By Clodovaldo Hernández – Sep 3, 2022
In my opinion* any high-profile public official or revolutionary leader who wants to start off an accusation against someone like Rafael Ramírez on the right foot should do so by first making it clear that he or she believed, up to a certain moment, not only that this gentleman was innocent, but also that he was a fundamental leader of the Bolivarian process. Whoever makes this prior mea culpa will strengthen his or her accusation. Whoever does not do so will weaken it.
President Nicolás Maduro has expressed his contrition. In an interview with several journalists some time ago, he admitted that it was a mistake to have blocked the investigation proposed by the opposition against the National Assembly, and he accepted that he and others had acted that way because of what he called “automatic solidarity.” Now, when the accusation has been formalized, it is essential—in my opinion—for him to reiterate that he had “sinned” in case someone had missed the first one.
Of course, doing what I recommend in my humble opinion has a political cost. For example, people may believe that the person who makes such a statement has been “caught by a lasso,” as my teacher Israel Esquetine León used to say, back in the Liceo Felipe Fermín Paúl in Antímano. And it is logical for them to believe so, because if a guy steals a few million bolívars nobody may notice, but “you have to see his face” (this was one of my mother’s expressions) to realize what it means to appropriate more than $4 billion and go unnoticed. He would have to be a true artist in theft, or someone surrounded by twits.
Well, by admitting to having been caught by the lasso, the complainant will look bad, according to a certain traditional way of looking at politics. But from another angle, he or she will be vindicated, because it takes courage to admit something like that! It must be remembered that Comandante Chávez forged his political career with an admission of guilt on that February 4.
Furthermore, whoever does as President Maduro did may point to their own good faith, saying that they were tricked by the clever thief and not that they had looked the other way, much less that they were an accomplice. Of course, many people will not believe them, just as a good part of the country did not believe that other president, Jaime Lusinchi, who signed what was supposedly the best refinancing of foreign debt in world history and then excused himself by saying “the banks tricked me.” But it seems to me (this is my opinion) that whoever does not utter this “my bad!” looks worse in the eyes of the people.
By admitting—like President Maduro already did—that Mr. Thief had thrown dust in their eyes, the complainants could give a rational explanation as to why, when they had finally removed Ramírez from PDVSA, the Ministry of Petroleum, and one of the sectoral vice-presidencies, they did not send him to Siberia (as Joseph Stalin would have done), but rewarded him with the post of the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, with an office in New York and direct contact with the whole gringo gang. How dangerous was that!
The facts must be said as they are, and in this case, the accused did not leave the country in a hurry with suitcases full of dollars in a Sacred Cow, like that dictator Perez Jiménez, but was sent to represent the country in the belly of the empire and the international system.
Claiming to be victims of an impostor could also justify the incontrovertible fact that they defended him until well into 2016, going to the extreme of claiming that the man was the victim of a smear campaign.
Others, by alleging that Ramírez made them believe in his innocence, could explain the laudatory tweets they issued at the time about the character who, by the way, supposedly embodied the ideological hardline of the government, the true left of the process… and then ended up living in a palace in Italy and legitimizing the “sanctions” of the United States against his former party and cabinet colleagues.
And look, in order not to look so bad, those who behaved this way count on the mother of all excuses: the trust that Comandante Chávez had in Ramírez. In fact, it is the argument they use in private conversations. They tell you: “And how do you want one to distrust him, if Chávez endorsed him?”
This consideration is almost irrefutable. According to my second most favorite political scientist, Eva Ritz Marcano, when Chávez returned from Cuba practically to say goodbye and to make clear his instructions for the succession (December 2012), instead of saying Nicolás Maduro, he could have anointed Rafael Ramírez, because the latter was a top-level player in the first division of that league. Marcano, by the way, maintains (speculating wildly, of course, because she has no proof) that Chávez would have never chosen him, among other reasons, because of the lack of charisma of the character in question, something essential in a candidate. Well, she actually said it in a colloquial way: “The guy is heavier than a necklace of balls of [the game of] bolas criollas.” I, who interviewed her once for Correo del Orinoco, certify that she made the statement.
[Chávez made a lot of mistakes in giving his maximum trust to some people. Think, for example, Luis Miquilena, Jesús Urdaneta, and the gang of generals full of good intentions, or some who turned against him and then were forgiven, such as Francisco Arias Cárdenas and Hermann Escarrá. But that is another subject, and a very thorny one, by the way].
In any case, those of us who believe that corruption is the greatest threat to the revolutionary process (one that can destroy it from within) approve the filing of the complaint against Ramírez and his cronies, because in these matters, delay is bad, but better late than never.
However, along with the applause, it must be noted that when too much time is allowed to pass to initiate an investigation on such a huge matter, difficult questions arise, which can be summarized in one: why now? And when trying to answer this macro-question, hypotheses appear that do a lot of harm, not only to the accused, but also to the accuser and to the system of which both are or were a part.
It is necessary to make these remarks because some of the spokespersons of these type of complaints want every revolutionary to come out in support of the delayed accusation but refrain from asking questions about the delay. We cannot please them here because the timeline is fundamental. We will continue to ask questions.
*It is redundant to begin an opinion article with the syntagma “in my opinion” and to reiterate it several times, because people know that an opinion article contains the individual point of view of its author: that is, it does not pretend to be objective journalism, but a completely subjective text.
It is redundant, but it is necessary to do so to make it clear. And it is an anticipated response, perhaps, because a perverse mechanism operates in these matters: there are those who want to make it seem that if you do not unconditionally support the denunciation it is because you are in favor of the accused or, even worse, because that person has bribed you. It is blackmail from any point of view, but one has the right to avoid such crude manipulations. What is needed here is debate, not choral music or more automatic solidarity. The president already said so, just in case.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Venezuelan journalist and writer. He writes regularly for La IguanaTV, Supuesto Negado and Mision Verdad.
Clodovaldo Hernandez#molongui-disabled-linkFebruary 2, 2021