December 29, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos – Translated from Mision Verdad.
CARACAS, Venezuela – How many of the most magnificent stories of universal literature begin at border crossings. With the passage of time, the borders were condensing social conflicts, political complexity and a cultural hybrid that makes them fascinating. But crossing at this moment the border that divides Venezuela and Colombia, carrying in the backpack a certain historical awareness, also implies finding a hole to watch two wars: the war against the Bolivarian revolution and the war of the Colombian state against its own people.
A first image of the Colombia of these times was presented to me as soon as I crossed the bridge: the private vigilantes who guard the immigration offices and treat the citizenship with the same arrogance as a national police. These private surveillance agencies are now proliferating in Colombia as true vigilante bodies. The paramilitary groups seem to have been diluted in the state itself, the sicarios control the towns, there reigns a silence similar to the fear and poverty of the countryside contrasts with a progress of shopping centers and public spaces full of lights that blight in the cities. There is no peace in Colombia, only a change in the modality of war.
– Where are the most “constituted” paramilitary groups that were seen in the cities of Colombia? I asked a compañera who lives in one of the towns once controlled by the “Cali Cartel”.
– Well, the toughest migrated to Venezuela, he replied. Here what is left is a bunch of hit men.
Thick drink In Colombia, even drug trafficking lost sovereignty. Other anxious questions interrupt my reflections.
– Is it true that in Venezuela they are eating cockroaches to survive? Is it true that Maduro is a dictator?
– Well, I take care of myself not to get fat, – I answer sarcastically – Where did you hear those things about Venezuela?
– In RCN, in Caracol … everywhere.
– And you heard in RCN and Caracol that they have killed more than 187 popular leaders in Colombia this year?
– Do not.
– It’s because they lie about what happens in Venezuela, just as they lie about what happens in Colombia.
– Ah. And why do so many Venezuelans cross the border every day? Why are there people from Venezuela asking for money in the streets of Bucaramanga?
I answer my interlocutor’s questions with an analysis of the figures provided by the Colombian government itself, and although she is satisfied, I remain thoughtful. Where there is a border there is contraband, where there are controls there are parallel businesses but in the North of Santander there is this and more. There is a real parallel economy, there is parapolitics and of course, there are paramilitaries.
The second image is what draws that parallel economy that moves in Cúcuta: only 200 meters. Of the bridge that marks the border, several blocks of exchange houses appear that are dedicated exclusively to the purchase and sale of bolivars and where there is absolute facility to obtain Venezuelan bills of 100, 500 and 1000.
– Good day. How much does the bolivar buy?
– Five and a half.
– How much do you sell it?
– Six and a half.
– Sell it to me, miss, I’ll buy it for eight!
Stunned, I try to process the answer and a million bolivars in thousand bills is delivered right under my nose. I insist
– Miss excuse me, explain what you mean five and a half.
The answer was an overdose of reality:
– Five and a half is 0.055 cents in weight.
I blink, reflect. While last week for the Bank of the Republic of Colombia 1 bolivar was around 300 pesos, in Cúcuta 1 peso was equivalent to around 18 bolivars!
Is that Juan Manuel Santos, the Nobel Prize, is a specialist in offering peace actions and then not fulfilling them. He did it with the FARC-EP, he did it with the Venezuelan government. Before the economic crisis that broke out in Norte de Santander when President Maduro made the sovereign decision to close the border in 2015, Mr. Santos offered to request the repeal of the external resolution 8 of 2000 of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia that allows the dirty and criminal hand of the market, to regulate -according to the mythical relation of supply and demand- the value of the Colombian peso against the bolivar, without going through what the Central Bank of Venezuela establishes and worse, without using any parameter economic.
The Colombian president did nothing, that resolution is still in force, which is nothing more than a Colombian version of the “laisser faire”, that is, “do whatever you want,” in this case, with the currency of the neighboring country.
More than a year ago I wrote an article to explain in the most didactic way possible how the parallel economy operates that these exchange operators support, little has changed since then. According to ECLAC, there is no economic explanation for this parallel dollar or for the price given to the bolívar in Cúcuta, nor is Dolar Today the one that fixes the price of the bolívar in Cucuta but it is that price that defines the value of the parallel dollar in Venezuela. But the Colombian state will not voluntarily repeal that resolution because it allows it:
– Being the vanguard of the economic war against Venezuela. Role that has been assigned to him from which still (for now) continues to be the epicenter of world capitalism.
– Obtain exorbitant profits from the smuggling of food, fuel and mining resources from Venezuela. This is mainly the benefit of the mafias linked to these sectors, some transnationals and Ecopetrol. Products that have a series of decrees to legalize them in Colombia and enter them into GDP and generate sources of “work” in the border cities.
– And last but not least, that resolution allows you to legitimize capital, that is, to wash money from the drug business that, according to the latest report of the same DEA, has grown by more than 30%. year in Colombia.
The Venezuelan government has taken many measures to try to cushion the effects of this economic war. But the truth is that as long as that resolution is not repealed, all Venezuelan efforts will be in vain. Santos himself, his representatives, right-wing Venezuelan economists and left-wing Venezuelan economists quite “lost” to my liking, blame this economy parallel to the controls and propose to release the dollar so that the “invisible hand” and holy? of the market, regulate the value of the currencies that in 95% the Venezuelan state produces for the export of oil and not the private company.
A little more coherent would be, for example, to take the complaint of the effects that this resolution of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia is causing to the Venezuelan economy before international organizations, to demand its immediate repeal and an economic reparation to the country. But there appear again those who defend the victimizer: if there is smuggling of extraction is because there are subsidies, if there is a parallel dollar is because there is exchange control and if you are raped is because you went out dressed in a very provocative way. Surely, we must admit, for example, that some type of currency is needed – it does not have to be the dollar – that allows legal trade between Colombia and Venezuela. But it is undeniable that the Venezuelan Government has the right and the duty to protect its foreign currency and its assets, and to consider an economic model different from the Colombian model, exclusive and violent.
However, Venezuela is not an island, it is next to one of the most unequal countries in the Americas and the largest producer-exporter of cocaine in the world. The Colombian narco-State, murders, exploits and controls its own people with multiple legal apparatuses (such as communication companies) and illegal ones (like the drug whose consumption is visibly greater every day), represses the popular protest with such bloodthirsty security forces like the ESMAD, and is reinforced with private security forces, paramilitary armies and assassins. It signs peace agreements that it does not fulfill, it leaves in the most absolute impunity the assassinations of those who dare to dissent, it institutes the privatization of basic services and the labor flexibilization. But he manages to convince a good part of his people that it is not there, but next, where there is a dictatorship.
Colombia does not have the sovereignty to rise, but the status of host nation of the United States reaches it, to be the protagonist of the economic war and the paramilitary invasion against Venezuela.
Evidently, historical processes are not fairy tales. The will is not enough to fulfill the sovereign decision of Venezuela in this geopolitical context. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, will be what can be built in its concrete reality, without ever losing sight of the objectives of the Bolivarian project that we built with the guidance of Commander Chávez, that is, without making strategic concessions. But it is also evident that in economic matters there are measures that will force him tactically to enter the game of the international market.
It is expected that this is done taking care not to be devoured or dragged by its inertia. Difficult and complex economic political task for the Venezuelan government, but a task that can not be postponed at the beginning of the new year. It is vital to find unilateral economic measures that allow solving the problem that these exchange houses generate for the country. It is counted on this with the support of the emerging hegemonic powers as a counterweight that can be used in our favor, not as new models to imitate. Venezuela must not surrender, nor can the Venezuelan left be stagnant in anti-dialectical, abstract and idealistic purism. In 2018, it will be necessary to take very different measures in terms of economy and finance, and by the way, “El Petro” is a good sign.
But in everyday life, men, women, children who do or do not, tread the earth, a revolution. They cross rivers and cross borders. They come and go from San Antonio del Táchira to Cúcuta or from any of the dozens of towns on this living frontier where today a front of economic war against the Bolivarian revolution unfolds. This is the land of great decisions. This is where the Venezuelan Government must regain governance.
Finally, this time from the border of time, between the year that ends and the year that begins, I wonder: if the main victims of the Colombian narco-state, subordinated to the United States, we are two – on the one hand the Colombian people in resistance and on the other, the people and the Venezuelan government that struggles to build its own historical project-, what are we waiting for to unite us more?