By Carlos Alberto Montaner
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has said loud and clear that the result of the Venezuelan elections of this May 20 shouldn’t be recognized. That kind of statement is not made without the approval of President Donald Trump and without consulting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Senator Marco Rubio says that national and international courts will go after Chavista criminals until the end of time. He’s right. Impunity does not exist and some of the crimes committed by the Chavista gang never expire.
The killings of opponents, the tortures inflicted upon them -- very well documented by the lawyer Tamara Sujú, a specialist in the defense of human rights -- leaves no room for doubt. And if this were not enough, there are the evidence and testimonies of the drug trafficking business that has enriched the generals of the Cartel de los Soles, and the main crime linked to these activities: money laundering.
The United States has the ability to track, openly or secretly, all bank deposits in 90% of the institutions of the planet, and it has the muscle to impose its rules. Since it has 22% of the world’s GDP and a currency in which almost all major transactions are made; since it has the largest open market in the world, and the best medical care centers, it is enough to threaten international companies with large reprisals or to deprive their executives of a visa to create panic. (I have seen venerable Swiss banks sweating blood when they were placed in that situation, until they collaborated with the U.S. prosecutors against the banks’ dubious clients).
None of this is ignored by Nicolás Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, the brothers Jorge and Delcy Rodríguez, and the rest of the mafia clan, as the Venezuelans call them. That is why they are preparing to close ranks in the elections of May 20. They don’t want to end up behind bars. Since they do not believe in liberal democracy, nor in the virtues of alternability in political power, they do not mind having only 15% of popular support, compared to 85% that rejects them.
To justify themselves, they use the revolutionary narrative. Nobody believes it (especially not them), but they repeat it as a mantra because the function of that discourse is to articulate a justification that substitutes the truth. They say that Venezuela is a country besieged by Yankee imperialism, determined to take the nation's oil. They claim that the shortage of food and medicines is the consequence of the CIA-led opposition unleashing a cruel economic war. They hide the real economic figures in order to "not give weapons to the enemies." They declare that the international rejection – the Lima Group, the European Union, the OAS and Luis Almagro, OAS’ Secretary General –is a clamor orchestrated by Washington.
They claim that Chavistas are the victims, not the culprits. The students were murdered by the opposition or by some devious policemen already punished. They claim that there are no tortures, that inflation increases because the revolution has opened the consumption dams and the people went out shopping for the first time. There is nothing to change. Nothing to be ashamed of. Revolutions have a price and it must be paid.
Because Venezuelans know all this, they will not go out to vote on May 20. Why vote, if they know that the results will be the ones desired by the government, as the company that created and runs the voting machines has already indicated?
Elections will never put an end to the nightmare. Furthermore, it is rumored that these are the last elections with the current electoral law.
After that bitter drink, when Maduro, smiling, declares himself the winner, his government will copy the Cuban electoral law, which allows filtering and sifting the candidates, so that the previous fraud makes the subsequent fraud unnecessary. (Miguel Díaz-Canel replaced Raúl Castro with only one vote against, presumably his own vote).
The possible way to get rid of that terrible band of pirates is to promise indulgence to those who help Venezuelans out of the well in which they are trapped. This is how criminal law works in many places. Those who collaborate with justice have 100 years of forgiveness. I remember a Central American country where some generals who opposed the peace process were given a substantial amount of dollars so they would retire. It was improper, but practical. Peace was made.Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.