Revoluciones (Continuación)

El Vargas Llosa de sus brillantes inicios resucita siempre en el último de sus libros, como ocurre con El héroe discreto; todas sus marcas de fábrica están patentes, y algunos de sus personajes regresan para ocupar lugares que ellos mismos reclaman en el relato. Le he oído decir, en Panamá, y en Guadalajara más recientemente, en las presentaciones de El héroe discreto,que esos personajes recurrentes, tal es el caso del sargento Lituma y los inconquistables, o el don Rigoberto, doña Lucrecia y Fonchito, se presentan delante de él cuando va a emprender una nueva escritura, para dejarse ver, como diciéndole al novelista: aquí estamos, míranos bien, no nos has aprovechado lo suficiente.…  Seguir leyendo »

La revuelta ucraniana contra el Gobierno está siendo interpretada como un movimiento nacionalista proeuropeo y antirruso, azuzado por una situación económica insostenible. Algo hay de eso, pero no es lo esencial. En parte porque las protestas no se limitan a Kíev sino que, más allá de la atención mediática mundial, se extienden a otras 29 ciudades, algunas de ellas en el este del país. Pero lo que dicen los propios manifestantes es que se trata de una lucha por la dignidad. Por sus derechos como ciudadanos y como personas que son atropellados por la manipulación política y la corrupción generalizada en las instituciones y en la policía.…  Seguir leyendo »

Barack Obama has been pilloried for his cautious response to the Arab revolutions. One critic writing in The Post calls him “a president in full flight.” Many urge the president to make a big bet in favor of democracy in the region. When the uprisings known as the Arab Spring first began, some analysts were optimistic about the prospects for democracy, but the revolutions should be viewed in terms of decades, not seasons. Few observers in Paris in 1789 would have predicted that a Corsican corporal would lead French forces to the banks of the Nile within a decade. And interventions in the French Revolution by great powers such as Austria and Prussia fanned, rather than extinguished, the nationalist flames.…  Seguir leyendo »

Two years ago, when I was in the Occupy movement, my comrades and I argued about revolution. Was revolution necessary? What is it? The split that destroyed our movement — as it did the Left during the 1960s — pitted revolutionaries against reformists. The most frustrating part of the debate, however, wasn’t ideological. It was linguistic.

Even on the Left, few Americans know what revolution is: the violent overthrow of the ruling classes. In a revolution, everything — beginning with the power structure — changes.

The Tahrir Square encampments that led to the ouster of Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak were a huge influence on Occupy.…  Seguir leyendo »

On April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell to an American-led coalition. The removal of Saddam Hussein and the toppling of a whole succession of other Arab dictators in 2011 were closely connected — a fact that has been overlooked largely because of the hostility that the Iraq war engendered.

Few of the brave young men and women behind the Arab Spring have been willing to publicly admit the possibility of a link between their revolutions and the end of Mr. Hussein’s bloody reign 10 years ago. These activists have for the most part vigorously denied that their own demands for freedom and democracy, which were organic and homegrown, had anything to do with a war they saw as illegitimate and imperialistic.…  Seguir leyendo »

The optimism surrounding the Arab Spring is giving way to fears of the next revolution. Daily, people around the world watch the triumph of bringing down Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak descend into pitched battles between secular protesters and an increasingly alienated government run by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is on the brink, with military leaders warning of a possible collapse of the state. This pattern of unrest highlights what is likely to be a long struggle ahead, not just in Egypt, but in multiple countries struggling in the wake of the Arab Spring to consolidate democratic gains.

Egypt is exhibiting patterns common to many revolutions captured by historian CraneBrinton in his 1938 book, “The Anatomy of Revolution.” The struggle to bring down a dictator is followed by a consolidation phase.…  Seguir leyendo »

The recent assassination of a leading secular opposition figure in Tunisia has cast a dark cloud on what many had hoped would serve as a model for democratic transition in countries swept by the Arab Spring. The sad fact is that many revolutions lead to renewed dictatorships. But the good news is that even a rocky and prolonged transition can produce stable democracy.

Sparked in Tunisia in 2010, the revolutions and popular protests that have come to define the Arab Spring spread rapidly across the Middle East and North Africa, challenging entrenched autocratic regimes and conjuring comparisons to the fall of the Berlin Wall.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last fall, while reporting on the U.N. General Assembly, I had the chance to meet a number of Iranian journalists accompanying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his trip to New York.

At the time, these young Iranian writers told me they were excited about the revolution in Egypt and the possibility of normalized relations between Cairo and Tehran. They were eager to hear about my travels in Egypt, a country they had never seen, and were especially interested in learning about the tomb of Iran’s last monarch in Cairo.

To my surprise, my revelation to them that Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s tomb inside a mosque is quite humble was greeted with sighs of sadness.…  Seguir leyendo »

Revolutions today seldom produce the outcomes that the masses desire. Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution flopped and the flower revolutions in Eastern Europe wilted. Egypt is now suffering under the yoke of a military regime seeking to entrench itself.

Toppling a dictator is only the first step in establishing a free society. The next step is dismantling the dictatorship itself. It is analogous to a defective vehicle with a bad driver. After sacking the driver, the vehicle itself must be fixed or the new driver will quickly land in a ditch.

In far too many countries, the second step is either not attempted or botched, which leads to a reversal or hijacking of the revolution.…  Seguir leyendo »

Egyptians are sweeping up in Tahrir Square after celebrations marking the first anniversary of the Jan. 25 launch of their revolution. In a few days, on Feb. 11, they will mark another milestone, one year since hundreds of thousands of protestors toppled President Hosni Mubarak, who had held power for almost 30 years.

One year ago, amid the euphoric suggestions that democracy and freedom lay just around the corner, the journalist Christopher Hitchens sounded a note of caution. Hitchens, who died last December, had witnessed revolutions succeed in a host of countries. He had identified the ingredients he found necessary for freedom to replace tyranny.…  Seguir leyendo »

A glorious revolution swept through Russia 20 years ago. Glorious, because it was almost completely nonviolent and because no one who was there will ever forget the sense of solidarity, camaraderie and even affection people felt for one another — and for the new Russia they so fervently anticipated. Revolution, because beyond the hundreds of thousands gathered in Moscow and on Palace Square in St. Petersburg, rallies against the hard-line putsch and for Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev took place in every major city. The revolution ushered in a new political system, changed the country’s economic foundation and created a new state: post-imperial Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »

The wave of revolutions sweeping the Middle East bears a striking resemblance to previous political earthquakes. As in Europe in 1848, rising food prices and high unemployment have fueled widespread popular protests. As in Communist Europe in 1989, frustration with corrupt and unresponsive political systems produced defections among elites and the fall of once powerful regimes.

Yet 1848 and 1989 are not the right analogies for this past winter’s events. The revolutions of 1848 sought to overturn traditional monarchies, and those in 1989 were aimed at toppling Communist governments. The revolutions of 2011 are fighting something quite different: “sultanistic” dictatorships. Although such regimes often appear unshakable, they are actually highly vulnerable, because the very strategies they use to stay in power make them brittle, not resilient.…  Seguir leyendo »

A revolution resembles the death of a fading star, an exhilarating Technicolor explosion that gives way not to an ordered new galaxy but to a nebula, a formless cloud of shifting energy. And though every revolution is different, because all revolutions are local, in this uncertain age of Arab uprisings and Western interventions, as American missiles bombard a defiant Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya, as the ruler of Yemen totters on the brink and Syrian troops fire on protesters, the history of revolution can still offer us some clues to the future.

The German sociologist Max Weber cited three reasons for citizens to obey their rulers: “the authority of the eternal yesterday,” or historical prestige; “the authority of the extraordinary personal gift of grace,” or the ruler’s charisma; and “domination by virtue of legality,” or order and justice.…  Seguir leyendo »

Souvent les gens me reprennent sur un ton indulgent : «Vous vouliez dire le 9 novembre ?» «Non, la journée décisive fut le 9 octobre.» «Comment ça ? C’est bien le 9 novembre que le Mur est tombé !» «Oui, parce qu’il y avait eu le 9 octobre.»

Le matin du 9 novembre, personne n’aurait cru que le Mur allait tomber le jour même. Mais le 9 octobre, on ne savait pas, à Leipzig, que la soirée apporterait une décision qui, dans un sens ou dans un autre, changerait tout. Le 9 octobre était un lundi, le premier lundi après le 7 octobre, 40e anniversaire de la RDA.…  Seguir leyendo »

Frente a abiertos episodios de crisis (como el ocurrido en Xinjiang en julio) u otros más puntuales y aislados relacionados con tensiones locales o sociales, el Gobierno chino ha reaccionado impulsando e intensificando una frenética campaña que pone el acento no sólo en la mejora general de la seguridad y la estabilidad en todo el país, sino también en la pulcritud moral de la vida oficial y pública, asunto que sigue enardeciendo las críticas de un buen número de ciudadanos ante las dificultades acreditadas para combatir la corrupción. El objetivo inmediato: presentar un perfecto estado de revista el 1 de Octubre, cuando se celebre el sexagésimo aniversario de la fundación de la República Popular China.…  Seguir leyendo »

La celebración del 40. º aniversario de la revolución libia, de hecho un golpe de Estado a cargo del coronel Gadafi y un puñado de colaboradores y parientes, me recuerda una conversación que sostuve poco después con un amigo, un veterano diplomático argelino. El Gobierno argelino se había sentido presa de asombro y pasmo – como cualquier otro-por la aparición en escena de este grotesco, radical y excéntrico régimen en un análogo país norteafricano. El entonces presidente argelino, Huari Bumedian, pidió a mi interlocutor que visitara Trípoli y valorara el nuevo liderazgo del país. Al volver a Londres, le pregunté por su opinión sobre los líderes libios, el coronel Gadafi y su estrecho colaborador, el comandante Jalud.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Jorge Castañeda, ex secretario de Relaciones Exteriores de México y profesor de Estudios Latinoamericanos en la Universidad de Nueva York. Publicó La vida en rojo: una biografía del Che Guevara, en 1997 (EL PAÍS 09/10/07):

En un decreto expedido el 26 de agosto de este año, el presidente Hugo Chávez, de Venezuela, creó una Comisión Presidencial para la Formación Ideológica y Política y la Transformación de la Economía Capitalista en un modelo de Economía Socialista que tendrá las siguientes atribuciones: 1. Formular el plan extraordinario Misión Che Guevara, el cual debe contener como mínimo: criterios y mecanismos para asegurar su efectiva aplicación a nivel nacional; criterios y mecanismos para incentivar la participación de la comunidad organizada en la implementación del plan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ralf Dahrendorf, miembro de la Cámara de los Lores, ex comisario europeo de Alemania y ex rector de la London School of Economics (LA VANGUARDIA, 16/10/05).

¿Es cierto que la extrema pobreza alimenta la violencia y, finalmente, la revolución? Muchos lo creen así, e intentan explicar fenómenos como las insurgencias guerrilleras y el terrorismo islámico en esos términos.

Sin embargo, Karl Marx y Alexis de Tocqueville, los dos grandes analistas sociales del siglo diecinueve, sabían mejor lo que mueve a las personas y lo que hace cambiar las sociedades. La extrema pobreza genera apatía, no rebelión. A lo más, los muy pobres pueden ser utilizados para ocasionales demostraciones de furia, pero no son el material del cual los terroristas o los revolucionarios están hechos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Carlos Fuentes, escritor mexicano (EL PAIS, 01/09/04):

Hace 25 años, los (mayoritariamente) jóvenes rebeldes del ejército sandinista entraron en Managua. Había caído la petrificada dictadura del clan Somoza, inaugurada en 1933 por el pater familias Anastasio Somoza Debayle y continuada por sus delfines Luis y Anastasio júnior. Tacho padre fue el asesino de César Augusto Sandino, el heroico luchador por una causa que parecía imposible: la independencia de Nicaragua, territorio ocupado de hecho por los Estados Unidos de América desde 1909 y elevado a protectorado por el astuto e irónico Franklin D. Roosevelt: «Somoza es un hijo de puta, pero es nuestro hijo de puta».…  Seguir leyendo »