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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: And Venezuelans Also Have a DREAM
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel on Venezuela's historic Opposition march on September 1, when over a million Venezuelans peacefully gathered to call for change in the beleaguered nation.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

September 1st 2016 shall pass into history as the day Venezuela began to regain its freedom.

That day its citizens in an act of supreme courage took the streets to tell the world that they did not back the ruling regime and were ready to change it by constitutional means.

For most people in the Americas it would be only natural to see people marching to express a political stand. But for Venezuela this took not only courage but faith in the country its potential and the benefits of freedom.

Because the over one million citizens marching that day are people who are being denied the right to life and the means for survival.

Between June and July over 140 babies died within hours of birth due to lack of disinfectants or incubators or even soap.

Cancer patients die by dozens every day.

About 40% of Venezuelans are eating only once a day. 10% eat just once every other day and all are trapped in an inflationary spiral that condemns them to total destitution.

But in spite of this daily suffering they chose to build greatness out of their despair; liberty out of sorrow. And took the streets in peace and civility to show their rejection to a regime that has brought upon them death and destruction and to also let the international community know that they had chosen the painful road of rebuilding democracy stone by stone.

They, like those that followed Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 and Martin Luther King in 1963 have a dream: that of building freedom for themselves and their children.

Indeed, the "Taking of Caracas" -- as the march was known -- will share starllight credits with the Salt March staged by Gandhi to pick sea salt at the village of Dandi in southern India to signal that his people would from that moment on peacefully disobey unjust legislation that hampered India's independence and economic freedom.

It will also run equal to the March on Washington that led over 200,000 people to gather in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial to demand equal rights for African Americans.

They, like the Venezuelans, had a dream: that of freedom.

Needless to say, the march threw the Venezuelan government off balance.

Mr Cabello, Vice President of the ruling PSUV party and who participated in the coup with Chavez in 1992, chose to turn into a basilisk launching insults and threats right and left. But given the little following his threats and invectives had, he truly looked pitiful.

Far from inspiring fear -- or even understanding -- he seemed to epitomize the living image of the Beatles' song "Nowhere Man."

Mr Maduro's body language betrayed his angry words and epithet rich speech. More than angry -- which he was -- he was afraid. Because he can now see the end approaching.

As for the rest of the regime support groups, they withered away under the tropical sun not having been able to bring to the streets more than 2,500 people.

Maduro's appearance recalled Marcos Perez Jimenez' participation in the funeral for Simon Bolivar on December the 17th, 1957. Venezuela's strong man then looked drained, nervous and fragile.

And we all know what came next: A melt down of his regime and his hastened departure for the U.S.A.

Also in those dreadful days, regime collapse was preceded by mounting repression against Accion Democratica and the Communist Party. These political movements had refused to enter into a modus vivendi with the government.

Today Voluntad Popular and Maria Corina Machado are being persecuted and terrorized for the very same reasons.

All in all, the picture we are seeing in Venezuela is dark but inspiring, given that for the very first time in many years the weakening factors are greater than the sustainability factors for the Venezuelan regime. In short, transition is alive and kicking in Venezuela.

This rousing political moment, however, will most probably be missed by the international community.

The U.S. is now completely focused on the most atypical political campaign since 1828 when Andrew Jackson faced off against John Quincy Adams.

Today, however, there is much more at stake than in those days, including the US economy industrial redeployment, the execution of the Transpacific Treaty, the revamping of social security, and rebuilding of education.

The U.S. is suffering from global fatigue and does not seem to have the stamina to participate in foreign battles.

Latin America, on its part, is reeling under an economic tempo that is no longer pampering commodities but final products and services.

Asia has no clue about Latin America except for Japan that has lost its Western appetite given the plentiful growth opportunities presented by South East Asia.

China already got the precious energy cum minerals and cereals import package under control in the region.

And Australia, well it is too far away and too secluded.

The sole lone star shedding its light upon Venezuela seems to be the OAS, led by a true democrat who would love to see the virtues of his home country Uruguay replicated in Venezuela. And perhaps his persuasion will bring that dream to reality.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

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Beatrice Rangel: Venezuela's Unexpected Transition

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