Maria Corina Machado and the Rescue of Hope in Venezuela

Former Venezuelan deputy María Corina Machado celebrates with allies and followers the results offered by the primary elections commission, in Caracas, on October 23, 2023. (EFE/Miguel Gutiérrez)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, October 29, 2023 — Venezuelans committed to democracy have once again set an example of perseverance and commitment to their country. An achievement in which the leadership of María Corina Machado, a woman with overflowing courage and convictions, has been essential.

Machado overwhelmingly defeated her rivals and enemies. Even more importantly, she managed to get her fellow citizens, both inside the country and abroad, to take to the streets to vote, a sovereign right that despots try to violate.

The electorate believed in her with such fervor that they voted massively in her favor, despite the difficulties implemented by the autocrats, among others, the disqualification of the candidate, a condition widely repudiated by the voters with the resounding support they gave her.

Castro-Chavismo breathes into its governed at least two terrible viruses: hopelessness and the certainty that the end of tyranny can only occur with foreign help.

The loss of hope is the most pernicious thing that a people can suffer

Hopelessness is caused by the high level of frustration of the governed. A feeling that is proportional to the duration of the mandate one suffers and corresponding to the enthusiasm generated by the demiurges who propose to be gods.

After the initial exaltation caused by a populist victory full of demagoguery and falsehoods, comes a daily life that demands work, discipline, probity and perseverance; a management in which the people of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia have been able to confirm that their autocrats, in addition to being corrupt, have been inept.

The loss of hope is the most harmful thing that a people can suffer. It is true that there are those who do not stop fighting, even if the blackest darkness surrounds them; however, the majority of citizens need to see a light, however minimal, at the end of the road, a dawn that, evidently, María Corina Machado, an exceptional leader, has made it possible for her people to perceive.

My admired fellow prisoner, the ambassador Armando Valladares, wrote an anthological book about that feeling entitled Against All Hope. It is that in prison all hopes can die just as under tyrannies, although, unfortunately for tyrants, they are never lacking. Jose Martí’s white roses in the most lush field of thistles and nettles.

Machado spread hope among Venezuelans. She erased the many mistakes of these years, including those of her colleagues who timidly tried to reproduce the behaviors and speeches of their enemies. The candidate germinated confidence again and restored the certainty that it is possible to enjoy a better life, with a promising future for one’s children.

The journey was uphill, never without danger. She challenged Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabellos, two individuals with a terrifying criminal record. However, the path that remains is no less complex and abrupt, which is why the candidate continues to need to count on the support of her forces and herself, to continue fully interpreting the feelings and needs of her supporters.

Hope has been recovered and I trust that the Cuban experience demonstrating that there are committed allies will become certainty for those who suffer regimes that perpetuate themselves because they know how to choose their enemies.

The candidate germinated confidence again and restored the certainty that it is possible to enjoy a better life, with a promising future for one’s children

Castro-Chavismo stigmatizes the opposition when it accuses it of being a foreign agent and it mutilates itself if it comes to believe that outsiders will be firm allies in its efforts, which motivated the apostle Jose Martí to write: “The enemies of the freedom of a people are not so much the strangers who oppress them, as the timidity and vanity of their own children.”

I was a partial witness of that magical Venezuelan enthusiasm. I shared with friends and strangers the joy of glimpsing a better future, even more so, the expectation of seeing the clouds covering El Ávila hill again or simply driving under the towers of Silencio.

I even dreamed that we Cubans, one day, would be able to have a similar experience and, suddenly, an aside from the poet Antonio Machado came to me, “Walker, there is no path, you make the path as you walk*.” In both Cuba and Venezuela, there has been no shortage of walkers who have given everything for their rights, and pilgrims like María Corina Machado, imitating the poet, with enough awareness to look back without repeating the path that leads to slavery.

*Translator’s note: From Antonio Machado, 1917


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