Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
february 6, 2018
(Interamerican Institute for Democracy) The more weakened Venezuelan and Bolivian regimes are due to their spiraling crisis and their citizens’ rejection, the more they need to simulate democracy forcing rigged electoral processes in order to present fraudulent victories that supplant the popular will. Given they do not have the sophistication of social control and criminal actions that the Cuban regime has to simulate elections with only one party and without any opposition, Nicolas Maduro and Evo Morales need for an opposition to exist, so they make it up, divide it, and manipulate it.
I have said it and reiterate that in Latin America’s dictatorships the use of the term “political opposition” is inadequate, or -at least- inaccurate, because when there is no democracy there is no opposition but resistance and a struggle for the recouping of democracy. Political opposition is the “indispensable expression of contradiction in the democratic process of forming the political will and is co-substantial to freedom, human rights, plurality, and the alternation in power” and has as its essential feature the possibility of “getting to become the government through elections”.
In democracy, the political opposition has the possibility and the right to enter into covenants with or against the government, the opposition can be diverse and plural and can be divided or united by ideological, pragmatic, or even interest issues. The freedom of expression and freedom of the press ensure the existence of democratic dynamics within a framework of respect for the law. When there is NO democracy, such as in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, it is the regime that sets the conditions, the limits, the scope and even the leadership of the political opposition, take this to mean the regime “makes up its opposition” as in a cage, outside of which those admitted as opposites are not permitted to do anything.
Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua now have regimes with the total control of power, without freedom of the press, without the separation of the branches of government and with an open manipulation of the judicial system as a mechanism for repression, political persecution, and for covering up the crimes committed by the Castro, Chavez, Maduro, Morales, and Ortega and their inner circles. This is why these are dictatorships that, furthermore, have politically persecuted, imprisoned, and exiled who are kept away -by force- from political activities within their national territory and obviously from elections and from running for office.
In a Venezuela, currently enduring a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of political prisoners and thousands of political exiles, the illegitimate and criminal Constituent Assembly has moved up the date of elections, has disqualified candidates, and already has everything prepared for the electoral victory of the dictator Nicolas Maduro, as the candidate for the ruling party. In a Bolivia with dozens of political prisoners and over a thousand political exiles, the regime’s despicable judges have chosen to ignore the referendum of 21 February 2016 (21F) and have enabled the dictator Evo Morales to, once again, be elected in 2019 and thus perpetuate himself in power.
They make up their opposition, choosing those who will be part of it and instructing them as to what they are supposed to do, with the clear understanding that whomever dares to be true opposition, risks being persecuted, jailed, exiled, or even killed. After they have made up their “opposition”, they divide it by openly managing a system of rewards and punishment often expressed as financial benefits, favors, noteworthy privileges, that the people see and begin to question.
The manipulation of the opposition ranges from enabling or disabling candidates to the making of secret -but evident- covenants through which the dictatorships promote the running of other candidates, freeing political prisoners, or allowing the return of someone exiled “so that he/she be a candidate for the opposition”. They deceive everyone by appearing to have several candidates for the opposition. They denounce as a “conspiracy” any effort or call to unity, as in Bolivia and when this unity is achieved, such as in the MUD’s case in Venezuela, they infiltrate it, they divide it, and they disintegrate it. If any member of the opposition is able to run as a true candidate for the opposition, it has no chance.
Under those conditions no one can win an election running against the dictators; Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, because these really are NOT elections but “tragic comedy criminal charades” for which besides having their fraud institutionalized, they make up, divide, and manipulate their “opposition” bringing it down -through criminal Castroist-Chavist instruments and practices- to be weak hostages, accomplices or simulators that will continue to coexist with them.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Monday February 5th, 2018
Translated from Spanish by: Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.