Joe Stalin wasn't just an ordinary dictator, he was a very savvy one. He had to have been to have held on to power for over 30 years, succeed in outfoxing his rivals, and even be able to break the back of the vaunted Nazi Wehrmacht that turned the tide of the war in Europe and led to Hitler's demise. His political control at home and over his allied Warsaw Pact countries was best explained by the philosophy he reportedly once expressed: "It's not the people who vote that count; it's the people who count the votes."
That Stalinist wisdom and modus operandi surely applies to the elections just concluded in Colombia and Peru. Both nations have a majority of poor and indigenous people who want no part of a US imposed neoliberal "free market" way of doing things, and in a free and open election would never elect any candidate who did. So how come that's exactly what happened? On May 28, we're supposed to believe the Colombian people rejected a more moderate or democratic alternative and instead chose to reelect right wing hard-liner and close Bush ally Alvaro Uribe Velez who had to arrange for the constitution to be changed to allow him to run in the first place. And on June 4, lightning seemed to strike twice in one week as the people of Peru for some unexplained reason elected former disgraced president and economy-wrecker while he held office Alan Garcia who also happens to support the Washington Consensus and will dutifully surrender his nation's sovereignty to the Bush administration.
I hope readers of this web site don't buy any of this and are savvy enough to understand how smart Joe Stalin was. I'd also like to add my own strong view to what the former Soviet dictator may have said. It's not just who counts the votes that determines an election outcome, it's also who decides who's allowed to vote and who isn't. For many weeks before the Colombian and Peruvian elections, CIA, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), US Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Republican Institute (IRI) operatives were all over both countries setting in place the process needed to assure both their candidates won regardless of whether the majority of people wanted them. They clearly did not, and had they been allowed to vote and do it fairly would have defeated both Washington allied candidates who will do everything they can to support the interests of the US, its giant transnational corporations and their own elite and virtually nothing whatever to serve the needs of their own people.
But Alfredo and I see a similar future and not just in Colombia and Peru. The spirit and strength of Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution will one day spread throughout the region and eventually displace those alternatives that only serve wealth and power and do it at the expense of the people. The June 6 headline on a page 4 Wall Street Journal story that "In Peru Vote, Biggest Loser is Chavez" will one day prove embarrassingly wrong. But when today's WSJ gloat fades, you won't find that reported on its pages.
No system as corrupted as the US model that needs repression, imperial expansion and militarism to make it work can possibly survive. It's already in decline and will eventually crumble under its own weight. That's the fate of all houses made only of cards and not substance. In the case of Colombia and Peru, justice has only been delayed, not denied. A glorious, shinning day is ahead for all peoples in the Americas and beyond, and when it comes the spirit and legacy of Hugo Chavez and his glorious Bolivarian Revolution will have been vindicated.