Ghost of Hugo Chavez Stalks Spain
Political idiocy is within reach of every country. No society is free from treading that path. Whoever doubts it should think of Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Castro's Cuba or Hugo Chávez's Venezuela. Examples abound.
Now comes "We Can" ( Podemos), a political party created in Spain some months ago along the lines of the late Hugo Chávez's movement in Venezuela. Pablo Iglesias is its most visible face. He is a young university professor, unkempt, with a scraggly beard and a pony tail, who doesn't hesitate to defend the use of the guillotine to bring happiness to Spanish society.
This character and his party entered Spain's public life suddenly. In the elections to the European Parliament, the fledgling organization obtained 1.2 million votes and five seats. That sets off alarm bells.
The description of Podemos as similar to the party in Venezuela is not gratuitous. On the contrary, it's costly. According to an investigation by the newspaper El País, the Spanish directors of that organization have received, through a foundation and over the years, about $4 million in "advice" from Venezuela.
From the type of measures carried out by its Venezuelan model, we can deduce the beliefs that prevail in Podemos. They are concocted by the extended group of manufacturers of misery who march under the banners of populism.
When Chávez came to power, there were 6.5 million poor Venezuelans. Today, there are more than 9 million and the country is experiencing all kinds of shortages amid daily mayhem. In Caracas, it is said, the census tallies not inhabitants but survivors. Could such characters achieve power in Spain in the near future? Journalist Federido Jiménez Losantos, who was a member of the Communist Party and has evolved into liberalism, says Yes, and I believe he's right. It could happen.
All the elements are there for the perfect storm. The two major national parties - the Populars and the Socialists - have lost credibility because of corruption. The unemployment rate is 25 percent, 50 percent among the youngest Spaniards. Catalonian and Basque separatism is on the rise. Support for the monarchy is tepid. Many well-educated young people emigrate to other countries because they see no way to prosper in Spain.
The proposals of "We Can" are totally asinine, but that has never been an obstacle to winning elections in times of crisis. They promise to distribute everything because, to these nincompoops, the problem lies not in the limited generation of wealth due to the weakness of the entrepreneurial fabric but in its poor distribution.
They think that the way to fight unemployment is to distribute the work "fairly." If 100 percent of the workers worked only 75 percent of the work day, the 25 percent who don't have jobs could find them.
They think that, if the age of retirement is lowered to 60 instead of the current 65, there would be more jobs available and more time to enjoy leisure. (Why not lower it to 50?)
They think that it's enough to strip people of their spare wealth to give everyone on the Iberian peninsula a "dignified" subsidy that will allow them to live decorously.
In other words, Podemos promises to end the crisis by making a lesser effort instead of a greater one, which is what common sense and experience dictate. But those proposals, which will ruin any society, are music to the ears of many voters.
Are the members of "We Can" democrats? I don't believe so. You can't be a disciple of Chávez and a democrat at the same time, any more than you can support fascism or communism and believe in freedom. That's an oxymoron.
However, the electoral way is the formula to gain power and from there blow up the institutions that sustain the rule of law. That's what Chávez and current President Nicolás Maduro did in Venezuela and, to a certain point, Rafael Correa did in Ecuador.
How can such characters gain power? Jiménez Losantos believes that they can do it through a pact with the socialists, the communists of United Left, and the more radical separatists of Catalonia and the Basque Country. A new Popular Front that would lean gradually toward collectivist-populist statism, defeat the center-right at the polls and plunge Spain into a revolution.