El silencio de los líderes de centro izquierda en el caso de Venezuela (por Carmen Garcia Guadilla)

Recientemente (Mayo 8, 2015), Latin America Advisor, publicación de Inter-American Dialogue, con sede en Washington, dedicó a las relaciones de Venezuela con sus vecinos, la primera página de su edición. Vecinos, en el sentido de líderes  políticos. (En este Blog ya se había tocado este tema desde el punto de vista de actores intelectuales de la izquierda latinoamericana. Véase: https://carmengguadilla.com/2014/03/13/venezuela-no-es-dictadura-no-es-democracia-no-es-comunismo-es-un-desastre-por-cgg/ ).

Sin embargo, existen diferencias sustanciales entre estos dos tipos de actores, intelectuales y líderes políticos, pues en el caso de éstos últimos resulta evidente que parte de su actuación se explica por los beneficios que los países que representan han obtenido de Venezuela.

Las respuestas de las personas que opinaron en la publicación señalada, Latin America Advisor, y que se exponen a continuación, se plantean en un contexto en el cual la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela había declarado al ex presidente del Gobierno español Felipe González “persona non grata”, prohibiéndole la entrada al país. La decisión de los legisladores se produjo después que González se unió al equipo legal que asume la defensa del encarcelado líder de la oposición venezolana Leopoldo López. La declaración contra Felipe González llevó a que otros líderes políticos manifestaran su apoyo a Gonzalez, entre ellos, los ex-presidentes Fernando Henrique Cardoso, de Brasil; y Ricardo Lagos, de Chile. Entre las preguntas que plantea Latin American Advisor: ¿Deberían los actuales presidentes latinoamericanos, entre ellos los de centro izquierda, preocuparse más por la situación política de Venezuela? Entre las respuestas se señala el por qué los líderes latinoamericanos de izquierda fueron muy activos en denunciar las dictaduras de la derecha en los años setenta y ochenta, así como recientemente el caso de Honduras y, sin embargo, ahora no se pronuncian acerca de la fragilidad de la democracia que se está observando en Venezuela; incluso dos de los autores utilizan directamente el término dictadura. Aunque uno de tres autores fue contrario a este punto de vista.

Estas fueron las diferentes respuestas:  

Jeffrey Puryear, senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue: “Particularly notable in the Venezuelan drama has been the failure of center-left political leaders elsewhere in Latin America to speak out against the systematic efforts by the Chávez and Maduro governments to stifle democracy. There have of course been important exceptions (Ricardo Lagos is a good example), but for the most part the center left has opted to remain silent. Some have argued that what is going on in Venezuela is an internal matter and is not the business of leaders from other countries. That argument was weakened by the highly critical stance that many center-left political leaders took when democracy was under threat from the right in Honduras a few years ago. Others have simply kept a low profile, expressing concerns privately, but refraining from public condemnations. Overall, the center left in Latin America has not stood up for democracy in Venezuela. This stance contrasts with the visible and vigorous positions in support of democracy taken by center-left leaders when so many of the region’s countries were governed by right-wing dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, the center left lined up firmly with democracy. The question now is what has changed–and the answer is not clear. A key issue is whether the silence of Latin America’s center left in the case of Venezuela reflects a willingness to compromise democracy in exchange for partisan objectives. Is the left willing to accept a little dictatorship as long as its goals are furthered? Does the prospect of extraordinary power justify giving up the freedoms, pluralism and protections from power that democracy affords? It’s worth remembering that Latin America has been down this road before, and that dictatorship is by nature nonpartisan. If it’s OK for the left to curb press freedoms, arbitrarily jail opposition leaders and repress minorities, then it’s OK for the right to do the same. Considerably more than a national political agenda is at stake in Venezuela. The demise of Venezuelan democracy threatens the interests of center-left political leaders throughout the region.”  

Julia Buxton, professor of comparative politics at the School of Public Policy of Central European University in Budapest: “Bringing González into López’s legal team was intentionally provocative, in line with efforts to internationalize the opposition’s campaign against Maduro. Inevitably the National Assembly declared González persona non grata, a sovereign decision that intensifies scrutiny of the Venezuelan government and its human rights record. As such, it is a PR success for opposition sectors, unifying former leftist leaders from the region behind those of the political right–including some of dubious democratic and human rights credentials. Whether this will have any domestic impact in Venezuela–or in relation to due process in the López case–is questionable. With National Assembly elections months away, the González maneuver may combine with the U.S. declaration of Venezuela as a national security threat to weld popular sympathy around Maduro. That González and other detractors, including Chile’s Lagos and Brazil’s Cardoso, come from the social democratic left is of limited significance to the Chavista core, which repudiates this centrist position associated with González’s former ally and ex-Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Rather than rallying the regional or international left against Maduro, the resurrection of González may serve as a reminder of why the ‘old’ left failed and was overtaken by the ‘non-traditional’ left of mass organizations and grassroots movements, as with Chávez, Bolivia’s Morales and Lula in Brazil. Were it these latter two figures rallying behind López’s cause, that would have significantly different ramifications for Maduro. This latest twist in Venezuela’s unending drama should not distract from the more decisive event of the pending legislative elections.”   

Jorge Lara-Urbaneja, partner at Arciniegas, Lara, Briceño & Plana in Bogotá: “The Venezuelan regime tries to portray opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma as common criminals. It’s an old trick used by dictators throughout history. Castro has mastered this game since he came into power, against labeled and unlabeled ‘enemies of the revolution,’ most of which were shot at the ‘paredón,’ or spent their lives in jail like Armando Valladares. But the Venezuelan regime has limitations that Castro or other dictators did not have. International news, coupled with social media interaction, placed Venezuela and its government under the world’s scrutiny. It is now evident that the Venezuelan judicial authorities are unable to present any serious criminal accusations in these cases, which lack reliable factual evidence. Thus, the Venezuelan government has frozen any judicial proceedings against López and Ledezma, keeping them locked in jail, subject to a trial that cannot be exposed in any serious forum. The Venezuelan regime blocked Felipe González from reviewing López’s process first hand because that would have shown the truth about these criminal accusations. Thus, González was stopped from digging into the papers. But he is not alone; former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana, as well as Cardoso and Lagos, are exposing the Venezuelan regime to an unbearable international crossfire. Maduro was imposed and is kept as the president of Venezuela. He has no international standing, as was evidenced at the recent summit in Panama, where he tried to rewrite history but ended up unnoticed. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s political situation and foreign relations are run by Cuba.”