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Venezuela’s Confused Opposition

By: Aníbal Romero - Jul 22, 2013, 8:00 am

I will argue that the Venezuelan opposition finds itself ideologically defenseless against Chavez’ socialist regime, and the reason for its vulnerability is that the opposition’s ideology is also based in socialist and leftist ideas. Therefore, it is difficult for the opposition not only to grasp the true nature of the regime, but also to confront it.

Chavez’ regime is leftist. Nonetheless it is not a pure and pristine regime from an ideological perspective — rather an eclectic product of the Latin America where revolutionary tradition, populism, and military influence coexist. This mix allows the opposition to confuse and sustain, for example, the notion that Chavez and his project are “fascist.”

The frivolous description of fascist, wielded by the opposition, has little to do with the true nature of the leftist regime. But rather the description has to do with the profound shame that many opposition members feel at the unpleasant discovery that Chavez and his government actually embody many of the dreams, fantasies, ideals, and purposes that the leftist idealism has advocated in the hemisphere for decades.

They say that if it barks, has a snout and a tail, four legs and looks like a dog . . . then it must be a dog. In this case, if it aims towards socialism, makes allies with Fidel Castro, supports Che Guevara, detests Pinochet, Thatcher, Reagan, and Uribe, attacks the empire, hates classical liberalism, decrees equality, and idolizes the people . . . Then it is a leftist regime. Chavez’ administration as well as the opposition are mostly leftist and that is precisely why it is so difficult for the opposition to directly confront it; so the opposition chooses to use indirect approaches, avoids calling the government communist, and juggles to adjust to the Marxist nightmare without naming it.

As a consequence, the Venezuelan political and intellectual opposition prefers a “Light-Chavismo” version of a message to a direct complaint. Moreover, they seek to remain unnoticed in front of constant power abuses and the regime’s decision to deepen communism. This submissive, ill-advised, and fatal political ideology is sheltered under the democratic ideals, but serves only as a sad excuse to evade the tragic truth of a socialist regime that is gradually leading Venezuela into the hell that others have already lived and from which it is extremely hard to break out from.

With its strategy of weakness, caused by ideological disarmament, the Venezuelan opposition conveys a message according to which, for better or worse, we have a democratic system that although imperfect accepts elections and has an open pathway in the not so distant future, for a peaceful transition to something less absurd and uncivilized. The international community accepts this message without any questions, and increasing the vulnerability of the opposition is as it is portrayed: inexperienced, naïve, and submerged in the culture of political correctness.

Our opposition is, with very few exceptions, indeed so leftist that it lacks of strategic compass, refuses to call things by their proper names, and does not point out evident commonalities between Chávez and Obama. They favor Democrats and completely forget the fact that only Republican leaders have been and continue to be interested in supporting the fight for freedom in Venezuela.

For these and many other reasons, I am convinced that the world is not undergoing a process of globalization but rather an accelerated process of dumbing down.

This article first appeared in El Nacional.

Aníbal Romero Aníbal Romero

A philosopher and political scientist with a Ph.D. in strategic studies, Romero is a professor at the University of Simón Bolívar.