tv History Bookshelf Luis Fleischman Latin America in the Post- Chavez Era CSPAN March 24, 2019 8:00am-9:06am EDT
i can pick them up and put them together. you're thinking that? well, i've been thinking this. >> watch american history tv his weekend on c-span 3. ext on history bookshelf, luis fleischman talks about his book, latin america in the post chavez era. he argues that chavez thread ground work for the emergence of a takeover of south and central america. we recorded this event in 2013, the year the book was published and the year that hugo chavez died and nicklas maduro took
over as president. it is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you, thank you for this kind introduction. i want to express special thanks for america. i am pleased with the attendance tonight. it is a terrific job by the sponsoring organizations. a special thanks to nancy who is in charge of the security project with the coeditor of the american support. of course, very special thanks to the president and ceo for security policy. and chief of policing officer at the center for their general support of the project. and for having supported throughout the years, our work at the center.
i would also like to thank john from the fund for american studies for helping making tonight's presentation ossible. in terms of the book, the reason why i wrote this book was in order to try to make sense of the nature of the phenomenon called hugo chavez and the revolution. the implications of the revolution, not only for our region and for the united tates, but in general. my intent was i was not content with different views of the situation in latin america. particularly those who defined chavez as a socialist or opulist regime that emerged as result of the failure or
neoliberal policies, free-market policies. they view chavez as a reaction of these free-market olicies. most of these explanations are economic. they see chavez as an economic phenomenon. they believe it could last as long as oil prices are high and once oil prices go down there will no longer be any bolivian evolution. i reject that notion because i believe that hugo chavez -- i am side, i believe that the bolivian revolution that hugo chavez initiated is a transnational revolution. a revolution that goes beyond the boundaries of venezuela in the same way that and the other totalitarian revolution would. ot necessarily totalitarian,
but communist revolution, fascist revolution. i also try to challenge those who claim that the region is going an irreversible direction, and that chavez is an exception to the rule and only a temporary henomenon. i disagree with those views because i believe that those views do not take into account the nature of the revolution, the ideology, the scope, and the actions of what bolivia needs and has done. it is important to point out that the bolivian regime is revolutionary and is an attempt to refound the foundations of the state. its domestic revolution is connected to transnational project.
n addition, it has developed relations with countries such as iran. with organizations such as the revolutionary armed forces of colombia. it has established relations with drug cartels. with other states, and with china, also. so, even those who actually point out the finger on those dangerous relations, very often they tend to be informative. they tend to be descriptive. what i felt was lacking was something that would put all of the dots together. the relation between the fact that the bolivian revolution is a totalitarian revolution. it goes against democracy.
30 years after democracy has been restored in latin america. the fact that it is establishing relations with iran or drug cartels. i try to make sense of all of hese phenomenons together. not only with the objective of explaining that or trying to understand, but in trying to project future scenarios. in order to clarify what in my view is a situation in latin america. this book's intent is to make sense of the facts and reality so that we can have lenses, the u wick, some -- wish, some sort of framework so which we can look at the reality of latin america today. so, the book is comprised by
nine chapters. in the first chapter i discuss the roots of the bolivian revolution. not only the roots of the bolivian revolution in venezuela, but also in the countries that actually had a following. such as nicaragua, bolivia, etc. and the explanation that i give to why the bolivian revolution emerged is not just an economic explanation. even though i can identify the economic reasons why it emerged. but mostly, i have reviewed the emergence of these revolutions to the fact that these were very deficient democracies.
parties were unresponsive to onstituents. democracy was limited to just the act of voting. people would vote for the leaders and the parties. the parties would do whatever they want and wait until the next election. there was no connection. representativeness did not exist. with the emergence of democracy in the 1980's and 1990's, we have a situation where more and more marginalized groups, including indigenous groups, and groups that were previously marginalized all of the setting come to the political scene and they get mobilized -- all of a sudden come to the political scene and they get mobilized. the political system is not able to absorb these new systems. they act in the old oligarchy way that i described before.
for instance, you have cases, such as lucy a, the indigenous populations. they promise to respond to the indigenous populations. once he comes to power he does the opposite of what he has promised during the election. this kind of political behavior, this kind of political structure eventually breaks the system. that is a crisis of legitimacy of the immigration system. it collapses and a sealed and comes out of the establishment outside of the political parties and fills out that vacuum. in other words, to summarize, the bolivian revolution emerges in venezuela and other countries because democracy basically fails. it is not a good democracy. it is not an institutionalized democracy.
here is not a connection between state and civil society. there is no way for integration of different social forces. i come back to this issue later at the end of my book. chapter two stresses the nature of the regime founded by hugo havez. i say that the bolivian regime is not a populist regime and not a typical and liberal democracy. neither i can say we can reduce the venezuelan government as being merely a socialist overnment. it is also highly ideological. it is anti-democratic and
anti-america. in addition, and that is very important to point out. even though we have elections taking place in those countries, those elections are mostly referendums. that is the only form of democracy that still prevails, n a way. these regimes have totalitarian characteristics. basically the regime calls for a constitutional reform. this reform usually a constitution that provides more rights to society. it is an extension of ights. most of these constitutions written in the states are constitutions that tend to strengthen the power of the state at the expense of the
right of society. when we are having these attacks against the basic civil economic rights. in other words, private property. private property is being demolished by the venezuelan government. violation of individual ights. and the elimination of organized groups, such as the trade nions. one of the things chavez did was try to destroy the previous trade unions. and the use of executive prerogatives. all these things you could say they are characteristics of otalitarian regimes. the government is trying to indoctrinate through education as much as possible.
in addition, it subjugates the judicial and the legal system to the will of the regime. i'll give you an example. the case of maria. she is a judge. that judge released a person that chavez wanted to continue to be in jail. the reason why that judge released that person is because he said he already served enough time. he does not need to serve more time. so she followed the legal logic of the venezuelan legal system. instead, chavez did not like that verdict and she was put in jail, was later raped, and got pregnant. that reminds us very much of item one of demagogic. there is a book in hitler's justice.
the judges knew exactly what the regime wanted. they gave the verdicts according to what the regime wanted. they did not follow a legal logic, but they followed the logic of what the supreme leader wanted. this is the reason why german judges send a lot of people to death for nothing. totalitarian l of regimes. this is what the government for chavez is based on accumulation f power. what it means is, the invasion of stay into civil society. for that he sees a crucial alliance between the government
and the military. he has corrupted the military and created paramilitaries. he has created a lot of organizations outside the institutional systems in order to create more and more loyalty to the regime. more than to institutions of the state. i hope i am explaining myself. not to speak about the fact that he politicized almost every aspect of venezuelan life, particularly the oil giant. he expelled the experts and echnocrats of venezuela. instead he appointed a people loyal to the regime. political appointments. the person who is in charge of -- and venezuela is no other than a family member of -- with he same last name ramirez. the other totalitarian feature
of the regime is that there is such an obsession with accumulating power that they have complete disregard for consequences on national interests. for instance, look at what chavez has done for antagonizing the united tates. it is not in the best interest of venezuela because most of the oil that venezuela sells, it sells to the united states. at one point somebody from an economic magazine asked me whether i really believed that chavez will nationalize piece on that company. i forgot what company. he says it does not make sense, it is not convenient for venezuela. totalitarian
rulers do not have a relations of economic gain, or relations of national interest. they are very much put into their own power and trying to accumulate as much power as possible. this is why those people who elieve that chavez is going to fall on economics. when i say chavez, i talked about the chavez regime. chavez is no longer. they are wrong. this is a regime that has been designed to be around for a long time. they believe that those who come after chavez, nicholas maduro and his friends, are going to radicalize their revolution even further. in the next chapter i talk about how -- i talk about the transnational aspect of the bolivarian revolution. chavez has put a lot of resources into trying to find families whose ideologies were
keen to his own. he also tried to use -- to make sure that somebody that actually follows his line gains power or is elected in different countries. sometimes through elections. sometimes not so much through elections. he reason is very clear. if other countries create the same type of regime, namely, having a full power executive power that controls the populations as much as possible, that means that it would be easy for the bolivarian revolution to achieve unity in the continent. because most of these positions will be in whatever position will be in the hands of a handful of people.
where is the threat here? it is clear. he government of venezuela established relations with iran, established relations with drug cartels. and the other countries like ecuador and venezuela did xactly the same thing. so when democracy is undermined the way it is undermined in those bolivarian countries, we should be aware that it is creating a ajor geopolitical problem. because we are not talking about an internal issue. this is a country that is revolutionary, anti-american, and also is establishing connections with a number of enemies of the united states, or
enemies in general. he tradition of democracy here is equal to our geopolitical hreat. so, the more dictators like this are being elected, that are less and less accountable to civil society, or are less and less accountable to legislative power, that means the more they accumulate power, and the more they are free to make decisions. some of these decisions are not good. therefore, as i said, democracy, the lack of democracy in the case of the bolivarian countries is a geopolitical threat. by definition. next i also talk about the outreach of the bolivarian evolution to the new marginalized groups, like the indigenous groups.
like the marginal groups that existed there. hugo chavez and the bolivarian revolution have tried to reach to these groups. today we have many groups in argentina, in chile, and in brazil in particular that actually see hugo chavez as a symbol of revolution, as a ymbol of progressiveness, as a symbol of liberation, as a ymbol of anti-americanism. it is not clear to what extent the bolivarian revolution succeeded in reaching out to all of these groups. definitely, we have clear examples of power from groups that today, they do not hold their own leaders as symbols, but they hold hugo chavez. for instance, they lack this movement in brazil. hey are actively bolivarian.
they have supported hugo havez. the grass roots of the workers party that has ruled brazil ince the year 2003, 10 years now, the grassroots is pro chavez. the -- movement in argentina that raised in the early 2000's, protesting their government than, is also pro-chavez. you have small indigenous groups that are pro-chavez. so in the future, if the democratic ystems do not absorb these forces, most could fall in the hands of some revolutionary movement. in this case, the bolivarian movement. which, in my opinion, is still alive despite the fact that chavez is dead now. n chapter five i tried to make
sense of the relations with the -- and the drug cartels. the relation is based on two points. something we can see clearly if we read the reyes files. a first is it can serve as paramilitary force. that arise in the system that hugo chavez and his allies have created. to protect those regimes from an external threat. hey claim in case the united states invades, which is highly unlikely. or in cases threatened by internal enemies. the organization is based on what is called marxism.
it is a marxist group originally. it has been defeated in colombia slowly. not entirely defeated, but slowly, i think they lost a lot of power. if you look at the ideology of it, they have moved from having an ideology of marxism oriented to the peasants to adopting the bolivarian revolution. it is something we can see. he bolivarian revolution, they endorsed the bolivian revolution, and they embraced the bolivian revolution. if we look at the documents we can see clearly that the bolivarian revolution also seized views of the files that promote bolivarian revolution cross latin america.
it has worked together with the epp in paraguay. t has worked with -- in chile. these are not big groups, but they are big enough to challenge governments in latin america. in terms of the drug cartels, there are two elements to drug cartels. at this point, anyone knows, according to a report that we saw in the year of 2009 by the government agency office that enezuela is clearly enabling the transit of drugs from columbia through venezuela, through the united states, and hrough europe.
or the airports. the venezuelan ports today enable the drug cartels to operate. a lot of the drugs we received here in the united states and in europe originate in irports. that was announced by several officials too. at the time, when we are fighting the drug cartels in mexico. that means on one hand we are trying to fix a problem of venezuela and helping the drug cartels on the other. what is the logic of populating he drug cartels? here are some ideas that i ake. the drug cartels do not only poison our society would drugs. not only intoxicated our kids would drugs and sell it here,
but the drug cartels also destroyed the states. they bribe politicians, they bribe bureaucracies, they destroy the state. today, countries such as guatemala are failed states. they are in total state of anarchy, and i believe this will soon extend across south america. it is already expanding across latin america. that means that what we will find very soon is an afghanistan right in our backyard. hat would be the interest of the bolivarian revolution to work with drug cartels? very simple, to create anarchy n those countries. that anarchy would probably, or at least likely it would bring a
leader such as hugo chavez or a bolivarian leader that could claim could back order and then we would have it take over those governments. and of course the drug cartels could operate freely. this is a major damage that the drug cartels are doing. remember, in states where we have anarchy, it is also very easy -- it is usually taken over by guns, taken over by terrorist groups, and very often foreign ountries have influence in countries that are in a state of anarchy. here we already have the presence of iran. the more anarchical these countries are, the more we could see the presence of either the
bolivarian revolution, or more and more presence of iranians and more states. but particularly iranians. chapter six actually deals with ran. here i tried to dissipate another myth about the presence of iran and latin america. many people think that they are seeking to break the isolation to which they have been subject as a result of international sanctions. the reality is that this is one reason they -- but in order to understand how -- what is the weight of the presence of iran and it latin america, we have to
take into account what is the agenda of iran and what is the agenda of the bolivarian revolution. so i argue that the presence of iran in the continent stems not simply to avoid sanctions. in order to understand that, we need to look at what is the agenda, what is the interest of iran and what is the interest of venezuela? has an agenda that is seeking nuclear weapons. of course, the bolivarian countries can support -- are supporting iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. but remember that once iran they a nuclear weapon,
can use venezuelan soil and become a direct threat to the the d states and shorten distance between iran and israel. that's really -- that would be really, really problematic. the other thing that the iranians are looking for in latin america is probably having a base for warfare. the presence of revolutionary guards in latin america, the presence of hezbollah in latin america represent the presence of terrorists, iran-backed terrorists in latin america, and they could also serve to cause some harm to the united states. i give you an example, what happened in october 2011 when iran tried to kill the saudi ambassador by using a member of
a major drug cartel in mexico. hezbollah has a strong presence they have rica connections to drug cartels, and they have connections to the venezuelan government. what would be the interest of the venezuelan government in having relations with iran? here i go back to the same logic that i use with the farc. the iranians are expert in creating or consolidating a totalitarian state, and therefore -- and this is why it's not surprising that we have revolutionary guards in latin america. of coursethe iranians
semitic war. guerrilla war, protection of their own regime and these are things that the irpe yaps are experts on -- iranians are experts on. particularly, i think the bolivarian government is taking into account is the possibility that if cuba -- if castro dies and cuba undergoes any type of say, toand they decide, move to transition to democracy iranians can fill that vacuum. so i think there is a mutual interest between the venezuelans and the iranians and that's the reason why the iranians are in latin america. i don't think iranians alone went to latin america because
they wanted. they were caused by the bolivarian revolution, called by hugo chavez to join. then i discuss the relations with china and i am going to be very quick here before i finish. china is usually understood as a country that is seeking to grow economically, and they are looking to increase their economic power. i claim that china is also seeking to increase its political power and its influence around the world. the situation right now is that the united states has a lot of influence in china's backyard. we have very strong relations with the philippines, with japan, with south koreaer and we even provide weapons to taiwan. we are not allowing the chinese to swallow taiwan, and that gets on the chinese nerves. the bolivarian revolution offers
to be great opportunity in america's backyard. i know that americans don't like to call themselves the backyard of the united states and i don't lame them for that, but having a chinese presence in the united states sphere of influence is obviously a very important thing to the chinese. it's not that the chinese would have influence in our own backyard. i think the real threat is that the chinese can help the bolivarian revolution with all its implications. they can provide them with economic help. they can sell them -- and we are seeing that behavior of china in the world. we are seeing how -- we wanted to impose sanctions on iran. the chinese opposed, objected to
it. we tried to impose sanctions on sudan. the chinese objected. of course, the same situation, they also objected, they continue to object. o, therefore, it is in the interest -- vital interest of china to help perpetuate the bolivarian revolution and all bolivarian the revolution. that is something important to take into account. finally, i talk about the regional and u.s. policy. i will try just to not -- to leave that for question and anticipate period. -- question and answer period. do you prefer me to stop now and take questions? the other two chapters deal with the regional and u.s. policy, how the region and the united the bolivarianto
revolution, and finally i propose policy prescriptions. so shall we leave it for the question and answer period sm i will stop right here. [applause] >> please state your name and affiliation before your question, please. >> yes, i am russell king, a federal employee. i have a question about -- i thought i heard that chavez' body is being embalmed permanently, and the only precedent i know about that is in communist countries, like vietnam, russia, china, places like that. i think what they're trying to do is invalidate your expression post-chavez era, which i think
is a valid expression. we have had the cult of che guevara in latin america but is this something that has no precedent? mr. fleischmann: if you look at latin america with evita peron, they didn't do this that with peron, but definitely e grave actually became like -- like the mecca, and i believe that what they are doing makes a lot of sense because the only havez era -- the difference, i believe the government of maduro is going to continue to go in the direction of hugo chavez because hugo chavez left behind a huge, huge in my e, and as i said presentation, the government of
-- the bolivarian government of venezuela has been designed to perpetuate itself. so i believe that using chavez as an image, it's interesting, because a lot of people who in the last election did not vote for chavez, they said they didn't like maduro but they still like chavez, which is very interesting. it shows that the charisma of chavez or the appeal to the poor sectors was really, really effective, something that maduro has more difficulties to achieve. think maduro succeeds -- has succeeded in the relatively -- even if we accept the results of the elections in venezuela, what we see there is that the support for the ruling party actually diminished, all right? o i think what that tells us
about the will of the current government to continue the steps of hugo chavez, i believe that there will be more social rewards in venezuela. there will be more organization by civil society and the parties and the organizations, but i believe that maduro is going to respond with repression, more and more repression, and we are already seeing that now. so i believe that eventually the elections are going to be abolished because after april 14, i think the message was, you know what, we may lose the next election. so either they continue to commit fraud as they have done, goingopinion, or they are to eliminate elections altogether. >> my name is -- do you hear me? my name is miguel, i am from
chile. your presentation left me, i should i deeply -- how say, pessimistic, so let me try on you an alternative scenario, which is admittedly very economic. if you look at the performance nd how venezuela, bolivia, nicaragua, etc., are doing, where they're going on the one hand and you look at chile, peru, colombia, mexico on the other and how they're integrating among themselves and across the more developed regions, is it conceivable that if you take the long-term view that something very analogous is starting to happen, has happened between democratic and capitalistic systems on the one side and communist on the other where the lack of viability at
some point may be noticed and these other regimes may implode, particularly because you have weaker economies that underpin those regimes, the soviet union, china, etc., in the past. is it conceivable -- i want to leave with a little bit more upbeat spirit. that's why i am asking you this. mr. fleischman: i am sorry that i actually left you with this ense of pessimism. in my opinion, they can implode, but a revolutionary regime can survive even while being poor. i mean, look at north korea and look at cuba. so they can survive even if they n't have enough resources or -- they can face rewards but they can repress rewards. i think in my opinion it is up
to the local population or the local society to raise those issues, and i think if they continue to be active in the way that the venezuelans are active, but that's not enough. they need to also begin to be active at the international level. they need to begin to be active at the international level because part of the reason why the bolivarian revolution survives is because the regional environment supports the bolivarian revolution, and first nd foremost, brazil in particular, brazil has supported the bolivarian revolution, has supported chavez all along. politically, internationally, providing i would say political support, so i believe that yes, you could have a situation like that. that doesn't mean the regimes are not going to resist, but i think it's up to the local
population to mobilize against the regime and it's up to the population also to raise awareness in the international community, particularly applying pressure on countries such as brazil, more so than on the united states, because the united states has little leverage in latin america. brazil has much more leverage on latin america, and as long as the workers party is in power in brazil, i think they will continue to give political support to the bolivarian revolution and the maduro overnment. >> i come from venezuela. of antner and i make part organization which translates for consciousness. there are three things you didn't mention, and i wonder
why. one of them is the importance of e participation of the sao paolo firm in the issues of venezuela. the other one is why you didn't mention the intervention of cuba. 10,000 military in venezuela but also 60,000 cubans who are there in political activities and military, too. the other thing is about the elections. they are absolutely -- i agree with you. the elections are kind of a referenda but the elections are also fraud elections in the way , russian and other countries
former soviet union. they are controlled elections. they are fraudulent elections. it's very important because there is no way to -- there is with out of the regime democratic activities. that's my question. mr. fleischman: i think we agree on the first one. in terms of cuba, i do mention that in my book, but i have to be honest with you. another make sure that premise that i have challenged, a lot of people say the revolution is basically a cuban invention and creation. i think the role of the cubans is mainly to provide advice on how to make the regime last forever. in other words, it's mostly in
the art of repression, the art of consolidating the regime. this is i think the greatest contribution of the cubans. it's not medicine. certainly how to run the machine politically. the cubans have a lot of experience. that is bad news. on the other hand, i believe the revolution is autonomous. i don't think they are puppets of the cubans. the cubans themselves depend on venezuelan oil. in other words, venezuela -- the recipient of foreign aid. so the cubans have an important role but they are not the only ones. they are not the only ones and i believe that the most dangerous agenda in terms of in geopolitical terms i don't think is coming from the cubans. i think it's coming from other factors that i mentioned before.
but i am not diminishing the importance of the presence of cubans. i even mention it in the book. i actually gave a presentation in miami almost a couple of weeks ago, and i have a lot of questions about cuba, because they really view chavez as another cuba. the bolivarian revolution has been successful well beyond -- when i say successful, it's quote-unquote, from their point of view successful. insofar as it has been able to cross boundaries, all right? -- as been able to actually not only to have presidents that were elected on the chavez platform, on a bolivarian platform, but also every political party of the left, even if it's a social democracy, has somebody who supports chavez. colombia, so that type of
utreach and success that the chavez revolution had, i don't think the cuban revolution ever had. but the cubans play a role in helping the bolivarian revolution to consolidate itself and its power. >> i am luis from argentina, and i am interested how you see the future of relations between argentina and venezuela. there are indications that the argentine president is kind of a populist government, perhaps dreaming of assuming the kind of leadership role after the passing of chavez. today i read in the argentine press that the president of argentina is planning to travel to colombia next month to
mediate between colombia and venezuela. mr. fleischman: yes, that is an example. the fact that a country such as argentina and the president of actually it's unbelievable. he almost wrote love letters for chavez there. i believe that yes, the president of argentina has a lot of aspirations to be a leader in latin america and she admires the chavez model. she will never be able to impose the chavez model in argentina because argentina is a dimp type of society. -- different type of society. there are many elements in civil ociety, many more corpte balances. chavez had the advantage of having oil and having the monopoly on oil basically. in the case of argentina, you
know, there are so many conflicts there. there is so much a position, but certainly i think she is trying to strengthen the existing power, even having reforms that actually limit the action of civil society, particularly laws against the press, limitations on judicial power, and these are all initiatives that have been rought a few weeks ago, too. i think she tried in the past to mediate. she planned to mediate between the jewish community and chavez, and i believe that at the continental level, the leader of the bolivarian revolution is not going to be venezuela. it's not going to be nicolas maduro because he doesn't have the charisma, but i believe that if somebody is going to be the leader of the bolivarian countries, this is going to be rafael corea from ecuador.
kushner i don't know. she may lose the next election. corea is not going to lose the next election because corea is following the blueprint of hugo chavez. he design of the government is to perpetuate itself. so that's the way i view it. >> well, you've talked a great deal about the threat that's growing. one of the questions is what can this administration do about that in the next three years that they're in place, 3 1/2, but also you've talked about the lack of civil society and the role that that plays in the deterioration of democracy. is there a role for u.s. or other civil society institutions also to respond to this threat?
both the government and civil society. mr. fleischman: yes. i discuss this in my book. thank you, christine, for your question. first of all, i think the united states needs to take a leadership role that hasn't happened in the last 10 years. for instance, the organization of american states. in the organization of american states, the democratic charter has not been applied to the violations of democracy carried out by the venezuelan overnment. the inter-american court of the o.a.s., they published a whole report about violations of human ghts in venezuela, and the o.a.s. didn't adopt any resolution about it. but on the other hand, the o.a.z. did adopt revolutions with regard to 1992 when he actually conducted or carried
out a coup d'etat. and theyit with saliah did it most recently with the in chment of the leader paraguay. i said before that supporting the democratic charter of the o.a.s. is crucial to stop or to stop the advance of the bolivarian revolution that has implications. i think the first thing is that the -- that the united states can do is demand that the democratic charter be respected -- also to d will venezuela. i think they need to cultivate brazil and raise those issues, based on what i see. i know there are people here that know better than me. they know better than me these issues.
you don't establish a political relation by discussing trade only or by increasing trade. of course, increasing trade is good policy. but on the other hand you also need to raise these issues, particularly with countries such as brazil. it's a growing democracy. i see no reason why brazil should not be part of the western front in the world. they should -- they should share the same values that the united states and europe share, the values of free market, values of democracy. they adopted it for themselves, but their foreign policy is basically supporting the bolivarian revolution, aproping iran, relations with the third world, trying to take initiatives on the middle east mostly against the united states. they are developing a foreign policy against the united states. i think it's important to raise those issues. these issues need to be
discussed and the importance of democracy in the region. in terms of civil society, i think -- i know that some people don't like the word nation building. they say, well, we don't have to be in the business of nation building. we heard that during the iraq crisis and others. i think in the case of latin america, we need to be involved in nation building. nation building means institution building. we are doing it. sometimes we are succeeding, sometimes we are not, but i think it's important to strengthen democracy, to trengthen the legal system, to help them build their democratic institutions, even teach them how our parties work. i know we are not that happy with the way our parties work, but how to respond more to constituencies. i am not saying that the united states has to solve their problems.
sometimes you try to help somebody and it doesn't help, you know, but i think the united states should encourage institution building, what we call nation building, democracy building. this should continue. i think democracy is a very good response to development in latin america. >> i come from venezuela, too, and i would like to say something for america, for the united states. in venezuela, we grew up believing that the best democracy was the american democracy, that you respected democracy and you enforce democracy in other countries. i am an activist, and i want to tell you that i will really love to see how the united states
really tries to defend democracy n latin america. we to empower civil society, feel in venezuela that you have forgotten us. we were very happy when the obama administration said they were not going to recognize the government, maduro, because of a fraud, not because he was a fraud but that he didn't even want to count the votes. the problem is not that we said it was a fraud. we say ok, let's count the votes, and they said it's an electronic machine and you cannot count bytes. so there is no way to count the votes. a then we had -- kerry had
meeting and you know what we said, you read -- not in the press because the press is totally censorship, but in the -- on the twitter or facebook, the only way we can speak even though you don't believe it, but the only way we can speak is on twitter and facebook, that the united states has forgotten us. and i think that starting with the o.a.s. is the best thing you can do, but also giving us the hope that you are looking toward us because for us even though we try people to do a nonviolent activism, people are so afraid, so, so afraid. i mean, it's a kind of dictatorship that is the worst
because it's not seen. you cannot touch it, but it's underground. you are afraid 0 go out at night because they kill you. everyone has somebody in their family who has been killed by criminals. has been killed by criminals. they do it on purpose so you go out at 6:00. everybody is at home. everybody is afraid. i know that is absurd. i am telling you, it is an unbelievable situation that we are living in in venezuela. --is not easy to it is not easy because the repression is terrible. i, myself, the day before i came here, i came here because my
daughter lives here. i am sorry to be so personal. the day before i came here, i received a call saying turn on the government tv. and it was my voice. they took me and put me on the tv show twice in the afternoon and the night. you cannot imagine how you feel when you hear your voice speaking with a friend. that happens to a lot people. i am not that important for my to be taped. so, i don't there to speak in the phone. when i get home, i will not speak on the phone. sorry. >> thank you. thank you so very much. [applause]
>> i want to make sure luis sells as many books as possible. for you lucky few, it will be for sale in the lobby immediately following with a signature from luis. we will thank him once more for coming today. [applause] >> american history tv is on c-span3, every weekend and all of our programs are all carved on our website -- our archived on our website. you can watch college like shoes -- lectures and see our schedule of upcoming programs. at c-span.org/history. former president george h w bush died on november 30, 2018.
this weekend, on the presidency, former secretary of state james baker remembers his longtime friend and talks about notable events of the first bush administration. here is a preview. time, i think, was in may of 1980. we had run a good race. we were the only candidate in the race other than reagan who had accumulated some dedicate -- delegates. mathematically, we had been ruled out. even if we won every other primary, we could not get enough delegates. so, i suggested that maybe it was time for us to get out and george looked at me and said i'm not a quitter. and i said if you want to have any shot at being vice president, now is the time to fold them. the question is whether we are
going to go to california and compete against reagan in his own home state? the primary have been fairly bitter. smartass who was running said thatpaign supply-side economics was due to economics. i don't know who hated -- you did that. reagan hated it and his wife hated it more. position on that was i am not a quitter and i am not running for vice president. i said i know you are not but more people become president by first becoming vice president than any other way. that was the only time there was ever any real serious friction between us. >> watch the entire program on bush ont george h.w. sunday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight
eastern on american history tv. on march 24,go struckhe axon oil tanker and spilled close to 11 million gallons of crude oil. we talked to stan jones, a former investigative reporter with the anchorage daily news and author of the spill about the timeline of the disaster and the effect it had on the area. this is already minutes. -- 30 minutes. home and it at my was all over the news. by the time i got to work, i knew all about it. the first reaction was disbelief. how could this happen? the second reaction was just shocked at the enormity of it. they spilled i think 11 million gallons of oil.