Trump against Maduro: the battle for the worst interpretation of Socialism
One inherited a hollow socialist revolution and condemned his country to the most critical levels of poverty. The other desperately needs to counterattack its internal opposition and is a constant and resonant political paradox. Both fail dangerously in the one concept they fixate on: socialism.
One need not know quantum physics to understand that President Trump's firm stance toward Venezuela has, only and exclusively, to do with his re-election campaign in 2020.
To believe otherwise, that there exists a genuine desire to help the Venezuelan people within an administration that has used Latin American immigrants as scapegoats, and promotes regional isolationism, would be a deception the size of a cathedral.
When listening to Trump's most recent speech on Monday regarding the circumstances Venezuela is living through, one word in particular, resounded above all others: socialism.
“Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on,” Trump said while speaking at Florida International University. “The socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they’ve had a chance to rule. The results have been catastrophic.”
According to Vox, Trump mentioned the word "socialist" nine times and "socialism" 20 times, while he only said "Maduro" 10 times.
Following the success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for Congress last year, during which she defined herself as a "Democratic Socialist," it’s plain to see why Trump is manufacturing yet another drummed-up enemy to add to his re-election campaign.
Democratic presidential campaigns such as Senator Elizabeth Warren's and, now, that of Senator Bernie Sanders, give new ammunition to the propaganda of the White House, which has seen in Venezuela the ideal scenario to "fight" against demons falsely imported into the national territory.
Just hours after Sanders announced his candidacy, the Trump campaign "issued a statement against Sanders' leftist ideology and compared it to Maduro's," Vox reported.
“Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism,” Kayleigh McEnany, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary, said in an emailed statement. “But the American people will reject an agenda of sky-high tax rates, government-run health care, and coddling dictators like those in Venezuela.”
One thing is clear: the Chavez regime in Venezuela did adopt the banner of Soviet-type communist socialism for years. In fact, those proposals were fundamental in Hugo Chávez's victory in 1998.
However, neither the late Venezuelan president's interpretation of Marx’s Capital, nor the threats made by the current American one are accurate.
What Chávez badly called "Socialism of the 21st Century" was a fallacy that allowed the ruling elite to fill their pockets while the people were subjected to poverty common to all, once the middle class was destroyed.
There was nothing similar to the premises of Heinz Dieterich Steffan, who in 1996 coined the terms "regional democratic developmentalism, economy of equivalences, participatory democracy or grassroots organizations,” ideas largely shared by politicians like Bernie Sanders.
Dieterich himself said that such socialism "does not exist in Venezuela", either because of a "lack of will," or because of an absence of a "real subjective capacity for socialist transformation.”
To raise political projects based on ideals, and not on the urgent needs of the people, is one of the greatest and most perpetuated inconsistencies in politics today.
On the other hand, the antipathy of the American president for the written word in any format simply removes from the formula the possibility that his criticism is anything more than an internally coordinated strategy to maintain his electoral base, much less a feature of his political philosophy.
If Donald Trump and Nicolás Maduro have something in common at this point, it’s that neither of them hold the slightest idea of what socialism means - their demagoguery is simply an attempt to perpetuate their holds on power, in countries across the Caribbean from each other.