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Is fascism the new left?

By Daniel Duquenal

04.09.06 | This is not an idle question. We are observing more and more that supposedly progressive leftist parties in Latin America are acting as your average fascist movement, imposing their ideas regardless on how large the share of the popular vote they control. Three cases in point: Venezuela, Bolivia and Mexico.


The latest actions of Caracas Mayor at large, Juan Barreto, were particularly eloquent. This one in fact went as far as espousing Stalinism in Caracas to control the opposition mayor, even announcing that one of them will be jailed by December.

But we could also look at some supporters who are embracing an increasingly violent language. Last night one of the callers of Alo Ciudadano, the popular TV talk show on Globovision, was a woman saying that all in Cuba was fine and dandy and that people had no right to criticize the Cuban regime, that they were just liars. The host let her talk as long as she wanted and soon enough the unfortunate woman was saying that people against the revolution should be executed through fusillade. Interestingly the self declared profession of that woman was social worker, trained in Cuba. Some training she got.

But readers of this blog know very well that these are just a reflection of “l’air du temps”. In Venezuela the 1999 constitution has been violated so often that now all power rests in the hand of a single man, not of a single party, a single man, which is one of the hallmarks of fascism. At least communist regimes had the pretense to have all power in the hand of one single party. In fact, this blogger dates exactly the entry of Venezuela into a fascistic leaning system since February 27 2004. It has been downhill ever since, all on the name of the “socialism of the XXI century”.


We find the same type of situation. The new constitutional assembly was supposed to vote by a 2/3 majority, which makes sense when you draft a constitution that must serve all Bolivians. Unfortunately Evo Morales failed to gain a 2/3 majority. No problem, after a scuffle where one of the assembly leaders was seriously hurt, the Morales majority decided to do away with the 2/3 requirement. The “opposition” walked out, and certainly aware of the Venezuelan precedent, called upon the OAS to intercede. And justifiably so.


There the situation is much graver. Now, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has decided not to recognize the election result. Even more, he has threatened with naming a parallel government and has decided to call for a constitutional assembly in Mexico. The catch here is that even without a putative electoral fraud, AMLO did not get 50% + 1 vote. That is right, he did not even get 40% of the votes. His fraud claim are so tenuous, though perhaps with some merit, that they cannot account for that 10% missing that would morally allow him to set the political mess he is setting. In fact, the PAN largely outscored the PRD of AMLO in congress! That is right, far from an absolute majority of the Mexican voters, AMLO still forges ahead and tries to impose his ambition on all Mexicans. The whole protest every day smacks more and more of a neo-fascism. AMLO will probably sink in infamy, but not without having inflicted grievous damage to Mexican institutions (which need to be reformed, of course, but that is another story, and not one to proceed as AMLO wants to).


It would be too facile to equate these actions with fascism. Maybe some of these people do not realize it, maybe they confuse Stalinism and Fascism as Barreto did. But the fact of the matter is that at the very least we can say that Chavez, Morales and AMLO are showing themselves not to be democrats. In a democracy the majority rules as it pleases as long as the minority rights are preserved and the conditions for that minority to become someday a majority are enabled. Anything short of this basic principle starts at authoritarian and ends at Stalinism or Fascism, which are, in the end, pretty similar in results. Amazingly the Left that should be the most democratic expression in LatAm seems in its ambition of power and accessory hate of the US to be only too willing to forgo democracy, and violently if needed. Let’s just hope that other democratic and progressive governments in LatAm will not follow these examples of intolerance and naked ambition.

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