Thanks to Venezuela, the ANC knows how much it can stuff things up
The glowing impressions of that country by Bongani Bongo must have been music to his party's ears
Do you want to travel to distant, beautiful lands and give tummy rubs to the tyrants running them into the gutter? Do you want to rock out at a music festival on a beach while sniffing out American imperialism? Then don’t delay! Sign up for the ANC’s next fact-finding mission, headed to a failing state near you!
Yes, if you thought the ANC’s despot-massaging trips abroad were grim, tense affairs hosted in grim underground bunkers, think again.
This week City Press interviewed former state security minister Bongani Bongo about the nine days he and his delegation recently spent in Venezuela, and they sound like an absolutely blast.
“We attended an open-air music concert and spent a day on the beach,” explained Bongo. “There were easily 100,000 people on the beach relaxing. It was very nice.”
Who knew storming the barricades of global capitalism could be so mellow? Sure, a few thousand of those people were probably on the beach because they now live there, or were trying to hail a passing boat and, yes, the musicians got paid in exposure and toilet paper, and the speakers probably used the country’s whole allocation of electricity that day. But hell, if Bongo says it was “very nice”, who am I to disagree?
Then there was the “street carnival in Caracas in which 70,000 people took part”. Okay. Sure. “Street carnival”. Let’s go with that. It sounds so much better than “Potemkin village”.
Still, I shouldn’t be too harsh on Bongo, who probably wasn’t at his most lucid at the time, being wildly intoxicated by overwhelming relief.
You could almost hear him wiping the sweat off his face when he recalled that the Venezuelans who remain in the country (as opposed to the almost four million who have fled) “are very poor and are suffering, but they are still standing. It is not as though there is an atmosphere of war.”
This will have been the sweetest music to the ANC, which is anxious to know how far a government can push its people before they fall over or start a war. Now the comrades know they can cock up everything they touch for at least another five years before anyone starts shooting.
Meanwhile, Bongo reiterated our country’s support for Nicolás Maduro, reminding us that SA stands shoulder to shoulder with China, Egypt, Cuba, Russia and Syria in backing Maduro’s presidency. And trust me, those guys know democracy when they see it. Yes, they usually see it through the sights of an AK47, but they still see it, okay?
None of which helps Venezuelans, trapped (depending on whom you ask) between predatory capitalists and nihilistic socialists. Not that these distinctions matter much any more. As the saying goes, under capitalism man exploits man. Under socialism it’s the other way around.