by Martin Guevara
HAVANA TIMES — Before the December 6 elections in Venezuela, one expected – one intuited – that people would opt to punish Chavismo, to vote against President Maduro because of his total lack of charisma and arrogance, and to deal a similar blow to Diosdado Cabello, chair of the National Assembly, for his iron-fisted methods.
One expected this, most of all, because of the economic situation facing the country, mired, destroyed and razed to the ground by the ineptness, intolerance and confrontation of its citizens.
No one, however, had anticipated such an overwhelming victory for the opposition, such a severe corrective.
Though Maduro tried just about everything to prevent this, extending the voting hours, going on national television to warn that “all hell would break lose” if they lost, he finally acknowledged the results, as befits a civic politician.
Over the years, I have met good and kind people from this great South American nation, human beings who love their country profoundly. The love Venezuelans of all ideologies profess love for their country is impressive, as is their social awareness and their interest in the fate of the land of their birth.
Today, I congratulate them, the ones who won yesterday but were pariahs these past seventeen years, and I wish that, from now on, neither will again fan the flames of hatred and confrontation among Venezuelans. I also congratulate the people who regret having lost, fearful of an improbable vendetta and the return to a previous state of affairs – a situation which, luckily, is not likely to come about.
From now own, everyone stands to benefit. Obviously, some more than others.
The “opposition,” naturally oblivious to daily struggles, to the privations and the ground that the poor walk on, barefoot, felt the pain of exile and direct repression, as well as the woes of those who have the least, over these past years.
They didn’t wallow in their frustration, inside a shell. Not even those in exile settled for the kick in the behind they’d received. They went out to fight, to demonstrate as the naturally restless, the ones traditionally denied power, had often done.
As part of a new phenomenon in Latin America, the elites armed themselves with a strong character in a struggle waged under truly difficult conditions, conditions they had not previously known.
This recalled, to a certain extent, what took place with a considerable number of Argentinean land owners in the 19th century, during the Rosas government.
In the course of these years, the opposition added knowledge of and proximity to the people to their lofty academic background and education (typical of the Venezuelan high and middle classes), becoming aware of and suffering exile, prison and disappearances. They also won the hearts and minds of many among the people who have removed the bandages over their eyes.
I hope, for the good of the Americas, that the awareness they have gained over these years, will lead to inclusiveness. Ultimately, the life and example set by Simon Bolivar belongs to all Venezuelans.
I hope a good part of the high and middle class have learned that abuses of power and the marginalization of the underprivileged are invariably taken advantage of by populists and megalomaniacal dictators, interested in their own benefits more than in any of the pronouncements that characterize them.
Long live Venezuela and Venezuelans, and Isla Margarita also!