Carlos Sánchez Berzaín *

21st Century Socialism’ Dictatorships have launched an interesting political offensive inside the United States by trying to maintain the deception that they are democracies. They are presenting themselves as open countries with opportunities, with messages of peace, investment, security, tourism and economic success. They are spending a lot of money on professional and on influential public relations that are operated by a very expensive consortium. The rulers’ speeches and actions that once were that they were "combating the northern imperialism", are now operating a political and communicational strategy to improve their image with the country which they once declared their enemy.

The facts present Nicolas Maduro publishing in The New York Times on April 2 an article called "VENEZUELA: A CALL FOR PEACE", which - among other things - speaks of democracy, seeks to give the UNASUR sovereignty, states that the protests occurring are unconstitutional towards a "democratically" elected government, offers exchange of ambassadors to the United States, declares that it is time for dialogue, they present themselves as respectful of the law and state that Venezuela needs peace and dialogue.

It is very surprising that Maduro writes, and that he has such an opportunity to promulgate such a message to citizens of the “imperialism”; It is not surprising that Maduro does not mention how he violated all the Constitutionalism which he now defends, after he was instituted by his successor Chavez, who did not permit the counting of votes in an election contested by fraud that he allegedly won by a tiny margin. Maduro forgets that his Government has exiled tens of thousands of Venezuelans, who have obtained asylum and been welcomed in the United States; that he has political prisoners, i.e.: Leopoldo López among others; using the Judicial System-which he has total control of- as a mechanism of political persecution; violates freedom of the press and expression, being his last action against NTN24; that his regime does not recognize the democratic opposition ignoring Congresswoman Maria Corina’s status as such. In today’s Venezuela, the State violates human rights, there is no rule of law and they do not enforce or enact any of the essential elements of democracy.

On April 1st, the Government of Ecuador launched from New York a tourism campaign "All you need is Ecuador". It is seeking to attract investment and encourages - among other actions - a forum in Washington, DC on "treaties to invest in Latin America”. Rafael Correa will arrive in the United States and his Government has published an "academic calendar" starting on April 8th through the 12th at the universities of Harvard, Yale, MIT, and interviews with prestigious reporters from CBS, ABC and CNN. Rafael Correa surely refuses to discuss the exiles from his Government, such the case of journalist Palacio, violations contained in the Human Rights Watch Report, the confiscation of TV channels and media reported to IAPA (Interamerican Press Association), on the control of the Judicial System documented by Assemblyman Paez, persecution and raids of Assemblyman Jiménez and journalist Villavicencio for example just to name a few cases. He will not say anything regarding " The dictatorships of the 21st century: the Ecuadorian case" written by Ecuador former President Osvaldo Hurtado, or about dozens of cases which have proof that there is no "legal security" in his country and that there are no essential elements of democracy either.

On March 30th under the title "The great opportunity in South America Bolivia" published as a supplement in the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, in a offprint of 16 pages where entrepreneurs and Bolivian officials from sectors of trade in the auto, industrial, construction, telecommunications, tourism, finance and insurance industries are - without apparent involvement of the Government of Evo Morales - presenting the country as the second largest economy that is growing in "South America" and is encouraging and inviting investment.

Bolivia is mainly a mining country of gas and Agriculture and none of the companies in those industry sectors appeared in the publication, and it would be interesting to see this promotional campaign cost. The participants of the publication are all sectors that depend directly or indirectly from licenses, authorizations or favors from a Government that does not respect the rule of law, which promotes illegal coca cultivation and that is marked by corruption and violence. They do not inform potential investors that the dictatorship of the 21st century socialism in Bolivia has political exiles (entrepreneurs, judges, politicians, citizens, and military, Governors, Senator and citizens) in Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, United States and Spain. They do not mention the case of the US citizen Jacobo Östreicher,a  prisoner for 18 months and who had to escape from a Justice System controlled by Morales; that the anti-corruption Chief of Morales just was condemned by an American judge in Miami for extortion to a Bolivian businessman pursued in a case tried by the FBI; there are political prisoners in Bolivia.

Democracy advocates and victims of the dictatorships in each of these countries have the opportunity to speak up. It is worth and important to be aware and denounce the political offensive of the dictatorships of the socialism of the 21st century in the United States.

 April 3, 2014

 Lawyer and political scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy