Summer is finally over and Machetera is back at the translating factory at last! And so many stories in the hopper! Starting with the rumors about the illegitimate baby of the Franco Mini-Me, Jose Maria Aznar, the updated Where’s Waldo?™ game (Where’s ex-FARC Comandante César™?), the myth of the wandering Jew, Sarah Palin’s wiglets, well, you get the picture.
While the factory is grinding away, we’ll start with something that got stuck in the hopper a little while back – a commentary by Pascual Serrano on Bolivia’s fake separatists and the double standard attached to Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales and every other leftist who wins an election the hard way: without cheating.
Pascual Serrano – Rebelión
The results of the recall referendum in Bolivia, where President Evo Morales emerged with an overwhelming victory by collecting more than sixty percent of the votes, serves once again to show the disconnect between citizens of the international community and the worldwide oligarchic sectors that control governments and the communications media.
Between the latter, the double standards they apply to separatist conceits are evident simply when one notices that prefects who ignore institutional and legal structures are sent to prison in Spain, and bombed in Georgia. It’s curious that only when it comes to facing off against governments disobedient to the United States and the European Union, such as in Tibet, Kosovo and now Bolivia, are they supported and treated with benevolence. So that from this vantage, we have the BBC calling the referendum a “tie.”
It’s enough to compare the reaction of the prefect of the department of Santa Cruz, Rubén Costas Aguilera, and that of President Evo Morales. While the latter announced a call “to all the authorities in order to seek consensus (…) respecting existing norms, respecting existing laws,” the prefect of Santa Cruz, after hearing the results of the referendum, called the government “callous, totalitarian, party-bound, incapable, denying the people’s development and turning us into his supplicants.” Furthermore, he defined Bolivian democracy as a “dictatorship” and its president, confirmed in his post by an unprecedented percentage in Bolivian democracy, as a “tyrant.” He announced the creation of a departmental police force and its own collection system, in other words, the appropriation of resources, backed by subversive security forces. A coup d’etat. From Cochabamba, the opposition prefect who lost in the recall, the ex-soldier Manfred Reyes Villa, declared that he would not abide by the outcome and would await the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal. A tribunal that doesn’t presently exist. A second coup d’etat.
But the main thought that occurs to us after this recall referendum, is identical to that which we felt when in 2004, a similar one was held and won by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela: the conclusion that only leftist governments are capable of asking citizens if they wish to continue with them at the head, or revoke their mandate. It’s as though these governments, pejoratively called “populist” if not actually “dictatorships,” need to return repeatedly to the voting booths to legitimize themselves. No doubt about it; the left has to go through elections every two years rather than waiting to the end of its mandate; it must put up with an opposition financed by the United States; it must overcome multinational businesses participating in politics through their support of neoliberal sectors that grant their privileges, and it has to deal with the constant conspiracy of independent putschists who receive no international condemnation.
Let’s compare for a moment, the countries where the economic right-wing was victorious, such as Mexico and Peru. Its electoral victory is not questioned by the major media, nor by the rich and powerful countries, despite all the irregularities which may have taken place in the elections, for instance in Mexico. The progressive opposition has been rendered invisible in the entire world’s news agenda; neither López Obrador nor Ollanta Humala have any place in our press or television. The opposition demonstrations are equally ignored, despite being frequent and massive in these countries. It’s what I call the politics of silence/headlines. Silence for the countries governed by right-wing economics, so that they might apply their neoliberal policies without being bothered and with demonstrations and protests steamrolled by the major media; and continual headlines for the countries with progressive governments which promote a constant image of temporariness, crisis and destabilization.
The conclusion is clear: the left must not only win elections every four or six years in order to govern, it must defend itself from separatist, corporate, media and imperialist conspiracies. And while it fights against all of these, it must continue to try to acquire a power that is not granted by the vote, since we all know that having a government is not the same as having power.
But not everything’s disadvantageous. Latin America’s worthy and progressive governments count on a clamor of support and enthusiasm from around the world, knowing that from all the continents, they represent the best hope for confronting the looting and war that the United States and its allies are bringing around the world. In a suburb of New Delhi, in a Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza, in the towns in the south of Lebanon, in the cultural center of Madrid’s industrial belt, or in a camp of the Polisario Front in Argelia, they know who Evo Morales, Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro are, and that the struggles of these leaders are the same as their own, the miles between them nonexistent, as they search for the same dream.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.