Is it the obligation of the armed forces to reinstate democracy?

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Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
January 3, 2018

0001257787(Interamerican Institute for Democracy) The year 2017 leaves no doubt there are dictatorships in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. They are de-facto regimes that sustain themselves in power through the use of force, violent and judicialized repression, promulgation of “despicable laws” that have supplanted the Rule of Law. Opposition is unfeasible and inexistent because it is exiled, imprisoned, extorted, infiltrated and/or manipulated, without any option to get to power through elections and there is no freedom of the press. Civil resistance and disobedience are brutally repressed. Under these conditions: Is it the obligation of the Armed Forces to reinstate democracy?

Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia are regimes in which human rights are violated with “despicable laws” establishing their retroactive enforcement and penalizing the practice of free professions. This is the mechanism to instill fear in the people with persecutions, hundreds of political prisoners, and thousands of political exiles. The Rule of Law has disappeared by the de-facto institutionalization of an indefinite tenure in and the total control of, all branches of the government.   Elections have been depreciated to be only fraudulent rituals controlled by the regime, the universal and secret ballot as an expression of the people’s sovereignty has disappeared.

The dictatorship in Cuba goes to extremes to present itself under the ridiculous fallacy of being a “democracy of a single party”. In Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia there is a nominal opposition for the convenience of the regime, but it is an opposition that is under threat, infiltrated, manipulated and/or simulated, that has no chance whatsoever to get to power through elections. The dictatorship uses such “opposition” to label itself a democracy, even when all components of democracy have disappeared.

The features of these 21st Century Socialism, or Castroist-Chavist dictatorships, are; inefficiency corruption, involvement in narcotics trafficking, declared anti-imperialism (by which they justify their alliance and links with terrorism), exerting control of the government as groups of “organized crime”, and their need to remain indefinitely in power in order to have impunity.

Their crimes include; massacres and assassination of members from the opposition and ordinary citizens, judicial manipulation with hatched evidence and false accusations, counterfeiting of legal rules and constitutional supplanting, bribery and kickbacks in the government and state-owned enterprises, submissiveness and treason of the homeland, narcotics trafficking with drug production in the coca-growing zones controlled by Evo Morales in Bolivia and the FARC in Colombia (justified before the United Nations (UN) as anti-imperialistic actions). They are also guilty of; the rigging of economic data which should instead be bona fide, subjecting their people to hunger and misery, increase of crime with their participation or coverup, crimes against humanity, crimes of sexual abuse, trafficking of people, slavery, and more.

In this scenario; Cuba has attacked -or it has allowed attacks- in its territory against foreign diplomats, there are four “Almagro reports” on Venezuela detailing the dictatorial nature of Nicolas Maduro’s government, the despicable judges of Evo Morales have acknowledged as a “human right” of the dictator to indefinitely reelect himself, the Ortega’s have eliminated the opposition and control the power in perpetuity. In Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia corruption involving Odebrecht and other Brazilian companies that comprised the generation of funds for Sao Paolo forum with Lula and Rousseff that extended bribery throughout the region, is not investigated.   All of these countries seek close relations with Islamic regimes, with other dictatorships, and defend North Korea.

The nations of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have fallen into a “state of defenselessness”. The Armed Forces that should be “the nation’s Armed Forces” in other words, of the people, subject to the Constitution, have been turned into “the regime’s Armed Forces” and have become the regime’s armed sustainment plagued by the submissiveness and corruption of their hierarchy. They have, operating, the “ALBA’s Anti-imperialist Military School” in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and have changed all military colleges and institutes’ career development curricula and have replaced national military doctrine with the regime’s political doctrine. The objective is for the Armed Forces from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia to be, at the shortest time possible, similar to those of Cuba, simply stated to become the regime’s armed groups.

In a democracy the Armed Forces’ loyalty and subordination is owed to the Constitution, but if the government supplants the constitution and oppresses the people, the Armed Forces’ loyalty and subordination CANNOT remain deferential to the regime. What is the role of the Armed Forces in current situations such as today’s in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia? Is it the obligation of the Armed Forces to defend the people -of which they are part of-, or the dictatorship? Do the Armed Forces have the obligation to reinstate democracy?

These are the questions asked by citizens and the subjected peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. It is a social, political, academic, and international topic on which there is a need for discussion without any biases that may give the advantage to the dictators. It is not about promoting coups d’état, it is about quashing, overturning the overthrows dictators have already perpetrated. It is not about establishing military governments, it is about restoring civilian governments with democracy, and alternation in power. It is not about violating human rights but it is about putting an end to the violation of such rights that are committed daily by the dictators. It is also about restoring the fundamental rights and guarantees of the peoples who are oppressed by force.

Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday December 31st, 2017

Translated from Spanish by: Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.