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Will Venezuela turn into a Vietnam?

By Aleksander Boyd

Purportedly between two hundred and three hundred Cuban "teachers" entered Venezuela last week. The official version is that these people came to help the country get back on its track in terms of education, sports and so on. Few questions arise with respect to that argument, as if such contingency planning by president Chavez can make any difference in the education levels of the poor. As if there were not enough Venezuelan teachers unemployed at this stage to develop such a plan more efficiently. Let us not forget that Castro's Cuba might be in the Caribbean vicinity, nonetheless there are huge social and cultural dissimilarities, which can de a determining factor in the success of said programs if we were to believe that such was the purpose.

The education system of Cuba is a total failure in terms of individual performance, investigation (research and development of new products or technologies), and productivity. The sole advantage of this system to the eyes of many is that is completely free. Let me ascertain that the Venezuelan education is also free -apart from the private institutions- and is very accommodating regarding the acceptance of individuals of any social status. My brother in law just graduated from Universidad Central de Venezuela (as a dentist) where he completed five years of high education for free. Why the poor social strata are not well represented there? Perhaps it has to do with the cost of the materials that that particular degree involves, however not with their ability of entering high education or rigid admission's criteria imposed by the university.

It is therefore quite clear that said group of "teachers" has little to do with reshuffling the education system. Vcrisis sources report the visitors have been hiding from the scrutiny of local journalists with the protection and vigilance of the state police force (DISIP) and the army. In my opinion, they are nothing more than special military agents sent by Fidel -to the pleasure of the American Foreign department- and their arrival unmasks the growing preoccupation of Hugo Chavez with respect to the fore coming referendum. Some analysts maintain that the Venezuelan army will not permit further bloodshed when push comes to shove. One must disagree. Firstly, the government has shown an incredible resilience before the international community in categorizing the Colombian guerrillas as such and have made clear in various occasion that Venezuelan territory shall not be used as advance posts to attack them.(??)

Secondly, the ideological marriage between guerrilla leaders, Castro and Chavez is obvious. Therefore it is only logic to see that the Venezuelan president's goal is to agglutinate them (or shall we say Castro's goal?). Undoubtedly, in a violent confrontation between Chavez' sympathisers i.e. Bolivarian Circles especially trained by Cuban "teachers" with African experience -fighting alongside Colombian guerrillas and who knows what other collaborator who might join in from the fundamentalist Middle Eastern regimes- and the inexperienced and useless Venezuelan army, the winner will be of course Chavez' team.

The Venezuelan case might turn easily into another Vietnam. One does not have to be a clairvoyant or a genius to be able to foresee the dark clouds in the horizon. Chavez has lost in the last two weeks, the majority in the National Assembly, to a certain extent the submissiveness of the justices of the Supreme Court; statements from the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission, the IMF and the ILO have undermined his international democratic scaffold. The speech of Foreign Secretary Chaderton in Chile evidenced the most absolute incoherence and disrespect in sum no one buys their humbug anymore, lest of course the die hard leftists.

We shall wait and see what happens after August 19. Chavez is deploying his strategy, the opposition on the other hand does not seem to be able to coordinate anything efficiently and society as usual will pay direly. One thing is certain though Castro, Chavez and this whole concept of Marxism are hanging by a thread; perhaps never before in history was the survival of a continental project of global interest depending on one referendum. The democratic Venezuelan society has numerous enemies nowadays not only at a national level. Union, that's the key issue for the world knows what Chavez wants, alas no one seems to be interested in finding out what the rest of us want.

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