Three Options: Which Will Be the Least Bad?

Erasmo Calzadilla

Photo from the Venezuelan election campaign by Caridad.

HAVANA TIMES – The fate of Cuba is being played out in the Venezuelan elections on Sunday. From my point of view there are three possible scenarios (as political scientists like to say).

One is for the current president Hugo Chavez to be reelected. This would mean another long streak of slow agony that keeps us alive but on a shoestring.

If Chavez loses, things are going to get very ugly, at least for a while. Without cheap oil from Venezuela I believe that this political system will succumb.

The government would have to apply very strong repression to contain the opposition and that would be its end, especially if the Republicans regain the White House in the US.

The third variant is that Henrique Capriles or Hugo Chavez challenge the validity of the elections and armed social conflict ensues, involving the countries of the region, either directly or indirectly.

In that case it is likely that the leaders of Cuba sent troops: firstly in special secret missions, and later, regular troops if the conflict is internationalized.

For all these reasons I think the average Cuban (except those who know how to fish in troubled waters) has little to gain and much to lose from Venezuela’s presidential election.

Hopefully what happens on Sunday at least won’t trigger doomsday.

 

 

 

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.


9 thoughts on “Three Options: Which Will Be the Least Bad?

  • March 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm
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    I live in Venezuela and now wish to vote against the current government.

    Hold on, someone is at the door.

    I would now like to recant my earlier error of five minutes ago, I meant to say that I love the current government and know that they will take good care of my family, wherever they may be taken.

  • October 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm
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    Lawrence w: i have been in the same room with hugo chavez and had the opportunity to listen to him ramble for many hours about their being no opposition in venezuela except for traitors, mercenaries, scum..so yes, in venezuela, if you have any reservations about mr chavez then you really are labeled as such. you saying that the opposition in venezuela is only from the ‘1% elite’ is niave. there is plenty of opposition in venezuela, even opposition from the left.
    i am partially happy that he won re election, but only as a face saving result for the left. i wouldnt have been able to handle hearing the u.s. media saying his loss was the peoples rejection of socialism.
    i am a socialist, my issue is not with venezuelan socialism, it is with mr chavez himself. i believe him to be bigmouth dolt and a poor represenative for left wing politics.
    but before being socialist, i am anti authoritarian.
    you are a stalinist hack, who will make excuses for any dimwit tyrant so long as they are sufficiantly anti american. you are proof that in left politics its not even possible for one to be a little bit critical, for as soon as one is, people like you, and hugo and the castros are there, to denounce them as capitalist hyenas.
    fraternally, rob

  • October 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm
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    Luis, you seem to be very intelligent. Surely, you can differentiate between what the anticastrista community really wants and want they can legally get. Indeed, they may secretly (or not so secretly) long for adequate remuneration for stolen property but they know that the US government, Congress specifically, can´t give them that. So what they have settled for is Cuban democracy. They believe that with a democratic Cuba, they can use their money and power to influence a new Cuba to give them what they really want. OK, satisfied? By the way, the Special Period was a downward slope for Cuba. If Chavez had not come along when he did in ´98 to save Cuban butts, we would be having this conversation face-to-face at a Starbuck´s in Old Havana.

  • October 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm
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    The Venezuelan subsidies on oil aren’t a ‘gift’ as many may think. Cuba trades doctors for it. And it expends a lot of resources forming this qualified workforce. Mr. Capriles, if he had won the election, would commit a political error should he end this program, as Cuban doctors do help the poorest communities in Venezuela.

    You ‘forget’ that Cuba managed to survive without any kind of economic partnership during the 90’s, coupled with the tightening of the sanctions from the US like the Helms-Button law and the Torricelli Act. You said in an earlier comment that the embargo will last as long as there’s no democracy in Cuba. No. What the hard-line Miami exiles who make pressure for the maintenance of the embargo want isn’t democracy on Cuba. They want their property back, regardless of the political characteristics of the Cuban regime. They support the suffering of the common Cuban folk – since they never cared about them when they held political and economic power before the ’59 Revolution – and neither does Washington, causing unjustified suffering for the people living in countries whose international policy isn’t aligned to its will. Like Iraq or Iran.

    Eat this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/07/iran-santions-suffering

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm
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    The continued Venezuelan subsidies only serve to prolong the inevitable. The failure of Socialism around the world, and especially as is implemented in Cuba, is a well-established fact. Cuba, through foreign subsidy and totalitarian leadership, has managed to limp along on life-support since the fall of Soviet socialism. For the anticastrista community in Miami, Chavez´ victory brings a silver lining. Had the outcome been different Cuba would have been forced to face their reality within a few short years. This abrupt change would have met a timid Cuban leadership ill-prepared for smooth transition to democracy. As it is, Miami-based Cuban moderates still have time to assuage the fears of those Cuban generals who wish to stay in power in a post- Castro Cuba. This lengthier transition, 6-9 years, is more likely to bring real democracy to the island.

  • October 8, 2012 at 10:47 am
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    Further to your claim that Chavez has “continuously written off half of the Venezuelan population as mercenaries, scabs, capitalist scum.” From his victory speech:

    “This is a very important step in building peace in Venezuela, for all of us to get along,” noted Chavez, who also invited his opponents to enter into dialogue.

    “I am making an appeal to all those who go around promoting hatred, those who go around promoting social poison, those who go around always trying to disregard, ignore and deny all the good things that are happening here in Venezuela. I invite you to dialogue, to debate and to work together for Bolivarian Venezuela,” he exclaimed.

  • October 8, 2012 at 6:39 am
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    Normally I wouldn’t deal with your tirade against Venezuela on this forum but the last paragraph gives your game away. This is all about Cuba.

    Claiming that you were once “a supporter of Mr. Chavez, and still do support some of the aims of the Bolivarian revolution”, is hard to believe as everything else you wrote shows you have swallowed US propaganda, hook, line and sinker.

    There is NO evidence that Chavez has “continuously written off half of the Venezuelan population as mercenaries, scabs, capitalist scum.”

    In response to significant opposition from Venezuela’s 1% elites, authoritarianism may have increased – it invariably does when fighting an opposition – but US propaganda is obviously working furiously to heighten that perception in people’s minds. As long as it does this, the benefit of the doubt has to go in favour of Chavez due to the tainted, biased nature of US government utterances.

    Having erected the authoritarian straw dog, you attempt to use it to shoot down socialism in Venezuela by asserting, “His goals and aims of creating socialism might have been well founded but his methods have corrupted the whole project.” That’s what you are really obsessed over, isn’t it – socialism.

    You claim that “much of the oil wealth of his nation has been and is being simply tossed about to gain favor with those in poverty.” As opposed to tossing about a country’s wealth in favour of the wealthy, as is typical in capitalist countries?

    Some of Venezuela’s wealth was tossed over to Cuba and this is the sixth year that subsidized heating oil has been provided to low-income people in the United States.

    You seem to have a problem tossing wealth to those who are not wealthy.

    You write, “While it is true that those at the bottom of Venezuelan society have undoubtedly benefited, the problem of poverty remains.” Well, yes, and so does dengue fever but that’s no excuse for denigrating progress in addressing it unless you want to talk about the massive, sustained poverty inherent to capitalism that will never be gotten rid of.

    Your advice to Venezuelans for how “to dig themselves out of poverty” using “a mixture of the state, private co-ops, and private market based strategies,” is tainted by the elitism you exhibit.

    I’m sure you do “think that Venezuela might be better off if Mr. Chavez lost this election, “putting you out of step with a large percentage of the Venezuelan population. The results will no doubt not stop you from labelling it “a tinpot dictatorship”. Reality never fazes propagandists for the American Empire.

    You do seem to want elections as long as you can label ones that don’t go your way a dictatorship, that is. The best way to bring about democracy in Cuba is to discontinue the 50-year blockade. Maintaining a state of siege works against the goal.

    Evidence to the contrary, but if you are a really a democrat, put up or shut up. STOP THE BLOCKADE!

  • October 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm
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    Just as Mitt Romney completely wrote off half of the American electorate with his ‘47%’ remark, Hugo Chavez has continously written off half of the Venezuelan population as mercenaries, scabs, capitalist scum..and so on. His rule has been increasingly authoritarian. His goals and aims of creating socialism might have been well founded but his methods have corrupted the whole project.
    It is true that the setting up of private cooperatives was and is important and in many ways a success, but much of the oil wealth of his nation has been and is being simply tossed about to gain favor with those in poverty. While it is true that those at the bottom of Venezuelan society have undoubtedly benefited, the problem of poverty remains. There is a defference between investment and throwing money around. The struggling Venezuelans need the government to Invest in ways for them to dig themselves out of poverty in some sort of way that is sustainable, using a mixture of the state, private co-ops, and private market based strategies. Simply throwing money to the working class might keep Chavez popular but doesn’t solve the underlying problems.
    I find myself saddened to say this, as i once was a supporter of Mr. Chavez, and still do support some of the aims of the bolivarian revolution, but i think that Venezuela might be better off if Mr. Chavez lost this election. How this will affect Cuba and the rest of Latin America will remain to be seen, but in fairness to the Venezuela people, I dont think it fair that they should have to consider how their election will affect a tinpot dictatorship in the carribean

    a brief post script: it should be aknowledged that Hugo Chavez is and has at least put himself before the electorate, something the comrades in Cuba haven’t gotten around to yet.

  • October 7, 2012 at 8:00 am
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    Today’s election in Venezuela will not affect that country alone and Cuba, but the future of the whole Latin-American political spectrum. I also thoughg about possibility number ‘3’, and that worries me too.

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