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The Left after Hugo Chávez and López Obrador

By Raúl Tortolero

Mexico City 13 September 2006 | Addressing his followers, or better yet, his “groupies”, Mr. Hugo Chávez stated yesterday that he did not “recognize” Felipe Calderón as the legitimate president-elect of Mexico, because he noticed that strange or peculiar “things” had occurred in the past elections of July 2nd in Mexico. Well, there is no problem here. Because the only people whose business it is to recognize or not recognize the president-elect are the Mexicans themselves. And Mr. Hugo Chávez is not Mexican.

Nevertheless, it is somewhat extraordinary —although much of what the Venezuelan president does is— for a foreign head of state to set himself up as some sort of international electoral judge, able to legitimize other heads of state with a slap on the back, as suits him best.

The best part of the story is that at every step of the way he consistently denied having any relation with the Mexican PRD party. But now he is an advocate for “El Peje”. He claims that his government had nothing to do in the matter, that he had not sent over here his pawn, Ambassador Vladimir Villegas —who made appearances at PRD campaign events for Marcelo Ebrard, now head of the Mexico City municipal government, in violation of the Mexican law against intervention in internal political affairs— for purposes of helping to establish Bolivarian circles and have them affiliate with local citizen networks. But now he supports him, and joins in the campaign of political destabilization headed in Mexico by a certain number of people who yearn for a dogmatic, Stalinist, and utterly authoritarian left. These are people who carry picket signs depicting images of Lenin and Stalin along the blockaded Paseo de la Reforma. And that means, first of all, that they are no longer reflecting or thinking it over very seriously. During his rule, Stalin caused one death per family and this amounts to at least 10 million dead people. This is what is admired and hoisted on high by these dinosaurs of a left wing that no longer exists except in their own minds, urged on by autocratic figures. These people are profoundly antidemocratic and, as a matter of fact, these neo-Stalinist demonstrations ought to be prohibited, just as neo-Nazi demonstrations are banned in Germany. These people do not know what they are saying. They precariously exalt a butcher. In Mexico we do not need a massacre for the sake of some ideal. Violence is not what is going to help the poor to eat and get an education. Violence is not a method for economic growth. But violence is indeed bad therapy for venting frustration and social resentment by those who have always been oppressed and now are looking not for those who owe them some but rather for those who are going to pay for it all. But no. Violence is not what they were told at the indoctrination sessions: Nothing justifies a human death. A country cannot be built leaving a massacre behind. What they are doing is demolishing the genuine left and trying to substitute it with a system abetted by violence and blood.

Chávez decided to give Andrés Manuel López Obrador his explicit support with these statements. As a result of that, truth be told, the only thing he accomplished was to reactivate the wide suspicions that he had been providing logistical, political and economic backing for the gentleman from Tabasco during the past electoral campaign. Now few doubts remain concerning the closeness of both parties. Better said, no doubt remains.

What information does this South American head of state have at his disposal for discrediting what was audited and approved by the Federal Electoral Tribunal in Mexico? Who knows? No one because neither him nor AMLO have clarified it or provide evidence of fraud.

What are the “peculiar things” that he notices?

I cannot imagine Felipe Calderón, no matter how much of a die hard member of the PAN that he might be, or of the center-right if you prefer, stating that he does not recognize Hugo Chávez as president. It would not seem sensible. How can someone be above what has already been decided by a mass of citizens by means of a legal vote?

The cases of aggression directed against Mexico by Mr. Chávez have been so numerous that we cannot imagine what will come next. Perhaps he would like to invade Mexico in some way or other. Perhaps organize something. Or go invade all countries with whose governments he disagrees. But he should really mind his own business and leave Mexicans in peace. We pay no attention to him except when once again he is the first one to throw into the agenda the issue of Mexico, and this usually means insults, attempts to discredit —as was done recently to the president-elect— and even certain veiled threats.

For the Chavistas one cannot feel free to express one’s opinions in the world’s democratic and respected news media. No one is allowed to think differently. For example, the Bolivarian Continental Coordinating Board, Mexican Chapter, holds the author of these lines responsible for campaigns unknown to me. In passing, I wish to clarify for the members of that organization that I am not the head of any campaign against anybody, nor do I endorse or second anyone, and also, that I do not like having Hugo Chávez insult Mexico or our governmental leaders of whatever level or political party, and that it is my constitutional right to freely express my own opinions. I do not know any of you. I hold nothing against you, let me make myself clear, least of all against the great Simón Bolívar, caudillos being another matter. And if such caudillos view themselves as being enlightened, so much the worse. That is all. And I also would like to take this time to stress that I do not belong to the PRD, the PAN, the PRI, nor any other organization or government.

Pulverizing the Left

What I clearly perceive is Chávez’s attitude of trying to discredit, when added to López Obrador’s annoyances directed against the very citizens who would have voted for him, had it not been for the street blockades, are clear examples not of an intelligent and creative struggle, but rather of the total demolition of the left. At least of the modern, creative, institutional, political, moderate left. It is full-fledged counterpropaganda.

The extreme left is not democratic; it is authoritarian and entails a frankly unstable economy and the enthronement of the most opprobrious autocracy. Both personalities are, in reality, enemies of the international left. They are unconcerned that the citizenry will eventually repudiate them and their methods, because they believe themselves to be above institutions and even above ideologies.

But no, that is not the way it is. Why? Simply because there is no ideology being promoted by them. What is Hugo Chávez’s ideology? Bolivarianism? It cannot be, since he is not interested in the unity of Latin America, and of its peoples, and proof of this is the fact that he rules out governments that do not fit in with his interests. And what is López Obrador’s ideology? Winning presidential elections. Deep down inside what both men have is a strong longing for a return to a pseudo-socialism of the seventies that will never return, whether it be in the form of populist social housing programs, or in programs of clientelistic aid to the elderly and forsaken, or programs based on personal, and only personal, publicity techniques.

One will have to see what is left of the Latin American left after Chávez and López Obrador. Ashes. It will most likely be the same as in Cuba after Fidel is gone. Nobody will ever want to know anything about that system, no matter what name we give it. How much can a supposed “ideology” matter if people are not eating, and there isn’t any electricity, water, clothing, or anything? While Fidel appears on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world! O blessed equality!

At this point nobody would be so naïve as to vote for the sake of following those paths. In Mexico one needs only to ask people on the street. Now we did discover the achievements of the once noble dove who delivered speeches at six in the morning in a soft voice using good humor. It is the same peaceful little dove who does not care if patients die while still in the ambulance because of the street blockade on Paseo de la Reforma, who does not care that hundreds of restaurant waiters and busboys and other workers should have to go to the United States because the business establishments are going broke, who does not care that 368 million dollars have been lost, according to estimates by the National Tourism Enterprise Council (CNET) of Mexico City. This is the aftermath left behind by a former politician, leader of a coalition that described itself as being “for the welfare of all”. What a deception! And what a lesson!

Translation by W.K.

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