In this role with the PanAm Post, one of the most astounding observations has been the steadfast loyalty of many people to totalitarian rulers, in particular the international apologists for the Chavista regime in Venezuela. Akin to cult followers, no crime, no inconsistency, and no lie appears to sway them.
While I am reluctant to even share the deplorable defenses of the tyranny going on in Venezuela right now, an understanding of their narrative helps us to address the myths they propagate: (1) the blood is on the hands of the opposition, and (2) the United States is behind it all. The loyalists also demonstrate an immense capacity to ignore and obfuscate blatant acts that violate the very values they claim to defend.
Consider this example from the Argentina Independent, which drove me to comment, under the headline of “A Change of Strategy by Venezuela’s Opposition.” Fittingly, I came across this one via a Canadian journalist in Havana, Cuba — the home of free speech.
It is near impossible for people outside of Venezuela to know what’s really going on, on a day-to-day basis, with the recent protests. It is probably difficult for people in Venezuela to know for sure.
Does that have anything to do with the flagrant censorship by the regime, including the blocking of a Colombian television channel, and the lack of paper in the country to print newspapers? Not a word on that, of course. (At the PanAm Post, we’ve been working around the clock to provide people with updates, and I recommend the work of Marcela Estrada for news and analysis from Caracas. See here and here.)
“What is the opposition trying to do?” asks Celina Andreassi. They have not been able to oust their rulers via elections, “prompting more radicalised groups within it to take matters into their own hands.” She fails to mention that the elections are manipulated, with no room for a free press and heavy intimidation of anyone who presents a threat.
The protagonist of the last few days has not been Capriles, but Leopoldo López, who has been explicitly calling for the “exit” of Maduro. National deputy Maria Corina Machado has also become quite prominent. Both of them were actively involved in 2002′s failed coup against Hugo Chávez, [and] have close ties with the US [emphasis mine]…
López has done nothing more than call for peaceful marches and an end to tyranny in his nation. His detainment, as the Human Rights Foundation affirms, makes him a blatant political prisoner. The allegation that he is responsible for the killings that night is not even thinly veiled censorship and political brinkmanship. He was not present, nor did he call for violence.
But of course, the evil empire from the north is to blame.
Students from private universities in Venezuela have been trained and financially supported by the opposition’s traditional ally – the US – since as early as 2008.… Buxton estimates the combined financial support from US institutions to Venezuelan opposition groups since 2002 in as much as US$45m, much of it aimed at ‘youth outreach programmes’…
Apparently, less than US$4 million per year is enough to get more than a million people on the streets in Venezuela and generate hundreds of protests around the world. Not that I support foreign aid via taxation, but that is some powerful return on youth outreach.
Of course, out of control crime, the world’s highest inflation, an economic crisis, draconian controls, and capital flight have nothing to do with the peaceful uprising.
[These are] probably caused by a mix of economic sabotage and the ineffectiveness of an increasingly hypertrophied and corrupt state- [and] were used as excuses for the students’ mobilisations. However, these are situations that have existed for some time now, that have not lost the government any elections, and where no significant changes have been verified in recent times.
Let me verify those significant changes, for the record:
- Venezuela’s Homicide Rate Quadruples in Fifteen Years, NGO Reports;
- New Data Reveals Venezuela’s Inflation in Excess of 300 Percent;
- Venezuela Dead Last for Economic Freedom;
- Venezuela Decrees New Price Controls to Fight Inflation;
- Venezuela Restricts Spending for Nationals Who Vacation in Florida (a mere $300);
- Venezuela Has Two Worst Cities for Investment in Latin America (48-city ranking).
In any case, and as the five victims left by the conflict in the past week show, this destabilisation attempt is certainly a very expensive way to try to win an election.
Apparently, it is about elections after all; the Chavista regime could hardly buy better public relations.
I hope people see through the loyalist folly, but unfortunately it is proliferating (see here, here, here, and here). Perhaps it is the unwillingness to accept that central planning doesn’t work and the socialist paradise has not come to fruition. At that point, blame and denial appear to be the name of the game.