Goodbye, Maduro . . . and “Socialism for the 21st Century”

Breaking Down the Status Quo Wall That Divides Us

EspañolAs is known around the world, the recent student protests held in Venezuela to demand government transparency and security netted multiple dead students and the arrests of several others. Repressive state forces attacked them on February 12, Venezuela’s Youth Day.

After this outrageous episode of violence and repression, many student movements around the world have shown their solidarity with the Venezuelan people. These events are already being called “the Venezuelan spring” — given that it’s been a week of protests already — and they evidence the decline of “Socialism for the 21st Century.” This system has been unable to meet the minimum demands of a large part of the Venezuelan population, with an incompetent and repressive bureaucracy that has resorted to terror in the streets to stop the protests generated by the high levels of social discontent.

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Opposition protesters gather on February 18 in Caracas, Venezuela.

It is no surprise that this level of discontent and dissatisfaction exists. This failed model is responsible for the transformation of one of the richest countries in Latin America and an oil producer into an importer of gasoline. It has led to the country being among the most violent in the world, where food shortages and power outages are part of everyday life. Venezuela is also at the lowest levels on indexes that measure essential components of democracy: the rule of law, freedom of expression, separation of government powers, and respect for human rights.

For us, the defenders of individual freedom and enemies of statism, it is unbelievable how these totalitarian regimes have survived — even after the 1989 fall of socialism and the Berlin Wall, the last structure holding together the failed system.

The end of the state is each individual — at least it should be — and that means to ensure and protect freedom, not violate it by repressing citizens simply for disagreeing. The silence and indifference on the part of most Latin-American presidents towards Maduro’s abuses is striking. The great crusade carried out by Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica in favor of freedom of expression, is a notable exception.

As in Venezuela, the youth of the eastern side of the Berlin wall died trying to cross it to get to the western side, escaping the marginal conditions that prevailed in the communist side. While in Venezuela there is no physical wall, there is the even harder ideological wall, built in the minds of people and which has made it impossible for them to see and think outside what the state has dictated.

At this point, breaking down the mental walls that separate the ruling party and the opposition is the great challenge for Venezuela. However, it is the only way that people will stand for all their individual freedoms in order to build a truly democratic country.

As Churchill said, it’s best to avoid predictions, because it is much easier to look back in time. What awaits Venezuela is a historic event, a turning point, and Maduro’s political decisions will determine whether he remains the president of Venezuela or not.

Despite having significant support from a share of the population — in my view out of fear rather than conviction — the actions he has taken to date are not the smartest, and do not guarantee at all his continuation in power. Far from seeking dialogue, as he claims, he has dedicated his underlings to repressing, killing, and even raiding the headquarters of the opposition. Then, when criticized, he decided to expel US diplomats, declaring each one a persona non grata “for interfering in the internal affairs of the country.”

So, again, with no intention to predict, I would like to assert the following: Venezuelan youth are tired of the status quo, and are restless and thirsty for freedom. The path to getting rid of this dictatorship will boil down to maintaining their presence on the streets, staying focused amid polarization, achieving unity, and breaking down the mental walls that separate the two Venezuelas — so we can finally say, “Goodbye, Maduro!”

Translated by Alan Furth.

4 comments
Illumined
Illumined

"The silence and indifference on the part of most Latin-American presidents towards Maduro’s abuses is striking."

I agree. Even the press coverage from the US has been dismal. There are political reasons why this is so. We are getting a glimpse of the policies that may be presented here in the near future, if we dont act to protect American civil liberties now. Vote for change... Otherwise you will find yourself fighting in the streets to try to reclaim what was rightfully yours in the first place.

Dave Hill
Dave Hill

Socialism, communism call it what you want-it doesn't work worth a damn.   This is the lesson of history.  It appeals to the poor, uneducated, uninformed masses who can be easily bought with handouts and fiery rhetorical scapegoating.   They cannot see until it is too late that they have traded their freedoms and any hope of prosperity for a dictator and a totalitarian nightmare built on lies.

FrankWorleyPR
FrankWorleyPR

@SchwarzPedro @PanAmPost With all of its problems, nearly anyone in Latin America would prefer the standard of living provided by the US than the disaster of socialism.  The poor in America receive more in benefits than many middle class persons in Latin America receive from hard work.  Government or lack there of, and malicious socialism in its many forms like in Cuba, Argentina and Venezuela are exactly what is taking from the poor the opportunity to find true financial and personal independence.  Unfortunately for the US, it is now heading down the same path as many Latin American countries and the results can be seen, more poverty, less prosperity and worse yet, less personal liberty.