/ 8 March 2019

The art of hollow gestures

The Art Of Hollow Gestures
Editorial: The art of hollow gestures (Photo Archive)

That paragon of virtue and great socialist leadership, ANC secretary general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule, will lead a deputation of the tripartite alliance to Venezuela, where the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro is presiding over a collapsed economy, food riots, political repression and worse, while facing the alleged prospect of an American invasion to put a right-wing contender for the Venezuelan presidency in office.

It sounds like the United States’ president wants a replay of Chile in 1973 or Argentina in 1976 or any other CIA-backed seizure of power like those it used to conduct back during the Cold War. It may just be another fantasy of the notoriously erratic Donald Trump. What is Magashule going to do, anyway, if the US invades? Throw himself in front of the tanks when they roll into Caracas?

It’s undeniable that US intervention in Venezuela would be a crime — and an international scandal. It would be a reversion to the kind of gunboat diplomacy, to put it nicely, that accompanied colonisation and the growth of the American empire. Such an idea should be roundly condemned.

But for Magashule and his alliance colleagues to go and do so, in person, in Venezuela, is just political theatre, though it is being gratifyingly played out on a world stage. Magashule’s visit to Caracas follows a similar visit he undertook to Harare recently. The results, of course, are plain to see.

Magashulian diplomacy appears to be a finely tuned art of hollow grand gestures.

Meanwhile, here at home, an election looms. So, perhaps Magashule will be giving the Venezuelans lessons in that vital tenet of democracy, accountability. He does, after all, have a stellar record in that regard in the Free State.