By Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — In the 60s, 70s and 80s, it was thought that a government that defended the working class, the underprivileged, a government that would put an end to extreme poverty, poor sanitary conditions, illiteracy, hunger, discrimination, a government that would reduce infant mortality and eradicate deaths caused by preventable and curable diseases, in short, a revolutionary left-wing government, could only come to power through the armed struggle.
These were the times of Latin America’s military dictatorships, which resulted in the deaths, torture and disappearance of thousands of young people.
It was the stage of the revolutionary efforts undertaken in Bolivia by Ernesto Che Guevara, who was ruthlessly hunted down, wounded, captured and ultimately assassinated on orders from the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.
In the early 1970s, Chile’s Salvador Allende attempted and managed to take the revolutionary left to power through democratic elections. His victory, however, was not total, for the Chilean Congress, dominated by a right-wing majority, constantly hampered his efforts. In 1973, he was the victim of a bloody coup staged by fascist reactionaries, a coup which ended with his death.
These events strengthened my conviction that a true revolution could not be brought about through peaceful means.
As the years passed, the pressures that the people brought to bear on these military dictatorships made it impossible for them to remain in power, and a transition to democracy was achieved.
The example that Cuba set, and the progress it achieved in spite of the obstacles imposed upon it by the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade – a blockade that has lasted for more than 50 years – were a source of inspiration for many countries in Latin America, where the Left became stronger and came to power through democratic elections.
We began to witness the possibility that peaceful revolutions could be achieved across Latin America and that these could serve as beacons for the rest of the world, gripped today by a severe crisis caused by the neo-liberal capitalist system.
In an article published by Havana Times on May 14, 2012 under the title “The Peaceful Revolution Will Take Hold of the World”, I concluded:
“Hugo Chávez’ victory in Venezuela, and the positive changes this has meant for his people, has been followed by other victories, such as that of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and other left-wing and nationalist governments that have clearly shown us what path we are to follow.”
“The repression of social and indigenous movements in other countries has done nothing but raise the peoples’ awareness regarding what direction they must move in, and of the need to impel the peaceful revolution that proved impossible before and which, sooner rather than later, will take hold of the world.”
I have absolutely no doubts about this. Left-wing policies will prevail and gain more and more ground, until they become invincible. That said, we ought not to deceive ourselves: capitalism and the dominant classes that are inherent to it do not give up easily and resort to violence, destabilizing strategies, coups and even assassinations in order not to lose their privileges.
We have more than enough examples of this, should anyone have doubts. The bloodiest was the fascist coup that took place in Chile in 1973. More recently, I can think of the failed coup in Bolivia, where there was even an attempt to divide the country in two; the attempted coup in Ecuador, which almost cost President Correa his life; the coup in Venezuela, which was reversed by the people and loyal armed forces, and the oil industry strike, which cost the country billions of dollars. All have been desperate attempts by the Right, seeking to take power at any price.
More recently, following the Venezuelan presidential elections which resulted in Nicolás Maduro’s victory, the opposition, in an openly fascist move, attacked supporters of Chávez’ revolutionary project, leaving behind eight dead and dozens of injured citizens.
How many more attempts at overthrowing the Left in power through fascist violence will we have to endure? The people will have to be vigilant, for its enemies, those who use politics to fatten their wallets, and fatten the wallets of foreign transnational companies even more, will continue to use violence against our peaceful revolution.