I would like to comment about the statement that Carlos Alberto Montaner has issued these days defending himself from the last false accusations directed to him coming from Granma, the "official" Castro's regime newspaper. The reader has access to the content of the controversy in both links presented here. Therefore, I shall not repeat a word.
Nevertheless, I think there's a question about the whole thing that needs to be addressed here: Why this constant "hunting" of Mr. Montaner, a confessed democrat, and why in this last chapter Granma "brings him" face to face with Monsignor Ignacio Ellacuría?
I must confess that during my years as a student of Philosophy I never doubted the validity of Ellacuría's ideas. I used to believe that Christian socialism was the best alternative to Western corrupt and imperialistic democracies. But in the course of the last decade I came to the conclusion that this approach is totally mistaken, and that this error persists in most of the Latin American political left-wing. This has become the regional version of the Marxist class struggle at least since the early 60s of the last century.
I am convinced that the so-called "21st Century Socialism" is nothing more than a harmful perversion of the, on the other hand still valid, ethical imperative of the "preferable option for the poorest people" introduced by the Theology of Liberation (such concept, I would say, can be traced back to the 16th century with the whole process of Catholic Evangelization since Bartolomé de las Casas, with his defense of the Native Americans living under the rule of the Spanish Emperor; all this would finally crystallized in the Romanticistic category of the "good savage" during the 19th century): Hugo Chávez, following the model of Fidel Castro, can't help being a complete cynical. As of today, nobody can seriously believe that his economic model aims to rescue from poverty millions of Venezuelans. On the contrary, indicators are warning that the country will face bankruptcy in a very near future if nothing changes, an unwanted scenario that Cuba seemingly will not be able to avoid in 2010. But Chávez's speech is filled with indirect references to the Christian socialism, distorting it in his political disastrous action.
The cure for corruption cannot be class struggle but more democracy, more effective democratic institutions, radical separation of powers, and an effective offer and protection of Human Rights for all citizens (our college professors should teach more Tocqueville and less Marx). These elements, combine with some others, should represent the "lowest common denominator", the core for a much needed Social Contract in Latin America.
I also believe that this conception of democracy is present in Montaner's response to a disappointing Ellacuría during that TV panel show conducted by Mercedes Milá in 1984 (ref. to the video-clips contained in the "statement" link above). An excellent and brave defense of Western democracies and Human Rights in the middle of the Cold War, at a time when the two Superpowers were "chasing" each other mostly in Central American and Caribbean soil, and in a moment in which the (mistaken) option for socialism was hugely supported in that area.
I suppose that the brutal experience of Castro's dictatorship in his native Cuba was an eye-opener for Montaner stronger than any prevailing ideology. On the other hand, the interpretive horizon of Monsignor Ellacuría is that of the rampant misery in vast areas of Spanish America and the bloody war in El Salvador, country that could not or did not know how to escape from foreign interference. History had in store for El Salvador a macabre move so it had to sacrifice the already weakened system of liberties. The country turned then into one of the "theaters of military operations". Within this situation, Ellacuría became another unfortunate victim of such suppression of the constitutional state and of the disappearance of a real democracy in the Central American country.
Now, in response to why chasing down Montaner, Castro's despotic regime is interested in showing Ellacuría to the world as one of "its" martyrs in order to "frighten away" the ones that promote real democracy in Cuba. There can be nothing more evil than this cheap trick, especially when this dictatorship has systematically promoted since 1959 the suppression of Human Rights that left Monsignor Ellacuría and thousands of Salvadorans completely defenseless before the merciless instrumental rationality.
From my perspective, one of the lessons Latin America needs to learn from this is expressed in a questions that remains mostly unanswered: Why countries like El Salvador or Nicaragua could not avoid their respective wars in the 70s and 80s? Our America needs a big contract on democratic guarantees. That when our political leaders meet is for the sole purpose of creating together an authentic Latin American Community. The current supranational organizations such as MERCOSUR or ALBA do not propose anything in this direction because they are simply not capable of, or they are not interested in creating an effective democratic-economic union for the whole region. We, the citizens, have the right and the democratic duty to remind our representatives the reasons why we elected them for.
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