Painful and unacceptable are the declarations of the President of the Chilean Socialist Party against the conviction of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader found guilty of incitement to violence and other crimes defined in the openly seditious plan called “the Exit”* that lead to a powerful wave of fascist street violence that lasted several months and cost the lives of 43 human beings as well as millions [of dollars] in [public] property damages. Declarations as misguided and uninformed as those of the senator, [Maria Isabel, aunt of the author and] daughter of Salvador Allende: “I fail to understand that an opposition figure who engages in an action that is in no way violent, who expresses his critical opinion towards a Government, can be put in jail.”
How are we to read and understand such statements, taking into account the recent history of Chile, [the senator’s] personal history and our own family history, history that was marked by exactly the same type of excessive and hateful violence? The convicted political leader Leopoldo Lopez made an open and public call for insurrection, “to rise up”, to “remain in the streets until the exit of the [Venezuelan] Government is achieved”, “until we succeed in removing those who are governing us”, which led to months of political violence that sought the overthrow of a legitimate Government backed by broad citizen support. How can it be claimed that the premeditated action of the seditious plan “the Exit” is “an action that is in no way violent”, which only “expresses his critical opinion towards a Government”.
Even worse, how can Lopez be described as a “prisoner of conscience” when on top of the referenced [events] he was one of the most visible and violent protagonists of the repressive coup that overthrew Hugo Chávez for 48 hours in 2002. Why make statements, so misguided, so reductionist, so uninformed, so double standard in “her own name” and “as President of the Chilean Socialist Party”, knowing full well that she is speaking as the daughter of Salvador Allende? Why speak about Lopez but remain silent about the numerous crimes and atrocities that are committed daily in name of the democracy, freedom, and the alleged anti-terrorist struggle.
I believe there are deeper responses that have to do with ideology, with concepts about socialism and neoliberalism, etc., but in this case there is above all an evident double standard when democracy and human rights are discussed, when there is an a priori value judgement and conviction in talking about these issues in the cases of Venezuela and Cuba, and when on the other hand, nothing is said, no condemnations are raised against, for example, the crimes against humanity committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, the mass graves of “Uribe-ism” in Colombia, the torture in Guantánamo prison, the terrible disappearance of 43 teaching students in Mexico one year ago!…
Why the silence in the face of the Mapuche political prisoners, the siege and brutal repression against the Mapuche communities by the [Chilean] government that [Senator Allende] represents? Or simply the genocidal wars promoted and backed by the US government, etc., there are no denunciations there, only silence.
Chilean Socialist President Salvador Allende, overthrown in a US-sponsored military coup on September 11, 1973
On the other hand there is the pragmatism of politics, deflecting attention from internal problems: when the Chilean government is going through its worst moments in terms of its legitimacy perceived by the citizenry, when the political class is so negatively viewed, when the scandals revealing the structural corruption of the Chilean political class (yes, in supposedly incorruptible Chile) come to light. We call it structural and immoral corruption (and in a certain way even “legalized” in the current constitution inherited from Pinochet), because now it is known to what extent politics has been prostituted to the economic power of the large firms, of the most powerful families, of the great fortunes that finance politicians’ campaigns at all levels, in all sectors, and almost all of the political parties.
But the worst and most immoral part involves the companies stripped from the Chilean state during the Pinochet dictatorship, strategic enterprises that were handed over, for example, to the then son-in-law of Augusto Pinochet, Julio Ponce Lerou, who via the company Chemical Mining Society of Chile (SOQUMICH) gave millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians in the political parties in the current government, including people in the Socialist Party, the same one founded by Salvador Allende. [Also implicated in the scandal were] people like Senator Fulvio Rossi (who himself gave an interview with Henrique Capriles during the latter’s last visit to Chile) who has been called in to answer for his receipts from the company controlled by the ex-son-in-law of Augusto Pinochet; the same with Milton Lee Guerrero, ex-treasurer of the Socialist Party. On the other hand, there are people like Enrique Correa, an important political leader during the Popular Unity government, who is now a lobbyist for Imagination Consulting- which has done consulting for SOQUIMICH, the Penta group, the Lucsik group, all economic groups that finance Chilean politics- and who, in absolute ideological and ethical incoherence, is also vice-president of the Salvador Allende Foundation…
Finally, one can’t refrain from commenting on the statements of Felipe Gonzalez, for whom, “Pinochet respected human rights much more than Maduro.” Opinions like these are a real insult to human rights and history, and an insult to the millions of victims of Latin American dictatorships.
These statements are framed within the international campaign against Venezuela, which Senator Maria Isabel Allende has regrettably echoed. This is not a coincidence because Mr. Felipe Gonzalez and the PSOE [Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party] are the ideological referents for the Chilean Socialist Party in the post-dictatorship period. It’s worth asking the Chilean Socialist Party leadership, who suffered firsthand the horrors and atrocities of the Pinochet dictatorship, if they are in agreement with such a political chameleon [as Felipe Gonzalez], who, despite shamelessly demonstrating his total lack of ethics, continues to be their political mentor.
* The “Exit” plan originated directly from the violent protests, the so-called “barricades”, that ravaged various Venezuelan cities during more than two months, when political hate took over important sectors of the opposition. One only has to mention that in many areas where the “barricades” were set up, effigies dressed in red were hung from lampposts and traffic lights, in allusion to the supporters of Chavismo. There was also much harassment and threats against families recognized as government supporters in the areas where the opposition is predominate and where the “barricades” took place, which were always upper middle class or upper class areas.