By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES — Cuban government media and Telesur out of Venezuela are always alluding to a new kind of coup d’etat against the Left’s empowerment on the global political stage: “the soft coup”. They promote the time worn “conspiracy theory.” It’s repeated over and over again; its objective being to get it inside our heads so we accept it as a proven reality.
It’s very difficult here in Cuba to have access to diverse in-depth information that allows us to form a correct and whole idea about any news event. We only get information from government media and its message is always “tweaked” to the government’s own perspective and interests. Internet access is allowed but it is also prohibited at the same time, due to it being extremely expensive. We end up seeing and hearing the message that the government wants us to and only a small percentage of us have access to alternative information.
Even though I consider myself a centrist, I sympathize with the Left and I have accepted my political position as a matter of conviction. I believe in social democracy as the closest leaning towards the true idea of sustainable social justice; and this is what I want for the New Cuba that we should we be building. However, we shouldn’t support everything done by those who share our political ideology, whether it’s right or wrong, just because we are left-wing or right-wing.
Beyond politics, we have ethics and principles and these should protect us from false comradeship which becomes petty complicity. I learned these values from our Maestro, Jose Marti.
Maduro and Venezuela’s Chavistas are making a big mistake by preventing a referendum which is undoubtedly legal. It doesn’t matter how well thought-out their justifications are for the delay, it’s clearly 100% a trick and they’re not fooling anybody. All they’re doing is bringing shame to the Left and the socialist ideal.
After more than 17 years in power, they’ve messed up the economy and that has harmed support for their extremely expensive social programs, foreign policy and the Venezuelan people’s everyday life. According to what I can deduce from the different sources I access, Chavismo continues to have a large popular support base as a socio-political movement however, Maduro’s presidency does not.
As a result, last year the opposition swept to an overwhelming victory in the elections for choosing legislators in the National Assembly and now a great victory is predicted if in the end they hold a recall referendum.
Behind the Venezuelan people’s overwhelming support for Chavismo over several years and the discrediting that the Right had had up until recently, (which only saw political possibilities through dirty economic boycotts and they have even tried to carry out a Coup d’Etat in 2002), you don’t need to be very intelligent to come to the conclusion that what is happening isn’t legitimate support for the right, but a “punishment vote” for Chavismo; and to Maduro in particular.
However, Chavistas have fallen into the traditional mistake of the Left: not recognizing their own flaws and virulently holding onto power. Liberals see an electoral defeat as something more normal and don’t suffer so much, they don’t even make a problem out of it. On the other hand, the Left doesn’t accept the fact that the people no longer support them, immediately blaming conspiracies or saying that the population is mistaken because they’ve been lied to. It’s a weak point that needs to be overcome soon so that our political movement can continue to grow.
Of course there are conspiracies, lies looking for support, an unjustified loss of prestige, association with equivalent foreign political forces and a media war. However, this is normal and the Left does the same in their fight against the Right. In politics, it is quite common to saw through your opponent’s floor and it isn’t right to accuse your opponent of being vile for doing the same thing you would do.
Now that Chavismo has fallen into disgrace and it has lost the majority support of its people, the same people who praised them looking for a better life. Now the Chavistas can’t accept that these same people want to remove them from power because they’re not satisfied with their current administration. They expect to live off of the history and memory of the great leader, Hugo Chavez, who made all of its past achievements possible. With their antidemocratic civilian-military union and complicity between the State’s two Powers which should be unbiased (Electoral and Judicial), they are threatening the Constitution and with it, democracy. A mistaken attitude that will lead them to political suicide.
The manipulative tricks they use to distract people from the real problem that Venezuela is experiencing are classic: exacerbating nationalism with a likely US invasion and the alleged conspiracy of a Coup d’Etat. It’s true that the Right in Venezuela hasn’t had civil biases when assessing a possible Coup d’Etat: something so harmful to freedom just like the armed leftist guerrillas, which are luckily now extinct, given the fact that we now live at a time where social justice can be sought at the ballot box.
However, it’s silly now to believe in or argue such a hypothesis (a Coup d’Etat), with popular votes favoring the Right and them being the crushing majority in Parliament. If there is a “coup” in the making, it’s of another kind and let’s hope it doesn’t become reality. It would be a coup against the Constitution, democracy, popular will and the fair socialist ideal. This will be the outcome if Chavistas don’t respect their own laws and their people’s sovereignty by blocking the referendum. This will be the real “coup”: let’s hope it doesn’t happen.