Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — It’s really symptomatic that street protests are peaceful in countries with neoliberal governments, in spite of the gravity of the situation (as we will go on to see with this article), while protests take on a more warlike character in countries with progressive governments.
In the latter, lives and properties are destroyed for no clear reason or concrete vindication, just to destabilize the government to bring about its collapse and make way for a new neoliberal, right-wing government.
To give you more concrete examples: protests in Argentina have been more than justified, fighting against Mauricio Macri’s government’s reforms, as well as huge layoffs of thousands of workers, who had stable lives under the Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez governments and are now living in extreme poverty as a result of unemployment.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, layoffs were joined by so-called “super price hikes”; that is to say, prices of the country’s main public services, such as electricity, water, gas, have all increased making families who still have their jobs are also facing difficulties because of the huge expenses they are now forced to pay. However, in the face of such a dismal situation, public protests haven’t been violent in the slightest.
Brazil is another example I’d like to bring your attention. They have an illegitimate government, which wasn’t elected but was rather the result of a parliamentary coup against President Dilma Rousseff, who had been elected by the people and was overthrown because of false accusations. This seems to be the International Right’s new favorite mechanism, while joining up with US Imperialism to get rid of Leftist leaders. Before, they assassinated them or made them disappear, now they incapacitate them “legally” and try to demoralize them in public opinion, accusing them of being corrupt.
Even though people are living an abnormal situation in Brazil and are suffering the consequences of the de facto government’s neoliberal policies, street protests making fair demands haven’t been violent either.
The above two examples are so different to what’s going on in Venezuela and Nicaragua, where the Right have used violent groups to wreak havoc and death, so as to accuse the government of being violent and thereby bring about its end. The difference between these two pairs of countries is that governments in the former are to the US’ liking (even though their own people don’t want them), and they have no interest in replacing them.
But, it’s a different story with the latter pair, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Their people have nothing to complain about. Venezuelans receive free healthcare and education; the country has declared that it’s illiteracy rate is 0 and they build millions of homes to improve the lives of its poor. And even though the Right has done everything possible to discredit Nicolas Maduro’s government, he won the recent elections, with a majority vote. However, this isn’t enough in Imperialism’s eyes. Because it is a government of and for the people, it needs to be overthrown even if it means bringing about chaos and death.
The Nicaraguan people have also greatly benefitted ever since the Sandinista Front came back into power, as it has made progress after neoliberal governments and policies had sunk the country into poverty. Under the Sandinistas, the economy has been growing steadily, which has had a positive impact of the population’s quality of life. President Daniel Ortega was reelected for this reason only 7 months ago, having received over 70% of the vote in his favor. However, this doesn’t seem to be enough for them to let him rule in peace and continue to improve his people’s lives and the economy.
Nicaragua has been subjected to violence, chaos and nearly 200 lives have been lost, thanks to a plan conceived and financed by Imperialism, according to statements made by one of the leaders of a violent group who had been arrested by the police. First of all, they refused the dialogue talks, while violent groups continued to wreak havoc; now they are demanding that there are early elections (when the next elections are scheduled for 2021), which the government can’t agree to because that would mean ignoring over 70% of the population’s wish at the last elections just 7 months ago.
These are the differences between protests and demands in countries whose governments are to Imperialism’s liking and countries where they want to overthrow the government at any cost, no matter how many people die at the hands of violent mobs hired to do their dirty work.