Thursday, January 27, 2005


On the diversity of Venezuela opposition.

[Originally posted in Venezuela news and Views]

The government of President Hugo Chavez has been incredibly effective in selling his figure as the champion of social justice, a modern Robin Hood that takes from the rich to distribute among the poor. The official spinners have even initiated a government sponsored campaign to nominate Hugo Chavez for the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, the government has also been very successful in the way they market their portrait of the Venezuelan opposition.

First, anyone dissenting from the Chavista discourse is branded as an “oligarch”. This, of course, is a myth, but it is one that is quite difficult to remove. In fact, if all those millions of people that signed to conduct the Revocatory Referendum belonged to the “oligarchy”, Venezuela would be a very prosperous country, which is, unfortunately, not the case. Let us assume that the official results of the Referendum are correct. Then we would have 40% of dissident “oligarchs”. In that context, the notion of “oligarchy” loses all its significance.

The second tag that Chavistas usually assign to any dissenting voice is that of “right-wing”. When one tries to explain that among the opposition there are well known figures from the left, those that have bought the Chavistas propaganda have no idea how to rebuke that claim. Most people, especially from the international press prefer to overlook that detail and perpetuate the false tagging. The Chavistas have also capitalized on the radicalization of the world public opinion by selling an incorrect mathematical statement: since Chavez is against Bush and Bush is right-wing then those that are against Chavez must be right wing as well.

Another adjective that is quite often used by the Chavistas against the dissenting members of society is that of “fascists”. I have always had difficulty understanding what exactly they mean when they use that insult. A quick Google search indicates that a “fascist” is a “reactionary and dictatorial person”. Would that mean that anyone that opposes a regime that is getting closer to a dictatorship have to be coined dictatorial itself?

The truth is that the opposition is composed of millions of people from very diverse backgrounds and political beliefs. There are people from the left, from the right, rich people as well as poor people. Those are Venezuelans that are fed up of six years of divisions, attacks, persecutions and bad government. They are the ones that, despite their diversity, have one common belief: that a democratic system has to be “continuously” democratic and that it should never be transformed into an autocratic regime. They are the real opposition.

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