[Marxism] Carlos Alberto Montaner: Chavez' goal: 21st-century socialism

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 9 06:35:18 MDT 2005

(It's true that the Cuban armed forces haven't fought armed 
battles in some time. Today the stuggle is principally one 
of ideas, though military preparedness remains a serious 
practical activity in Cuba today.. However, the last time 
Cuba's army did engage in substantial military activity, 
its role was decisive in the defeat of the army of racist
South African apartheid regime. Montaner's quite the tough- 
guy, strutting his stuff in the Miami Herald's pages today.

(Thanks to Granma International, background on this author:
http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2005/agosto/mar2/31montaner.html )

Posted on Tue, Aug. 09, 2005	

Chávez's goal: 21st-century socialism



Hugo Chávez is birthing. He said that Venezuela is giving birth to
21st-century socialism. What is that?

Let me explain. Cuban television recently showed a group of cheerful
Venezuelan officers, led by Brig. Gen. Eduardo Centeno, director of
the Venezuelan Army College, in Cuba to observe the maneuvers made by
some old Soviet tanks ready to defeat Yankee imperialism. Also, to
host and be hosted by Fidel Castro in a military ceremony at which
revolutionary presents and slogans were exchanged. At a given moment,
the visiting officers, visibly moved, sang the Venezuelan national

It is hard to believe that the Venezuelan officers were really
impressed by the exercises of their Cuban comrades. The Cuban Army
today is a hollow shell, with rusty weapons, minus a navy, and with
an air force reduced to a couple of MiG squadrons that are expensive
and hard to keep in the air.

The tactics the Cubans learned from the Russians were the same that
didn't work when the Russians faced the Afghan guerrillas in the
1970s and '80s, in contrast with the effects of the U.S. expedition
years later: in a few weeks, the Taliban resistance was totally wiped

Cuban model

Another lesson surely was more valuable to the Venezuelan officers:
They understood exactly what the Cuban model is all about, the
21st-Century socialism that Lt. Col. Chávez is spawning. They
realized that, in Cuba, the structure of authority consists of a
dictator at the top, surrounded by military men who hold the
political power, the control of repressive forces and the direction
and management of the major enterprises of production.

In Cuba, the armed forces are the brains, heart and stomach of the
system, while society is merely a cheap and docile labor force at the
service of the army's whims and interests. Of course, the system
wraps itself in a patriotic-nationalist discourse, filled with a
strong ethnic content that guarantees the defense of sovereignty and
a feverish dedication to the redemption of the humble. But that's
just a big alibi; just palaver.

I suppose many Venezuelan officers liked what they saw in Cuba. They
have found the formula to climb to the top of the social pyramid and
to feel like the heroes and protagonists of a glorious historic feat.
Chávez will lead them up the path of privileges, wealth and social

Once the system consolidates itself, they will form the dominant
caste, they will live in splendor -- better than the rest of the
Venezuelans -- and will be feared and respected, just like those
high-ranking Cuban officers. Nobody will be permitted to criticize
them publicly, and whoever does so in private may be accused of
contempt and tried before tribunals at which other tough officers
will impart sentence. They will be immune and impune.

That's what 21st-century socialism is all about: a mixture of
strong-man dictatorship, collectivism and militarization of the
structures of power. Little by little, the authoritarian pincers will
squeeze Venezuelan society until they vanquish the media, crush labor
unions, control educational centers, and silence the church and other
forces of civilian society.

Chávez is still in no hurry to seize the big companies, because he
takes and manages the huge revenues from oil as he sees fit, but
everything will come in due course.

Where will this Cuban-Venezuelan axis lead? Given the constructivist
fits afflicting Chávez -- who ceaselessly reorganizes the world
according to his creative spasms -- it is probable that at some
moment he will try to launch a federation of the two countries. But
that would be only a first step in the direction of the multinational
Boliviarian offspring that has grown, like a tumor, under his beret.


The federation can then clone merrily, incorporating other little
friends of the delusional revolutionary line: Evo Morales in Bolivia,
Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, and some adventurer who pops up in
Ecuador or Peru and reaches the presidency thanks to voters who have
been brainwashed by populism and ignorance.

The matter is quite simple: They already have the model and the
discourse. Once in power, the military men will build the prisons and
let's all sail toward the sea of happiness, as Chávez once defined
the Cuban experience. That's 21st-century socialism.

©2005 Firmas Press

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