Castigar al disidente / Víctor Hugo D’Paola

Punishing the Dissident

Revolutions are merciless with dissidents. In Russia, China and Cuba the victorious revolutions eliminated, in the most inhumane manner, those fellow travelers who expressed their differences.

Along with physical elimination, the machine of the system spiritually murdered its adversaries. The dissident was no longer a human being, a comrade in the endless battles for the revolution. He or she became a specter of a former self, a despicable individual who had to be punished, along with his or her family. Horrendous persecutions were unleashed against dissidents and their families, in these and other revolutions.

The opposition member, while still under persecution, was classified with denigrating adjectives by his or her former companions. For the Cuban revolution, the Florida exiles were simply gusanos [worms]. The rebels in Escambray were “bandits.” In Castro’s eyes they were not politicians who opposed his dictatorship; they were gusanos and bandits who needed to be exterminated.

Throughout the twentieth century, the persecutions against the dissidents and opponents of these revolutions became famous. Nearly all of the Bolshevik Party (Lenin’s party) died in the bloody purges, authorized by Stalin, against those who questioned the leadership of the revolution and the State.

Mao did the same thing in China. Along with his famous wife, he led the so-called “cultural revolution,” which was used to consolidate a totalitarian interpretation of culture and to repress and drown any opposition to the powerful dictator.

Cuba has lived through persecution after persecution against the opposition. Ever since the dissent of Huber Matos, a Sierra Maestra guerrilla who endured twenty years of prison for not aligning himself with Castro’s totalitarian politics, and up to the quick trials against the poet Raúl Rivero and other Cuban opponents of the communist dictatorship, Fidel Castro has been merciless against any internal manifestation against his government.

Venezuela’s pathetic revolution cultivates the same methods of repression. The worst aspects of these revolutions are being imitated. It pursues its adversaries furiously and with treachery (see for instance, the case of the oil workers who are victims of Alí Rodríguez’s Stalinist bile). It places its opponents in jails for common criminals, denying them the condition of political prisoners. It invents humiliating terms for them: squalid ones, oligarchs, coup-plotters, fascists, terrorists. With scarce popular support, Chávez now feels an overwhelming rejection from the majority of Venezuelans. The major dissidents against Chavismo are the Venezuelan people. This is why punishment is meted out indiscriminately. Any protester can be tortured with the barbarity of an inhuman beast.

Selective repression has also begun, aimed at the leaders of the opposition and distinguished journalists. This is the reason for the expected trial against Carlos Melo, the persecution of Henrique Capriles Radonski, the political prisoners of the governor of Táchira, the threat by the governor of Mérida against the regional leaders of the Coordinadora Democrática, the charges against Patricia Poleo, the imprisonment of general Alfonso Martínez. The regime is falling apart quickly. At the same time, it bares its Stalinist-fascist claws.

{ Víctor Hugo D’Paola, Tal Cual, 6 April 2004 }

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