Of Coups and Socialist Regimes…

The clashing ideals of the left and right wings  have caused many governments to be hostile to each other. The many clashes of the two ideologies remain present today within the Latin America and the Caribbean as it was decades ago (to a far greater extent).

In 1973, a coup was orchestrated against first Marxist president in Latin America, President Salvador Allende of Chile; whose only real crime was nationalization of state resources. Then US President, Richard Nixon, feared that Chile would become “another Cuba”. Aide was subsequently cut off and support given to Allende’s opponents even as he sought to create a more equitable Chile for all. According to declassified documents relating to the coup,  President Nixon would have ordered the CIA to make the Chilean economy scream to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him. (National Security Archive, GWU) 

Marxist President Salvador Allende: Chile (1970-3)

A CIA document released in 2000 would have supported the claim that the CIA actively supported the rise of the military junta of Augusto Pinochet. 

Taking it home, Democratic Socialist Prime Minister Michael Manley saw many underhanded tactics used to undermine his own quest for equity in Jamaica. As one would expect, the classists and capitalists could not deal with the masses having their own bit of wealth through ownership of their own land, educational opportunities inter alia. There is no declassified document to suggest a direct request to make Jamaica’s economy scream but it did scream like Chile’s. One would then wonder the veracity behind some of the claims that there was much external influence geared towards toppling the Manley regime. 

Did Michael Manley destroy the economy as some would posit or were his efforts undermined by partnerships between external and internal forces that would fabricate any claim against his administration to see it toppled? Like Chile, there was a concern that Jamaica would become “another Cuba” under Manley; like Chile, the economy did scream; like Chile, the socialist regime was toppled (not by military junta but by election violence which struck fear into the masses). The truth about this we may never see in black and white but the truths of Manley’s programmes for equity and equality still stand today in human forms and tangible legislations.

Fidel Castro and Michael Manley in one of their many 1970s meetings

  In 2011, the Libyan regime’s Socialist President, Muammar al-Gaddafi was also toppled by power hungry rebels who were granted assistance by the West. Under the Gaddafi regime, his countrymen flourished with state resources redistributed for the benefit of all; state provided housing, free electricity inter alia. 

Today, Libya stands socially inequitable with two governments and many militias (after distributing guns to rebels, criminals, how does one retrieve them?) Libya today remains in the utter chaos which has befell it since 2011 and it is said that many who revolted; being now in abject poverty recognize that the Gaddafi regime was looking out for their best interest. Gaddafi was the biggest proponent of the United States of Africa and the redistribution of African wealth to benefit Africans. 

 Young Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi
Obama admitted that not preparing for the post Gaddafi era in Libya was possibly his biggest mistake as president. I find Obama to be a much more peaceful president than his predecessors and I hold the view that he was probably nudged in his relatively young presidency back in 2011 but a war ensued. He has then exercised much care about intervention since then, however, an intervention was done and I doubt the Libyans, who still face chaos and live in everyday fear of rebels and militants kept at bay by Gaddafi, would be very forgiving of the President for the mistake 

 Fast forward to 2016, what is described as a coup under the guise of impeachment was orchestrated against Dilma Rousseff, Socialist President of Brazil. Allegations have been raised against former VP and now President  Michel Temer and questions emerged on his own character and role in the coup following the publication of a Wikileaks document where it was alleged that he had been an US informant. As allegations of corruption rage against Temer, we are led to wonder if this “coup” allegedly orchestrated by him was on a matter of principle as impeachment proceedings have purported. 

 Impeached Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
Possibilities of a coup in Venezuela remain an everyday threat to the elected government as the country now faces a crisis (manufactured or real) and opposition forces take the lead in organizing revolts. Notable among those forces is the two time defeated presidential candidate Henrique Capriles who seems determined to get power by all means as he now nudges the military to choose his side and lead a coup d’etat against the Maduro regime. 

Maduro and his many ambassadors maintain that external forces are attempting to overthrow his government through support for revolutionary groups. It seems of recent that Maduro has been battling to hold on to power granted to him by the electorate for six years back in 2013. 

The view created that socialism and capitalism cannot content in this world is flawed. The view that everyone must subscribe to the “western” ideals of government is erroneous. And the image painted of socialist nations where a true attempt at equity is made is most times blurry. It is a world where several ideas and beliefs are contending and left should also be given its space to contend. 

With Cuba being the only Latin America/Caribbean country to maintain a regime dissimilar to that of the USA for a great many decades, I wait with bated breath to see the Venezuelan situation (manufactured or real) unfold. Is this the last hurrah for Maduro and the near 2 decade Chavista government? While that happens, however, beneficiaries of cheap oil through PetroCaribe must band together and support our sister nation as she faces a crisis (manufactured or real). 

AK DIXON

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3 thoughts on “Of Coups and Socialist Regimes…

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  1. ‘The attempt to build an egalitarian society begins with the dismantling of the citadels of privilege’ (M Manley, 1977). Many interests don’t want to se that happen and they conspire to dismantle those who express such goals instead. Same thing happened in British Guiana before independence when London established direct rule and out Jagan under house arrest, because Guiana was going to become ‘another Cuba”.

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