As critical or dissenting voices aren’t allowed in a socialist revolution, those that expressed their concerns were barred from entering and participating altogether. You’re not supposed to express your opinion if it goes against the Revolution’s. You’re supposed to raise your hand as a sign of approval, nothing more, nothing less.
National Venezuelan survey through the Fatherland Card system asking opinion on U.S. Sanctions, October 2020. The text reads: “National Survey Regarding Blockade on Venezuela. Since 2015, the Government of the United States has applied against Venezuela, the government of President Nicolas Maduro, public and private Venezuelan officials and corporations a series of coercive measures known as ‘sanctions.’ In this brief questionnaire we would like your opinion on this topic.” The question asks: “In your opinion, the sanctions applied by the Government of the United States since 2015 towards Venezuela are A. a violation of the international rights and sovereignty of Venezuela B. necessary and appropriate.”
The poll consists of seven questions — but one must tread lightly when participating in a poll on a closed web platform managed by the socialist regime of Venezuela, where the answers you submit are tied to your name and Venezuelan ID number. Answering “incorrectly” (but with honesty) creates a huge risk to your personal safety, and quite frankly, it’s just asking for trouble.
Dangerous precedents, such as the infamous
Tascon List, exist and its consequences still echo to this day for many living down here. The Tascon List is a database of people that once gave their signature to activate a recall referendum against Hugo Chavez in 2004, a right enshrined in the very constitution that Hugo Chavez and the Fifth Republic Movement (a precursor to today’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela) established.
The data was then distributed through a controversial piece of software called “Maisanta.” To this day, people who are part of that list are fiercely discriminated against and politically blacklisted. So you can imagine what would happen if one were to say that you agree with the U.S. sanctions in the mentioned poll. Going on trial for treason for “promoting” sanctions against the regime is a very
Of course, Venezuela is not the first leftist dictatorship to use this tactic. Just like the Patria system, the Chinese did it first. In 1957, Mao Zedong launched the “Hundred Flowers Campaign.” Like a hundred flowers, Mao
said, a hundred differing opinions make the world more interesting and beautiful. “Let a hundred flowers bloom,” Mao said, encouraging criticism of his regime. Mao rounded up and executed those who obeyed his call to dissent.
The regime has proudly boasted that over 90 percent of the poll’s participants agree with their skewed narrative that the people of Venezuela are united as a whole against America and the Trump administration’s sanctions. Similar acts of coercion have been done in the past during the
Obama administration as well as to President Trump.
When word first broke of this proposed “anti-blockade” law, I had some personal concerns that they may try to add an article or two to threaten people with prison time should they take a pro-sanctions approach against the regime and its officials or for even having a pro-U.S. stance generally. The law is still being debated, so that can still be a possibility.
These personal concerns were strengthened by the fact that this upcoming law was rapidly
passed by the same constituent assembly that passed an “anti-hate speech” law in 2017. I’ve tried my best to keep a low profile since then, because the danger of being arrested by the socialist regime of Venezuela for tweeting wrongthink is something I’ve been spreading the word about over the past year, something that the United Nations Human Rights Council, which Maduro’s Venezuela is a member of, noted in its latest report.
Ultimately, this impending law will end up benefiting the regime and the Socialist Party currently in charge and not the people, as they claim. Maduro’s regime is willing to privatize and hand over what’s left of the country’s industries to its friends so long as it helps keep it in power. Meanwhile, the rest of the country continues to descend into entropy, flung back to the stone age with worsening blackouts, deprived of gasoline, facing growing starvation, and still locked under a fierce coronavirus quarantine that keeps our airports and borders closed – a lockdown that continues to destroy what few “nonessential” businesses remain in the country.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.