Former Bolivian Congressman and political dissident Jose Brechner sends a warning on the political developments down south:
Hugo the First – Emperor of the Idiots from the South
It seems, some people learn best through pain. Millions of exiled Cubans know it, as do those who lived through the South American dictatorships in the 1970s. And now it is the Venezuelans turn. Nobody can predict who will be next, but the favorite on the list of states destined to live the effects of Chavez’ totalitarian assault, is undoubtedly Bolivia – a country that serves as an example of everything that should not be done, but its neighbors imitate anyway.
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For unknown reasons, this Andean country has a disproportionate influence on its neighbors’ political conduct. Indeed even though it behaves in a totally unhinged manner, its geographical location in the center of the continent irradiates its energy to its surrounding nations. When it comes to liberty – or libertinism, which is more common in South America – Bolivia is number one. Everyone does what they want, when and where they want. But liberty is like water. If you do not put it into a vessel, it slips through your fingers until it is gone.
Latin Americans are not the only ones who must suffer in order to grow. Many Europeans have also forgotten their recent history. Their fanatical extreme left and right wingers are once more gaining strength, with one foot already inside their parliamentary doors.
South America, as a younger region, has much more to assimilate, but the corruption rife in all its structures, makes collective learning give way to the pursuit of personal interests. Money takes precedence over conviction and anyone with enough, has a chance to influence the course of events. Today’s great provider is Hugo the First, who – if he comes through, with his offer to invest in several pretentious continental energy projects to strengthen his ties with Tabare Vazquez, (Uruguay), Nestor Kirchner, (Argentina), and Lula Da Silva, (Brasil) accompanied by his incomplete clone, Evo Morales, (Bolivia) – will no doubt call himself Hugo I, Emperor of the Idiots of the South.
One by one, the left-wingers are falling under the attractive monetary influence of the Caribbean pro-coup president who handles Venezuelan money as if it belonged to him, like any other oil sheik. The bill for such generosity will arrive violently when the Venezuelan and Cuban socialists, together with their Islamic friends, are so entrenched in Southern Cone affairs that no one will be able to extract them.
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The first sign will occur in Bolivia, because Chavez supporters within the Movimiento al Socialismo, (Movement toward Socialism) have been working efficiently for many years and control an important faction of the political spectrum. With Correa from Ecuador and Kirchner; Hugo I already has two allies in government. Lula, whether he may love or envy Chavez, is more intelligent. He is conscious of the responsibility involved in leading a country of almost 200 million inhabitants with one of the strongest economies in the world, which forces him to adopt a more moderate stance. Nor does Lula want to play at revolution, because Brazil has lived under rightwing dictatorships for almost half a century and now has the chance to show that the left can act wisely in democracy. Corruption, however, is part of the political structure in Brazil, and Chavez knows how to skillfully make use of that weakness.
South America, with all the misfortunes it has experienced since gaining independence, has not yet absorbed the lessons of history. Its periods of democratic stability are relatively short, with the longest being that lived in Venezuela before the emperor’s arrival. Chile seeks to continue the line of progress. Lula has learned from capitalist wisdom and the market economy. Kirchner in the long run, may have to exit through the window, like Alfonsin or De la Rua. Tabare Vazquez wants to keep everyone happy with a united front that is so broad that some are bound to be dissatisfied and he may have to look for further support from Colonel Chavez and Fidel Castro – the other director of the Caracas orchestra, who has always been popular with the Uruguayan and Argentinean leftwing.
Hugo I, the Great Destabilizer, is achieving his imperialist objective beyond the borders of Bolivarian countries. Latin America is going to suffer in ways it has not yet imagined. Later, after things have become much darker – as they inevitably will do, since the socialist formula always ends in disaster – and if the politicians fattened with Venezuelan oil money are tried and sentenced as a lesson for all demagogues and opportunists, maybe then the southern countries will learn to protect their freedom and their rights.