Fear Itself in the Americas ????
By Beatrice E. Rangel
Change nurtures fear. Indeed, ever since homo sapiens settled leaving behind the life of hunting and gathering, a preference for stability settled in his brain. People like to be able to wake up and initiate a routine that is known and predictable. This was magnificently portrayed in the Disney motion film “Mary Poppins’ by Mr Banks the father of the children that had this legendary character as nanny. Mr Banks described his life as a perfectly organized rendition of a secure and immutable routine that starts at 6:00 a.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. when he jumped to bed . Mr Banks describes this routine as “ how pleasant is the life I lead…. I run my home precisely on schedule.” And for many decades the inhabitants of developed societies shared with Mr Banks the joys of predictable routines and control over their daily lives.
Enter technology first in transportation means and then in gathering , processing and transmitting information and Mr Banks’ routine crashes . Distant realities come to bear in our small world either because we are constantly exposed to then through the social and mass media or because they spread unknown and difficult to fight single cell organisms that can make our life painful. Then there is violence. As income grows in some regions of the world while leaving behind others institutional fragility sets into nation states. The left behind increasingly resorts to unconventional means to access income.
These means usually imply abusing the masses to benefit elites. Violence sets in first against their own people and at a later stage against the world. The process is enriched by organized crime’s penetration that uses these nations as safe haven. As the international dimension seems every day to grow in hostility and danger isolationism sets in. And nationalism follows and supremacy thoughts begin to fly. Given that most people do not understand the essence of change they begin to fear every turn of events seeing in them destitution and loss of freedom and rule of law. They thus begin to arm themselves emotionally, philosophically and politically to fight change.
Once fear sets in, people stops functioning normally as it acts as a barrier to logical thinking while preferring explanations that clearly identify a culprit. This is simpler to handle, as once you identify a culprit, his/her elimination is the recipe to solve the predicament. In Ruanda-Burundi the withdrawal of Belgium through UN sponsored decolonization convinced the Hutu that all power was to be transferred to the Tutsi minority and violently reacted to this perception that did not survive a reality check . The civil war toll was about 300,000 people including children The Balkan nations were convinced that Prussia was about to annihilate them on account of its territorial appetite and as punishment for the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. And the world went through one of the most destructive conflicts ever to take place in history.
In America nations south of the Rio Grande have suffered from occasional bouts of collective fear. These have invariably been triggered by internecine fights among the elites. And wars have ravaged the land up and until a leader emerges that established a modus vivendi among the elites. This entente is broken by economic and technology change and violence seems to come back to the land of Columbus.
Today fear is clearly thriving in several latitudes of the Americas. In the US the lack of clear project to confront change is spreading fear among its citizens. Long gone are the days of the leadership that faced change head on and the led the Americans through the most successful period of their history with peace and prosperity for all. In Latin America organized crime has taken over politics to inject fear in most democratic leaders and their populations. This development is holding at ransom freedom and democracy in spots such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia. And this development seems to advance without encumbrances to create the first major humanitarian tragedy in Venezuela that will pale those of Ruanda-Burundi , the Balkans and even China at the dawn of the 20th century.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday, April 1st. 2019
*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*