Evo Morales, The Dissident Who Was Abused / Angel Santiesteban

evo-morales-en-los-primeros-tiemposAngel Santiesteban, 12 May 2015 — At the Summit of the Americas, the Bolivian president told journalists about the arrests, humiliations and violations of human rights he suffered when he opposed the officialdom of his country, from the beginning of his union movement activism back in 1988.

So it’s outrageous that this same human being, statesman and politician, who tells of the suffering inflicted upon him by the extremist regimes of his time, is today the one who defends the dictatorship of the Castro brothers, which commits the same human rights violations against the Cuban opposition. It might be assumed that he would show solidarity with the abused of today. But, like they say, “with fame comes memory loss.”

Although perhaps it’s not forgetfulness so much as the price he pays, because in reality he was chosen by Fidel Castro for his country’s presidency, and provided with economic and strategic support, personal protection and intelligence.

Fidel did the same with the others who today make up that Latin American mafia of “leftist” presidents: Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, Lula da Silva; or even Ollanta Humala in Peru, who has had to pay for the favor quietly, because in his country it has been impossible to imitate Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Nor is it possible to deny that, since his rise to power, Morales has achieved a better situation for the lower classes, developed the economy and created better opportunities and conditions in general for his people, while the most notable is having restored the rights of indigenous citizens, forgotten and out of favor for centuries.

So far, President Morales would have made history as the best chief of the national tribe, and I write this with respect. But that commitment to work for the development of the country still isn’t enough for Evo Morales, nor is it for those other leftist leaders on the continent, those that I call “mafia,” in which I include Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and, to a lesser extent, because of their more independent paths from the dictates of Cuba, Uruguay and some small Caribbean islands.

Continuing in the fashion of popular dictators, Morales manipulated the law to gain indefinite re-election and eternalize his power. In doing so, he betrayed himself, but he did the greatest damage to his nation, sticking a dagger in the back of democracy, since it ensures for him, and for those who can replace him when he decides to leave power, the opportunity to maintain a dictatorship with support from the Parliament.            

Evo Morales, who had the responsibility of ensuring those democratic terms, violated the meaning of his own name — morals — by defiling and hijacking democracy. But, as luck would have it, a light is possibly dawning in the person of Soledad Chapetón Tancara, a young Aymaran woman and educator, who has become mayor of El Alto, Bolivia’s second most important city.

To play at being a dictator is a slow process of degradation, as one falls into the abyss and tries to grab onto some branches. But in the end it is still a fall. When surveys and advisers suggested to Evo Morales the possibility that the Bolivian Socialist Movement (MAS) might lose some of the country’s most important towns, he threatened to “withdraw financial support” from those municipalities. And that was just the beginning of his descent.

It’s undeniable that he opened doors for himself and others with absolutist intentions, and therein lies the danger: he committed the stupidity of letting go of a child’s hand in the roadGenerally, this stupidity ends with a lot of suffering and blood. Morales’ mistake will erase whatever was best of the noblest and altruistic actions he took in his mandate as the first president in favor of his people, who have already begun to withdraw their confidence. It shows, once again, that overcoming a decade in power entails a wear and tear of image, which usually ends, inevitably, in the general ill will of one’s own citizens.         

Losing the municipality of El Alto is the first notice. Now it’s the turn of the mayor, Soledad Chapeton Tancara, who shows she knows what she wants and where she wants to lead her people, who are grateful to her.

Evo Morales is trying to show that what occurred isn’t very important and that everything is going well. Hopefully he will rise above his partisan pains and cooperate with the young Aymara, who asks for “less ideology and more transparency” and offers new proposals for the development of her nation.

Let’s remember that the vote against Morales was partly due to corruption of the authorities in those municipalities, resulting from the lack of control of the president in his obstinate commitment to manufacture a war against the United States.

Soledad Chapeton will remain as mayor of El Alto until 2021, and later, according to how her management goes, will be a possible candidate for the National Unity party together with its leader, the businessman Samuel Doria Medina, who will have the challenge of healing that wound in the Constitution of his own country, a wound which leaves open a clear path for autocrats to install themselves and put forth their ideologies as cloaks for their appetites and personal ambitions. Of course, before healing the wound the knife needs to be removed.     

When Evo Morales finished recounting his stories of abuse in one of the arranged rooms during the Panama Summit, the journalists started questioning him, showing impatience, since in those few words the Bolivian president had never touched on those delicate subjects that bother him so much.

He found himself in front of a group of professionals, among whom were some of those he himself censured in the official spaces, where those who are invited and the questions they can ask are chosen.

When a journalist asked him how it was possible that, with his experience as a victim of abuse from political leaders, he could support Castro’s totalitarian regime, which committed the same outrageous acts that other governments committed against him, Morales threw himself onto a heap of trash, spewing garbage, and tried, shamefully imitating Cantinflas*, to justify himself by saying that when someone badmouths the Cuban people he takes it as a personal attack.

But here’s a curious observation: in Raul Castro’s appearance at the Summit (those twelve minutes that multiplied, since it’s impossible not to violate the time limit rule), he didn’t refer to the most publicized demand of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s exit to the sea, in spite of mentioning other important demands of that mafioso group of acolytes: the condemnation of Obama’s decree against Venezuela, Argentina’s right to the Malvinas, putting the brake on the transnationals who “contaminate” the soil of Ecuador, the “decolonization” of Puerto Rico, poverty in Haiti, peace in Colombia. But Evo Morales’ demand wasn’t mentioned, perhaps so Bachelet wouldn’t be annoyed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some juicy agreement is signed in Chile for financial aid to Cuba.

Morales was obviously nervous when they asked him the question. He looked at the journalist like a weirdo, surely wanting to throw the microphone at him rather than answer; and, searching perhaps for a way out, it occurred to Morales to ask him if he were a journalist, perhaps in case he wasn’t, to negate his words. But his interlocutor said “yes”, leaving the president no other decent option than to respond, or at least to try to, as he finally did.

The leader knew before starting that he was plunging into the ridiculous and he extracted forced words, produced ready-made phrases and readings, learned in the best moment of the educative rigor that Cuba offered to that mafioso alliance, conscious of the quota of impudence assimilated by obligation as part of being affiliated with the mafia of “leftist” Latin America.

A dangerous double-edged knife, that this time injured its carrier, removing him, if some time he was close, from that vociferous leftist longing to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, when in reality every one of his steps showed that he was preparing for a war and, even worse, for a war against his own people and his Aymara brothers.

The Bolivian sovereign, while trying to guarantee that the garbage wouldn’t smother him, cited the words of Fidel Castro: “We have to share what we have, not that which is left over.” But Castro didn’t talk about the price that the Cuban people have paid for decades, for more than a half century, for his narcissistic obsession of reaching a preponderant level on an international scale.

It didn’t matter to Castro that he has made his people sacrifice and suffer, crushing generations of Cubans, one after the other, and worse, converting them into lost generations socially, like throwing away offerings in empty sacks, discarding victims; finally, considering them dispensable human beings, those whom he always saw as mere numbers.

What Fidel Castro lacked was the spirit of a benefactor, and the facts prove it. Or perhaps you can call someone a benefactor who collects hundreds of millions from Venezuela in petroleum, in exchange for the Cuban collaborators placed in that country, which has almost been taken over by Cuba?

Does a benefactor charge Brazil an undreamt amount of money for the doctors it rents to them, paying them a poor salary and pocketing the major part of what it pays for every doctor sent to the Carioca nation? This only mentions two countries of those where this slavery business of the 21st century imposed by Fidel Castro proliferates. It’s known that professionals who refuse to go can forget about receiving income in their specialty or material rewards for their work. The impoverished economic situation confronting their families obligates them to accept.

Perhaps one day there will be a study on the marital cost of this separation, this distance between couples, the lack of protection for family and children who remain. Divorces from that physical separation on average are very high. What make this more deplorable and shameful is that in the end those “internationalists” receive a tiny part of the payment that the government charges, a miserable payment that evaporates over months, because some decide to loan themselves again to slavery and so perform two or more collaborations in other countries.

I knew someone who spent six years in Venezuela, while they kept his wife, two kids and old parents in Cuba. And he did that, planned it, to resolve the family calamities and be able to celebrate his daughter’s “quince**” with a little decorum.

Evo Morales knows, but perhaps doesn’t want to see out of pure convenience, that all the foreign graduates in Cuba, thousands, today professionals in their countries, are converted in the great majority into agents, ideological stone-masons, silent allies of the Cuban government, who in many cases have ascended to important posts in their governments, with all the intention of influencing these nations, once the era of guerrillas has passed. Solidarity, it’s not.

Castro thought out very well his plans for global power. He gave the stairways to power to Chavez, Maduro, Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, among others, but on credit, and charging them means destroying that staircase, snatching away from them that initial impulse and launching them into the worst of the history of their countries.

In summary, Evo Morales, more than being a satellite, like the one recently launched into space, needs a shaman to enlighten him and show him the reality of today and the future, and one who, moreover, will make him think about the question of office that the journalist at the Panama Summit asked him: “And you, Evo, are you the president?”

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
April 16, 2015 , Border Prison Unit, Havana.

Translator’s notes:
*Cantinflas was a Mexican comic actor who often portrayed impoverished peasants.
**The “Quince” is the tradition of celebrating a young girl’s coming of age on her 15th birthday.

Translated by: Nathan Clarke and Regina Anavy