Castroism and Chavism have been true innovators of contentious politics and “tyrannology.”
Before the naïve and the accomplices, they skillfully interspersed -among many other factors- “dialogues”, “negotiations” and violence. Thus they became immovable from the thrones they hold.
Their apprentices, their followers of the extreme left scattered in different countries of the continent, are trying out how to replicate their masters in order to gain control of institutions and all-encompassing state powers via the electoral route of unnoticed democracies. The manual is copious.
Hugo Chávez left power in 2013 not by his own will, as is well known, but by chance. If he were still alive, perhaps he would have taken to its maximum intensity the scale of internal and external conflicts that are at work today around the Venezuelan problem. A problem that has long ceased to be, for a long time, only Venezuelan’s problem.
Chávez always said it: his -and that of his associates- was a long range power project; a political and ideological operation whose underlying strategy was a civil-military based revolutionary process.
After having failed to take control of the country by armed and violent means, he opted for the “tactical window” (1997). That is to say, to advance within the “bourgeois” terrain of representative and electoral democracy. Thus, through the popular vote and the audacious overheating of antagonisms, tensions and social conflicts, he reached the Miraflores Palace in 1999. Bingo.
It was not the seizure of power, it was the initial seizure of the government that Chávez obtained. The real power would be given later by the dosed application of the “Bolivarian” revolutionary principles within the politically free democracy, but unnoticed.
In parallel, and in the economic chessboard, surprises would not take long. The candidate and future dictator assured that he would respect the precarious economic freedoms and private property. Once on the throne, Marxist economic socialism was setting up its heavy infrastructure.
Freedom of speech and of the press were also its first victims. And so were human rights.
It should not be forgotten, then, that the general political strategy was always the armed civilian-military revolution (the violent motorized and armed civilian “collectives” also aimed later in that direction of political and social intimidation). The rest, including the electoral gamble, were purely tactical moves.
A revolution in which letting go of power turned out to be a serious contradiction, was beginning to consolidate. And with no less internal and external allies.
Chávez played within the representative democracy in order to hinder it, while at the same time he oiled a convenient “participative democracy” (as indicated by Heinz Dieterich’s recipes and Norberto Ceresole’s “post-democracy”) in which institutions and legitimate and dissident intermediate actors were progressively eliminated.
He, Hugo, exercised the “direct dictates” of a sector of the population that ecstatically applauded and even cried when hearing him speak. He was the living embodiment of socialist populism in action. The results can be seen today.
Thus, little by little, through slow polls, the “Revolutionary Chávez” was advancing, liquidating the “President Chávez” of representative democracy. It was the “Chávez versus Chávez”, which the late journalist and political analyst Alberto Garrido described very well -and warned- seventeen years ago.
Today, with Russia and Iran (and a China that is calculatedly silent on the subject) intervening more and more directly and openly backing the criminal regime with political power, the idea of the leaders releasing the steering wheel of the Venezuelan ship of their own free will tends to be more and more a fiction. “Except for power, everything is an illusion”, said an old pro-dictatorial phrase.
Chavismo is not just a simple or traditional despotic political regime. It is a project connected to dark criminal networks of transnational dimension. A far-reaching power project that not only strengthened itself on the basis of a revolutionary and ideological process, but also, in the process, established tactical collaborations and real strategic links with both drug trafficking and international terrorism, a truly lethal power.
With infiltration and constant ideological and political advice from Castro, the criminal and criminal logic of power also found a foothold.
Not long ago Maduro -and Diosdado long before-, Chávez’s handpicked successor (his logical continuator and not a project “different” from the original Chavism) threatened that he alone would leave the usurped presidency dead. The XXI Century Socialism would leave power in Venezuela.
Alberto Garrido himself highlighted in 2003 -when an immense majority underestimated the dangers- something that Chávez always warned: “The Bolivarian Revolution will never leave power.” He said that they even had the right to “export their model”, as it effectively happened in an equalized way wherever he tried to install himself.
Today, when the scope of the conflict of political and criminal contours has expanded and the marked dividing lines show with greater clarity its effective external supports, Maduro and his associates continue betting on the same irreversible scheme.