Chávez’ reluctance to accept the end of history was documented in an August 2006 article by Johns Hopkins professor Francis Fukuyama in the Washington Post. In the article, predictably entitled “The End of Chávez,” Fukuyama asserts that “Chavismo is not Latin America’s future — if anything, it is its past”; whether García will receive a similar reminder entitled “The End of the Cold War” remains to be seen. Allegiance to outdated historical models has meanwhile been observed among other sectors of the global population such as my grandfather, who exhibited unwavering commitment to the idea that his nursing home companions and their oxygen tanks were involved in a Soviet plot.
Fukuyama outlines the circumstances that have enabled Chávez to pretend that he is a substitute for the end of history: “The answer is oil, oil, oil.” This answer might of course prove appropriate for a number of other contemporary questions, as well, such as what controls the behavior of liberal democracies with market economies. Fukuyama goes on to illustrate the unsustainable nature of Chavez’ high self-esteem:
Last December, a bridge on the road connecting the Venezuelan capital to its international airport collapsed, diverting traffic into the mountains and stretching a 45-minute journey into one lasting several hours. A two-lane emergency highway now bears this traffic; renovation of the bridge is still months away. The bridge epitomizes what is happening to Venezuela today: As Chávez jets to Minsk, Moscow and Tehran in search of influence and prestige, the country’s infrastructure is collapsing.”
Not addressed in the parable are that Chávez presumably had to take the same mountain road as everyone else to get to his jet, or that the Mdairej bridge in Lebanon—the highest in the Middle East—had also collapsed around the same time as this article was published, albeit at the hand of nations that had already surpassed history.
As for Chávez’ accomplice in postponing the end of history, Fukuyama argues that “it will soon dawn on [Evo Morales] that his country’s natural gas is not a fungible commodity like Venezuelan crude oil,” and that his “only real customer is Brazil, which he has already alienated through his nationalization of the heavily Brazilian foreign energy investments.” Alan García meanwhile maintained a different perspective on foreign intervention, and told Morales to shut up earlier this month after the Bolivian leader declared that the US was scheming to install a military base in Peru.
García explained his choice to paraphrase King Juan Carlos of Spain, whose claims to fame included telling Hugo Chávez to shut up, as being based on the fact that Morales should concern himself with his own country: “[M]étete en tu país y no te metas en el mío.” Such concerns resurfaced with the indigenous protests in the Amazon, which the Peruvian government retroactively decided had been encouraged by a letter Morales sent to the Congreso de Indígenas held in the Peruvian city of Puno at the end of May. In the letter, Morales had excused his absence from the meeting and had implied a replacement of the end of history with the following sequence: resistencia – rebellion – revolución.
According to Peruvian prime minister Yehude Simon, the sending of letters enouraging revolution was unacceptable. The United States had also demonstrated its opposition to traditional modes of correspondence in Latin America over the years, and had preferred orchestrating coups and training death squads. Attempts to charge Morales with additional unacceptable behavior were thwarted when it was discovered that Nicaragua and not Bolivia had granted asylum to Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango; not categorized as unacceptable was Peru’s decision to grant asylum to former Bolivian ministers before they could be tried for genocide.
The genocide charges were incurred following street protests in Bolivia in 2003, which had begun in response to natural gas exploitation and the failure of the current Bolivian government to tell the US to shut up. Alan García has since applied alternate interpretations of genocide to similar situations, and is quoted in the Cambio article of June 13 as accusing indigenous extremists of enacting a “genocidio de policías” in Peru. As the police are one ethnic group that has been historically underrepresented as genocide victims, we can only assume that new criminal forms are part of the end of history.