Mic drop in Brasília! Boric shames the LatAm left's hoary hypocrites
COMMENTARY Will the welcome rebuke leftist Chilean President Gabriel Boric handed Latin America's older leftists help push their movement — and their hypocritical mindsets — into the 21st century?
A mic was dropped in Brasília this week — and we can only hope the resounding boom finally pushes the red-bereted, olive-fatigued, raised-fisted anachronism known as the Latin American left into the 21st century.
The guy who dropped it — Chile’s 37-year-old leftist President Gabriel Boric — is more than twice as young as the guy he dropped it on — Brazil’s 77-year-old leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. That’s a reminder that Boric was lettin’ it fall on a whole generation of hoary hemispheric hypocrites — from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to Colombian President Gustavo Petro — who still think it’s oh-so revolutionary-righteous to defend indefensible dictatorships run by fellow leftists.
Especially the one ruled by Venezuela’s socialist despot, Nicolás Maduro.
It was Maduro whom Lula fawned over on Monday as South American heads of state arrived in the Brazilian capital for a summit. Scores of countries around the world have condemned Maduro for brutally trashing Venezuela’s democracy — the U.N. has tagged his regime for crimes against humanity — and for creating the worst humanitarian crisis in modern South American history, one that’s forced a fifth of his population to emigrate. No matter. Lula had to play the Gauche Goodfella — never rat on your friends! — and of course blame it all on the U.S.
Maduro “is a victim of an unfair narrative of anti-democracy and authoritarianism constructed against Venezuela” by Washington, claimed Lula — who earlier this year told us the Caracas Caudillo doesn’t deserve international sanctions but just a little understanding and “carinho.” Affection.
It was all apparently too much for Boric. When he stepped up to a podium in Brasília on Tuesday, he sounded like a college senior home for the holidays who can’t ignore the retro crap he’s hearing uncles spout at Thanksgiving dinner.
“The human rights situation in Venezuela is not a ‘narrative,’” Boric said in a stunning rebuke to his Brazilian host. “It’s a reality. It’s serious.”
“As a president of the left,” Boric added, “I think it’s necessary to confront it, not sweep it under the rug.”
Boric sounded like a college senior home for the holidays who can no longer ignore the retro crap he’s hearing uncles spout at Thanksgiving dinner.
Granted, Boric can’t afford Lula’s brand of denialism anymore, because the left he leads in Chile is reeling from the consequences of its own anachronistic hubris.
Last September, Chilean voters kibosheda sorely needed new constitution, because the mostly left-wing council that drafted it had stuffed it with radical, state-bloating, Che Guevara T-shirt-wearing nonsense. Now, this month, Chileans have elected mostly right-wingers to take another stab at a new charter. That means a lot of the genuinely worthy progressive features of the earlier draft — more political and economic democratization, indigenous enfranchisement, environmental safeguards, abortion rights — may likely be lost.
Boric is smart enough and young enough to realize that the left’s constitution spooked most Chileans into thinking it would steer their quasi-developed nation in the direction of Venezuela — or other left-wing Latin American dictatorships like Cuba and Nicaragua. In other words, the regimes that Lula and López Obrador and Petro and so many other leading lefties in the region mollycoddle, using more shameless double standards than evangelical Trump supporters summon at CPAC.
This year López Obrador awarded Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel the Order of the Aztec Eagle — Mexico’s highest honor for foreigners — despite the dark fact that Cuba’s got a thousand political prisoners serving 20 years for merely protesting their communist regime’s repression and incompetence back in 2021.
Petro, a former leftist guerrilla, had Colombia skip an important OAS vote last summer to censure and condemn Nicaragua’s human rights cesspool — then tweeted that it was time for the hemisphere instead to “re-open the door to brotherhood” with Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega.
This even though Ortega today is a clone of Anastasio Somoza, the barbaric and corrupt right-wing dictator he overthrew back when he too was a leftist rebel.
To his everlasting credit, Boric called out that fossilized hypocrisy this week. Just as important: he decided, in effect, that when he’s as old as Lula, he doesn’t want to sound just like the two-faced conservatives — including Miami’s congressional delegation — who slam Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua but issue apologies for the anti-democratic thuggery of right-wingers like former U.S. President Donald Trump or former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Boric has opted instead for the 21st century.