“Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.”
― George Orwell
“When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.”
— Thomas Jefferson
For some time, we have been critical of the tactics used by the legitimate Venezuelan opposition in order to change the dictatorial Chavista regime in that country, now led by Nicolas Maduro. My main objection was that the hope to terminate an undemocratic state by democratic means, i.e. elections, was illusory at best. The only democratic system that has endured through the ages is the United States Constitutional Republic. In this form of government the power is divided and balanced by a separation of powers, and a Constitution that guarantees the rights of a minority by the “Bill of Rights”, and grants executive power to the States.
In our system, even if voting is required it does not represent the will of the majority because it is not direct, but through State delegates. Voting in our country is a privilege, but not necessary and a duty as it is in other Democracies like Venezuela. Because of these facts, in an oppressive regime like the one existing there now, it is feasible and easy for all institutions to be controlled by the reigning minority. In these situations, the only action with a chance to succeed is to fight “fire with fire”, consisting in taking over the streets to challenge the military to intervene, with the hope that enough of them will respond to their duty to defend democracy and not the rulers.
Already, elections have been stolen, the rights of the parliament after their overwhelming victory in the elections thwarted by the Supreme Court, and the proposed national referendum stalled. As the people protest in the streets and some military authorities start to waiver, some members of MUD, the coalition of opposition parties are making overtures of dialog with their Secretary General Jesus Torrealba quoted in El Nuevo Herald as stating that they were against Maduro, not “chavismo”. Does this gentleman understand that all the starvation, crime, and suffering from the people were caused, not by Maduro but by the socialist/Chavista regime? Is the main worry for this “leader” is that the spokesperson and figurehead of the regime has proven to be inarticulate and with an obvious lack of intellect?
In the last few days the OAS has started to take the crisis in Venezuela seriously, expressing their concern about a system that operates by degree with an “alteration of the constitutional order”. Not much faith is to be placed in this organization, but with their eyes, and most of the world, placed on Venezuela the timing is ideal for a general public uprising. The attention given to the conflict might prevent a radical military response and hopefully a military takeover with subsequent internationally supervised elections. If that does not happen, they will go the way of Cuba, that with the assistance of Obama’s government has consolidated Castro’s rule with only a faint hope that their eventual demise will bring a slow and painful path towards a democratic façade as in China.
Fernando J. Milanes, MD