear that President Chavez could subvert democracies and conspire against the governments of the region.
Totally absurd. For example, the Gringos say, that Venezuela’s neighbors are worried about our government’s purchase of rifles and helicopters from Russia, fearing an arms race. These statements are absolutely false. Not one Latin American country has expressed any worry. In fact, official spokespersons of close neighbors such as Brazil and Colombia have contradicted this and have confirmed their respect for Venezuelan sovereignty. In truth, if military asymmetry exists in the region it would be that caused by the US in Colombia through Plan Colombia. What’s more, if any country is overwhelmingly enjoying profits from the purchase and manufacturing of conventional arms and from massive destruction it is the US, whose legislature has approved, in this year alone, 81 billion dollars for military expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. On what moral grounds can Washington talk of an arms race?
We must comprehend one of the Bush government’s main accusations.
Effectively, a submissive Latin America is considered to be ideal, rife with inequalities and underdevelopment and full of excluded and dependent people. For them the current status quo represents stability, tranquility, and social muzzling; the muzzle of the capitalist market. In this context, submission and dependence have evidently been subverted in Venezuela and the excluded are today the protagonists, instead of cheap labor for transnationals or simply “voting” bodies every five years.
Effectively, the Bolivarian Revolution, as a reference, can inspire other ethical and democratic “subversives” in some of our other countries. In this sense, effectively, and with much pride, President Chavez is a destabilizer and a subversive, and his government has subverted the internal situation of exclusion and injustice in Venezuela and has destabilized the United States and its unique thinking. The worst part, for them, is that a country that categorizes itself as the most democratic, equal, and free on the planet, sees itself threatened by another: ours, which has not done other than to deepen its democracy, to combat inequality and to promote human and civil rights.
We understand, then, that the situation of the United States government is not easy, that seeing a true popular democracy arise in what they consider to be in their backyard is not simple; that comprehending that a country of this region would want mutually respectful relations, leaving behind historic submission and subordination is humbling for an empire. To make matters worse, the Venezuelan example could be followed by other peoples that fight for justice, sovereignty, equality, and peace. And like the frosting on the cake, Venezuela has oil, gas, and has been and will be a secure supplier, always when they respect our sovereignty. If the farmers, indigenous peoples, and workers of Latin America assume their struggles with democratic perseverance and worth, they know that it is possible to form popular and sovereign governments. Venezuela is an example of this. Until now, the United States has not been able to stop this process. They continue to talk about democracy in the world and continue acquiring our oil. They are confused. This is why some talk about assasination, others about invasion. These poor people of the North believe that this continental process will be neutralized by such actions. Let the U.S. continue to think that they are leading us, until they stumble a hundred times over the dignity of our people and learn to respect us.
translated by Katie Lahey and Dawn Gable