For Bolivia, Socialism Is a Coca-Leaf Cake

Photo of Fidel Castro (Courtesy Library of Congress)

What would you give Fidel Castro for his 80th birthday? “A cake made from coca leaves,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales who wants to be just like “Che” Guevara.

Mr. Castro, who used to speak at Wagnerian length with a stogie in hand, is an aging man with signs of a degenerative neurological disease. And he won’t make it to 140.
The days of a Socialist revolution in South America died with Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez’s own “Bolivarian revolution” manifests itself more as solidarity against the United States than as a movement for the people.

Mr. Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous leader since the white men came from Spain 450 years ago. His electoral propaganda consisted of leading uneducated cocaleros to protest coca eradication and demand the nationalization of the energy industry and of a poster campaign mocking the inept U.S. ambassador Manuel Rocha. The U.S. envoy had threatened Bolivians to vote against Morales or lose U.S. aid, ensuring Mr. Morales’ victory.

As seen in the demise of Peru’s Alejandro Toledo, being an indigenous leader does not guarantee political success. Mr. Morales’ decision to nationalize the natural gas industry has done little so far to benefit the poor directly.

Mr. Morales copies his “revolutionary” rhetoric from the South American edition of the handbook for neo-Socialist leaders. “Che” Guevara is the “immortal leader.” He verbally accosts the “imperial United States. He vows to defend both Cuba and Venezuela, and their natural resources, from military attacks by “the empire (the U.S.).” His admiration for Mr. Castro is unending.

Cuba, too, has been shouting anti-U.S. diatribes, pointing to the so-called “War of All the People” doctrine that will be used against a U.S. attack. Rául Castro, the first vice president and defense minister, is leading the outdated Communist propaganda in the run-up to his brother’s August 13 birthday. (Rául himself is getting old.)

On that day, I expect a vow of solidarity against the ‘imperial forces,’ a pledge by Messrs. Morales and Chávez to export Commandant Castro’s revolution, a parade Á  la North Korea, a speech that makes me want to like Wagner and a Mr. Castro under the influence of Mr. Morales’ coca cake.

I’ll be drinking Cuba Libre!

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