Tag Archives: Chavez

Honduras election will be recognized

Panama announces that it will recognize the president who is elected on Nov 29 in Honduras, and who takes office of January 27, 2010, provided that the elections are fair and transparent. At the same time, it is announced that the mayors of Guatemala City and San Salvador will be observers during the election.

The interim government of Roberto Micheletti has as its main goal for its short existence to make sure the elections are fair, transparent, and that the elected president gets internationally recognized. For this same purpose it was reported yesterday that four of the six presidential candidates, those that signed on to the San José accord, will be traveling to the US in the next few days to meet with the Obama administration regarding the issue of future recognition.

It seems to me that Obama is looking for a way to recognition that does not involve saying that there was no coup, although he must be aware that it was not a coup. The only other exit for him is if someone else takes the lead to reveal the truth, but so far no country has seemed willing to make the argument in the face of Chávez’s powerful propaganda machine (case in point: Chávez accuses Obama of the “coup in Honduras” although Chávez knows full well that [a] it was no coup, and [b] Obama was not supporting the events, on the contrary).

What happened in Honduras

Chávez threatened war if the vote to throw out liberal democracy did not take place

It is getting time to sum up what happened in Honduras before and during June 28th, 2009. After a couple of months there are still questionmarks remaining that I have had to do some investigation to straighten out. The core of the matter is that then president Manuel Zelaya wanted to hold a country-wide vote (which he called an opinion poll in an attempt to circumvent the constitution) about the creation of a constituting constitutional assembly.

Twelve weeks ago, on June 25th, he published the official decree on the vote, which had been declared illegal already in May. The same date the court ceased the illegal election material, and left it under the protection of the military. They furthermore declared that the head of the military, general Velasquez, remained in his duty since his firing the day before by Zelaya had been illegal.

At 9 PM local time the 25th I received a tip by phone from Honduras that an action against Zelaya could happen at any moment. My source did not want to reveal more since it was supposed to be a secret, and not even my source was supposed to have knowledge about it. However, nothing happened.

Later I asked what the action was supposed to have been. Well, the answer was, the Supreme Court had issued an arrest warrant for Manuel Zelaya to the military (which is entirely appropriate according to the constitution), but the military did not act on it, for whatever reason.

A second source of mine says that friends of Zelaya visited the president on that evening, and told him about the arrest warrant. They tried to talk him out of the crime he was about to commit, but to no avail.

It is worth noting, though, that a secret court order was known (by some) already on June 25th. However, a secret court order was not made public until June 30th, and the veracity of it has then been questioned (including on this blog initially before I had independent confirmation), partly because it was secret, partly because it lacked a record number. The latter can be explained as a precaution to make sure that nobody even knew that there was a secret order. Since friends of Zelaya told him it of course nullified that calculation.

On June 26, Zelaya marched in the head of a mob to the military base and took the impounded material from the court by force. At the same time the Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez went on attack in media declaring that a military coup had been thwarted in Honduras, while also threatening intervention in Honduras. That is, he threatened war if the vote to throw out liberal democracy did not take place.

Clarification 2009-10-01: The Supreme Court issued only one secret arrest order for Manuel Zelaya to the military, and it is dated June 26th. The “arrest warrant” mentioned by several sources on June 25th was thus the request for an arrest warrant from the prosecutor to the court.

When Zelaya broke into the military base in the head of a mob, and thus used force in open violation of the Supreme Court, it surely made a lot of militaries to think twice about his suitability as commander in chief. In spite of that it was not until dawn on June 28 that Zelaya was arrested, the reason probably being, according to my second source, that they needed time to plan the action. Flying him out of the country was not a part of the order, and according to the military it was a deliberate violation of the law done to protect the country.

After Zelaya had been removed from office the National Congress convened. A letter of resignation was shown, signed by Manuel Zelaya and dated June 25, 2009. Zelaya claimed that the letter was a forgery, while Chávez claimed that the signature was not Zelaya’s. I have inquired about this letter, and got different answers. My third source did an investigation and responded that a person whose identity may not be revealed, but who is known to me, claims to have been in the room when Zelaya himself wrote that letter of resignation on June 25th, allegedly in a state of despair. Since my second source independently has said that friends of Zelaya visited him on that evening to persuade him, the stories seem to coincide. One can only speculate that Zelaya later, when alone, called Chávez who made him change his mind, instead opting for storming the military base in the morning, coupled with Chávez’s accusation of a military coup. It seems logical and in character, but I have no proof that it happened that way.

My second source had, however, another thought about the reason for the letter, namely that Zelaya had planned to resign in order to be eligible to be the “constituyente”, the one who leads the country during the creation of a new constitution and therefore has dictatorial powers. Zelaya had reportedly promised this role to no less than ten different persons to get their support and help. This led my source to the deduction that Zelaya planned to take that role himself, something he could not do while being president. However, the date and wording of the letter of resignation that was found does not match this explanation as well as the above. The rest could still be true, though.

In fact, in a recent interview with Roberto Micheletti on FOX News the interim president is explaining which extraordinary power Zelaya would have had as “constituyente,” namely that of a dictator. There is strong circumstantial evidence that it was in fact the plan: Chávez talked about how damaging checks and balances are; Chávez got rid of checks and balances with the help of a referendum; Zelaya talked about how damaging checks and balances are; Zelaya wanted to carry out a referendum Chávez style. The same thing has been done by Correa in Ecuador and by Morales in Bolivia. In July, Ortega in Nicaragua announced his plans to do it. Alarmingly, even Oscar Arias in Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is now bad-mouthing checks and balances and calling for a constitutional change. Make no mistake about it, democracy is under frontal assault in Latin America.

The claim that the letter of resignation is forged is less likely, since they had nothing to gain from forging it. It is totally redundant since Zelaya so blatantly violated the constitution and he lacked immunity. It seems clear that the letter was found, regardless of why it was once written, and they decided to use it — so far all versions agree. A mistake, no doubt. Unfortunately, the apparent secrecy has not contributed to build trust, but there may be a reason that we abroad may not have imagined: Zelaya ran his government with gangster methods, and many fear for their lives now if they reveal what they know. The one who had the last word in the presidential palace, in the absence of Zelaya, was not one of the bureaucrats, but an armed cowboy from Zelaya’s cattle farm, I’ve been told by someone who is now in hiding.

As I said, the letter of resignation was shown to the members of Congress. After they had accepted his resignation with only a few votes against, an interim president was selected according to the order of succession in the constitution: the president of the Congress, Roberto Micheletti. Fortunately the next presidential election was already well under way, primaries having already been held, so the interim presidency will last for less than 7 months. Thus the liberal democracy was saved for this time.

USA försökte störta Honduras grundlag

Spelet kring Honduras blir alltmer märkligt. Igår framkom det att USAs ambassadör, Hugo Llorens, hade satt tryck på honduranerna att gå med på att kasta ut landets demokratiska grundlag. Detta gjorde han i veckan som föregick den 28 juni, då president Zelaya blev avlägsnad från sin post på order av högsta domstolen, just för att ha försökt störta grundlagen.

Detta betyder att det inte enbart var Venezuelas Hugo Chávez, utan också USA lett av Barack Obama, i och för sig via en ambassadör tillsatt av George W. Bush, som deltog i konspirationen att kullkasta Honduras demokrati och rättsstat.

Det som verkligen är märkligt i detta är att inget av de västländer som nu infört sanktioner mot Honduras tillåter att deras egen grundlag kullkastas. Någon anledning till varför de använder en måttståck för Honduras och en annan för resten av världen har inte presenterats.

Bland sanktionerna märks indragna visum till USA, vilket redan har drabbat de sjuka. Honduras strategi är att kvalificerad vård får man söka i USA, vilket alltså nu är omöjligt.

Honduras utrikesminister, Carlos López Contreras, har begärt ett möte med sin nordamerikanska kollega Hillary Clinton, beträffande dessa “oberättigade” och “diskriminerande” sanktioner, som han beskriver dem som. López anför att motivet till sanktionerna dessutom är falskt.

Sanktionerna infördes för att sätta tryck på Honduras att acceptera Óscar Arias plan, San José-överenskommelsen. Honduras har emellertid förklarat att flera punkter strider mot landets gällande grundlag. De har lagt fram inte mindre än fem motförslag vid olika tidpunkter för att söka hitta en lösning som kan accepteras av de demokratiska institutionerna i landet, och leda till en regim som omvärlden kan erkänna. Det är motparten i samtalen, den avsatte presidenten Manuel Zelaya, som förklarat att samtalen har strandat.

Sanningen är att Zelaya är oeftergivlig på en punkt, nämligen att han skall återinsättas. Samtidigt antyder han att om han återinsätts, så måste han få tidskompensation för den tid han har missat. Enligt grundlagen tillträder den nya presidenten i slutat av januari, och det är inte möjligt att ändra det, men Zelaya verkar vilja strunta i den paragrafen och sitta flera månader till.

Republiken Honduras är lika oeftergivlig på punkten att Zelaya kan inte återinsättas eftersom han bröt mot grundlagens §239, och grundlagen skall följas strikt, för den är grunden för demokratin och rättssäkerheten. Paragrafen ifråga säger att en som varit president en period kan inte bli president eller vicepresident, och om någon ens förordar att ändra den paragrafen så förlorar denne omedelbart sin förtroendepost och kan inte väljas igen på 10 år till någon post.

Denna konflikt, som vid ett första påseende verkar vara en klassisk militärkupp, visar sig alltså vara dess raka motsats. Ett litet fattigt men stolt land försvarar sin demokrati inte bara mot en fascistoid Sydamerikansk diktator – Chávez – utan också mot dennes ärkefiende, USA, det land som påstår sig vara demokratins högborg på jorden. Hur kan det bli så fel? Svaret är enkelt: Därför att nästan ingen analyserar fakta själv, och det inkluderar världens ledare. Axel Oxenstiernas ord är lika sanna nu som då: Om du blott visste min son, med hur lite vishet världen styrs.

Chavizm leder till svält, säger Perus president

Perus president Alan Garcia sa till spanska företagare på besök i Lima att den socialistiska modell som Hugo Chávez förordar, kallad chavismo på spanska, leder till “hunger, arbetslöshet, och att man hamnar på teknoligisk efterkälke”. Länderna runt Peru som har infört chavismen – Venezuela, Ecuador och Bolivia – försöker sprida den även till Peru, sa han, men försäkrade att landet kommer att stå emot.

“Vårt land kommer att motstå påtryckningarna och stå upp för demokrati, decentralisering, den fria marknaden, investeringar, privatekonomisk frihet, en balanserad budget, och respekt för de mänskliga rättigheterna”, la han till.

När Zelaya kastades ut som president ur Honduras i somras var det just för att han med grundlagsvidriga metoder försökte införa det systemet i sitt centralamerikanska land. Chávez rödskjortor använder nu våldsmetoder för att försöka förhindra Honduras grundlagsenliga val den 29 november.

EU and USA are destabilizing Latin America

Last Thursday the EU declared that they do not intend to accept the election in Honduras on Nov 29, but it is not a final decision. This has motivated the opposition of redshirt chavistas, who want Zelaya back and the constitution to be rewritten, to intensify their campaign to derail the election using sabotage, street fights, and sheer terror methods.

The election is, however, constitutional, and it has nothing to do with the deposing of Zelaya as president on June 28. The demand from EU, USA and others that Zelaya is reinstated, is incompatible with the Constitution according to the Supreme Court of Justice.

What the world is demanding is thus that politics shall go before law, which violates the principles of a Rechtsstaat and liberal democracy. They probably hope and maybe even believe that Honduras will yield, but it seems a futile hope, perhaps based on ignorance, which in turn may be based on lack of interest.

In the worst case it is instead a cynical game in which the EU and USA try to avoid appearing as the enemy of Chávez. If they appear as his enemy it would serve his purposes, and he is a much greater threat. If so, the leading democracies in the world are deliberately sacrificing the liberal democracy of Honduras on the alter of world politics.

Regardless of which of the two explanations is true, it is wrong. When one is not absolutely sure about what applies (i.e., all the time), this rule applies:

One just has to do what is right,
and the circumstances may change before ones eyes;
things aren’t always what they seem to be.

It means in this case that one has to support law and democracy in Honduras, and preferably help make sure the election is fair, but at any rate not support opposing forces.

The threat of both the US and now the EU not to acknowledge the election results have motivated the anti-democratic forces in Honduras to intensify their campaign to derail the election. These groups, supported by Chávez and dressed in red shirts, want to replace the present liberal democracy in Honduras with something else, not yet specified what, but presumably something similar to the undemocratic system that Chávez has created in Venezuela, where corporations increasingly are taking over government functions. Their main goal is not that Zelaya returns, but that the present democratic constitution is abandoned.

Their methods to sabotage the election are unfortunately not entirely peaceful. The strategy includes a substantial amount of violence intended to spread terror. The methods are not new, as they were widely used by brownshirts in the 1930’s. The only difference now is that the chavistas are using red shirts.

The tragedy is that the actions of the EU and USA motivate these small but determined anti-democratic groups. If the world hadn’t supported them morally, Chávez might not have financed them, and the violence might soon have ebbed out. What is worse, if the EU and USA had declared clearly that they will not recognize the elections, those groups could have rested since they would have won. But by only threatening not to recognize the outcome, the groups feel compelled to increase the level of violence, since they cannot quite yet taste victory.

Thus, the EU and USA are sadly contributing very effectively in pulling Honduras into a multi-year problem with terrorism and guerrillas. The already sky-high common criminality with kidnappings and murders is likely to increase even more. Given the central location of Honduras in Central America, and the key position of the country as regards trade, a destabilization of Honduras can severaly affect the economy of the entire region. Furthermore, the smuggling of cocaine to the US will for sure increase, since that is an important source of income for these guerrilla groups.

I only hope that sanity will prevail, and that the world politicians will find so much wisdom that they cease to act “useful idiots” to Chávez, the commandante of the redshirts.

PS. Here is a sept 13 article on this topic.

Saving Honduras’ Democracy

The supporters of the deposed president Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, self-labeled the “resistance,” have now united around a policy of not acknowledging the constitutionally mandated elections on November 29th. Furthermore, they use thugs to disrupt election meetings and to destroy campaign material. Strangely, they only do so for the candidate of Zelaya’s own Liberal party, his former vice president, Elvin Santos.

Instead of the constitutional elections, they want a new constitution, the very plan for which Zelaya was removed from office by the Supreme Court of Justice.

This means that Zelaya’s supporters are fundamentally opposed to the liberal democracy and to the Rechtsstaat, “el Estado de Ley” in Spanish. Like their financial backer Hugo Chávez, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, they apparently want to replace the existing democratic institutions with new ones.

Furthermore, Chávez, and now Zelaya in his exile, are using language that is sharply critical of the traditional elite (to which Zelaya himself belongs). Rather than focusing on bad policies, they focus on “bad people.” That does not belong in a democracy and Rechtsstaat, and is more reminiscent of the racism of times past.

In an article published in August of 2006, professor Francis Fukuyama said about himself and Hugo Chávez: “Early on in Hugo Chávez’s political career, the Venezuelan president attacked my notion that liberal democracy together with a market economy represents the ultimate evolutionary direction for modern societies — the “end of history.” When asked what lay beyond the end of history, he offered a one-word reply: ‘Chavismo.’ ” The Washington Post, The End of Chávez: History’s Against Him (Francis Fukuyama) Sunday, August 6, 2006 at B01.

Chávez has even said, “Liberal democracy is no good, its time has passed, new models must be invented, new formulas….

Dismissing liberal democracy and market economy is something Chávez has in common with the National Socialists and Adolf Hitler. In fact, in 2007, congressional leaders in Brazil referred to Chávez as a “cheap Hitler and Mussolini,” a “dictator in disguise,” and a threat “to peace on the continent”. The reaction came after Chávez took an opposition TV-station off the air.

Fascist Criticism

Two central tenets of modern society were rejected by the Fascists in the 1930’s: Democracy, and that all people are of equal value and shall have their rights protected under the law. In other words, they rejected liberal democracy.

Democracy was criticized by them for providing some power to small groups seen as outsiders in society. For the National Socialists, those who got power that they should not have had were ethnic groups, such as Jews and Gypsies. For Marxists it is instead the rich, the elite, the privileged that get undue power in a democracy. Civil liberties were criticized for much the same reasons, their opinion being that people are not equal, and that the “others” should not have the same rights as “we”. When Socialists made difference between people and people, George Orwell wrote, “All animals are equal, but pigs are more equal than other animals.”

Note that both Nazis and Communists are Socialists, and both see the world as “we” versus “them”. The difference is just the criteria for dividing people into groups. For Communists the division is along class lines, for National Socialists it is along ethnic lines.

This is why Hitler could cooperate with industrialists such as Thyssen (as long as they were not Jews), creating an alliance between the Nazi state and big capital that actually resembled Fascism. In spite of this ethnic focus, he had no trouble creating alliances with non-Aryan countries, as he saw it, such as Italy and Japan. Apparently the basis for that was the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Hugo Chávez

President Chávez in Venezuela has in common with Hitler that they both were lower military officers. They both made failed attempts at coups before resorting to a “legal” strategy to gain power. They are both “outsiders” in their countries (Hitler was born in Austria-Hungary, not Germany; Chávez ethnical roots places him low down in the unwritten social hierarchy of Venezuela). They were both democratically elected but never with a majority of the votes. They both set up parallel institutions (Chávez’s “new democracy”; Hitler’s party hierarchy) and gradually dismantled the institutions of the liberal democracy.

Thus, neither one undermined the Rule of Law, but instead redefined Law to no longer include the institutions and principles of a liberal democracy. During Hitler’s time the Universal Declaration of Human Rights did not yet exist—it was created in reaction to Hitler—but Chávez is now bound by it, so there is no reason to expect the latter to carry out the same atrocities as the former. Each one is doing what he can get away with within the law, but it is clear that neither one of them has any built-in moral respect for civil liberties, democracy, or even peace. They both engage in open belligerent speech to arouse the emotions of their respective followers.

Manuel Zelaya

Former president Zelaya in Honduras has a sharply different background in that he comes from the elite, a land-owner with a large estate in the cattle-raising highland province of Olancho. His father, by the same name, went to prison for his role in the murder of over a dozen peaceful demonstrators, including several priests during the previous military dictatorship.

From September 13 to November 11, 1827, a José Jerónimo Zelaya was leader of the state of Honduras, assigned by the National Constituting Assembly. This was during the time of the Central American union, which ended around 1839, but the re-establishment of which remained official Honduran policy for almost a century.

Another José Zelaya took power in Nicaragua on July 25, 1893, and held on to it until December 17, 1909. It was also his dream to re-unite Central America. His policy was liberal, not to say neo-liberal, and after 30 years of conservative policies in Nicaragua with stability, his years at the helm ended that stability. The family name is thus as much old-wealth elite as it gets.

Manuel Zelaya was elected president in Honduras on the ticket of the Liberal party. After a few years the global financial crisis led to economical difficulties. The astronomical oil prices in 2007 were especially difficult, since 80% of the electricity is generated using imported diesel. At that time Zelaya started to deal with Chávez, the contact being facilitated by Zelaya’s foreign minister, Patricia Rodas (herself the daughter of a presidential candidate who never became president since a military coup stopped the elections in 1963).

After Zelaya started dealing with Chávez he began using socialist vocabulary, claiming to help the poor (although the costly programs he bragged about were never turned into law or financed, since he neglected the budget process for a long time before being deposed).

Changing the Constitution of Honduras

Importantly, Zelaya also started using the rhetoric that the rich elite, the “oligarchs”, have control over the state through the democratic institutions. For that reason, he argues, the constitution has to be changed. This is very significant, and something that has largely been ignored.

The debate has focused on how he wanted to change the constitution, and the paragraphs cut in stone. Those are five paragraphs that center on not allowing the president to be re-elected. The argument goes that any change to the constitution that does not involve that matter can be initiated by the president himself, so when he suggested a constituting constitutional assembly, the only reasonable reason would be to change the text so that the president can be re-elected—and thus, so that he himself could be re-elected.

However, Zelaya’s counter-argument is that the referendum on creating a constitutional assembly (the so-called quarta urna, forth ballot box) would not be held until together with the next presidential elections, so there is no way he could get re-elected. The counter-argument to this is that Zelaya would not have played by the books, once the forged results of the “opinion poll” were in on the eve of June 28th, but that’s another story.

Let us instead look at what the changes are that he himself hold up as the reason for changing the Constitution: Manuel Zelaya claims that the institutions of the liberal democracy are tools for the rich elite to control the country. That is why a new constitution is needed in Honduras, according to him and according to Hugo Chávez.

Zelaya is in effect, according to himself, aiming to dismantle the liberal democracy—the institutions of the state—and he is singling out a group as the “enemy”: The rich elite, now with the new name “Golpistas,” ‘coupsters’. His followers are implementing his policy by spraying “Golpistas” on the homes and businesses of those they dislike, just like the Nazi brownshirts harassed the Jews.

Suppose he was telling the truth about his justification for changing the constitution; that his intention was not to change the presidential terms, but to do away with the institutions of the liberal democracy, like Chávez has done in Venezuela, and others of his ALBA-partners have done in their countries. Many of the Zelaya-apologists seem to accept this argument, but is it valid?

Logical Flaw

Those who demand Zelaya’s return to the presidency tacitly accept the argument by Chávez and his disciple Zelaya, that…

  1. the institutions of the liberal democracy are undemocratic, which
  2. made it acceptable for Zelaya to use unconstitutional means to change the constitution, since it was done in the name of democracy, and
  3. hence they demand that the “democratically elected” president Zelaya be reinstated.

However, if Zelaya was “democratically elected” then there is democracy, which invalidates point 1 above. There is thus nothing that motivates unconstitutional methods to change the constitution, why also point 2 falls by the wayside.

The argument is thus self-contradictory, the most obvious way in which an argument can be erroneous. If one accepts that Zelaya was “democratically elected,” which everyone does, then one cannot accept that he may legally violate the constitution and the institutions of the liberal democracy. One cannot both have the cake and eat it.

It seems that his basic objection is that he as president cannot do what he wants. Actually, he is not supposed to. It is the whole point of the checks and balances that he wants to do away with, like Chávez already has.

The Future

Although Honduras has saved itself from the immediate threat of having its liberal democracy and democratic institutions destroyed and replaced by a more or less fascistoid or nazistoid state, Chávez with all his other puppet regimes are still there (he bribes them big time with so-called ALBA loans, which is why I call them puppets). Analysis of the fascist states in Europe has shown that the basic dynamics behind such societies is a mob rule, in which the mob must always be kept strongly emotionally engaged in something that upsets them greatly, so that they do not get idle and start complaining about the real problems of their everyday life. There must always be some project, some outer enemy, or both, and the leader will always use hyperbole in his more or less regular diatribes.

Chávez has institutionalized his diatribes in the form of a multi hour TV show every Sunday, called “Aló Presidente” (‘Hello President’). In it he attacks leaders for foreign nations, makes cheap jokes, hires and fires ministers, and orders his subordinates to disobey court orders and laws.

He is encouraging the poor of Colombia to make revolution and to join Venezuela. He is talking about Greater Colombia (the previously united northern South America), and others are talking about a reunited Central America. He is apparently supporting the narco-guerilla FARC in Colombia, providing them with anti-tank missiles from Sweden. He is threatening war against Colombia for accepting US help in fighting the drug lords, and Honduras for deposing his Quisling, Manuel Zelaya.

Chávez’s tone has for years been so exaggerated that it is hard to imagine what else he can do to keep people focused on his agenda. He has already ordered all the stations to air all his appearances. Can he order his citizens to watch TV? Of course, but if he doesn’t have anything to say that will engage them, it will only backfire.

He can also close down opposition media, and he has been working on that for years. There is strong opposition within Venezuela. Perhaps some think that to be a difference to the Third Reich. Actually, it is not. Strong criticism was allowed also against Nazi policies, at least until the start of the war.

PS. Chávez is reportedly interested in buying 100 tanks, 3 subs, 10 war helicopters, and a “large number” of fighting vehicles from Russia. Update: This includes modern 300 mm “Stalin organs,” i.e., rocket launchers.

PS.PS. Russia apparently has agreed to selling those weapons to Venezuela, and furthermore, they will soon deliver missiles with a range of 185 miles (300 km). That is too short to reach major Colombian cities from Venezuela, but far enough to reach Miami from Cuba. By the way, during his recent trip to Iran and Russia, Chávez was pursuing nuclear technology. As he said, his nuclear intentions are every bit as peaceful as those of Ahmedinejad’s Iran. (As I was looking away I did not see if he was winking as he said that.)

Chávez’s Nationalistic Socialism vs. Hitler’s National Socialism

"Fatherland, socialism or death" - the ubiquitous slogan for Chávez's "bolivarian revolution"
"Fatherland, socialism or death" - the ubiquitous slogan for Chávez's "bolivarian revolution"

Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez is leading a “Bolivarian revolution” to introduce “21st century socialism” in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America. Adolf Hitler lead the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (commonly abbreviated as the Nazi Party in English) which had on its agenda to nationalize industry in Germany.

Chávez is actively nationalizing industry in Venezuela, with one wave in 2007 and a new one earlier this year (see this article translated from Spiegel). Hitler, on the other hand, privatized businesses, even though it ran completely contrary to his party ideology (which he himself had written). The explanation offered is that he was in desperate need of financing for his grandiose political plans.

By privatizing banks (that had been nationalized as a result of the Great Depression) and some other businesses, he both raised money (1.37% of the total revenues) and increased his political support among industrialists. To prevent capitalism from causing damage to the interests of the state, as he saw them, he instead heavily regulated what private business could do outside of their own four walls. In other words, the privatization was purely pragmatic, the overarching goals being those of the state. Although the Nazis were socialists, Hitler thus came to employ a fascist policy, contrary to what many in the party advocated.

Since Chávez has oil revenues he does not need to borrow; in fact, he can lend money, and uses that as a tool to expand his influence. So he has no worries about nationalization. Why waste money on compensation? He just steals private companies.

Both men use a nationalistic and militant vocabulary. Unlike many other socialists, they are belligerent. They are not, however, nationalists in the sense of a nation-state. The Nation, or Patria, in their case refers to a certain group, not a certain country. For Hitler it was the Germans, and he spoke of Great Germany (Großdeutchland, often translated Greater Germany for some reason). For Chávez it is the Latinos (especially those of African descent according to this Venezuelan blogger), and he speaks of Great Colombia (Gran Colombia; recall that Colombia originally was the name proposed for the continent discovered by Christopher Columbus, i.e., America).

Furthermore, they both have a dedicated enemy, The Soviet Union, and the United States of America, respectively. While Hitler saw bolshevism as waging a war on the Germans, in a conspiracy with the Jews, Chávez sees the power structure behind Washington as waging a war on Latin America, again with Jews in a prominent role.

A further similarity is that both use local committees, on neighbourhood level, that are loyal to the party rather than to the state. In the case of the Third Reich, workers compensation and social services were moved from public to party responsibility. This helped the appearance of the state finances, but it also gave the party goodwill, and a source of corruption money. In the case of Bolivarian Venezuela (Chávez had the country renamed), funds are also diverted from public to party organizations. Although Chávez calls this local democracy, the system does not seem to be based on the principles of democracy, but rather to be a parallel to Hitler’s system.

Both men have also seen to that old friends who initially helped them ended up in a concentration camp, and in jail, respectively. Furthermore, they both exhibit behaviour consistent with cocaine abuse, it has been claimed.

As for trade unions, both started out working with unions, just to later ban them in favor of their own state-controlled ones. They are both demanding sacrifices to the homeland (Vaterland / Patria). In both instances the auto-declaration as a socialist ideology has been questioned from the left, and Chávez regimen has been called out as Nazism of the XXI century.

Both men have also been given extraordinary powers by the respective parliaments, effectively making them dictators. And just like Hitler had his Josef Göbbels, Chávez has his minister of propaganda in William Lara. This blog cites the head of Instituto de Prensa Internacional (‘International Press Institute’), Johann Fritz, as having said that “The communication policies of Mr Chávez are identical to those used by the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Josef Göbbels.” This judgment was based on their 2005 annual report.

Here is an analysis in Spanish of fascism / nazism on the one hand, and chavism on the other. It is from 2007. The “progress” since then has been significant. Outside Latin America, however, the awareness seems to be very low, as evidenced by, e.g., these articles in DN and SvD.

PS: A detailed comparison by a Dutch investigative reporter.

Analys: Honduras räddades i sista sekunden från nationalistisk socialism

Under sommaren skrek rubrikerna om en “militärkupp” i Honduras, vilket visade sig vara en arrestering av en avsatt president på domstolens order, under utförandet av vilken militären bröt mot lagen och sände presidenten i exil istället för till buren. Denna “militärkupp” tillkom enligt den rådande diskursen därför att Zelaya ville genomföra en “opinionsundersökning”, som dock visade sig vara en folkomröstning i strid med grundlagen – och den var redan uttryckligen förbjuden av domstol. Alltså varken opinionsundersökning eller militärkupp, utan olaglig folkomröstning och grundlagsenligt maktskifte på presidentposten, vilket har grundligt redovisats på denna blogg.

Men varför? Vad är det som händer på ett djupare plan?

Försvarare av Zelayas “opinionsundersökning” framhåller att landet tills för några årtionden sedan var en militärdiktatur utsatt för ständiga kupper, och att vänsteroppositionella förtrycktes med hela arsenalen av olagliga metoder som lärs ut i School of the Americas (mord, försvinnanden, skrämseltaktik, osv). Det är sant, men det är ett argument framfört i syfte att vilseleda opinionen. Inte därför att det är irrelevant, utan därför att det är relevant på ett annat sätt än vad Zelayas tillskyndare menar.

Honduras idag är inte samma land som då. Den fulla innebörden av begreppen demokrati och rättstat har tagit rot. Däremot finns det enskilda individer och kanske även grupper som fortfarande inte förstått att våld är destruktivt; som fortfarande tror att det går att “försvinna” människor ur oppositionen utan att det uppmärksammas, “om man bara ser till att deras kroppar inte hittas och man sprider ut kampanjen över flera år”, som en sa till mig. När jag konfronterade en regeringsföreträdare i Tegucigalpa med detta uttalande blev reaktionen till synes mycket uppriktig bestörtning över att den attityden fortfarande fanns kvar, även om det i detta fall var hos en civilperson utan något som helst inflytande.

Den nuvarande situationen kan komma att ses som ett test på om rättssäkerhet gagnar landet. Oppositionen, med Zelaya i spetsen, för fram anklagelser om mycket grova brott mot mänskliga rättigheter. Rapporten från Interamerikanska Kommisionen för Mänskliga Rättigheter, CIDH på spanska, innehöll betydligt mindre men ändå grava anklagelser som de fått ta del av i Honduras. Honduras egen ombudsman för mänskliga rättigheter har en mycket, mycket mindre fil på sitt bord. Zelaya försöker misstänkliggöra alla statliga organ i Honduras för att få omvärlden att ignorera deras utsagor, men faktum är att samtliga institutioner (utom regeringen) är befolkade av samma personer som då Zelayas var president. Att omvärlden verkar gå på hans spin är anmärkningsvärt, men en annan fråga. Poängen här är att Honduras regering visar alla tecken på att ta mänskliga rättigheter helt på allvar, men att Zelaya vädjar till förutfattade meningar baserat på landets historia för att få omvärlden att tro annorledes.

Vad kan detta leda till? Om en strikt tillämpning av rättsstatens principer inte leder till något gott för landet, därför att omvärlden ändå anklagar dem för övergrepp, så kan det i värsta fall leda till att de personer som ännu tror att våld är nödvändigt får sin världsbild förstärkt. “Varför skall vi låta bli att använda våld när ändå alla tror att vi gör det?”, kan de fråga sig, utan att förstå att det inte är för omvärldens skull utan för landets egen skull, för den långsiktiga fredens skull, som de skall följa lagen. Men så långt har de ännu inte kommit i sin insikt. Därför är det önskvärt att omvärlden uttrycker uppskattning om krafttag tas, eller kraftfulla ord används, mot olagliga metoder. Jag är rädd för att länder som Sverige inte vågar göra det därför att politikerna inte vågar riskera att säga något positivt om en “militärjunta”.

Risken är att en sådan feg hållning får motsatt effekt, och leder till en allvarlig destabilisering av regionen, och en tillbakagång för kampen för mänskliga rättigheter, i form av privata band av beväpnade personer som tror att de gör landet en tjänst genom att röva bort ledare för den demokratiska oppositionen, och journalister som rapporterar om dem. Det råder yttrandefrihet i Honduras, det finns media som öppet (och högljutt) kritiserar den nuvarande regeringen, men risken är att privata grupper tar lagen i egna händer. Om de ser att dessa medias falska rapporter förmedlas som sanningar, samtidigt som inget erkännande ges för att regeringen tillåter yttrandefrihet och respekterar mänskliga rättigheter, så kan enskilda och grupper få för sig att det skulle vara bättre för landet att tysta dessa media. Honduras har Latinamerikas svagaste polis, och saknar möjlighet att skydda alla dessa personer från sådana angrepp (alla rika och smårika i landet använder privata livvakter). Omvärlden spelar ett farligt spel då de inte erkänner den demokratiska grundinställningen hos regeringen i Tegucigalpa.

Hugo Chávez inser säkert detta lika bra som jag. Det är säkert en del av hans kalkyl. Mana fram de gamla spökena för att få solidariteten att hamna hos hans marionett Zelaya istället för hos den grundlagsenliga presidenten i Honduras, den parlamentariskt utsedde Micheletti. Ja just det, grundlagsenliga. Zelaya bröt mot §239 vilket fick honom att “omedelbart” upphöra att vara president, och en som har varit president kan aldrig bli det igen (under 10 år kan Zelaya inte inneha någon förtroendepost i landet enligt §239). Om Micheletti skulle säga upp sig så skulle Högsta Domstolens ordförande stå på tur enligt successionsordningen.

Hugo Chávez? Vad är hans roll? Jo, han har gett Zelaya kickbacks i storleksordningen en halv miljard kronor. När medlemmar av unionen ALBA köper olja av Venezuela så får presidenten låna hälften av köpesumman från Chávez som ett så kallat ALBA-lån på över 20 år till låg ränta. Zelaya sa till min sagesman i förtroende att pengarna inte behövde betalas tillbaka. Det betyder att det är en kickback, en muta. Presidenten får därmed tillgång till en stor summa svarta pengar, som han kan använda som han vill utan kongressens kontroll, utanför grundlagen. Dessa pengar använde Zelaya till att försöka ändra grundlagen, vilket domstolen förklarade olagligt som jag skrev ovan.

Dessutom redovisade inte Zelaya bokföringen för den sista budgeten, och brydde sig inte ens om att skriva någon för sitt sista år vid makten. Han tog ut massvis med pengar från statens konton utan redovisning – han plundrade helt enkelt staten. Om han hade lämnat över tyglarna i demokratisk ordning i januari så skulle han mycket snart ha fått lära känna insidan av en fängelsecell. Det är helt enkelt otänkbart att han planerade att gå frivilligt, efter de ekonomiska brott han begått. Planen att ändra grundlagen måste rimligen ses som ett sätt att sitta kvar på obestämd tid, genom manipulerade val, just som i Iran där en annan av Chávez kumpaner, Ahmedinejad, just “vunnit” ett omval.

Men vad är då Chávez politiska dagordning?

Hugo Chávez talar med högt tonläge, det handlar om uttalanden typ “patriotism, socialism, eller döden”. Han hotar ledare för andra länder, han ger sina underlingar order om att inte följa domstolsbeslut, och han hotade Honduras med militär invasion då Zelaya kastats ut. Hans Stora Fiende, det yttre hot som alla småtyranner genom tiderna använt sig av för att samla folket bakom sig och få dem att blunda för hur politiken på hemmaplan missköts, “Imperiet” som han säger, är USA. Hans vänner är Ahmedinejad i Iran, Castro på Kuba, och Kadaffi i Libyen. Hans köpta underhuggare i Latinamerika är Morales i Bolivia, Correa i Ecuador, Ortega i Nicaragua, och tills nyligen, Zelaya i Honduras. Hans allians är ALBA, den Bolivarianska Alliansen för Folken av Vårt Amerika.

Chávez mål är att samla alla indianer i ett land, Stor-Colombia, med en nationell socialism. Colombia är som bekant ursprungligen ett namn på hela kontinenten, efter Christoffer Colombus, men det namnet förlorade kampen mot Amerika, efter Amerigo Vespucci. Hans retorik vädjar speciellt till indianerna.

Sedan han kom till makten 1998 som demokratiskt vald president (efter att många år tidigare ha misslyckats med att ta makten i en militärkupp), har han arbetat energiskt för att förändra grundlagen så att han själv kan sitta kvar på livstid, och så att den mesta makten samlats i hans händer, medan parlament, domstolar, och lokala politiska instanser förlorat mycket makt.

Han hotar regelmässigt andra länder och uppmanar befolkningen att göra väpnat uppror i t ex Colombia och Honduras. Mycket starka indicier finns för att han stödjer narkogerillan FARC i Colombia, och sabotörer i Honduras. Hans taktik är att använda sig av ligister, gäng av lågutbildade personer som inte kan få eller kan behålla ett hederligt arbete, och betala dem för att ställa till fanstyg som han sedan använder som politiskt slagträ. Hans strategi är att utöka sitt välde genom regimskifte i andra länder, följt av integration i en union. Det är ingen slump att Morales föreslagit att ALBA också skall bli ett samarbete på det militära och flera sociala området – säkert ett förslag som Chávez uppmuntrat honom att framföra. Stor-Colombia, en term som Chávez själv använder, står för dörren.

Parallellerna med en historisk figur i Europa är så stora att jag nog inte behöver skriva ut hans namn. [Här är en blog post.]

Honduras satte en käpp i hjulet för Hugo, och det är därför han lade allting annat åt sidan i somras. Honduras gjorde det som inget land i Europa gjorde; de genomskådade diktatorns planer och satte P för dem innan det gått för långt. De kunde inte vänta längre än de gjorde, enligt egen utsago, eftersom the point of no return var bara några timmar senare. De visste att resultatet av “opinionsundersökningen” var bestämt i förväg; de visste att Zelaya skulle använda det som motiv för att förklara att parlamentet och Högsta Domstolen inte representerade folket; de visste att Zelaya skulle beordra – precis som Chávez redan gjort i Venezuela – att parlamentet och Högsta Domstolen skulle negligeras; de visste, för de hade redan sett facit.

Om Zelaya hade tillåtits göra dessa uttalanden så skulle landet delas mellan de som följde presidenten och de som följde lagen. Omvärlden borde ha följt lagen, men som vi nu sett så fungerar inte världen så. Världen följde presidenten efter den 28 juni. Hade han tillåtits sitta kvar, så hade Honduras demokrati fallit. Just som länderna i Europa föll ett efter ett.

Global march mot Chavez – stor uppslutning i Honduras

40 tusen demonstranter i Tegucigalpa säger "Inte mer Chávez"
40 tusen demonstranter i Tegucigalpa säger "Inte mer Chávez"

Idag den 4 september var det utlyst en global march mot Hugo Chávez och hans politik. I över 30 länder och hundratals städer demonstrerade fredsälskande människor mot den krigiska och hatfulla retoriken från Venezuelas ledare.

Naturligtvis så även i Honduras, det land som blev först med att sätta stopp för Chávez. I Tegucigalpa gick enligt uppgift 40 tusen honduraner tillsammans med presidenten, Micheletti, medan de skanderade “Vi vill ha Micheletti!” och “Vi ger oss inte!” Även i fyra andra städer i landet demonstrerades det mot Chávez.

Demonstrationen hade utlysts av ungdomsgrupper i Colombia och organiserats via Facebook. Även i ett dussintal städer i USA, inklusive Miami, var det demonstrationer, men det verkar inte ha varit någon i Sverige.

Här finns artiklar på spanska i La Prensa, El Heraldo, Tiempo, BBC.

I Caracas hölls också en motdemonstration, till vilken Hugo Chávez talade via telefon från Iran och skrek: “Hemland, socialism, eller döden”. Det är en vanlig slogan för den bolivarianska revolutionen, som han kallar det, vars mål enligt den enväldige ledaren är att samla alla latinamerikanska länder till en enda nationell socialistisk stat.

Vad har Chávez emot kriget mot narkotikan?

Det är inte lätt att vara journalist när fakta inte stödjer ens förutfattade mening. Hur ska man annars förklara vad Erik de la Reguera skriver i DN om anklagelserna att Chávez generaler gett svenska pansarskott till narkogerillan FARC: “Venezuela avvisar anklagelserna och menar att vapnen stulits av gerillan.”

Det är ju länge sedan som det kom ut att detta var lögn! Själv såg jag det på nån lokal spanskspråkig TV-kanal här i Miami härom veckan. Den attack som Chavez hänvisade till, 1995 om minnet inte sviker mig, utfördes av ELN, inte FARC. Vidare, en av de överlevande har vittnat om att de hade koll på vad som stals, och däribland var visserligen ett AT-4 svensktillverkat pansarskott, men bara ett, och inte med det serienummer som hittats hos FARC.

Att fortsätta att hävda att Venezuela avvisar anklagelserna utan att samtidigt påpeka att det är en påvisad lögn är missledande.

Vad DN-artikeln egentligen handlade om var dock att Chavez blivit mycket upprörd över att USA vill ha möjlighet att utnyttja colombianska militärbaser för att bekämpa narkotikaproblemet. Han ser det som en krigsförklaring mot den bolivarianska revolutionen, säger han.

Varför reagerar han så våldsamt på att de vill bekämpa narkotikan?

Är det så enkelt som att han själv, liksom hela den bolivarianska revolutionen, är djupt insyltad i narkotikan? Är ett angrepp på narkotikahandeln helt enkelt ett angrepp på Hugo Chávez? Det skulle ju onekligen göra det lättare att begripa hans reaktion, och ju mer de gräver i Zelayas affärer i Honduras, desto mer sannolikt verkar det.