Ideology can transform man into a monster. In December 1999, when the Venezuelan northern coast towns of Macuto to Naiguatá were reduced to rubble by mudslides, then President Hugo Chavez refused the U.S. aid that was already close to the coast because of his ideological hared of the United States. His ambassador to the U.S. at the time, Alfredo Toro Hardy, went to the Washington media to justify this act of horror. Today we see men and women similarly abandoning principles and honesty because of ideology. On the one side we have heard at least three prominent leaders and presidential pre-candidates of the Democratic Party siding with Maduro, a proven dictator who has stolen millions and repressed cruelly the Venezuelan people. This is the case of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They are either totally ignorant about the Venezuelan situation or, if knowledgeable, they are being deeply dishonest due to blind ideology. On the other side we see Maduro and his accomplices placing trucks and containers across the roads leading into Colombia to stop the entry of urgently required medical supplies and food to alleviate the tragedy of Venezuelans. These men and women allow fanaticism and irrational ideology to suppress all normal humanitarian instincts they might have possessed.
I share values from both the Democratic and the Republican parties and place great importance on the character and human qualities of the candidates. I am sad to see that nowadays objectivity and intellectual honesty have been largely sacrificed by U.S. politicians on both sides of the political spectrum. I fail to understand how Sanders, who defines himself as a man for the common people, says: “The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination for the Venezuelan people. We should not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups—as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.” What Mr. Sanders calls self-determination in Venezuela is the type of rigged elections that have maintained the current regime in power for two decades. He is a prisoner of ideological clichés, blind to the fact that 95% of the Venezuelan people are asking for Maduro’s removal from power due to his ilegitimacy, corruption and ineptness. Tulsi Gabbard exclaimed: “We are headed down a dangerous path. The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela and let the Venezuelan people determine their own future”. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said: “Top of FormBottom of Formthe US should not anoint the leader of the opposition in Venezuela during an internal, polarized conflict. Let us support Uruguay, Mexico, & the Vatican’s efforts for a negotiated settlement and end sanctions that are making the hyperinflation worse.” She probably does not know that Uruguay’s support of Maduro is not only ideological but due to the fact that Uruguayan president’s son, Javier, has done profitable business with the Maduro regime. Mexico is the only democratic countries in Latin America that still supports the Maduro regime due to the ideological affinities between Maduro and Lopez Obrador.
Latin American dictators and/or corrupt leaders belong to both sides of the ideological fence. They can be from the right as Trujillo, Somoza, Castillo Armas, Pinochet or Pérez Jiménez. They can be from the left, as Castro, Chavez, Maduro, Ortega, Lula, Kirchner or Roussef. To defend this corrupt bunch only because they represent a given ideology is a sign of political corruption and disqualifies whoever does it in the eyes of citizens who believe in honest politics.