Hermann Tertsch is a free man. The first time I read his work was in early 2017. In an article published in ABC, he defended the great values and denounced the totalitarianism intrinsic to Islamic movements. Soon, Tertsch’s texts became obligatory readings for me.
One of the most renowned journalists in Spain, Tertsch has established himself as someone who does not fear the truth. He has published two books and three essays. He was a war correspondent, deputy director of El Pais, and a columnist at the same newspaper for decades. Later, he left El Pais to write for ABC, and, finally, he moved away from journalism to step into the political ring and defend the principles that have always driven him to write and be ready for battle.
Using his platform as a Spanish politician in the European parliament, Tertsch has almost angrily defended the Spanish nation, and its morals and values. He has also obstinately stood up for freedom in Venezuela and Cuba. He has also been a relentless critic of European whims and, what he has called, its “complicity” with communist regimes.
“Unfortunately, you represent that regrettable role we have played in preventing those moments in which the suffering of Venezuelans could have been reduced. I think we are talking about a gang, not about politicians or an ideologically motivated dictatorship, but criminals. A gang of criminals protected by a command center in Cuba, which has also been protected from this House and the European Union,” Hermann Tertsch told Europe’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini, in a speech that went viral.
I had the opportunity to have a brief conversation with Tertsch about things that matter to us. It is about the liberty of the Americas, and also of Europe to some extent. Today, this is an urgency. We spoke about the cowardice and corruption. About the difficult decisions that countries will have to make to confront socialism and its threats. Also, about the interim government of Juan Guaido and the possibility of an intervention in Venezuela that would depose Nicolas Maduro.
“In reality, the Venezuelan opposition, which functions as a supposed opposition, is opposition from within the Chavista regime. It is like a ministry of the regime,” the renowned writer and journalist told PanAm Post.
You’ve written a long time about it. We recently published a fantastic thread about Europe and its demons in the PanAm Post. I wanted to ask you, how cowardly do you think Europe is?
Europe has always been cowardly. Remember what happened in conflicts in the 20th century. Europe has reacted to its own ghosts with cowardice. European elites have consistently failed. Isn’t it very similar to what has occurred with the Ibero-American elites?
It has always failed at its key moments in history. We saw it in the First World War; we saw it in the Second World War; we saw it when half of Europe had surrendered to Stalin because of the Cold War. And then the Cold War itself. Until John Paul II arrived, and the constellation was created with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. But in reality, we were not able to fight back, and when it was confronted, we saw that it could be defeated. And when the demons of Europe were defeated, the communist front and the left rebuilt themselves the following day. And once again, the elites began to think about something else, and they have let all this continue.
The same applies to the Sao Paulo Forum in Latin America. And there we have what we have. And in Europe, we have a kind of regime that has worked during the boom years, but we are seeing that they are imposing a permanent, ideological, social-democratic message that brings us with its radical, let us say, left-wing front. Moreover, the broad message is a social-democratic front of total control of the person, of individuals, of interchangeable individuals. Of the loss of identity, dissolution of nations and ideas…
And utterly totalitarian!
It is a process whereby the ultimate consequences are utterly totalitarian.
And you have denounced European complicity with Ibero-American socialism. What does that complicity ultimately mean? Is it reduced today to the personality of Mogherini, or is it something inherent to Europe?
No, no… Poor Mogherini, don’t give the lady such importance. Poor thing… Mrs. Mogherini is a classic, upper-middle-class leftist. In other words, she has never had a welfare problem; she has always lived in complete freedom, in perfect well-being…
And it has played very well with revolutions in other countries. The others suffer. The experiments were tested —not with insects, but with Latin Americans, with Ibero-Americans. Because we suffer less here. And that’s why, for example, Mrs. Mogherini thinks it’s very good that Cubans live under a dictatorship.
These high-ranking European officials live perfect lives. They go from one five-star hotel to the next. Their lifestyle is affluent. Everyone can presume that socialism has not failed everywhere. They say that there are still many vast spaces, and they resort to nostalgia or melancholy. Or romanticism. In short, these are the pure immoralities of a society like the European that has mostly lost the benchmarks of sacrifice, of being secure and free.
What do you think Europe should do about the Venezuelan case? What would you recommend?
Man, I think no criminal who controls an unlimited source of income is going to leave this source of income unless he faces an imminent threat, whereby something is seriously endangered —and that must be his life.
Without a credible threat and the pressure of the same, the leaders of the Venezuelan regime will never leave their position. They won’t give up power and will perpetuate the regime as the Cubans managed to preserve it.
I think, and I think you will agree, given the past and the facts, the only way Nicolas Maduro (understood as the head of a criminal and drug-trafficking gang) will leave power is by force…
And there are only two options: domestic or foreign.
There really isn’t… It’s just that there are several things that the communists and the left have done for themselves very effectively and efficiently. And now what I will say will sound like profane, but the internal form is cut off because all the military which could have intervened to stop this regime and liberate their country and guide it through a long term —in a complicated process, no doubt, but guide it through the order towards democracy— the military personnel are afraid that… Well, they have Pinochet syndrome…
Mr. Pinochet was an absolute success because he prevented the Cuban dictatorship from establishing itself in Chile. He is the reason why today Chile is not a Cuban satellite suffering the same misery as Venezuela and Cuba. He managed to make his country prosperous and stopped the Cuban project. He led it back on the path with a lot of pain and many excesses that were perhaps avoidable but relatively fewer casualties, compared to some other countries. He restored the nation. Sixteen years after the coup, Chile was moving toward democracy with a prosperous economy. Meanwhile, we have Venezuela: the country is as it is twenty years later. And we have Cuba, sixty years later.
But later, the democracies treated Pinochet, not as a soldier doing his duty by stopping a communist process that was taking place with Allende, but as a monstrous coup plotter who represented all the ills of this world (and who ended up dying like a dog harassed by the democracies). We no longer have a general who risks putting himself in front of a team. There have been several courageous personalities, brave military men, but isolated ones; all of them have failed.
Whoever may have played this role several years ago, who was Padrino López (the ministry of Defense), today is one of the mafia bosses, isn’t he? Because he feels safer in the mafia than rising against the dictator.
So that’s one of the tragedies we’ve experienced. The defense of democracy, state, and nation is a function of the army. However, this has been done away with. It has been paralyzed thanks to the Pinochet syndrome, which the European democracies imposed.
Given this reality, then, the only salvation we have is external forces. What role could Europe play in this?
Europe has no external force. The useful solution would be for the American states to unite to protect and coordinate the arrests of the foremost leaders of Maduro’s mafia and the PSUV party with groups of the Venezuelan Army. We need to take out the regime, and after some period of stabilization, we need to impose public order and conduct free elections.
But that hasn’t happened because the Europeans were the first to start putting obstacles in the way of any American intervention. And the Americans offered it as never before. They did so with generosity and frankness. “It is you who have to tell us. You have declared your opposition to the dictatorship; you have to tell us where we can help you.” They have not dared to do so because, in reality, the Venezuelan opposition, which functions as a supposed opposition, is opposition from within the regime. It is like a ministry of the regime, and as such, it has worked during all these years. And it has been enormously practical to prolong Chavismo!
I want to touch on that point, but before moving away from the subject of force, I want to ask you: do you see that salvation possible? Can this credible threat be constructed from outside? To be very honest, taking into account Trump’s position and his internal conflicts, and the positions of Bolsonaro and Ivan Duque, who are the main allies, do you really see the possibility of such a scenario?
Well, I think so. I think everyone will see, sooner or later, what we see today in Ecuador, Bolivia, or Peru. We understand how instability grows and is exported again. They are a regional danger! There will never be peace in the hemisphere as long as we have the Cuban regime and a satellite as powerful as Venezuela within the continent.
I believe that sooner or later, everyone will realize that they are going to have to neutralize this cancerous focal point of misery, pain, terrorism, and subversion.
It will happen, but what we don’t know is when and at what cost. Because what is definitely not going to happen is a unilateral American adventure. The Americans are in other things. And on the contrary, the Americans are withdrawing from the hotbeds of conflict, eh. I mean that the Americans will only go if it is in their interests.
They don’t want the region to burn in guerrillas and new communist uprisings. They don’t want regimes like Correa’s to return or governments like Morales’ to become radical, which they already are. All this goes against the interests of the Americans, as well. But it goes against Colombian interests, Argentine interests, Brazilian interests, and the interests of all countries that have a decent standard of living.
I believe that sooner or later, a decision will be made. How many generations lost in pain, need, suffering, shortages, emigration? All that was avoidable! All that was unnecessary! All that didn’t have to have happened in a country like Venezuela! And it has gone through some criminal and erroneous ideas.
Inevitably, reality will end up imposing itself, and decisions will have to be taken accordingly.
Something will have to be done. If we do not confront the threat, the continent will find itself in confusion; it will become unstable. And it will miss, once again, the train of modernity. That’s what it’s all about. And in Europe, with radically different problems, we are losing modernity because of other ideological issues. That is, with social democracy, ideology, climate panic, all the lies of the left. The doctrine of gender… All those resources of the left to coerce individuals, subject them to the obedience of the state or ideological laws.
Returning to the issue of the Venezuelan opposition, how would you evaluate the transitional government headed by Juan Guaido? We’ve been doing this for more than eight months now. Initially, we were all enthusiastic. I think there was a consensus in support of that process, but unfortunately, it has been degrading. Months have passed, and we have seen that the head of this process, Guaido, has decided to enter into adventures such as the dialogues hosted by Norway, maintained relationships with parties presumably opposed to the regime, but that keep economic links with Chavismo, and today, Guaido speaks more about “elections” than about “cessation of usurpation.” What do you think of all this?
Well, look, I, unfortunately, think we all gave a check in advance. We put our hopes in this process. We thought we could finally unify the tragic situation of the nation and that there would be a reaction. We hoped that there would be absolute integrity, decisiveness, and learning from past mistakes. We can see that this has not been the case. We have returned to the politics of the old times, which, without a doubt, is the preferred policy of the regime. Zapatero and his supporters need this policy to last in power forever.
Maduro will win an election under the current conditions. Do people have to eat or not? If so, what are we talking about? What are we discussing? It is immoral to even propose elections under the current conditions in Venezuela. And it is also a green light for the dictatorship to remain in power for eternity.
And what would you recommend to Venezuelans who oppose Maduro’s regime?
Let’s be honest and learn from what happened. We have been like this for twenty years, for God’s sake. If anyone is honest, they should distance themselves from those who live off the regime. I live in Madrid, and I see people. I see how they live with money they didn’t have before, for God’s sake.
People from the opposition?
People of all kinds. All kinds. What I’m saying is, for God’s sake, let them know that criminals don’t voluntarily leave anything, and whoever says that criminals are willing to do something for their country is lying. Because it’s never like that.
And in this sense, I hope that some countries will react. I wish that the looters of Venezuela be punished, as much as possible, and that the money they have outside of Venezuela be taken away from them. The houses they are buying in the city center of Madrid should be taken away from them. The properties they buy, the homes in the Balearic Islands, should be taken away from them. All the luxury estates that they buy without even discussing price, because money has come to them without any effort, and they have no problems.
Chase the regime in and out. And of course, be relentless. And in the end, build an alliance of the honest. Let them ally themselves with the population and do not let them be deceived. There are many assumptions, but it is what is necessary to get out of that hell.
All right, Hermann. And finally, who should Venezuelans listen to?
I’m not going to be a propagandist or give advice to anyone in particular.
I have a few friends, but of course, they are among those who do not make concessions to the regime, who do not sit in Barbados or anywhere with them. And they believe that it is absolutely incompatible negotiating anything with the regime. Once the regime is ousted, we will see.