Destaque Internacional – Situation Reports - Year VII - No. 174 - Buenos Aires / Madrid - July 26, 2005

Andean Countries: Chávez and the Castrist "miracle mission"

* President Chávez, from Venezuela, who has just taken office as head of the Pro-Tempore Secretariat of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) , may now open the doors of those countries to thousands of Cuban agents supposedly to impulse "health" and "education" plans.

* The left-wing Brazilian crisis may modify the Latin America correlation between the "gradualist" and the "volunteerist" currents, turning the balance towards the latter

1. Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, is accelerating the "cubanization" process in his country and trying to promote similar processes in the Andean nations, taking advantage that the attention of the world is absorbed by different hot issues.

By taking office at the Pro-Tempore Secretariat of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) -which gathers Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia- Chávez has just announced that with the help of communist Cuba he will promote in those countries the so called "miracle mission" and other "missions" similar to those he is promoting in his country, allegedly to combat misery and illiteracy but really used to promote revolutionary consciousness-raising of the more disfavored sectors of society. Through this strategy, thousands of Cuban agents will be allowed to enter the Andean countries as it is already happening in Venezuela, to implement said plans.

2. Some days ago, Chávez stated once more that his goal is to introduce socialism, stating that private property and free initiative are ways that "lead to hell", and that on the contrary, socialism is the way of those who want to build "God’s Kingdom on Earth" (Chávez-Socialism-God’sKingdom:SendFreeofchargeDeclaration), ignoring the dramatic failure of the economic socialist experiments of the 20th century, manly and namely Cuba; agreeing with characters of the "liberation theology " as Fray Betto and Leonardo Boff, who consider the Cuban experiment an expression of "God’s Kingdom".

3. In order to promote his neoimperialist goals in Latin America and to go deeper into the socialist revolution of his country, Chávez, in the last days, managed to approve a controversial law reforming the Central Bank, allowing him to withdraw the amazing figure of 6 billion dollars, equivalent to 20% of Venezuela’s total reserve, and put it available to promote the Castrist "miracle mission". He also launched Telesur, a Latina American channel, with an advising board integrated by renown figures from the Social World’s Forum (WFS).

Chávez seems keen in assuming the revolutionary leadership in Latina America, inspired in the old Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Castro and with the support of networks linked to the WSF and to the São Paulo Forum (SPF). It is difficult to see as a mere coincidence that the next WSF’s meeting shall be held in Caracas.

4. The above mentioned news on Venezuela are only some of the recent examples of the severe situation of said country and the possibility of a similar perspective for the Andean countries. Venezuela’s Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara stated that Venezuela is transforming into a Cuban "branch".

International Highlights makes an alert call in view of this alarming backgroung, on which very little is commented out of Venezuela, and offers to those interested readers the documents used for preparing this editorial and makes available the texts of previous editorials on the castro-chavez issue.

5. The crisis affecting the left-wing governing party in Brazil, hastened by the severe reports of corruption might have a bearing on the weakening of the Latin American "gradualist" wing, currently represented by president Lula, up to this date predominant in the WSF, which emphasizes the mentalities transformation as a previous condition to the transformation of the structures and society. And might strengthen the "volunteerist" wings, as the one represented by president Chávez, by the Cuban communists, by sectors of the "liberation theology", by left-wing Brazilian radicals and other until now disfavored wings within the WSF, who prioritize the transformation of the socio-economic structures as a tool to change the mentalities.

6. The debates between the "gradualists" and the "volunteerists" in the hart of the World Social Forum and the Brazilian Social Forum (BSF) have already been analyzed by various issues of International Highlights and we recommend their lecture to those interested to know the subtle background of this Latin American debate among left wings.

It is important to draw your attention to the fact that the "gradualist" wings are normally more difficult to denounce to the public opinion due to the fact that they assume a moderate appearance and use anesthetic methods to numb and avoid reactions as has happened till now in Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.

The most interested debate between the two wings was probably that of November 2003 among the 30 thousand participants of the 1st Brazilian Social Forum in the city of Belo Horizonte, with participation of high government officials, members of the Workers’ Party (PT) and other left-wing political currents. At said event, the disagreements were not on the ambiguous socialist "utopia", to which all adhere, but their methods, strategies and speeds to reach it.

On the occasion, Luiz Dulci, minister and general secretary of the Presidency of the Republic, explained that in the current Brazilian situation "the greatest virtue of a revolutionary is actually to transform the every day’s life of the people". The at that time president of the governing Workers’ Party (PT), José Genoino, admitted the influence of Antonio Gramsci in the "gradualist" strategy of the Brazilian Government and the PT. And Professor Juarez Guimarães, politic scientist of the Federal University of the State of Minas Gerais - UFMG and advisor of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, in Brasilia, after recommending caution to the "volunteerists", who support a faster pace towards socialism, told them they should take care with what they did because similar attitudes speeded the ruin of "left-wing governments overthrown in Latin America "as the government of the socialist Salvador Allende in Chile", and "including the last left-wing government in Brazil of Jango Goulart, also overthrown".

7. Last but not least, another ingredient of the current background of the Latin American left wings was added during a recent meeting of the São Paulo Forum by Marco Aurelio García, high international official of president Lula, backing the "great destabilizations" created by the so called "social movements" which would be useful for "breaking hegemonies" as well as to "expand" democracy in the continent; and even eulogizing "armed struggles" which contributed with the democratization of various countries.

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