Venezuela: Ideological tribunals and truth commissions instead of tribunals against persons and scapegoats

von Ralf Ostner

Some more thoughts on Venezuela:If Guaido should seize power in Venezuela without a civil war or counterinsurgency by Maduro or Chavista forces, the coming goverment should keep some facts in mind.


First: Chavism and the Bolivarian revolution were a product of the policy of the former established conservative, liberal and democratic parties, which sold oil at low price to the USA, promoted social inequality and corruption. The Chavistas addressed this and claimed to be the solution for these problems. As we see, they were not. However it is important, that in the aftermath of the Maduro regime that Guaido and his successors don´t just set up some tribunals to punish some scapegoats and some persons  for an emotional lynchmob, but to have some sort of ideological tribunal, some sort of ideological truth commission.


Two main ideologies, neoliberalism and Chavisim are the interactive poles of the movement of the Venezulanian society and Latinamerica, if not the world. If Guaido just starts a new neoliberal policy and perpetuates the pro-Gringo attitude of his successors, he will also be history in the mid and long term. Some kind of Neochavism will come up or the ther way: Some sort of rihgtwinged populism Bolsanrao-Brasil-style. On the other side it is interesting to see, that the Chavistas are already spliting into two factions.


One faction portrays the Chavez rule as the true golden era while Maduro „betrayed“ the revolution similar to Marxists who try to save the myth of the Bolshewik revolution by creating the legend that intentionally good democratic and human Lenin and Trotzky were betrayed by the brutal dictator and mass murderer Stalin. Message: Back to the roots and let´s have another, but better Bolivarian revolution. A new Chavez for a new and true Bolivarian revolution. The question will be whether the Venezulanian people including disillusioned Chavatistas will buy that story. The other faction makes no distinction, but portrays the failure of the socialist experiment not as systemic result, but as the product of Yankee imperialism, an US lead economic war including the international fall of the oil prices.

For the USA it is important if such a split occurs what will be the grand narrative of the failure of the Bolivarian revolution and how it could promote or even exploit this possible split. However in the case of an US intervention both factions might unite as the first patriotic priority was to expell the foreign Yankee invaders from the Venezulanian homeland, unite and settle the dispute afterwards . But also the other result was possible: Version one could bring parts of the Chavistas against Maduro and an insurgency in order to have the option that another , but true Bolivarian revolution could be the solution for a possibly failing Guaido goverment in the future . Version 2 would seek its solution in an insurgency and portray it as an antiimperialist struggle for national sovereignity.

Maybe toppling Maduro is the easier job. Winning the war or a regime change might not be so important as winning the peace and the aftermath, not only in Venezuela, but within the Latinamerican left. Therefore the USA should think in the longterm and have a plan for the days after Maduro..The USA should not perform a “ The winner takes it all“ attitude and kick Russia and China out of Venezuela and just replace their investment by US capital- similar to NATO and EU expansion after the fall of the Sovjetunion and according to Fukuyama´s „The End of history“. Venezuela will be a showcase, what „America first“means and if it will be just some sort of „Rip-off“-intervention the USA will be resisted in other parts of the world too.

Chavez came in power because the former conservative and democratic parties were corrupt, enlargened the income gap and social inequality and let the USA exploit Venzeulanian oil at low costs. Many people, especially the poor admired Chavez for his socialist programme and the social programmes from healtinsurance to education at the beginning and this experience is still alive in the memory of parts of the Venzulanian society. Therefore a synthesis between the neoliberal and the socialist experience could be some sort of compessionate conservatism or social democratic programme. The question will be if the neoliberal Trumpadministration and Guaido or another successor will learn this lesson and if they are interested in such a policy. If Guaido reproduces the neoliberal experience and the USA is not perceived as benign hegemon, but egoistic invader and greedy exploiter and neoliberal capitalist supporter of a puppet regime, this would create bad blood in the Venezulanian people and with Russia and China. Therefore the USA should choose a generous approach.

More important is that the inventor of the „socialism of the 21st century“, the German sociologist Heinrich Dieterich who was Chavez inspiratior and adviser tries to save his socialism of the 21st century by claiming that Chavez and Maduro betrayed his ideas and concept. While his „socialism of the 21st century“ proposed a mixed economy, Chavez and Maduro were propagating a pure state capitalism. Both weren´t follwoing his idea, Chavez as Maduro, while Maduro was even a „mix between Maoism and Cuaban socialism“. Maybe a good idea was if the USA and the Latinamerican left uses Heinrich Dieterich as an advocate for a Latinamerican socialdemocracy and is holding a ideological tribunal tour throughout Latinamerica „What are the lessons of the Venezulanian experiment?“. Therefore some sort of depopularisation and de-Chavistasation of the Latinamerica left could be a result. Heinrich Dieterich is at the moment professor at a Mexican univeristy and hopes that new Mexican president Obrador will listen to his idea of „socialism of the 21st century, not as statesocialism and dictatorship as in Venezuela but as mixed economy und a presidental democracy.


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