The Only Way Out is Peaceful Citizen Resistance

We’ve wasted time with an electoral approach, as it distracts from what is most important for something impractical and unrealistic.

By Guillermo Cortez Dominguez (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – It isn’t enough for the masses to overflow the streets with their protests and demands. Enraged human rivers is not enough. It cannot be attained with gigantic marches questioning power. The powerful citizens’ protest is not able to change things. Sad conclusion.

What are we the people, then? Are we nothing to the power machines of several countries colluded in the defense of tyrannies? What good is it for the majority of the population of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Belarus to rise up, if they will be responded to with the institutional violence of the armies and police subordinated to the dictatorships and with the support of Russia, Iran and Cuba?

Five oil tankers traveled almost 2,400 kilometers transporting more than a million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela. The South American country is one of the main oil countries in the world with an industry collapsed due to the administrative disaster of Nicolas Maduro. The United States blocked them and seized the fuel. Is it another dispute of opposites?

People in struggle want freedom, democracy, institutionalism, and respect for human rights. But the power centers turn them into vulnerable territories for their disputes. These societies in conflict with their oppressors then end up under the dangerous legs of the horses.

Lukashenko threatens repression

As part of the so-called “Arab Spring” from 2010 to 2012, a large part of the Syrian people rose up against the dictator Bashar al-Assad and it did not take long for the conflict to become internationalized with the participation of the most powerful Arab countries, the United States and Russia. Afterwards, it developed into an indecipherable war of more than fifty militias, guerrillas and small armies financed by the superpowers that ended up erasing the genuine beginning of the fight for freedom. A decade later, the dictatorship continues.

The repression in Belarus has produced two deaths and thousands of prisoners, most of them already released. They have not yet reached the massacre phase as happened in Nicaragua. Where the police and paramilitaries stopped the great marches since September 2018. On Sunday, more than 200,000 souls protested in the streets of Minsk, the capital, and hundreds were arrested.

But the authoritarian Lukashenko—in power since July 1994—has already appeared in a black fatigue outfit, like that of the Nicaraguan riot-police. He energetically raised an AK rifle with this left arm in a clear message to the protesting people. He put the Army on high alert.

In Minsk, the capital, they opened a criminal case against the seven activists who had just formed the coordinating council of the Belarusian opposition. And behind it all is Russia—and the oppressive ghost of the “great old and glorious homeland,” the USSR—pulling all the strings to prevent a change of government. It doesn’t matter whether the main demand is to remove the authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko from office.

The only way out is peaceful resistance

Gone are the days when the so-called “backyards” were the sole domain of the geographically closest superpower. Today, the United States disputes influence with Russia in the Ukraine and currently in Belarus. Or the Russian presence in Syria, a territory influenced by Washington. Likewise, in Latin America, as we observed in Venezuela, where its military stopped a US operation to dislodge Maduro from power.

None of this means that there is no way out. This doesn’t imply that the people are defeated, that they cannot do anything without the tutelage of a powerful nation. It isn’t true that the population can’t influence its destiny. It can row against the current and steer history in its favor.

Faced with a changing globalized world and societies of authoritarian countries, the answer must be the same that people have used for thousands of years to shake off the yoke of their oppressors. Organized citizens peaceful resistance. (In other cases it has been violent, which does not make sense in our country after two dramatic, long-suffering and destructive wars).

This is the only way out for Nicaragua in combination with international pressure. The solution isn’t this fabricated monstrosity in which the cart is in front of the oxen. And what else can we call having relegated popular resistance to prioritize an illusory electoral route? Such will never happen under Ortega-Murillo, because they know they would lose in a free voting process. Therefore, they will do the same as before: fraud and more fraud and they will continue in power.

We’ve wasted time with an electoral approach, as it distracts from what is most important for something impractical and unrealistic. 

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