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If reforms don't work - make a revolution!

by Ritter Wed May 31st, 2006 at 03:40:28 PM EST

So, reforms don't work, right?

After all those months of doing de-construction work of the elite press we all seem to agree that the global neoliberal power grab project has hit the cliffs! And hard.

Bush's dream to reshape the Arab world lies in shatters. Aznar has been voted out of office. Berlusconi is licking his wounds and just lost two consecutive elections. Blair has become a lame duck. Chirac has fallen silent. The Polish Prime Minister (whatever his name is) utters absurdities like: The ongoing process of mutual understanding between European nations must be founded on Christian Catholic principles. Merkel has lost her messianic free market zeal and has been tamed by 'Locust Alerted' vice - chancellor Müntefehring.

Well, what are we wasting our time then and continue to spend our precious LIFE energies in debunking yet ANOTHER neoliberal sham project?

A che pro?

Neoliberalism is dead in the water. Look to New Orleans, Bagdad, Kabul, or - nearer to home - to the shabby hospitals in the UK, the wrecked Berlusconi economy in Italy, the unemployment situation in France's banlieues, the haemorraging of towns in the former DDR, the cluelessness of the wanna - be - tough - on - immigration politicians in Holland.

Und so weiter.

The greed driven arrogance of the neoliberal free marketeers has peaked three years ago when Colin Powell lied to the entire world community on live tv at the UN Security Council and Bush proclaimed his nation's alledged supremacy with the two words: Let's roll! invading Iraq.

Since then things have dramatically changed. Bagdad, New Orleans, Kabul, and ...see above!

So, enough already. We have done our job - and a good job it was indead - to help to change the political climate.

Now the time has come to look forward, to come out and to grasp the opinion leadership in our countries and to lead Europe with a fresh and positive vision!

It is our turn now to propose an audacious, new and revolutionary project. No bean telling please!

Where do we begin? Are their still folks around who have experienced the liberating spirit of being protagonists, of being revolutionary subjects, who dare to imagine a new world order?

I propose a crash course in acquiring the (much needed) beauty of revolutionary energy and sentiment. Emotions that are so powerfull to - first - make you weep! And then gain the confidence to change the world.

Let's start with this here:

link
[video] THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED


Display:

 Got that right, my friend.

 kudos.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 03:45:30 PM EST
Long live the revolution! This place could do with some positive thinking...

(Is just a little bean counting ok?)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 03:46:40 PM EST
Are they red beans?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 03:51:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does white with red spots count?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Better black beans; I love Cuban black bean soup. People think Che had a moustache, but it was really that he forgot to wipe the black bean soup from his mouth before having that infamous pic snapped... ;)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 ... and people who know how to recognize positive thinking when it's right under their noses.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 03:53:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I would say one workable definition of positive thinking is to focus on what we want, instead of what we do not want.

Someone once said we humans are like donkey, we can be motivated in two ways, like donkeys. One is being beaten with a stick from behind, then they start running, erratically in any direction, trying to avoid the stick. The other is the carrot - which is held in front and the donkey will move towards it. I guess we all more or less figured out what we do not want, i.e. the stick. So now it is time to define the carrot and start moving toward it - what do we want?

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 As someone who lately has experienced more sticks than carrots around here, I couldn't agree more with you!

  What do we want?  Good question.  While we find the answers, I'd settle for a little more of the same respect I'm prepared to extend to others.  How about you?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yum, carrots

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'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 04:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, don't get sidetracked! On to the barricades!


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 04:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Off the top of my head:

1.  Work towards the means of production being owned and controlled by the people who work at the factory, shop, whatever.

1.A.  The output of industrial production engineered and constructed with the highest quality possible so the product lasts for the longest time possible.

1.B.  The profits, less necessary capital expenses, divided in equal shares to each of the employees of the company.  

1.C.  The location of the company should be located within easy reach so the workers can use mass transit, bicycle, or even - gasp - walk to work.  

  1.  Scientific and technical research paid for by public funds be freely available to that public.  (This is no longer true in the US.)

  2.  Tax energy use, residential and commercial, by a flat 8% of the energy expense except energy produced using long term renewables: wind, solar, heat pump, and etc.

  3.  All agricultural subsidies will be based on food value per single unit of that food; wheat = grain of wheat; apple = apple.  (This should favor long term and multi-use plantings.)

4.A.  Any crops grown for export or industrial use will be automatically disqualified for subsidy.  

4.B.  Any producer of a crop recieving a subsidy and subsequently exporting must repay the subsidy and so must the exporter.  

4.C.  No producer will receive a subsidy for the same annual crop in two successive years.  (Rotate your field crops, you daft bastards.)

  1.  Any goods made with re-cycled materials will garner a 2% tax credit based on the cost of manufacture and the amount of re-cycled materials in the finished product.

  2.  One tax rate for individuals, businesses, corporations, & etc.

6.A.  Taxable income for businesses will be based on SEC quarterly reports or whatever the national equivalent is.

6.B.  I don't care how much money you spend buying politicans -- pay up.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 10:35:39 PM EST
For (1) and (1)(B), how would you do this efficiently?  What incentive would exist to start an innovative business if the founder is forced to share all profits equally?  If I start the business (or buy the business), I own the business, and common sense dictates that I'll pay what employees are willing to work for.

For (1)(C), this sounds great, of course, but what if workers choose to live away from the plant?  (My second cousin in Georgia works at a garbage dump, and -- understandably, in my opinion -- chooses to live a few miles away.)  Is the plant going to have to move?  Or are the workers going to be restricted in their choice of homes?  (Do you really want people to be forced to live near a steel mill?)  Better to design the mass transit around the lives of the people.  Push mass transit, walking and bikes by taxing the hell out of gasoline.

For (2), how do we decide where to place the scarce resource?  Freely available public funds will inevitably breed a shortage of public funds.  There must be a way to decide -- obviously, to as great an extent as possible, based on merit -- which cases shall qualify for public funding.  Surely we're not willing to fund research that might, for example, increase our dependence on oil by somehow enabling higher capacity when we could be funding research into renewables.

As for agricultural subsidies, ban them all.  Big Agro and the government need to stop the looting.  It's frustrating, for me, to pay twice the market price on (say) sugar, simply because the welfare queens in South Florida don't want to compete with farmers in other countries.  Everyone loses except the inefficient producers.

Why only one tax rate for all individuals?  Why tax poor people who need the money at te same rate as Bill Gates?  A flat tax would be fine by me, but only if it were to include a full exemption for those who would otherwise live in absolute poverty.

Not trying to be a schmuck.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 01:22:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define "founder."  In most start-ups the people who provide the last round of financing get the majority ownership stake, and reward.  

Zoning laws stemming from the Garden City movement have prevented multi-use areas and buildings.  Today it is generally illegal to build multi-story buildings with storefronts below and residences in the upper floors.   This kills high density living.  No high density living and certain forms of mass transit: subways, trolleys, light rail, are  uneconomical leading to the necessity of the car/highway mass transit system.  (If you think Americans 'chose' the latter over the former, we didn't - see Jane Jacobs, William Kunstler, & etc.)  Low density living is expense in energy use, creates economically sterile land use patterns, and bad development patterns and infrastructure.  

Spare me the 'steel mill' argument.  First, there are, essentially, none left in the US.  Second, what part of "easily acessible... through mass transit" is unclear?  Third, we have environmental laws that - if enforced - would eliminate just such point-source pollution.  Fourth, why do you ignore the health affects and effects of petro-chemical pollution on humans from cars that is forced - your word - by the lack of viable mass-transits systems?

  1.  Huh?  Research grants primarily come from public funds.  The US pharmaceutical industry depends on public funds, through NIH grants (among others,) for fundamental research.  

  2.  Ban all ag subsidies?  Great.  You've just destroyed all North American and European agricultural production.  What do you plan on eating in 3 months?  

There is more needing to be said, here.  Not only about ag but any and all gov't subsidies, the benefits and dislocations thereof, & yadda/yadda.  

Tax Rate - I was unclear.  I meant one tax rate schedule.  

Not trying to be a schmuck.

Not, exactly, sure what promoted that.  So, let me just state, for the record, I know you're not a schmuck.  You're an economist.  

But I forgive you. 8-p

(Laughing)


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 09:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"promoted" = "prompted"

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 09:30:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define "founder."  In most start-ups the people who provide the last round of financing get the majority ownership stake, and reward.

I was, obviously, simplifying it to a great extent, for the sake of argument.

Today it is generally illegal to build multi-story buildings with storefronts below and residences in the upper floors.

Of the top of my head: Tallahassee (five blocks from my apartment in "downtown," if it's even worthy of being referred to as such an area), Atlanta, Charleston, Miami, West Palm Beach, St. Augustine, Madison and Athens (Georgia), Thomasville (Georgia, again), Washington -- all have areas, large and small, with apartments on top of businesses.  It often makes for some of the most valuable real estate in a city, too.  Or it makes for perfect student accomodation.

Actually, Atlanta, in the last few years, has built a new business and residential area that provides exactly this arrangement.  Businesses on the ground floor; residents on the first and second floors.  (I don't remember how tall these buildings were, so there may have been a third floor.)  So it's not limited to older areas in cities.

Second, what part of "easily acessible... through mass transit" is unclear?  Third, we have environmental laws that - if enforced - would eliminate just such point-source pollution.  Fourth, why do you ignore the health affects and effects of petro-chemical pollution on humans from cars that is forced - your word - by the lack of viable mass-transits systems?

Living near one's business establishment is not necessary for a reasonable public transport system.  Washington, DC, if you include the suburbs (Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, etc.), is very much spread out, yet everyone uses the subway.  It's very easy to take the subway into the city from just about anywhere, or to at least suffer only a short drive to a station, since driving in DC can be more than a bit insane.

I'm not arguing against mass transit.  In fact, one reason I love visiting Washington, aside from seeing my aunt and uncle, is that I can take the subway to any place I wish to go in a matter of minutes, whereas driving to (say) the Washington Monument would take at least an hour because of the traffic.  This is why I advocate high taxes on gasoline.  Unless driving is made economically unreasonable, it will continue to serve as the primary transportation method in America.

Huh?  Research grants primarily come from public funds.  The US pharmaceutical industry depends on public funds, through NIH grants (among others,) for fundamental research.

This is an agreement we've made with Big Pharma.  The industry requires enormous amounts of money for research, so, in exchange for research money, we reduce the amount of time pharma firms may have a monopoly on a drug, thus getting the generic drugs to market earlier.

Ban all ag subsidies?  Great.  You've just destroyed all North American and European agricultural production.  What do you plan on eating in 3 months?

I'm a Floridian.  We all have tons of canned food.  It's a way of life when you live under a constant threat of hurricanes.

So, let me just state, for the record, I know you're not a schmuck.  You're an economist.

Ah, touché.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 11:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Revolution? Hmmm... This calls for a strong statement, such as:

Revolutionary visions today must embrace a future of revolutionary technologies.
The rest are dangerous fantasies.

We can see a portion of the future, and we must make it work.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 03:43:07 AM EST
Maybe, before we make a revolution we try some reforms first. Like in France, where I've lived for 15 years, we try to do something about integrating the very large Muslim population and the smaller Black population into the French society. (As far as I know there are no muslim representatives in the French legislature). Most French people live pretty well the major exceptions being the Muslims and the Blacks.
The situation we have here is going to explode again in the not too distant future and is going to make last fall's pyrotechnics look like firecrackers.
I know that France needs some sort of affirmative action program like America had, to try pull up its Black population, in the 60's, 70's and 80's. I also know that it will not happen here- it seems alien to the French mentality. The same problem probably exists in many other European countries. So before the revolution, we'd better take care of the problems we can fix.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 05:23:04 AM EST
Reading your comments I guess nobody watched the film: "The Revolution won't be televised" to which I provided the link? I intended to discuss the film and to propose some ideas of how to get practically involved.  

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 07:12:55 AM EST
Sorry. I will try to watch the film later today or tomorrow. It was stopping a lot at the start but seemed to be better after a few minutes.

LEP

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 08:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've tried several times but I cant get the Google video to play with any consistency. Will try aain tomorrow.

LEP

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 10:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can download the film and GOOGLE Player and then watch it. Make sure that you have sufficient free disk space.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 03:28:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first lesson I learned from the film is that if you're being filmed shooting at someone, then try to cover your head and duck a lot, to make people watching understand that you're being shot at too.
The second lesson I learned is that the first step towards a successful revolution is acquiring all the main private media outlets.
by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 11:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Revolutionary ideas implemented by democratic methods. That's what i took from the documentary.

I must confess i don't have a clear opinion about Chavez. I certainly feel no simpathy for his opposition, but in a world of media manipulation is very hard to get a unbiased opinion of even report of facts, as this documentary also eloquently shows.

by Torres on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 06:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Glad you prodded an extra time. By God, that went above and beyond.

Fucking 2002 and I didn't even know about this. How blind does that make me? I remember the protesting on the news, yet I remember it as if they were just riots between pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez and Chavez was the bogeyman. In the movie, you could feel fate twisting on the tip of a knife, the flip of a coin.

Teaching the illiterate the constitution as reading material?? Gold. Pure, hardcore gold. That's beyond brilliant.

I've been suspect of Chavez for a long, long time (and I will be as long Venezuela remains a one-party state) but this notched up my respect for the man a little further.

by Nomad on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 07:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember the protesting on the news, yet I remember it as if they were just riots between pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez and Chavez was the bogeyman.

At the time, I largely bought into the initial media spin, until I read a full-page article in my newspaper, an article that was sent as readers' letter to the editor by a young Hungarian health worker who was in Venezuela during the events, and which countered the media spin in every detail. Then the man propelled to power in the coup already made me see the opponents for what they are, but it wasn't until hearing of this documentary that I fully understood how much I have been had by the media.

(and I will be as long Venezuela remains a one-party state)

It isn't. (Well technically almost, due to the boycotts last time.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 07:17:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched the film..., but this film  is about defending a elected president, not a revolution.
Indeed heartwarming that the people of a country can show so much energy and force to defend what they considered  as 'their' government. The people succeeded and this is the revolutionary fact : the (secret) US intervention failed this time.
The events within the presidential building made me think of Allende in Chile in the "Moneda" in 1973. That story of bombings and killings brought Pinochet in power.

Two days ago, I read the history of the airforce of Venezuela. There was a unbelievable detailed report
 what role the airforce had in the military coup Chavez launched in 1992.(Chavez was a charismatic and popular former lecturer at the Caracas Military Academy, and leader of "the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement" within the military.)

The picture shows a "Bronco" jet-plane that was the main weapon of the Venezuelan airforce. There were also a few modern F-16 jets in service, and two of them were able to eliminate that part of the airforce that backed Chavez. The coup failed and Chavez went to prison.
But he gained a status as 'hero of the people' and that lead to his election/reelection as president in 1998/2000.

In one of the first scenes of this film, we see soldiers carrying riffles. I immediatly recognized the Belgian FAL assault-riffle;(made till today under licence in Brazil, model IMBEL LAR)
In the film we see only tiny parts of what role the military had. That chopper that brought Chavez back was a military-one. Such a machine can easely be shot down.
For some reason, the military choose to defend Chavez and their (fire)power was not used against the people.
Pinochet proved that a determinded dictator, backed by the army can suppres a whole country for tens of years.

Conclusion: ET has work to do to make we have the right military lecturers at our European military academies!

 

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 08:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found some backgound information about what happened to Chavez after he was kidnapped by the usurpers.

It deals with the role Fidel Castro played during the two days of his abduction. It is an electrifying story told by Fidel about the frenetic efforts made to sway the situation,

  • to get the news out that Chavez was still alive and had not resigned as president,
  • that a military firing squad had refused to shoot him on the island,
  • the shameless role of the Catholic church to blackmail Chavez with the outbreak of civil war,
  • the CIA intervention to further abduct him on a US plane ( remember what happened in Haiti anyone?)to the Dominican Republic,
  • Fidel's relentness efforts to influence the Military High Command,
  • his appeals to them to consider the constitutionality of their actions and the sense of HONOUR that should prevail to shield the republic from the usurpors' onslaught,
  • the decisive role of the Presidential Guard to take back the presidential palace,
  • and last not least the tremendous, fearless protagonism of mimmions of common people of Venezuela to defy death and to defend their democratically elected government and president.

I want to invite the comrade ambassador of Venezuela in Brussels to speak to us socialdemocrats here.

Here is the transcript of the interview with Fidel Castro:

"A Chávez intentaron fusilarlo pero el pelotón se negó a disparar"    

Ignacio Ramonet, 11 de abril de 2006

En el libro Fidel Castro, biografía a dos voces, publicado por la editorial Debate, el mandatario cubano confió a Ignacio Ramonet información no divulgada sobre los hechos de abril de 2002 en Venezuela.

Castro afirma que llamó a Miraflores antes de que Chávez se entregara y le dijo: "No te inmoles, Hugo; no hagas como Allende, que era un hombre solo; tú tienes una gran parte del Ejército, no dimitas, no renuncies".

Luego decidiría comisionar al canciller Felipe Pérez Roque para que se trasladara a Caracas, con dos aviones, y se llevara a Chávez consigo.

Hizo contacto con "un general que estaba con él" para insistir en que el mundo sabía que el Presidente no había renunciado, y pedirle que enviara fuerzas a rescatarlo.

Fidel Castro, que tantos discursos pronuncia, ha concedido muy pocas entrevistas. Sólo se han publicado cuatro conversaciones largas con él a lo largo de 50 años. La quinta, mantenida con el director de Le Monde Diplomatique , Ignacio Ramonet, se ha convertido en el libro Fidel Castro,
biografía a dos voces , resumen de la vida y el pensamiento del jefe de Estado de Cuba a lo largo de cien horas de conversación. La primera se inició a finales de enero de 2003, y la última, en diciembre de 2005. En estas páginas se publica un extracto de la entrevista en la que el mandatario habla sobre el conflicto venezolano sucedido el 11 de abril de 2002. Como dice el comandante, seguirá ahí "mientras lo decida la Asamblea Nacional en nombre del pueblo cubano". El libro, de próxima aparición, se edita en la editorial Debate.

Fidel Castro entrevistado por Ignacio Ramonet:

-Usted ha dicho que siente también gran admiración por Hugo Chávez, el presidente de Venezuela.

-Bueno, sí, ahí tenemos a otro indio, Hugo Chávez, un nuevo indio que es, como él dice, "mezcla de indio", mestizo, él dice que con un poco de blanco. Pero tú estás mirando a Chávez y estás mirando a un autóctono hijo de Venezuela, el hijo de esa Venezuela que fue mezcla, pero tiene todos estos
nobles rasgos y un talento excepcional, pero excepcional.

Yo suelo escuchar sus discursos, y él se siente orgulloso de su origen humilde, de su etnia mezclada, donde hay de todo un poco, principalmente de los que eran autóctonos o esclavos traídos de África, con mezcla de origen indio. Ésa es la impresión.

Puede ser que tenga algunos genes de blanco, y no es malo, la combinación siempre es buena, enriquece a la humanidad, la combinación de las llamadas etnias.

-¿Usted ha seguido de cerca la evolución de la situación en Venezuela, en particular las tentativas de desestabilización contra el presidente Chávez?

-Sí, hemos seguido con mucha atención los acontecimientos. Chávez nos visitó cuando salió de prisión antes de las elecciones de 1998. Fue muy valiente porque le reprocharon mucho que viajara a Cuba.

Vino y conversamos.

Descubrimos a un hombre culto, inteligente, muy progresista, un auténtico bolivariano.

Luego ganó las elecciones. Varias veces. Cambió la Constitución. Con un formidable apoyo del pueblo, de las gentes más humildes. Los adversarios han tratado de asfixiarlo económicamente.

De Venezuela, en los cuarenta años famosos de la democracia que precedió a Chávez, yo calculo que deben ser alrededor de 200 millardos de dólares los que se han fugado. Venezuela podía estar más industrializada que Suecia y tener la educación de Suecia, si de verdad hubiera habido una
democracia distributiva, si esos mecanismos hubieran funcionado, si hubiera algo de cierto y de creíble en toda esa demagogia y en toda esa publicidad.

De Venezuela, desde que llegó el gobierno de Chávez al poder hasta que se estableció el control de cambios en enero de 2003, se han fugado alrededor -calculamos- de unos 30 millardos de dólares, fuga de capital.

Entonces, todos esos fenómenos hacen, como planteamos nosotros, insostenible este orden de cosas existente en nuestro hemisferio.

-El 11 de abril de 2002 hubo un golpe de Estado en Caracas contra Chávez, ¿siguió usted aquellos acontecimientos?

-Cuando nos enteramos de que la manifestación aquella de la oposición había sido desviada y se acercaba a Miraflores, que había las provocaciones, los tiros, las víctimas, y que algunos altos oficiales se habían amotinado y pronunciado públicamente contra el presidente, que la guarnición presidencial se había retirado, y que ya el ejército iba a venir a arrestarlo, yo llamo a Chávez porque sé que se encuentra indefenso y que es un hombre de principios y le digo: "¡No te inmoles, Hugo!

¡No hagas como Allende! Allende era un hombre solo, no tenía un soldado.

Tú tienes una gran parte del ejército.

¡No dimitas! ¡No renuncies!".

-¿Usted lo estaba alentando a resistir con las armas en la mano?

-No, al contrario. Eso fue lo que hizo Allende y lo pagó heroicamente con su vida. Chávez tenía tres soluciones: atrincherarse en Miraflores y resistir hasta la muerte; hacer un llamado al pueblo, a la insurrección y desencadenar una guerra civil; o rendirse, sin renunciar, ni dimitir.

Nosotros le aconsejamos la tercera. Que fue lo que él también había decidido hacer. Porque, además, eso lo enseña la historia, todo dirigente popular derrocado en esas circunstancias, si no lo matan, el pueblo lo reclama y, más tarde o más temprano, regresa al poder.

-Ustedes, en ese momento, ¿trataron de ayudar de alguna manera a Chávez?

-Bueno, nosotros sólo podíamos actuar usando los recursos de la diplomacia. Convocamos en plena noche a todos los embajadores acreditados en La Habana y les propusimos que acompañaran a Felipe (Pérez Roque), nuestro ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, a Caracas para rescatar a Chávez, presidente legítimo de Venezuela.

Propusimos mandar dos aviones para traerlo en caso de que los golpistas decidieran enviarlo al exilio.

Chávez había sido hecho prisionero por los militares golpistas y se había perdido su rastro. La televisión difundía una y otra vez la noticia de su "dimisión" para desmovilizar a sus partidarios, al pueblo.

Pero, en un momento, a Chávez le permiten hacer una llamada telefónica, y puede hablar con su hija María Gabriela. Y le dice que él no ha dimitido, que no ha renunciado. Que es un "presidente arrestado". Y le pide que difunda esa noticia. La hija tiene entonces la idea audaz de llamarme y me informa. Me confirma que su padre no ha dimitido.

Nosotros decidimos entonces asumir la defensa de la democracia venezolana, ya que teníamos constancia de que países como Estados Unidos y España -el gobierno de José María Aznar-, que tanto hablan de democracia y tanto critican a Cuba, estaban apoyando el golpe de Estado.

Le pedimos a María Gabriela que lo repitiera y grabamos la conversación de ella con Randy Alonso, el conductor del programa Mesa redonda de la televisión cubana, que tuvo una gran repercusión internacional.

Además, convocamos a toda la prensa extranjera acreditada en Cuba -¡debían ser las cuatro de la madrugada!-, les informamos y les hicimos oír el testimonio de la hija de Chávez. Inmediatamente, la CNN lo transmitió, y en toda Venezuela la noticia se difundió como reguero de pólvora.

-Y eso, ¿qué consecuencias tuvo?

-Bueno, eso lo oyeron los militares fieles a Chávez que habían sido engañados con la mentira de la renuncia, y entonces se produce un contacto con un general que está a favor de Chávez. Yo hablo con él por teléfono. Le confirmo personalmente que lo que ha dicho la hija es cierto y que ya el mundo entero sabe que Chávez no ha dimitido. Hablo largamente con él, me informa de la situación militar, de qué oficiales superiores están con Chávez y quiénes no. Yo entiendo que nada está perdido, porque las mejores unidades de las Fuerzas Armadas, las más combativas, las mejor
entrenadas, estaban a favor de Chávez.

Le digo a ese oficial que lo más urgente es saber dónde se encuentra detenido Chávez y enviar allí fuerzas leales a rescatarlo.

Me pide entonces que hable con su superior jerárquico, y me lo pasa. Le repito lo que ha afirmado la hija de Chávez, y que éste sigue siendo el presidente constitucional. Le recuerdo la lealtad necesaria, le hablo de Bolívar y de la historia de Venezuela... Y ese alto oficial, en un rasgo de
patriotismo y de fidelidad a la Constitución, me afirma que si es cierto que Chávez no ha dimitido él sigue siendo fiel al presidente arrestado.

-Pero en aquel momento aún no se sabe dónde está Chávez, ¿verdad?

-Entretanto, Chávez ha sido conducido a la isla de La Orchila. Está incomunicado.

El arzobispo de Caracas, lo viene a ver y le aconseja que dimita. "Para evitar una guerra civil", le dice. Le hace un chantaje humanitario. Le pide que escriba una carta diciendo que dimite.

Chávez no sabe lo que está pasando en Caracas ni en el país. Ya han intentado fusilarlo, pero el pelotón de soldados encargado de disparar se ha negado y ha amenazado con amotinarse. Muchos de los militares que custodian a Chávez están dispuestos a defenderlo y a evitar que lo asesinen.

Chávez trata de ganar tiempo con el obispo. Hace borradores de una declaración.

Teme que una vez la carta escrita, se las arreglen para eliminarlo. No piensa renunciar. Declara que tendrán que matarlo antes. Y que no habrá entonces solución constitucional.

-¿Mientras tanto, ustedes seguían con la intención de enviar aviones a rescatarlo para llevarlo al exilio?

-No, después de esa conversación con los generales venezolanos, nosotros cambiamos de plan. Suspendimos la proposición de Felipe de viajar con los embajadores a Caracas. Es más, en un momento nos llega el rumor de que los golpistas están proponiendo expulsar a Chávez hacia Cuba.

Y nosotros inmediatamente anunciamos que si mandan a Chávez para aquí, lo reenviamos para Venezuela por el primer avión.

-¿Cómo regresa Chávez al poder?

-Bueno, en un momento, se produce de nuevo un contacto con el primer general con el que yo había hablado y me informa que ya han localizado a Chávez, que está en la isla de La Orchila.

Conversamos sobre, la mejor manera de rescatarlo; con mucho respeto, le aconsejo tres cosas fundamentales: discreción, eficacia y fuerza muy superior. Los paracaidistas de la base de Maracay, la mejor unidad de las Fuerzas Armadas venezolanas, fiel a Chávez, se encargan del rescate.

Entretanto, en Caracas, el pueblo está movilizado pidiendo que vuelva Chávez, la guardia presidencial ha vuelto a reocupar Miraflores y también exige el regreso del presidente. Procede a la expulsión de los golpistas del palacio. El propio Pedro Carmona, presidente de la patronal y
brevísimo presidente usurpador de Venezuela, casi es arrestado allí mismo en el palacio.

Por fin, ya de madrugada, el 14 de abril de 2002, rescatado por los militares fieles, Chávez llega a Miraflores en medio de una apoteosis popular.

Yo casi no dormí en esos dos días que duró el golpe de Caracas, pero valió la pena ver cómo un pueblo y también unos militares patriotas defendieron la legalidad. No se repitió la tragedia de Chile en 1973.

-Chávez es un representante de los militares progresistas, pero en Europa y también en América Latina, muchos progresistas le reprochan precisamente que sea un militar. ¿Qué opinión tiene usted sobre esa aparente contradicción entre el progresismo y lo militar?

-Mire, ahí tenemos, en Venezuela, un ejército jugando un importante papel con esa revolución bolivariana. Y Omar Torrijos, en Panamá, fue ejemplo de un militar con conciencia. Juan Velasco Alvarado, en Perú, también llevó a cabo algunas acciones de progreso notables. No hay que olvidar, por ejemplo, que entre los propios brasileños, Luis Carlos Prestes fue un oficial que realizó una marcha en 1924-1926 casi como la que hizo Mao Zedong en 1934-1935.

Jorge Amado escribió de la marcha aquella de Luis Carlos Prestes, una bella historia, El caballero de la esperanza, entre sus magníficas novelas -yo tuve oportunidad de leerlas todas-, y la marcha aquella fue algo impresionante, duró más de dos años y medio, recorriendo inmensos territorios de su país sin sufrir jamás una derrota. Es decir, que hubo proezas que salieron de los militares.

Digamos, voy a citar a un militar de México: Lázaro Cárdenas, un general de la revolución mexicana, que es el que nacionaliza el petróleo. Tiene un valor muy grande, hace reformas agrarias y conquista el apoyo del pueblo. Cuando se habla de las cuestiones de México no hay que
olvidarse de papeles jugados por personalidades como Lázaro Cárdenas, y Lázaro Cárdenas era de origen militar.

No habría que olvidar que los primeros que, en el siglo XX, se sublevaron en América Latina, en los años cincuenta, un grupo de jóvenes que se sublevaron, eran jóvenes oficiales guatemaltecos, en torno a Jacobo Arbenz, que participaron en actividades revolucionarias.

Bien, no se puede decir que sea un fenómeno general, pero hay unos cuantos casos de militares progresistas.

Perón, en Argentina, era también de origen militar, hay que ver en el momento en que surge, en 1943 lo nombran ministro del Trabajo y hace tales leyes que cuando lo llevan a las prisiones el pueblo lo rescata, y era un jefe militar. También hay un civil que tuvo influencia en los militares, estudió en Italia, donde también había estado Perón, que fue Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, y eran líderes populares.

Perón era agregado de embajada, estuvo allá en Roma en los años treinta en la era mussoliniana, y algunas de las formas y métodos de movilizaciones de masas que vio le impresionaron. Hubo influencia, incluso en algunos procesos; pero en estos casos que he mencionado esa influencia, Gaitán y Perón, la utilizaron en un sentido positivo, porque hay que ver que Perón hizo reformas sociales. Perón comete, digamos, un error: ofende a la oligarquía argentina, la humilla, le quita el teatro simbólico y algunas instituciones simbólicas; trabajó con las reservas y los recursos que tenía el país y mejoró las condiciones de vida de los trabajadores, y los obreros son muy agradecidos y Perón se convirtió en un ídolo de los trabajadores.

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 10:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to invite the comrade ambassador of Venezuela in Brussels to speak to us socialdemocrats here.

What do you mean by this ? I'm very intersested in such an event.  Is there a place? date?...

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 07:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm interested to learn much more about the 'Bolivarian Revolution' as proposed by president Hugo Chavez. Next week I shall get into touch with the embassy of Venezuela in Brussels and invite the ambassador to meet with us and enlighten us about the policies of the Venezuelan government. I can put up a nice event of interested EU administrators and political decision makers to meet with him. Should I get the green light from the embassador's side we can make it happen some time in autumn (first half of September). You are, needless to say, invited to assist the event and to write a "diary". (God, I hate that Americanism, sounds almost like 'diarrea' to my ears.) I propose a new term: "opinion piece".

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 07:46:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, please keep us informed on this...

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 07:55:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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