Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Picture Perfect

The picture speaks by itself. Two dictators side by side: on the left, Fidel Castro; on the right, Augusto Pinochet. The history pokes sometimes to the rulers, and here we have two completely different personalities in the same role, but appointed to meet face to face in that historic moment.Picture Perfect

Pinochet led an impeachment against the democratically-elected Salvador Allende in 1973, a few weeks after he was named Commander in Chief by the defeated. He held the power until the plebiscite of 1988 opened the door a democratic election in 1990.

Fidel Castro defeated Fulgencio Batista in 1959, after 1 year and a half of a successful guerrilla in Sierra Maestra. Sooner, after he took power, all his promises of Democracy and freedom were banished. In 1961, He declared Cuba as Socialist, and holding a long period of 17 years without any sign of formal institutionalization, in 1976 he established a new structure of power especially designed to keep him in power.

In Chile, Pinochet installed a strong government characterized by economic reforms, including an extensively privatization of every sector in the country, and banished every welfare institution. The policies established by him led what it is known as the “miracle of Chile”, but increased dramatically inequality. When he stepped down, Chile was one of the biggest economies in Latin America. His government was also a convulsive period of repression, violence and exile. Many Chileans had to escape abroad from the iron fist of the tyrant. August Pinochet got his way to power with the help of CIA and with the involvement of the US government.

In Cuba, Castro installed another strong government, but this time characterized by compulsory expropriation of the wealthiest families of Cuba and foreigner companies. He banished any trace of private business in every sector: economy, education, health care, industry, and bank. At the same time, he conducted many forms of irresponsible policies that led the country to periodical crisis, especially in 1970. Since the earliest 60’s, he held a close relationship with the Soviet Union that ended in the complete dependence of Cuba from them, leading to the collapse of its economy at every level with the disappearance of the Soviets. As Pinochet did, his government has been a convulsive period of repression, violence against dissidents and exile. He stepped down in 2007 as president of Cuba, transferring his power to his brother Raul as the typical gesture of a new royalty. Today, he is still pulling the threads of the power behind closed doors.

Against Pinochet all the leftist movements of the world led a huge and massive condemnation. Meanwhile, in the case of Castro, because his regime embraced populist policies many times shares for those associations, the world practically had closed its eyes. Many of the same intellectuals and politicians who condemned Pinochet ended celebrating with Castro and tied to his carriage.

It is the contradiction of the left-wing parties: they blast against rulers from the right-wing, but closed their eyes when the ruler is from their same side.

Meanwhile Pinochet and his regime were blasted as dictatorial and tyrannical, Castro has been walking the aisle of governments, United Nations and international institutions with the approval of celebrities, Nobel price writers and western politicians like Trudeau.

In the center of the storm, two nations have been victimized by two tyrants with the same goal: to be perpetuated in power. The details and the character of their policies could make them of different signs, but both are the picture perfect of a tyrant. Both deserve condemnation.