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Column 022315 Brewer

Monday, February 23, 2015

Self-Inflicted Misery and Tyranny among Latin America's Left

By Jerry Brewer

It is astonishing that with so much focus and dialogue on demands for world freedom, self-expression and human rights, many tend to ignore or simply fail to do their homework on repressive dictatorial-like regimes floundering throughout Latin America and oppressing their citizens.

It was certainly no secret that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s 14 years in office was a tired precursor to a near failed state in Venezuela today. Chavez spent his entire rule in office working to recruit and support leftist presidential candidates throughout the hemisphere, touting his Bolivarian Revolution – that is quite simply the more exhausted Cuban Revolution that remains in Venezuelan to this very day.

Chavez demolished independence in Venezuela’s institutions, seized control of the economy, militarized the government, and virtually destroyed private enterprise. Death, destruction and insufficiencies in Venezuela remain rampant.

If there was even a modicum of value to add to the history of Venezuela from the presidency of the late Hugo Chavez in his iron-fisted rule, one could argue that it was not a total failure. Yet, the truth is that Chavez probably inflicted more lasting structural damage on the economy and people than any other president in the history of the nation with his Revolutions.

Even in death a vast world media negatively exploited the Chavez legacy, describing a systematically corrupt administration that squandered billions of dollars of Venezuelan revenues, much of it still unaccounted for.

As many in the world profess to support the U.S. lifting of sanctions against Cuba's communist government, one needs to simply look back at the last decade, compare it to the current, and assess what is real and what is not.

Fidel Castro, a Marxist-Leninist, converted Cuba into a one-party state, with state ownership and nationalization of industry and socialist reforms in virtually all areas of Cuban society.  And he has worked long and hard to spread his Revolution.

In a revolutionary sort of rite-of-passage, Castro adopted Chavez as his protégé. Both travelled, in July 2006, to Argentina to the boyhood home of Castro’s fallen comrade and legendary guerrilla “Che” Guevara, where Chavez revelled at this dubious, sinister and blood-laced honor.  And Chavez proclaimed Castro and the murderous revolutionary Guevara his mentors

Even earlier, Castro had begun to forge support alliances with other leftist regimes associated with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), conceived by Chavez and joined by Castro in 2004.  A "new" reign of leftist authoritarian and unscrupulous tried-and-failed style of government that continued to manifest itself in human rights abuses, attacks on media and journalists, and increasing poverty and misery for the suffering people.

Fidel Castro also helped to politically reinvigorate former guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega, who was elected President of Nicaragua in 2007, and both began to express the usual leftist anti-US and democracy diatribes.  Media shy Ortega is the long-term leader of Nicaragua's Sandinista National Liberation Front.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who had previously served his country as Minister of Economy, resigned after an unauthorized visit to Venezuela to meet with Chavez shortly after the Che Guevara home visit in Argentina.  Correa soon thereafter visited then-President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina.

Correa’s presidential campaign plan was virtually a carbon copy of Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution. Much of Correa’s rhetoric was, and remains, in line with Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, who was also openly courted by Chavez.

Correa threatened to “trash the capitalists,” destroy the private sector, control dissent, and rewrite Ecuador’s Constitution.  This was to become a popular theme as Chavez and other leftist leaders, including Nicaragua’s President Ortega, sought to extend presidential term limits in an almost unified manner. 

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner followed her husband, Nestor Kirchner, as President of Argentina in December 2007. She also became a willing recruit of Chavez’s mentorship.

Chavez came under media scrutiny in Argentina following a 2007 scandal in which a Venezuelan official was caught with nearly US$800,000 in a suitcase at a Buenos Aires airport. Money reported and believed to be destined for the presidential campaign of Cristina Fernandez.  Chavez was questioned by the media about bribes and “illegal commissions” of 15-20 percent to do business with Venezuela.

The Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul, and many of their leftist-bloc of followers, openly endorsed and voice support for Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, and Syria's assault and murder of protesters.  Moreover, head of state Raul Castro has steadfastly stated that Cuba’s Communist ideology will remain.

With the death of Chavez, on March 5, 2013 Vice President Nicolas Maduro took over the duties of president.  A former bus driver and trade union leader, Maduro served as acting president until April 19, 2013, when he assumed the presidency of Venezuela following a special election, the constitutionality of which was questioned by many.

Venezuela remains a rogue state due to continuing and systematic violations of the Constitution, and ongoing failures of institutional checks and balances. Venezuela's budget remains a secret, oil earnings are secret, and its electoral mechanisms are secret, plus its media are largely under government control.  A UK non-government organization, Tax Justice Network, has reported "that about US$400 billion in Venezuelan capital fled to offshore banks.”

Furthermore, the Cuban government’s presence in Venezuela is described as massive.

Fidel Castro’s glittering revolutionary stage, laced with smoke and mirrors, remains as Cuba’s repressive laws, sinister state security apparatus and silencing of government opponents continues. This as many of the Castro and Chavez political recruits are failing miserably.

As well, Argentina President Cristina Kirchner is being accused of covering up Iran's role in the 1994 bombing that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires.

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at www.cjiausa.org.

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