[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
It gives one a nice warm feeling to know that Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 90th birthday today. His humility, humour, sense of forgiveness and the fact that he does not act like a saint but like a real human being stands out.
I was wondering though: what about all those other guys who were on Robben Island with Mandela, who have died or are now forgotten. Don’t they get a bit irritated that the chattering classes make such a fuss about Mandela while they do not warrant a mention?
Mandela is a remarkable man and we are an incredible lucky country to have such a leader. But many others also sacrificed to make freedom possible. We should not forget them.BACK TO TOP