Un MIR para el Presidente / Cantórbery Cuevas

An MIR for the President

The simile my lifelong friend Doctor Carlos Irazábal Arreáza uses to describe the President of the Republic seems plausible to me, as a prestidigitator who, while attempting to produce a fluffy rabbit by the ears from a hat, ends up merely unveiling an opossum by the tail. Always and when in the comparison “rabbit” represents a very amiable and unknown XXI Century Socialism, and “opossum” something not just unfamiliar but also disappointing, the same old fatigued State capitalism, even if with new trimmings.

Hugo Chávez’s latest announcements on the occasion of his inauguration as the first reelected President of Venezuela seem to confirm it. They overwhelm but don’t surprise us. They merely take his previous millenarian threats to hyperbolic limits: a greater concentration of power in the Executive; the enlargement of public monopoly and official bureaucracy; and the amplification of the Bolivarian bourgeoisie’s field of activities: that of mining currencies. At the same time, these presidential announcements don’t seem to correspond with the Laclavian theses – after Ernesto Laclau – according to which the construction of a new institutionalism in times of crisis must pass through populism (see the undeservedly laudatory piece by Alberto Méndez Arocha, “Cantórbery Cuevas y la egocracia,” in the latest issue of analítica.com). An example: the growing polemic within the heart of Chavismo regarding the announced unified socialist party, whose first spears were broken by the social researcher [the Argentines say “cientista”] and critical sympathizer of el proceso Edgardo Lander in a recent piece: “Creación del partido único, ¿aborto del debate sobre el Socialismo del Siglo XXI?” (E.L., 12/26/06, aporrea.org) There he postulates that no creation of any type of fresh alternative democracy can be conceived without a broad and public discussion of the topic; to speak of a different one without questioning the roots of the old socialisms. Such a Bolivarian nuisance suggests incipient cracks in the populism inherent to the project.

“Today I declare that I’m going to create a new party. I invite whoever wants to accompany me to join me…” “The parties who wish to can remain in existence, but they will leave the government. I want a party to govern with me. The votes don’t belong to any party, those votes belong to Chávez and the masses, don’t fool yourselves,” the author cites the President in a recent address (Presidential Press, Aporrea, Caracas, 12/16/06). Organizations and individuals obedient to the leader – the great majority of his acolytes – will comply with those orders without a word. But those who maintain critical thought will not do this. It is thus foreseeable for some that Chávez will soon be surprised within his ranks by the irruption of a leftist revolutionary movement reminiscent of the one Betancourt lived through in the sixties, leading to another different and radical opposition.

* * * * *

Even if this time it doesn’t take to the mountains.

Translator's note: MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria). The Leftist Revolutionary Movement was formed in 1960 and signaled the beginning stages of guerrilla warfare against the government of Rómulo Betancourt.

{ Cantórbery Cuevas, TalCual, 18 January 2007 }

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