Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turns himself into police

last week: Columnist Saul Leblon writes that the long battle over how

to build a better society in Latin America is now playing out on the

streets of Venezuela, and that it can all be traced back to right-wing

Chile General Augusto Pinochet's toppling of Salvador Allende.



Toppling of Salvador Allende Sizzles on Streets of Venezuela (Carta Maior, Brazil)


"After so many presidential defeats, the lesson that looms large is that an element of conservatism - personified there by Leopoldo López - has concluded that the electoral process is too constraining. ... This isn't only a problem of Chavismo, but an entire region traumatized by the skirmishes accumulated during the many attempts to transition to a more just society. ... Included on this list is the emblematic failure of guerrilla Che Guevara, killed in Bolivia in October 1967. Above all, though, the massacre of Salvador Allende's democratic road to Chilean socialism in 1973."


By Saul Leblon



Translated By Brandi Miller


February 28, 2014


Brazil - Carta Maior - Original Article (Portuguese)

The other 9-11: On September 11, 1973, the democratically-elected president of Chile, Salvadore Allende, was toppled in a CIA-backed coup led by right-wing General Augusto Pinochet. Brazilian columnist Saul Leblon writes that the unrest on the streets of Venezuela is a direct consequence.


INTERNET DOCUMENTARY: The CIA, Chile and Allende, Feb. 9, 2009, 00:10:22RealVideo

Venezuela is today's Latin American geopolitical skillet. It’s useless to come at it from a distance, with tweezers and surgical gloves - and what's frying there is more than Chavismo.


The bigger fish had better watch out, because if the far right wins, the sizzling oil will pour out south of the equator.


What's at stake is not just petroleum - although some find it unsettling that the largest oil reserves on the planet are in the custody of a diffuse socialism, and not the tender mercies of the Carmonas, Capriles and Lopez' of the world [leading politicians of the Venezuelan right].


What's most disturbing, however, are outdated limitations and broken injunctions. The major issues of class power have been put back on the table in this political struggle.


Some are disturbed that Chavismo has “soiled” the new regional economic agenda by again throwing open the political struggle over controlling development.


Chávez and Chavismo has stretched the parameters of history to the point that pertinence and timeliness have been restored to references and banners that were thought silenced and calcified forever.


The burst limitations even bother segments of the moderate left.


Suddenly, the summons went out to tie up this ship which had drifted to a future no one dared say existed. Indeed, it may need to be reinvented, since it is a contagious adventure inevitably used as an example of irretrievable disaster - which the global media covers every day, year after year - and now with renewed vigor.


If anyone doubts the ferocity of the siege, visit the Portuguese site of the newspaper El País. One of the world's leading newspapers, the local version of the Spanish daily has five headlines about Venezuela. Naturally, the raft of articles comprises a narrative that extreme right leader Leopoldo López distributes throughout the streets of Caracas.


As much as it would have been better if the first socialist revolution had occurred in Germany or the United States rather than czarist, feudal Russia, or Cuba, which is devoid of everything and so close to hell - that’s not how the story goes.


Historical time has blurred the confusing boundaries between populism, nationalism, socialism, extreme poverty and oligarchic opulence, emergencies, voluntarism and revolution. All are intertwined in the Venezuela of recent decades, culminating up to the present.


Many would like to contain this bittersweet cocktail, giving it a subtitle of something out of the norm on the menu of regional moderation. Yet what's happening in Caracas is anything but unique. Disruptions in the historical cycle generally strike at the most fragile and extreme links in the chain.


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The fate of the progressive experience across the continent is interlinked with the Venezuelan storyline, so this would be an opportune moment to learn from its continuing journey.


After so many presidential defeats, the lesson that looms large is that an element of conservatism - personified there by Leopoldo López - has concluded that the electoral process is too constraining.


Those watching the ongoing interactions there don't hesitate to conclude that progressive forces must strengthen the foundations of the anti-coup wall across Latin America - because more Leopoldo López' will come.


Latin American integration also looms large as a lookout and guarantor of an effective transition to social democracy.


The beachhead bubbling up in the streets of Caracas must not be underestimated, for to hesitate in the face of it means endorsing a historic injunction. The banner of building a social state would become merely ornamental in the region. If the choice it to eschew resignation, it is necessary to add impetus to the cause.


The belt of legality around Maduro must be strengthened with gestures, resources, and the physical presence of UNASUR and Mercosur heads of state in Caracas. The materialization of a clear counterpoint to the forces driving the coup are urgently needed. [Former Brazil President] Lula has the regional leadership and prestige to lead this force - but there is more to do.



With belligerence overflowing onto the streets, the struggle for power in Venezuela illuminates the need for a popular apparatus - something non-existent in most countries - to defend the gains and achievements beset by conservative radicalization.


Furthermore, one must insist that this isn't only a problem of Chavismo, but an entire region traumatized by the skirmishes accumulated during the many attempts to transition to a more just society.


Included on this list is the emblematic failure of guerrilla Che Guevara, killed in Bolivia in October 1967. Above all, though, the massacre of Salvador Allende's democratic road to Chilean socialism in 1973.


On September 11 of that year, the-then head of the armed forces, General Augusto Pinochet, eviscerated the hope of a socialist transition, the main anchor of which was the illusion of a professional military obedient to the voter.


Since then, socialism has figured in progressive discourse like the banks of a river devoid of bridges or marine access. The bloody setbacks of the '60s and '70s were followed by a cycle of neoliberal regressively. The tension in Venezuela, which came and shook up this historic collapse, is about to turn 40. Since Allende, no other experience of popular government has taken up the challenge of expanding the borders of social democracy as seriously as the Bolivarian revolution.


Not that the issue is settled. Far from it. There are huge gaps in Chavismo - some that are startling.


The fragility of its economic footprint, incapable of reinvesting oil revenue into endogenous dynamics of growth, jobs and income, is one of them. Another is the lack of an entrenched party capable of leading the revolution in the absence of Chávez, who died in March, 2013.



The asphyxiating siege of the media, however, also hides remarkable advances that one understand how this political beetle continues to fly, 15 years after the hard evidence of power.


Ignacio Ramonet measured the wings of the versatile Chavista beetle: 42 percent of the government budget goes toward social investment; five million people have been lifted out of poverty; infant mortality has fallen dramatically; illiteracy has been eradicated; the number of public school teachers has quintupled (from 65,000 to 350,000); Chávez created 11 new universities; he granted retirement benefits to every worker, etc.

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That an extreme right movement has connected with the middle class and been able to bring Caracas into the streets in the face of all this says a lot about its conception of a society that today considers itself “democratic.”


What's going in Venezuela is a warning to progressive governments about the narrow limits of conservative tolerance in the region. To cope with them, it is critical to know where you plan to end up - and to provide the conditions to get there.


Many feel this is a “non-issue” - that everything will be resolved through the autopilot of economics, with incremental progress that mechanically propagates in step with the forces of society.


Given this, economist Márcio Pochaman, in a recent interview with CUT, addressed one of today's key issues, as the barricades in Kiev harbor followers of Yulia Timoshenko, and those in Caracas are occupied by the masked men of Leopoldo López:


“We [Brazilians] created 17 million jobs since 2003; thanks to Pro Uni grants, one million young people have entered universities; and 1.5 million families have qualified for the My House, My Life program. What was the organizational benefit of all this?,” Pochman asks rhetorically.


It's as if you said: the griddle is sizzling in Venezuela. What's our capacity to resist being fried and to make progress from this point forward?



El Universal, Venezuela: CNN Host Advises Venezuelans: 'Don't Believe Falsehoods'

El Espectador, Colombia: U.S.-Backed Chilean Coup Led to Sarin Gas Attacks

Argen Press, Argentina: The CIA is Alive and Well in Latin America

Bottup, Spain: The September 11 that Washington Ignores … 1973

El Universal, Venezuela: Maduro Accuses CNN of Preparing Ground for 'Gringo' Invasion

Pagina 12, Argentina: Venezuela Calls U.S. and Canada More Repressive

BBC News, U.K.: Venezuela Threatens to Expel CNN Over Protest Coverage

Global Times, China: Demonized by the West, Hugo Chavez was a Friend to China

Mehr News Agency, Iran: Ahmadinejad: Chavez Will Be 'Resurrected with Christ the Savior'

Guardian Unlimited, U.K.: Claim that Chavez will be Resurrected with Jesus 'Went Too Far'

El Nacional, Venezuela: Maduro Asserts: U.S. 'Infected' Chavez with Deadly Illness

Novosti, Russia: With Chavez' Death, Communist Chief Sees a U.S. 'Cancer' Plot  

La Voz Mundo, Venezuela: Facing Reelection Fight, Hugo Chavez Plays 'Obama Card'

Diario de Cuyo, Argentina: Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama: A Common Electoral Challenge  

El Tiempo, Colombia: What Good is Our New, U.S.-Free 'Community'?  

Estadao, Brazil: In Latin America, Rhetoric Triumphs Over Reality  

La Razon, Bolivia: Latin America Has Excluded the U.S. … So What Now?

ABC, Spain: Hugo Chavez Calls Terrorism Indictment a U.S.-Spanish Plot  

Folha, Brazil: Latin American Unity Cannot Be Dependent on Excluding the U.S.  

La Jornada, Mexico: Latin America's March Toward 'Autonomy from Imperial Center'

La Jornada, Mexico: Militarization of Latin America: Obama 'Ahead of Bush'

O Globo, Brazil: U.S. Navy Shows That What U.S. Can Do, Brazil Can Also Do  

Clarin, Argentina: Resurrected U.S. Fourth Fleet Creates Suspicion Across South America

Le Figaro, France: U.S. Navy 'Resurrects' Fourth Fleet to Patrol Latin America

Semana, Colombia: Hugo Chávez Isn't 'Paranoid' to Fear the U.S. Marines  

Tal Cual, Venezuela: President Chavez 'Puts Early End' to Honeymoon with Obama

El Universal, Venezuela: Obama is No 'Black in Chavez' Pocket'

Gazeta, Russia: Latin Americans Will Sooner or Later Come 'Crawling' to the U.S.

Gazeta, Russia: Castro and Chavez Split Over Obama

El Tiempo, Colombia: 'Tropical Napoleon' Melts Before Obama's 'Empire'

El Tiempo, Colombia: Survey: Obama 'Most Popular Leader' in the Americas

El Espectador, Colombia: Cuba in Obama's Sights

El Mundo, Colombia: Obama: A Man Who Takes His Promises Seriously

La Razon, Bolivia: President Morales Suspects U.S. Behind Attempt on His Life



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Posted By Worldmeets.US Feb. 28, 2014, 10:39am