The Battle for Bolivia and a Bolivarian Spain

Spain’s Podemos Party’s “organic” connection to Castro-Bolivarianism is well-documented. And this is just the tip of the iceberg

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Spain with a Bolivarian vice-president will further delay the democratization of Venezuela. (Photo: Flickr)

The Cuban regime has not stopped cursing in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución. Of course, they curse themselves for having left things in the hands of Evo Morales and the gang of incompetents that still accompany him today. They could not have imagined such clumsiness in orchestrating a fraud, as it should be with a hegemonic party that prides itself as such.

Well, Bolivia was a crude, armed robbery, perpetrated by amateurs thrown into the adventure. This was done without police or military control or the support of the social base —the “natural” social base, the Cuban nomenclature thought— of Evo Morales: the MAS, the indigenous movements, and the mining workers’ union, who distanced themselves from him. Hence, once the fraud was proven, the fall was like a house of cards. Nothing was left standing, and there wasn’t a sound.

Moreover, now it is no use for Castro’s puppets to continue insulting Almagro and calling the OAS the “Ministry of Colonies” because of its devastating report. After all, the European Parliament also recognized this fraud, citing the OAS audit. And so did the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. Pedro Sánchez’s foreign minister then took the route contrary to that of the next government of Pedro Sánchez. A delicious paella that we will have to taste in due course.

Among the puppets is the government of Argentina. The image of the chancellor was already blurred because of his ignorance of international relations and because the vice president formulates foreign policy. Following a dialogue with Havana, of course, Cristina Kirchner spent the New Year on the island, accompanying her daughter, who lives there, partly as a patient of Climeq, the elite hospital of the party and its friends, and partly as a fugitive in a money-laundering case.

It’s not news that Castro’s hospitality was never free. The exchange for lodging Evo Morales in Buenos Aires is not exactly the hotel rate. And what a coincidence, as soon as Cristina Kirchner’s visit to Havana came to an end, President Fernandez announced that he would support María Fernanda Espinosa in her bid to face Almagro at the OAS. The “Ministry of Colonies,” but not exactly from Washington.

Sorry for the digression. It so happens that Cubans kept calm until the fiasco in Bolivia, with Ortega-Murillo just as resilient, the Venezuelan opposition in the usual cohabitation and Evo on a predictable course to be re-elected. The “cordon sanitaire” was solid, but suddenly, one of the pieces fell, the least well thought out one. It put the entire structure of Castro-Bolivarian power on alert. Hence, Bolivia became the mother of all battles.

This is confirmed by the recent events at the Mexican embassy in La Paz, where a vast swarm of political, judicial and diplomatic snakes emerged. It turns out: in that embassy “reside,” and I emphasize, a dozen members of that gang of incompetents. Among them are Juan Ramon Quintana and Hector Arce, former ministers of the Presidency and Justice, respectively. Quintana had held the same post between 2012 and 2017, and he was also ambassador to Cuba between 2017 and January 2019, take note.

Two key ministers of Evo Morales, those mentioned here, now owe their sudden international fame to the government of Pedro Sánchez. This was due to the illegal operation of four officials from Spain’s Special Operations Group, who, hooded and armed —and having entered Bolivia a few days earlier with false passports— tried to break into the Mexican Ambassador’s residence with their country’s Chargé d’affaires. The Spanish government reported that this was a “courtesy visit.”

The courtesy, frustrated by the Bolivian police, was in any case such for the former ministers, who were denounced for money laundering, drug trafficking, and financing ideologically similar groups in Spain, among other charges. That is, by all accounts, an operation planned as a rescue mission for those who could incriminate the Podemos party before it could form the government on January 7.

Podemos’ (a bit of Gramsci’s) “organic” connection with Castro-Bolivarianism is well-documented. Last December, a court in Madrid ruled that Pablo Iglesias received a deposit of 272,000 USD from the Maduro government in a bank account in his name in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as “social development consultancy.” The receipt of this sum occurred two months after the foundation of the Podemos party in 2014.

This is the tip of the iceberg. In 2016 Rafael Isea, former Venezuelan Finance Minister had already declared to the Spanish Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit that Chávez paid seven million euros to the Podemos Foundation. Some of those payments allegedly went through Bolivia, and Quintana was reportedly involved in the process. From any geographical point, when you pull the Bolivarian thread, you quickly reach Caracas and Havana, hopefully not Madrid as well. By the way, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a Caribbean tax haven, is a loyal client of Petrocaribe and ALBA.

Consequently, Bolivia is also a battle for Mexico. As has already happened with Evo Morales, the hosting and attempted rescue of Bolivian officials makes sense if, as has been reported, Quintana also handles information about the shipment of cocaine from the Chapare to the Mexican cartels. Mexico has just concluded its most violent year in the last 90 years, but remember that its president released Chapo Guzman’s son.

This all comes at a very delicate time on both sides of the Atlantic. The alliance between Castro’s one-party project and the Venezuelan narco-dictatorship is based on the exchange of material resources for information and intelligence, avoiding another Special Period of hardship on the island and stabilizing the regime. The battle of Bolivia is for the sake of appearances; much worse would be the fall of Maduro. Thus, the Bolivian transition is also a litmus test of the democratic viability of the continent.

The threat to Spain is twofold. If a government is formed with Pablo Iglesias as its vice-president, a series of dangers will encroach on Spain’s constitutional democracy. It so happens that Sánchez’s PSOE has also made a pact with Esquerra Republicana and Catalan independence. It is unlikely that Pedro Sánchez forms a government with forces that explicitly put at risk the source of the legitimacy that put him there in the first place: the validity of the 1978 Constitution and the integrity of the Spanish State.

It is not coincidental then that some accuse him of betraying the PSOE of Felipe Gonzalez. It would be very much like the typical Latin American self-coups: coming to power under a specific constitutional order and once there, destroying it. This is what Fujimori, Chávez, Correa, Evo Morales, and others have done. Nevertheless, in defense of the latter ones, we must recognize that at least they have never put the unity of the state at risk.

Spain, under a Bolivarian vice-president, will further delay the democratization of Venezuela. The silence of Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly in the face of what happened in La Paz and the judicial disclosure of Podemos’ close ties with Chavismo and Evo Morales is striking. It so happens that Leopoldo López, leader of the Popular Will, Guaidó’s party, is a guest of the Spanish Embassy in Caracas.

In other words, as of January 7, he is a guest, and Venezuela a hostage of Pablo Iglesias. The oft-repeated sequence “cessation of usurpation, a transitional government, and free elections” has likely left Venezuela. The good news is that along the way, the Bolivians found it and put it into practice with great success. On May 3, they will take the third step: on that day, there will be free, fair, and transparent elections.

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