The article is indeed, interesting. I did enjoy this part:
And the hesitancy of the American left to deal with these abuses, with the mixed legacy of Venezuela’s socialism, is stunning. While I understand the impulse to defend a project which the U.S.’s imperialist and anti-socialist agenda has routinely undermined, we’ve got to do better than this.
If there is something I’ve seen over and over again in forums and discussions about Venezuela, involving the foreign (and within that, the American left), is their inability to condemn the abuse and repression that is taking place in my country “just because they are left-wing”. It’s the same Pinochet/Castro scenario I always use as an example: They were both thugs, oppressors and murderers, but the Left is always, always, more inclined to give a free pass to Castro and only condemn Pinochet. Because, you know, “Castro is left”.
What about self-criticism? Is the Left capable of that? From what I read all these years, I believe it isn’t, for the most part. Articles like Verónica Bayetti Flores are, in itself, a rarity.
As for me, I’ve lost count of how many times have I’ve been called “fascist”, even though in my youth I was leftie, voted for Chávez constitution, and all my close friends were his supporters. I’ve lost track of how many times have I’ve been called “wealthy Venezuelan aristocrat crying for lost privileges” even though both of my parents were teachers, came out of Lídice barrio in the 1970’s, worked in the public sector for many years, and now live modestly. For me the charm of the left was diluted when I saw how fiercely they were attacked and ridiculed, just for oppose the abuses of Chávez and his acolytes. My father even lost part of his severance, the money he earned working all those years in public schools (more than thirty) just because he signed the referendum request against Chávez.
Oh, and the times I’ve been called “neoliberal” by Ereiamjh, even though I support universal health care and free education. Even though, I am an ex-employee of Fe y Alegría, the largest non profit in the country, that has worked for many years (more than 50) bringing free quality education to the poor. Even though I gave several courses/seminars to teach computer literacy to teachers that didn’t have any computer knowledge, helping them to instruct others.
So yes, I can say, clearly, than when I see this kind of uncritical camaraderie between the Left abroad and chavismo here, without considering its many illnesses, failures, without considering its repressive and Stalinist nature, its homophobic and anti-feminist nature, all I can think is “boy was I wrong all those years”…
I guess the Left incapacity for self-criticism is what George Orwell described in “Notes on nationalism” as the typical behavior of the nationalists:
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them