Make the Venes an offer they’re unlikely to refuse
The Venezuelan opposition may now have the votes in the legislature to in one way or another force President Nicolás Maduro to leave office before his term is up. The things they are talking about are almost all in the nature of overturning, repealing, forcing from office — all of which are to be expected — but there is hardly any talk of things that they want to do that will promote public services or enhance the Venezuelan standard of living. That’s because they lack the power — as did Maduro’s defeated leftist party — to legislate the world price of oil. As long as prices stay down Venezuelan politicians of every stripe are limited in the things that they can fight about, because oil exports account for almost all of Venezuela’s income.
One of the things that the incoming rightist coalition will certainly want to cut will be TeleSUR international satellite, cable and Internet channel. Venezuela owns 51 percent of that, Argentina (which has had a rightward shift in its presidency if not its legislature= owns 20 percent, Cuba has 19 percent and the rest is shared among minor stakeholders Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Uruguay. It has more or less been a Chavista channel rather than the hoped-for plural voice of Latin America. Meanwhile, collapsing US media corporations pay ever less attention to our region and the Qatari, Saudi, Iranian, Australian, British, Chinese and other players do not suffice for Latin America’s purposes. We really do need to put our own perspectives before the world, report the news that’s important for us, promote our culture among ourselves and to others and educated and entertain Latin Americans via our own programming. But it’s a safe bet that for the incoming legislature TeleSUR is a Chavista program to cut, and meanwhile among Venezuela’s debts are some substantial sums to Panama, mostly on the private side of the ledger.
Panama should buy a stake in TeleSUR and take an active role in turning it into the regional public TV channel that it should have been and never was. The bests of our filmmakers, playwrights, actors, scientists, educators, musicians, athletes, journalists and social commentators would gain an entry pass to the world stage if we did this. It’s not to say that there is no such thing as bad public TV or that there would be never be strained international office politics, but Panama does need an international television platform as a part of our cultural development. We should make Venezuela an offer and buy into TeleSUR.
What Republicans would desecrate
Do we want to listen to arguments about public safety from terrorism from white supremacists when that segment of Americana has killed so many Americans in US terrorist incidents? Yeah, yeah. They will play semantic games to say that an end times Christian fanatic who opens fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic, a neo-Confederate who opens fire at a prayer service at a black church or a “sovereign citizen” who shoots nonviolent protesters aren’t really terrorists.
We should not be fooled. Americans are dealing with a neofascist element that is perhaps one-third of the Republican Party’s base. Freedom of religion is only the start of traditional American liberties that these people intend to abolish. At home and abroad, theirs is a program of beatings, imprisonment, torture and murder for racial, religious and ideological reasons.
But think about it like an imperialist. Donald Trump and his cheering crowd would deny entry to Afghans, Somalis, Iraqis, Syrians, Pakistanis, Kurds, Turks, Nigerians, Libyans and many others who worked for America and because of that are in harm’s way from retaliation by America’s enemies. So how many foreigners are going to want to work with the Americans after the sort of betrayal that Donald Trump proposes? His is not really a call to make America great again, it’s mad raving to entertain weird fanatics who believe that since the end of times is well nigh, it doesn’t matter if the country, the planet or humanity itself get destroyed.
Bear in mind…