The Venezuelan narco-state kicks open its closet door
Long time readers of this blog know it: Venezuela suffers under a dictatorship where drug traffic has played a major role, promoting corruption and the over all break up of the constitutional state. Yet, as long as Chavez was alive a fiction of democracy was maintained, a fiction where someone that was not a direct drug dealer was in charge. This week end events about how the Venezuelan regime used some of the worst thuggish ways to get back one of its capo taken away in Aruba prove beyond doubt that we are not into dissimulation anymore, this is an out and proud narco-state.
This post is not a translation of the preceding one even though the title are the same. Instead let’s do an exercise in how to define a narcostate. Indeed, we are past the labels of XXI century fascism, neo-totalitarian or dictatorship regime. A narco-state requires an additional set of descriptions.
Historically in the Americas Venezuela may be the second official narco-state, the first one having been Panama under Noriega. We must note that heavy drug traffic influence in politics does not make a country a narco-state. For example the rule of law, as weak as that one may be, still holds sway in Mexico, Colombia, and even Honduras to name some of the potential candidates. A narco-state is the one where the upper hand in decision making is to protect drug traffic and its personnel. That does not mean traffickers rule directly: they are too busy making money to partake in the day to day matters of state. Their objective is that this state does not trouble their system, besides the occasional drug catch to quiet down international outrage, something duly taken as normal loss/expenses in accounting.
There is also a difference between narco-states in the Americas and those in Asia. There greed was the basic drive in Asia, though opium was used against imperial China. In the Americas greed is supplemented by anti US, or even anti Occidental values. The radical left here has embraced drug traffic as a way to get at the United States. And they have been helped along by the Cuban regime of the criminal Castro brothers. The longest tyranny in the Americas has been the one in Cuba which has offered haven for all sorts of defeated guerrillas and narco-guerrillas on the run. Including hiding the booty as long as the Castros got a take. The poster group has been the Colombian FARC who know pushes the chutzpah at negotiating a supposed peace deal with the Colombian government from Havana itself.
With the arrival of Chavez in Venezuela the Castro got the ideal student. A military coup monger, an abundant hot air producer, sitting on an oil stash that allowed a fake populist democracy, there was no need to rely on the unpalatable drugs for political financing. Unfortunately Chavez hanging around the FARC and harboring Bolivarian continental delirium brought inside Venezuela drug traffic. First to help the FARC and then as a bona fide local business where the Venezuelan armed forces took the lion’s share.
It is too early to know when the transit to narco-state caught on in earnest. I personally think it started before Chavez was reelected in 2006. And it sped up fast after that. In 2007 a constitutional referendum that failed was designed to put all power into the hands of Chavez, making controls irrelevant. But that failure just postponed the changes through unconstitutional laws. By the time a dying Chavez was reelected in 2012 Venezuela had ceased to be a democracy. This blog is one of the many witnesses.
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