2015 Began the recouping of democracy
CARLOS SÁNCHEZ BERZAIN*
The economic crisis caused by; the failed centralist and statesmen driven model, by corruption used as an institutional policy of the State, the imprisonment and exile of political figures, narcotics trafficking, violation of the free press, the loss of credibility of heads of State turned dictators just to indefinitely remain in power, in a nutshell: by all the features of the 21st Century Socialism regarding the violation of human rights and the destruction of the rule of law denounced and accumulated in these past years, have made 2015 the launching point in the restoration of democracy in the Americas.
Some of the most notable events have been: The resounding electoral victory of the democratic opposition in Venezuela, obtaining two thirds of the seats in their Legislative Assembly on December the 6th, dealing a decisive defeat to the dictatorship at home and placing at risk and jeopardizing the economic survival of the Cuban dictatorship, and the unmasking of its puppet Maduro. The electoral victory of Mauricio Macri in Argentina thus ending the Kirchner's government that was supported by, and aligned to, the 21st Century Socialism, and the international standing assumed by the new Argentinean chief executive in defense of the principles and values of democracy. The awakening of the new General Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS). The grass roots' victory against corruption coupled with the highest electoral voter turnout in Guatemala. The defeat of Evo Morales and his candidates in the mayoral and gubernatorial elections in Bolivia in spite of electoral fraud. The massive popular mobilizations against the dictatorial government in Ecuador that, in spite of harsh repression, was able to force Rafael Correa to partially backtrack on his intention to get reelected indefinitely. The fight against corruption at the highest levels in Brazil that is now testing their institutional system. The yet shy and timid rupture of silence by some Latin-American presidents regarding the lack of democracy in countries comprising the 21st Century Socialism. The emergence of greater citizenry involvement and demands in Cuba that reveal to the world the increasing repression by the dictatorship.
There are lots of notable events, but there are many more -some almost anonymous- that have occurred in 2015 and have been added to the long list in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, that deal with the absolute loss of credibility and make evident the abuse, violations, and corruption of these governing dictators. People have developed an awareness of the true features and intentions of the dictators disguised as presidents and are gradually losing their fear. People's demands have become a constant and are bolder against the dictators' indefinite tenure by using their make-believe electoral processes. Denunciations against the use of the judicial system as a means of political repression and persecution have proliferated, there are increasing demands for political prisoners to be freed and for those in exile to be allowed to return, and proof of corruption and illicit enrichment by these strongmen and their families and friends are now multiplying. People have voiced against the notorious privileges that are bestowed in favor of the governing casts and their operators while the citizenry endures greater deprivation and hardship. The lack of freedom of the press and the intervention of the Castro regime are amply evident.
Mobilizations and demonstrations by those exiled and by residents abroad as a means to show solidarity with the fight for freedom and democracy have notably taken place in Miami, New York, Madrid, Paris, London, and other important capital cities throughout the world, against these non-democratic governments, their deceit and abuse. Faced with the silence from democratic presidents there has been an emergence of solidarity of their people who have pressured their governments to take a stand on this issue. Notable international intellectuals and journalists have denounced the dictatorships. The technological revolution and use of the social media have shown the dictatorial regimes' failures and have cornered those governments who cannot totally control them.
The international media has played an important role by providing coverage of events in which the defenders of the Cuban, Venezuelan, Ecuadorean, Bolivian, and Nicaraguan regimes showed their unwillingness to appear in broadcasts or interviews, or by -when they did appear- showing their abusive, extremist, unsustainable, and unacceptable stands and points of view. The fight against narcotics trafficking has touched the power cores of these dictatorships' strongmen, such as the case of the nephews of Maduro's First Lady in Venezuela, or Evo Morales' antidrug czar in Bolivia.
Change in 2015 is momentous with far reaching implications because it has turned out to be the year of the breakthrough, the point of inflection that has begun the recouping of democracy in the Americas. It has plotted a path of no return which will end only with the restoration of freedom and democracy in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. Argentina is already in such a plotted path, showing that things are better with democracy, transparency, responsibility, and political alternation in Government.
This past 2015 has been the year of people's awareness in defense of their rights, affirmed by the fact that governments who are enemies of democracy can be, and must be, democratically toppled, removed from government, and be held accountable for their actions. Dictators of the 21st Century Socialism are left as evidence, without credibility, startled, without the disguise of democracy by their abuse and corruption, without answers to solve the crises they have created and are responsible for, without sufficient resources to patronage populist loyalties and the perks that have sustained them, under the suspicion of illicit enrichment, and attempting to control this situation with the methodology of Castro's regime interventionism, in a true betrayal to the homeland.
* Attorney and political scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy