Friday, June 21, 2013

Why there is no "latino american spring", and certainly not in Venezuela

When you watch all that had happened in Arabic countries and what happened in Turkey recently, amen of the diverse "take" groups from NewYork to Puerta del Sol, you may wonder why is it that in Latin America there is no such collective feel. After all, there is a list of candidates: Venezuela, Argentina, and Cuba at the very least.  Not to mention that the tension exists such as the instability of certain countries can bear witness (Bolivia, Guatemala, and even Chile).

But the surprise has come from Brazil where suddenly Dilma Roussef finds herself in trouble proving that the direction of the country under Lula was plagued with corruption and crass materialism aiming strictly at "improving" access to goods to the downtrodden. Because that is what Lula did, bring stability at home through better material access and middle class increase while he was doing a Chavez outside, bringing in a World Cup, the Olympics and even trying for a permanent seat at the UN security council.

Certainly, it is infinitely commendable that Lula's administration raised in real terms the income of people, and sustainable levels apparently. But that was enough for him and public services in accordance to an emerging middle class and world pretensions was not a priority. Now Dilma is paying the price and Brazil could be looking right now for a Chavez like creep to fulfill promises that cannot be fulfilled but that will fool long enough the new middle class to grab power and keep it.

And yet in Venezuela nothing happens.

We have crippling inflation and serious, life threatening shortages.

The real campuses aflame while the chavista ones cow in shame, because faculty is underpaid and there is no means to ensure proper education. But chavista faculty get the same pay check while curiously having an uncanny ability to find "consulting" contracts with the regime to supplement handsomely their income.  Chavista university students do not seem to be bothered by their poor quality education, all theoretical due to the lack of means, because, well, no matter what they will get a degree, as worthless and unmarketable as this one may be.

Politicians focus on December municipal elections that the CNE is sure to make fraudulent once again, at least in Caracas. We are bemused by this lack of bitching at the CNE...

And amen of insecurity, labor claims, corruption and assorted abuses that victimize us all.

There is no spring for us, we of the wretched country. We did have a spring in 2002 and 2003 but the world turned its back on us, thinking that we were just a spoiled middle class that was resistant to Chavez reforms. We all know what happened next.

Do not expect me to feel sad for Brazilians who are the main guilty party to our unraveling as a country when Lula, with the agreement of his opposition, started sending tankers of gasoline to Chavez early 2003. Whether you overthrow Dilma or suffer a massive repression, I prefer to worry about other people. After I saw how well you were doing a couple of months ago, you are way more spoiled than what we were in 2003.

And that is why we have no collective spring because we have proven ourselves to be perhaps the most selfish continent, where the glory of individual politicians seem more important than the fate of nations, from Ushuaia to Tijuana. Well, with a few rare exceptions like Costa Rica. That we enable that in our politicians goes a long way to explain that we could not care less, in all truth, about what happens next door.


  1. Charly11:58 PM

    Daniel, you are invoking Costa Rica, the only latino nation that can progress. The rest from Ushuaia to Tijuana has got an enormous dark legacy that will prevent those nations from progressing. Generically, it is called the armed forces, parasitic, corrupt to the bone, peacock uniforms, farcical sense of honor and comical mottos(las divisas son su honor). When push comes to shove they really know how to become the laughing stock of the planet (Falkland war). As long as these people are not put back in the barracks and the barracks transferred to the middle of the Atlantic, then the whole piece of land located between Ushuaia and Tijuana will not get ahead whether they have natural resources or not. In this, Brazil has a very dark legacy indeed.

    1. Where else but here can one read such as spiteful post and get such an appropriate answer? ;-)

    2. Boludo Tejano2:59 AM

      The rest from Ushuaia to Tijuana has got an enormous dark legacy that will prevent those nations from progressing. Generically, it is called the armed forces.

      You are mislabeling the problem. Ask anyone in Argentina if Evita III and her late husband ever liked the military. The answer: since 1970- or before- they despised the military- with the exception of Colonel Peron, of course. Ask anyone in Argentina if the milicos have any current influence on government policy. The answer: none at all. Since the 1982 debacle in the Falklands, the milicos have been completely discredited as a political force in Argentina.

      Yet Argentina's government has become more and more authoritarian in the last five years. Can't blame the military for that. There is a very strong authoritarian demagogue strain in Latin American politics - whether milico or not. Evita III is but the latest example of an authoritarian demagogue.Evo in Bolivia- who characteristically plays by a different rulebook when he plays soccer- is another example. Evo is not a milico. Nada que ver. Correa in Ecuador. Fujimori in Peru, who was a lifelong academic, is another example.Perhaps one might label Fujumori more authoritarian than demagogue. Need I go on? All authoritarian demagogues with nary a link to the milicos.

      With Thugo, the problem was not that he was a coupster, the problem was that a substantial part of the Venezuelan electorate saw no problem with his being a coupster. You like vivos, you get vivos.

      Authoritarian demagogue-call it what you will- there has been a strong tendency in Latin American politics to abandon basic principles and rule of law in order for what appear to be quick and easy solutions. Milicos are but a symptom of this. They are not a cause.

  2. Charly1:00 AM

    Daniel, a good thing there are not many blogs like yours, otherwise psychoanalysts would be out of a job, thanks for allowing one to release the pressure. Gustavo Coronel's blog is also a good substitute for the shrink.

    1. I suppose it is because I try to stick to what a political blog should be: present a clear opinion and sustain it. It does not matter whether I am right for readers, what matters more is that I try to be coherent and offer thus to readers a reference point, regardless of their opinion. I suppose catharsis is a possible byproduct ;-)

      And thank you for your compliment.

  3. The question of why there is no' Spring' in Venezuela might or might not be related in ALL aspects to the reasons for other SA countries, though I am sure there are some shared realities ( like authoritarian thinking for example).

    In Venezuela there are multiple reasons for this I think.One that I would like to mention is the tendency to overly criticize the country (in a heat of passion) which in turn does not allow for a more objective view of it.I am referring here to the hatred for the 4th Republic.

    When Chavez won, he won on the premise of many that the 4th Republic was nothing but corrupt trash.Accordingly we had to do away with every aspect of it in order to create something new.Most people really believed that, and by accepting that, they established the idea that Venezuela's past had nothing of value worth saving .Because of this most voters overwhelmingly voted for the constituyente.

    Put simply:We threw out the baby with the bath water!

    For those young people who have not been around to see the truth( which is that there was both good and bad), it is an easy and comfortable pill to swallow.

    But in life we have to look at things objectively enough so that passion does not get in the way of making the realistic choices that will allow us to build on a foundation, instead of just tearing it down to start all over.Such a waste.

    Now people are complaining that the country is falling apart.But how could it not, when the very foundation is despised and devalued? Many in the opposition are just as much to blame for this as is Chavismo.


  4. "Lula, with the agreement of his opposition, started sending tankers of gasoline to Chavez early 2013.*"

    Sorry, I dunno if this is an error or not, but do you mean 2003? I remember the gasoline shipments to Venezuela during the oil strike (and Brazil's part as an accomplice in disarming our protest.)

    1. Right!!! thank you. and now corrected.


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