VENEZUELA'S CHAVEZ' BOLIVARIAN PROJECT THREATENS SAFETY IN THE HEMISPHERE
By OAI Press
Caracas, OAIPress, May 27, 2004 - Although Milos Alcalay confesses that he is not very optimistic about the interpretation the government may give to the signature ratification process to activate the recall referendum against Hugo Chávez, which will begin this Friday 28, the former Ambassador before the United Nations (UN) knows that the situation his country is going through, which he defines as “semi-authoritarianism,” is “reason of worry” in the international community, even though in his opinion, there is not still true awareness of the depth of the breach of legitimacy in Venezuela.
A sample of this lack of legitimacy and disregard for the constitution is how the Electoral Supreme Council (CNE) has broken the “golden rule” of allowing the democratic community to exercise its right to call a referendum. Alcalay pointed out that for the international community Venezuelans themselves must be the promoter of change and the forgers of their own destiny, thus, the diplomat explained that the formulas to exit the present crisis “must not and should not come from abroad.”
His statement, given over the phone from New York, took place at a forum in Caracas on “Safety in the Hemisphere”, in which he stressed that Venezuelan foreign policy has become a “party diplomacy indulgent of confrontation and attacks against those who are not in favor of Chávez’s Bolivarian process.” The current administration has converted the city of Caracas in the “Bolivarian Revolution broadcasting center” applying an anti-imperialist diplomacy which confronts the United States and allies with countries like Iraq and Iran, promoting anti-democratic values with the notorious backing of the Cuban regime. “This is a diplomacy which insults the OAS, creates conflicts with inter-American institutions, encourages an exclusion of Venezuela from the commercial Andean community and isolates us with “semi-authoritarian” role models, stated Milos Alcalay, who resigned from his commission before the UN last march because he considers that the government is in violation of Venezuelans human rights.
Regarding the fact that the international community has been indifferent and does not start to react firmly vis-à-vis the events in Venezuela, Alcalay considers one of the reasons is “not to victimize” Chávez’s process and thus, make it look like Cuba, since the democratic international community does not wish to isolate Venezuela. He adds that another reason may well be that Venezuela is perceived as if there still remains some “traces of legality” and some countries do not understand what is truly happening, this is what he defines as a “semi-authoritarian regime.” Lastly, he maintains that “in Latin America, democracy is definitely breaking down” and thus the reason why stronger reactions have not taken place.
Another point that may be considered in how the international community has reacted in the Venezuelan case, is that up until now the opposition has not capitalized their image in only one leader who offers a government program for the transition after Chavez. Alcalay recommends opponent leaders to set aside “small personal agendas” and dedicate themselves after the recall referendum to consolidate a plan of government and a leader to face the next elections, offering a worthy alternative to construct Venezuela anew, complying with what this government has not, mainly in the fight against poverty, which should become its priority. In the same way, he says that strong work to demonstrate this regime’s corruption and menace to institutions should be continued.
In the Forum on “Hemispheric Security”, were also present internationalists Eira Ramos, professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and Raquel Gamus, member of the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the opposition alliance Democratic Coordinator Coalition, who equally agree with Alcalay that Hugo Chavez’s political project certainly threatens safety in the hemisphere.
The internationalist Eira Ramos, pointed out that “the Bolivarian project may be a threat to the safety in the hemisphere, not only for political stability, but also in terms of peace.” She explained that “safety in the hemisphere,” traditionally seen only under the military light during the end of Second War Two and the Cold War, has been transforming into a more multidimensional and integrating approach in the last few years, promoted by the OAS. In the same way, this last project includes factors which may produce unsafe situations or imminent threat, which range from human rights violations, environmental protection to forces which affect regional democracies. This is an approach which includes society and that covers the development of measures, which promotes confidence.
Ramos maintains that further to the mere and only militaristic vision, there are different dimensions to the hemispheric security that may affect the functioning and the full exercise of a democratic government. She considers that Venezuela has made few effort to develop bilateral trust, particularly in the Colombian case, in which the predominant relation has been “more down than upward” and in the Andean context in which there has also been scarce collaboration in matters of hemispheric security and there has been links of the current regime “with groups that may be acting outside of the law, which in turn contributes to destabilize the countries in which these group operate in”.
Gamus explains that even though Chavez’s “process” is presented as “participative democracy,” it clearly has other implications since it does not stop at our borders, but has regional ambitions”. She mentions the links between the Venezuelan President with subversive groups in the region emphasizing that often these have prevailed with respect to the relations with the governments of these countries.
Gamus affirms that “the government has a priority to maintain in power keeping certain norms that may be seen outside as democratic and thus, activating tricks to avoid, the recall referendum”. In this sense, the Venezuelan opposition society has demonstrated their tolerance and perseverance while always maintaining that the only way out to the crisis is a constitutional and peaceful outcome. This is why the signature validation process that will take place tomorrow, evidences once more, the firm oppositions conviction to comply with all the procedures to finally activate the referendum to revoke Hugo Chavez.
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