Fusion, and ultimately merger of powers, instead of separation like in the Trias Politica, is the dream of every dictator. With the opposition sidelined, its members harassed or in prison, the road is wide open for a one-party system and a rubber stamp parliament.
Checks-and-balances no longer exist once the press is censored and silenced. Rule-by-decree smoothly unifies legislature and executive, and de facto merger of powers becomes a new reality. Elimination of judges’ tenure is next, and appointment of loyalist-courts turns the judiciary into a tyrant's tool. And it never takes long before patrimony and patronage by the ruling elite become self-enrichment and sheer plunder. Aggrandized leaders, with their image on everything, from giant billboards to currency coins, mesmerize, hypnotize and paralyze their followings.
This blueprint of power is very popular with many African, Middle-East, and South & Middle American rulers.
It goes hand-in-hand with violence and crime, mostly sold with euphemisms as public frustration over injustice and poverty. Masses, blinded by ideological zeal, egg on the leaders before they all fall into the abyss. A foreign scapegoat is easily identified, as the “Grand Satan America”, or “ Zionists of Israel “ and war beckons as the classic way out.
Venezuela followed the very same script while sanctifying the “Cuba Miracle” in the process. Today, after leaders of the Bolivarian revolution pocketed obscene amounts of billions and billions of dollars from years of illegal oil deals, drug trafficking and raiding of public funds, their victims wake up from ideological intoxication only to realize that all is gone. Rage to take out on each other and rage again is the only thing left; blood will flow, first of hundreds, then thousands and tens of thousands.
It may take ten, twenty or thirty years for a country, like Venezuela and its region to recover from the twenty years of tyranny and plunder, if ever. Olmec, Toltec, Zapotec and Inca cultures disappeared from the face of the earth for ever. Small dependent economies will have to find their way. Weening off the big brother-addiction will be very hard and painful. Economy-of-scale or lack thereof will be the very first challenge to face.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle