Venezuela and Latin America: Ready to Rumble

We want to have good relations with all the countries of the world, including the U.S., but if they insist on tackling our dreams, our integration and human development, they must “be ready to rumble.”

It happened before US intervention in Central America in the 1980’s; it happened before the invasion of Panama in 1989; it happened before the invasion of Iraq in 2002-2003; it is happening now in Venezuela. It’s a proven fact. Every time the US government has gone for another government, the big media outlets begin to “bombard” the leaders, followers, governments, and the President they want out of power with lies and unsupported arguments. It seems that the State Department has the power to impose its plans on the main TV stations and news papers. Maybe it is because politicians in the US, members of Congress, and members of the executive power are mostly millionaires and have close connections with the owners of the TV channels and papers. So the USA has two governments, the political and the mediatic government. Right now Venezuela is under the open aggression of the most important newspapers and influential TV stations of the US. President Chávez is presented as a tyrant who is concentrating all the public branches of the State, an elected President who has used his popularity to avoid the rule of law, restrict freedom of speech, press, and to repress the opposition’s demonstrations.

The Bush administration sponsored the Venezuelan opposition “leaders” that organized the coup and the illegal oil strike of 2002-2003. The opposition used the money of US citizens to try to oust President Chávez by all conceivable means, constitutional and unconstitutional, but their effort was useless. All they did was lose, and the government got stronger and gained even more legitimacy, wining the recall referendum in 2004. US dollars and support were insufficient to disrupt the close relationship between the Bolivarian government and the Venezuelan people. Sorry President Bush, but what you did had excellent results for President Chávez.

Today, when the opposition has practically disappeared, not because of Chavez, but because of its flagrant incapacity to understand the real needs and codes of the poor, of the majority of Venezuelans, the US administration is developing a hemispheric campaign to try to distort the truth about Venezuelan democracy and its projection in the rest of the Latin American continent. The U.S. will fail once again, because all the governments and Presidents of the region know exactly what is going on in Venezuela. Rice and Noriega will try to pressure their commercial partners in the region, but the governments will be unwilling to judge and isolate Venezuela, not only because they know the truth, but also because the people of Latin America sympathize with President Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution.  The people of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico, Ecuador, etc., will not let their governments damage a political process that they look to with a spirit of hope. Most of the Presidents of the region are following in Chavez’s steps, maybe not with the same language, but with the same objective: independence from imperialistic U.S. policies.

Without a strong political opposition in Venezuela, the international strategy of isolation is clear. If this fails, which it will, they will seek more direct means and we can’t dismiss the possibility of US intentions to invade Venezuela.  But if Iraq turned out to be a very difficult task, if they dare to invade any Latin American country, especially Venezuela, the world will witness the largest and longest resistance ever, and the US will never attain its goal. Another probable strategy is what the US rulers believe would be to pull the plant out at its roots, that is to say, assassinating President Chávez. They would probably think that if Chávez dies the changes in South America will stop. They are so profoundly wrong—that would only deepen the roots and would dangerously accelerate the whole process, much like the national opposition’s failure radicalized the Bolivarian Revolution.

Venezuelan democracy fulfils the traditional requisites of any democracy, but it also extends the practice of democratic mechanisms and gives the people, the poor and the middle class, the opportunity to advance and to satisfy their social, human, intellectual and spiritual needs. Participatory democracy is becoming a reality in this country. But the US wants to impose its model of restrictive representative democracy. No more impositions are allowed in our countries. Latin America has under-estimated its own strength. It never integrated as a unity because the imperial powers never let it happen. Today’s imperial power is trying to abort the integration of the peoples and governments of this part of the world. They see it as a threat to their expansionist means, but the conditions are there to make the Latin American union a fact and together we will face every challenge or obstacle in our way. The best thing the U.S. can do is to try to understand the Venezuelan and Latin American processes and to establish mutually respectful relations with our countries. If they don’t, they must be prepared to confront the most creative, reflexive, and humane people of the World. It’s their choice. We want to have good relations with all the countries of the world, including the U.S., but if they insist on tackling our dreams, our integration and human development, they must “be ready to rumble.”