The Fascism of Nicolás Maduro and Hugo Chávez

EspañolFor the past year, eyes of the world have focused on Venezuela, given ongoing protests against Nicolás Maduro and the economic, social, and political crisis produced by the complete incompetence of his government.

Maduro has responded by cracking down on protesters and silencing his detractors. One word he uses in practically every sentence, to refer to his opponents, is “fascism.” Nico has repeated this word so many times, it raises the question, what if Freud was right?

Venezuela Ministry of Communication
Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro: champions of Latin-American fascism. (Venezuelan Ministry of Communication)

According to the Austrian psychoanalyst, projection is an involuntary and unconscious defense mechanism by which the subject attributes his own motives, desires, and emotions to other people.

If we look at Maduro’s reactions through this theory, what is he trying to hide through the use of the word fascism? What is this little man, with the pretensions of a dictator, afraid of? The answer is simple: the Maduro regime — and the Chávez regime before it — is one of pure fascism.

History reveals three dictators that can be considered fascist. In Italy, there was Benito Mussolini, who created the ideological concept of fascism — synonymous with state corporatism; in Germany, the national socialist dictatorship of Adolf Hitler came to power, which created the ideal fascist profile and the benchmark of fascist ideology; and the Spanish General Francisco Franco also earned his reputation as a fascist dictator.

Instead of presenting theoretical definitions of national-socialist ideology, let’s look at Chávez and his chosen successor on one side, and the ultimate fascist leader in history, Hitler, on the other.

Just like Hitler, who came to fame in Germany after a failed coup d’etat (the famous Beer Hall Putsch of 1923), the “pajarito parlanchín” (talking birdie) gained notoriety in Venezuela after a coup attempt in 1992. Many will remember the pathetic images of a snot-nosed Chávez crying, begging for mercy. He was eventually pardoned in 1994 by then-President Rafael Caldera (1969-1974, 1994-1999).

Once in power, Hitler was named chancellor by the president of Germany after his party won elections. Likewise, the talking birdie went on to win the presidency. Both did whatever they could to stay in power, a common characteristic of weak men who have arrived at the political summit.

Both proclaim populist slogans against poverty; they plunder the economy through “nationalization;” they begin by first persecuting their compatriots, who understand they are being deceived, and then, any opponent who dares to stand in their way; they buy votes with cheap populist promises, throwing crumbs to the masses; they form government-loyalist groups, allied through economic assistance; and they create a national enemy: gypsies, Jews, and French for the Germans, and Yankees and imperialists for the Venezuelans.

Finally, they make constant public appearances with manipulative propaganda based on three key concepts: “everything for the nation,” “the opposition dreams of making us poorer,” and “we should unite against the enemy” — with the clear objective of dividing the population: they (the oligarchs) against us (the good Germans/Venezuelans). The lie, repeated a thousand times, becomes the truth.

To stay in power, both convert education into indoctrination. The state creates and imposes education programs to create a “new history,” to solidify the “atrocities” of the past in the minds of young people, and annihilate all forms of criticism.

The governments of both countries create militias comprised of the ragged masses to defend their own communities. With all of this, both characters sink their respective countries into misery, and impose fear amid high levels of criminality (in Chavista-Madurista Venezuela, the homicide rate is 79 murders for every 100,000 people), despite the government’s talk of falling crime rates.

It is important to remember that, in 14 years of 21st-century socialism in Venezuela, around 200,000 people have been murdered, making Chávez, and his physical extension, Maduro, indisputably guilty of genocide. And we cannot forget that both Hitler and the Chávez-Maduro pair governed via laws that run counter to the very principles of republicanism and democracy.

The list of comparisons is long and the economic results are equally similar, from ever-present inflation in both countries to parallel monetary circulation. The Nazis actually promoted an economy based on industry and not raw materials, so such a degree of unemployment did not exist. However, militarization, economic planning, and state intrusion wreaked havoc, as is the case now in Venezuela.

Other dictators can be added to this group of fascists — from Joseph Stalin to the well-fed Kim Jong-Un. However, since Maduro prefers to refer to the opposition as fascist, thereby projecting his own characteristics, he must be compared to the most famous, blood-thirsty, and politically volatile fascist of all time, Hitler.

So, a piece of advice for Nico: wash your mouth before speaking! Or continue amounting crimes for your inevitable future judgment.

This article was originally published in La República.

Translated by PanAm Post staff. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.

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