“What Is Left of Venezuela” Joaquín Villalobos, El País, 21 July 2017

“In Venezuela governing has become impossible for those at the top, the misery of the people is aggravated daily and there’s an extraordinary intensification of the popular struggle.These are the three conditions established by Lenin to recognize a revolutionary situation. How sad it must be to buy yourself a fake revolution only to be defeated by a real one”.

In Latin America there are three transitions under way hitting the extreme left: 1) the end of armed struggle in Colombia; 2) the gradual but inevitable return of capitalism to Cuba; and 3) the end of the Bolivarian Revolution. Venezuela is the axis of these three transitions. With 400 political prisoners and the negation of government change through free elections, the chavista regime unmasked itself as a dictatorship. It is untrue that in Venezuela there is a struggle between the revolutionary left and the fascist right: the regimen faces a coalition of centrist forces. At stake in Venezuela is the future of political centrism in Latin America. 18 years ago it was intellectually obvious: the Bolivarian Revolution had an expiration date. The ups and downs of the oil prices turned absurd the presumed eternity of a petro-socialism that distributed without producing. The chavista model lurched from social inclusion to the multiplication of misery. The model is dead: nothing can save it. The Chávez  regimen was the only one among the bolivarians to declare open war on the markets with expropriations that finished off the Venezuelan economy. The main factor of cohesion in the Bolivarian Revolution was never ideology, but money. With billions of petro-dollars it was easy for a group of military men to declare themselves leftists, for their own benefit. There are more generals in the Venezuelan army than in that of the USA; they have armed paramilitaries, gotten themselves into drug trafficking, expropriated businesses, benefited from corruption and taken control of the black market; they repress, torture, judge and imprison opponents. In the History of Latin American dictatorships there hasn’t been a military elite that has enriched itself as much as that of Venezuela. Chávez  did take the wrong path by fighting the forces of the market; now his heirs are doing the same against democracy.

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“What Is Left of Venezuela” Joaquín Villalobos, El País, 21 July 2017

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