De un proceso a otro / Oswaldo Barreto

From One Process to Another

There is no doubt that the electoral process which should have been consumated last December 4th, while still developing, has launched our Venezuelan society into a new political crisis. And we make this affirmation in such a categorical tone pondering our words well, because a situation where the future functioning of the parties, the legitimacy of the legislative power's supreme organism and, in consequence, the real force of democratic order are prohibited can only be considered a political crisis.

Now, due to the frequent use of metonymy, a rhetorical figure that allows us to refer to a phenomenon's totality by naming any one of its parts, in the discussions of political events, there is talk among us of a crisis of the electoral system, motivated because there is clear evidence that it is illegal, unconstitutional and unjust. But since, at the very least, we least have an intuition the crisis goes beyond the electoral aspects of our political system, it is common for the following question to be formulated: what lies beyond the powerful rebellion the most recent elections have turned into?

On the opposition side, the question has been explored widely and it has been made evident that, beyond the electoral protest, discontent shines due to the absence of public policies in such decisive matters for the development of the country and for social coexistence as are jobs, personal safety and justice. And we also know the precipitated reaction of the government, which has been no other than the classic recourse to well-known stereotypes: behind the electoral abstention lies the permanent zeal of some antidemocratic sectors for destabilizing the regime, the coup-plotting impulses these sectors have not been able to repress and the intervention of imperialism, Hugo Chávez's sworn enemy. As incomplete and contradictory as these efforts to trap the real demiurges that unchained the electoral tempest might be, no one can deny their authors the right they've had in forging them. And it is possible that, on one side as on the other, people can be found who are satisfied with these explanations of the origins of the crisis and the politics they themselves suggest for overcoming them.

But we believe that, as a group, all those explanations keep a vigil, more than they uncover or reveal the clearest and most expansive sense of the actions of the majority of Venezuelans in the Sunday elections of December 4th. We think, in regards to those, that this massive rejection of voting, more than hiding something "behind" itself, allowed something to be seen very clearly: last Sunday, more than 10 million Venezuelans contested the systematic use of violence on the part of Hugo Chávez's government. And this means, no more and no less, that the crisis that has been experienced in the electoral process speaks of another crisis, the one that has presented itself in the other process, in the one belonging to the "democratic revolution" or the "peaceful revolution," which the Chavistas by antonomasia call "the process."

Let us understand one another: Chávez was elected president so he would govern us with democracy. But as soon as he felt consolidated in power, he began to preach that he was willing to create a revolution within democratic limits. Using the false candor and actual ignorance that always accompany him, the President promised, to Venezuela and the world, to his coup-plotting comrades and to universal history, that in a few years he would accomplish the miracle of making a revolution, a process where violence is the rule, without leaving the democratic order, a process that on principle excludes all violence. "Violence can only be applied in the means, never in the pursued ends," Walter Benjamin reminded us in his famous essay "Critique of Violence." Even socialism can be pursued either through democracy or revolution. Revolutions impose the ownership of land as they see fit at gunpoint and it is from the terror that guns exhude where the composition of legislative bodies and courts also emerge. In democracies, these things are only accomplished through rights and justice, with laws and transparent elections. Chávez put away the guns with which he intended to govern us but he has imposed on us with violence the forms through which democracy is created and sustained. To contest the electoral system is to contest that absurd peaceful revolution, which can no longer be used to continue deceiving people.

{ Oswaldo Barreto,TalCual, 9 December 2005 }

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