Así en la guerra como en la paz / Colette Capriles

In War As in Peace

As at other junctures throughout this near decade, war seems to be a continuation of politics: Chávez acts not with institutional logic (annoying normative procedures that seek consensus based on petit bourgeois neutrality) but rather with the logic of the Guevarista and Maoist foco: “When the enemy advances, we step back; when the enemy stops, we assault him; when the enemy becomes exhausted, we attack; when the enemy retreats, we chase him.”

Thanks to the equalizing power of television, which has allowed him to develop a unidirectional rhetorical arsenal 
with which he doesn’t so much rule as emit irrefutable orders, war and peace end up being the same thing, or merely a change of scenery and costumes.

Expelling people from Petróleos de Venezuela is the same as moving tanks from Maracay. And not only are the distinctions blurred between the civilian and the military but those that divide the internal and the external are also dissolved.

As though the swelling of vanity that has been underway in the President’s body could no longer contain itself within the narrow confines of the national territory and instead spilled over like a stain that fights to grow.

From the beginning, the President’s management confuses all borders: the ghost of La Gran Colombia, that unfinished project, has always obfuscated the perception of the geopolitical context. The nationalism involved in the sanctification of Bolívar’s “thought” necessarily implies, by definition, Bolivarian imperialism notoriously reincarnated in our President.

Maybe the circumstances will turn out to be opportune, serving as a release of domestic pressure within his administration. But what is revealed isn’t just a simple maneuver to cover up discontent and convoke disappointed public opinion through nationalism. On the contrary, it is a strategic moment.

As it was demonstrated by the hierarchy of relations with Colombia in the Venezuelan government’s recent agenda, ever since the failed negotiation up until what we saw last weekend, and as the documents found in the laptop belonging to Reyes are now revealing: it is effectively an offensive strategy that, given the increasingly weakened objective conditions of the guerrillas, couldn’t be delayed any longer.

But, whose offensive? What is important to elucidate politically is how the alliance between the Colombian FARC and Chávez’s political project is integrated. From what can be intuited amid the informational fragmentation, we can now discern a type of broad continental group (that far from being progressive and of the left, is completely reactionary and retrograde, isolationist, autarchic and caudillista), whose threads move by means of the flow of petrodollars to a great degree, yet isn’t completely dominated by the Venezuelan President.

There is a confluence of interests among different actors, but there is no clear political axis. Hoping to mime the role of Cuba and Castro during the subversions of the 1960s, Chávez is not pondering the differences that exist between the revolution based on moral incentives preached by Guevara and the revolution of the electronic transaction of hundreds of tons of cocaine.

The relative power of the narco-guerrillas can’t be compared to the penury of potential guerrillas in all the regions of Latin America that Cuba received and carefully trained to initiate subversion in their countries of origin.

And the same can be said about the other actors: governments like those of Morales and Correa, no matter how aligned they might be with Chavismo’s imperial power, have to guard their own interests.

The Colombian government decided to create a crisis so as to unveil in all its splendor the role of Chávez’s government in the various domestic scenarios of neighboring countries. Chavismo and its franchise with Correa will keep trying to bring ideology into the situation, as though it were a repetition of the Bay of Pigs. But Colombia will try to demonstrate that, actually, this situation isn’t about politics or ideology, good intentions, or socialism: what we have here are merchants who traffic in drugs, in people, in ideas, in hopes.

{ Colette Capriles, El Nacional, 6 March 2008 }

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