Latin American Populist Leaders Love to Play the Victim
Political leaders love to play the role of the victim once they’ve been targeted for corruption. Cristina Fernández did it during her trial. Brazilian former President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff did it after being impeached.
Nicolás Maduro, despite the dead, hunger, scarcity, political prisoners, repression, is also drumming up sympathy as if he were a victim, having said his unfortunate situation is the result of the right’s imperialism.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has made similar statements, asserting he is a victim of the United States and its plan to force him out of office. Uruguay’s Vice President Raúl Sendic, who lead a state monopoly to bankruptcy, has been boo-hooing about a “vicious opposition campaign.”
It’s not surprising that corrupt leaders would choose to see things as they want to. Any horrors they have caused, as in Maduro’s case, are never mentioned. All successes are ballooned to the greatest of importance.
Leaving aside how entertaining these statements may seem in the beginning, and the logical desire to laugh when reading them, the fact is that they have serious implications as soon as real victims are involved.
In Argentina, during the “K era,” more than a million people lived in extreme poverty. Cristina Kirchner claimed to be the voice of the people and the defenseless. People’s freedoms were very limited during those years, with dead prosecutors dominating headlines and shameful corruption popping up left and right. But the victim was never, say, the prosecutor Alberto Nisman; it was always Cristina.
What is Petrobas? What US $8.4 billion in questionable transactions are you talking about? Is the illicit enrichment of half of the Workers’ Party (PT) even important?
Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff was not aware of these things. And as if that was not enough, this poor woman was victim of a legal proceeding that does not even exist in the Brazilian constitution: impeachment!
Of course, when Color de Mello was impeached, it was a valid measure. The same went for Itamar Franco. But for Dilma, it was unimaginable.
Bolivia, in turn, has reached record figures in foreign debt thanks to Evo Morales.. But clearly, the victim is Evo himself, who is constantly attacked for his poor, indigenous origins, and for not having a university degree.
Seventy-five percent of Venezuelans live in poverty, and the lack of medicines and food is only a small part of the critical situation these people must face everyday. They are threatened by insecurity and a lack of basic freedoms. But then again, poor Maduro!
How many leaders have accepted their blame? A few, yes. But when the absence of self-criticism comes from the left, socialism and communism, which self-proclaim as defenders of the poor, corruption hurts three times as much.