Jeezus. Just when I thought Alan Garcia could sink no lower…he sank lower. Aporrea explains:
The president of Peru, Alan Garcia, celebrated the failure of a police strike promoted “by communists” today. He made this statement without proof, and without identifying either organizations or persons involved.
The statement was rejected by the secretary-general of the Peruvian Communist Party (PCP), Renán Raffo, who denied that his organization had anything to do with the matter, and said that the accusation was a piece of sophistry to cover up Garcia’s governmental ineptitude in the face of social problems.
The president made the declaration while asserting that the police were on duty as usual, in spite of reports of a 24-hour strike by a supposed clandestine “Peruvian Police Union”.
According to Garcia, “Communism has failed in its attempt to create disorder and chaos” by way of a police strike.
Isn’t this just so typical? It’s like a play lifted verbatim from the manual of a corporate kleptocrat. When it becomes obvious that you’re a bungler–blame communism! Capitalism sucks? Blame communism! Your glorious neo-con economic panacea isn’t working? Blame communism! For every failure of the “free market”–blame communism!
Blaming communism is wonderfully convenient, after all. It means you never have to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I made mistakes. I am accountable. I will change my ways.” It also means you never have to acknowledge that the measures you claimed were infallible…are very fallible indeed.
But wait. I thought communism was dead as of 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Everyone says so. So why blame a dead and discredited political ideology, then? Could Garcia be tacitly admitting that communism is not so dead after all?
Or is he just trying to tar a not-so-dead rival with the communist brush?
Without referring to any organization, Garcia claimed that the political current had taken up confusing positions, seeking to end economic and social advancement, and was attempting to attack national security and order.
Using a series of anticommunist ideological attacks, he claimed that communism “is surely being financed by briefcases and envelopes full of money from abroad.”
He later added that “certain politicians, those who don’t know how to give up, are knocking on barracks doors to see how to destroy alternatives in Peru.”
He was apparently alluding to the retired lieutenant-colonel, Ollanta Humala, leader of the opposition Nationalist Party, which denied any involvement in the rumored police strike.
Aha…I thought so. Ollanta is on friendly terms with Chavecito, and everyone “knows” what a communist HE is! Even before Ollanta lost the elections, Chavecito offered him leadership advice and even presented him with a replica of Bolivar’s sword, just as he did with Evo Morales. Ergo, Ollanta must be a communist too!
Only, of course, that’s bullshit. Chavecito heads up the newly formed United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which is a conglomeration of several older, smaller leftist parties. The well-established Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) is still a separate party, although it supported Chavez and still does. The PCV remains separate due to fundamental ideological differences with the PSUV. Therefore, Chavez is not a communist. He may have electoral support from communists, but that is not the same thing as actually being one himself.
(And please, spare me the tired guilt-by-association-with-Fidel argument. If that were true, Canada would have to be “communist”, too. Our late, great prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was also friends with Fidel, despite their sharp political differences. Some wackos may claim that all Liberals are communists, but they’re forgetting that we have at least three communist parties up here–all of them tiny–and they all agree on one thing: that they hate the Liberals with a passion.)
Likewise, Ollanta Humala is no communist. He’s not in the Peruvian Communist Party, but heads up a very different one: the Nationalist Party. A Nationalist AND a Communist, at the same time? Um, yeah. Riiiiiiiiight.
What Garcia doesn’t want to admit is that the opposition to him runs much deeper than just a few radicals in the police, or a few radical ex-army officers, or a reconstituted guerrilla movement ostensibly declared dead in the 1990s. The progressive movement in Peru is decades old and rooted in ancient economic injustices, and one of its most prominent faces is a soldier Chavecito greatly admires: General Juan Velasco Alvarado.
Of course, Velasco also was friendly with Fidel, and in resistance to US imperialism in the region (with which he was all too familiar, as a graduate of the SOA), he wound up buying military hardware from the only other party selling it, namely the Russians. Who, at that time, were known as the Soviets.
Oh nooooooo, COMMUNISM!!!
See how easy it is to fall into that mindset? Never mind that Velasco was no communist himself. Associations alone, it seems, are enough for some people to level that accusation.
And when they can’t do that without compromising credibility in hysterical diatribes, they do what this carefully veiled neo-con page does: claim that Ollanta, another progressive former soldier, will succumb to the following Velasco’s “disastrous macroeconomic policies, failed agrarian reform, and…nationalization of inefficient industries.” They forget that Ollanta now has a much more successful, and recent, example to follow in that hellacious quick study, Hugo Chavez. (Contrast that to Alan Garcia, who seems to have learned nothing in the years since he was last disastrously in power!)
Another thing the neo-cons won’t acknowledge is why Velasco’s policies failed: Not because they were such bad ideas in general (they weren’t), but because the ailing general picked the wrong battles in particular, and then had to go into debt to finance his mishandled reforms. This ultimately lost him the support of the people.
But as always, it behooves us to follow the money. The IMF and World Bank, as we’re all well aware by now, are not the most disinterested lenders. They have a tendency to attach all kinds of odious “conditionalities” to their loans. One of them is privatization of what was nationalized. (Apparently, nationalized industries are too “communist” for the Bretton Woods people’s liking!)
And of course, what no one is talking about is how Velasco’s “democratic” successors (one of whom was the very ex-president he overthrew) fucked up. His reforms were dismantled by the very people who promised to deepen them and get them right. And let’s not forget that the cute, cuddly little neo-con, Alberto Fujimori, made the existing debt a great deal worse with his own corruption. Alejandro Toledo squandered opportunities to do real good by bowing down to the IMF. The business class loved him, but they were the only ones who did by the end of Toledo’s tenure. Everyone else was hopelessly alienated.
Don’t anyone look for significant improvement from Alan Garcia; we already know what bag he comes out of. He is wilfully blind to the broad, popular unrest that poverty creates where no amount of left-wing propaganda ever could. He thus fits an existing pattern of blaming unrest on “subversives” rather than his own failed policies.
And all his shouts of “Communism!!!” won’t change that.