Miami, January 23rd 2017
Carlos Sánchez Berzain*
President Trump’s election has not been welcomed news for 21st Century Socialism dictatorships in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua because it foretells unavoidable changes in United States’ foreign policy that heretofore had enabled them to spread and exert Latin America’s political leadership. Raúl Castro, Nicolás Maduro, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega, self-proclaimed antiimperialists and declared enemies of the United States are known for devastating democracy in order to remain in power with political persecutions, prisoners, and exiles. These dictatorships who are suspect of creating narco-states and having a relationship with Islamic terrorism, have now implemented a strategy to play it safe with Trump’s government.
A brief glimpse into these dictatorships reveals:
Cuba with the heir Raul Castro at the helm, despite of all the benefits derived from the normalization of its relationship with the U.S., is a bankrupt country going through an economic recession, has reinstated practices from the “Special Period”, still has political prisoners, suppresses local resistance, persists in its communist policies, is the dictator’s personal domain and that of his political-family clan. Since Hugo Chávez’s death and with the indulgence from the U.S. Government -as evidenced by the Colombia-FARC affair, the handling of the Venezuelan crisis, and other situations- exerts Latin America’s political leadership. Pursuing to control all foreign policy decisions by the majority of the countries from the region, Cuba maneuvers in the OAS from the outside in, exerts leadership in the UN negotiating with its block of votes, formulated on the basis of Petrocaribe and its relationships with other countries -such as North Korea- who are also declared enemies of the United States.
Venezuela with dictator Nicolás Maduro has become the principal Castroist colony, is the source of its economic resources and the main defensive trench of the Cuban dictatorship. These past years the battle to rid America’s people from the anti-democratic dishonor established by Castro and Chávez is being fought in Venezuela, because if the Venezuelan dictatorship falls, the rest of the 21st Century Socialism dictatorships will be short-lived. The economic crisis with hyperinflation, misery, hunger, lawlessness, narcotics trafficking, and crimes committed by the state, has turned into a humanitarian crisis concealed by the complicity of a fearful international community that allows Castroist ideology to manipulate a “shameful dialogue” that does no more than to divide the opposition and confuse the people. Pointed as a narco-state and as the center of operations of Islamic terrorism, Venezuela can either be freed soon, or be condemned to become a second Cuba.
Ecuador will ostensibly hold elections on the 19th of February without Rafael Correa’s candidacy but everything is already prepared -including electoral fraud- to extend the dictatorship. The regime, with the most prominent laws to gag the press, is plagued by corruption. Dragged into the Odebrecht corruption scandal, Correa is personally battling in a campaign in the United States -that has been successful thus far- that has turned the defense of corruption as a matter of State policy so that neither the Department of Justice nor the Brazilian prosecutors reveal the names of corrupt officials. The economic crisis is concealed only by the dollarization, Ecuador has become a narcotic trafficking corridor and its government still boasts to have expelled the U.S. Ambassador, removed the U.S. antinarcotics base at Manta and other events while continuing to protect Julian Assange (as an eventual exchange pawn) in its embassy in London
Bolivia under the power of dictator and coca leaf growers’ union president Evo Morales for the past 11 years has been labeled as a narco-state who with its narcotics’ production has flooded Argentina (turned into the main consumer of cocaine), Brazil, Chile, and established a trafficking connection with Venezuela (officially accused of involvement). The route of narcotics trafficking starts with the coca leaf growers’ union bases of the dictator Morales, goes to Venezuela, then to Mexico and the Caribbean in route to the U.S. One of the features of Morales and its government’s team is falsehood and the commission of public crimes that can no longer be concealed. Neither can they conceal the economic crisis nor the rampant corruption. They are now maneuvering to ensure the dictator remains in power in-spite of a massive referendum on 21 February of 2016 in which the majority of the Bolivian people said “No” to Morales’ reelection.
Nicaragua with Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has become a dictatorial dynasty framed within a Castroist model. Incorporated into the local burgeoise elite as the new rich they boast the stability and protection given to foreign investment and play both sides; the 21st Century Socialism dictatorship and the Pacific Treaty to “pacify the empire”, while promoting meetings of the Sao Paulo Forum that reviews the provoked crisis by the proof of institutionalized corruption for and by its members by the governments of Lula and Rousseff from Brazil.
The general overlook of the 21st Century Socialism is that of economic, political and social crisis that forebodes its end. Its characteristic or fundamental features are; crisis, corruption, narcotics trafficking and declared enmity of the United States. But now with President Trump they must “placate the threat of the change of government in the empire” and for that to happen they are conducting frontal public relations (PR) campaigns by companies contracted in the U.S., they are conducting high level and high prized lobbying, they are courting the sympathetic press, and internal pressure groups seeking to promote the false premise that claims “the stability of Cuba stabilizes the region and favors the United States”, while with the other hand they promote subversion, and street demonstrations in foreign territory, to the point that yesterday in the very heart of 5th Avenue of New York, we heard in Spanish slogans shouted “people united will never be people defeated” (the old Castroist slogan in Latin America with which they have decimated many duly elected democratic governments).
*Attorney & Political Scientist, Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy