It seems so eerily familiar, this business of lambasting politicians. We Venezuelans have been listening to it, literally nonstop, from our resident caudillo for the last 11 years. Anti politics as a form of doing politics is one of Hugo Chavez’s defining trademarks. In fact, the failed putschist arrived in power via elections in 1998 thanks to a wave of disgust towards politicians and political parties shared by the majority of Venezuelans. I remember vividly how people used to smile and rejoice when hearing Chavez’s electoral promises of frying the heads of corrupt politicians, of eradicating from the face of the earth such scum, of how the whole weight of a new state would uproot institutionalized corruption for good, and make those found guilty pay. As it turns Chavez’s administration is more corrupt than the previous ten combined. Since Chavez got to power, a windfall of more than $700 billion has entered the public coffer, and we ask: where’s all that money gone? Do people around here truly think that the UK’s political establishment is utterly corrupt? Think again.
One would believe that citizens of the world’s oldest democracy should know better; alas the angry headlines paint a very different picture. The same media outlets that are today oxygenating the flames of hatred may well be censored tomorrow by those who capitalize on such irresponsible behavior. Of course, criticism is healthy, and the right to it should be defended and promoted. But to foster the notion that all politicians are crooks is to fertilize the soil from which Chavez-like charlatans emerge. Let those who have abused public trust and the system be brought to justice. Let the courts deal with them. Compartmentalization however is a very dangerous double edged sword. Guillotining the entire political class is precisely what the Nick Griffins and Fidel Castros of this world want, they thrive when the majority reject rationalism.
We have been living with the consequences of such a reckless collective attitude in Venezuela for over a decade. Future generations have already missed out on development and bright prospects because of it. Are we better off? Most definitely not. It is for this reason that I see danger ahead. The BNP is already gaining traction and momentum; tellingly those who cringe at the possibility of it expanding its base are the culprits of such expansion.
The Venezuelanisation of politics will bring more harm than good to this country. Brits should pause for a moment and think about the prospects of having anti-politicians in office. History has got plenty of examples to learn from. It’s about time people started acting maturely and reasonably, or are we to believe that the struggle of previous generations were all in vain?