After a long battle with cancer, Hugo Chavez finally surrendered to death in March. The world witnessed the departure of the dedicated follower of Bolivar’s anti-imperialism ideals, and an ardent adversary of the United States. Some cherished the death of the leftist icon of the 21st century leader. Others spilled tears for his death, biding him farewell especially in Latin America and some “friendly” countries, including Syria, Iran, Russia, China, in addition to the Polisario leaders who found in Chavez a big ally for their separatist fabricated cause.
The obvious question politicians conventionally ask after the death of a political leader is whether the next person who will succeed him lead the country with the same policies, both in foreign and domestic policies.
I am not in a position to answer whether Chavez is an authoritarian strongman, or an audacious representative of the world’s exploited and downtrodden; a champion of the underdog or a bully. As Moroccans, we would better be concerned on whether the Bolivarian legacy will have enough strength and continuity to prevail and continue its support for the Polisario front. Will the new leader of Venezuela create a solid political relation with Mohamed Abdelaziz and his acolytes?
We may not quickly jump to form an immediate answer because only time will tell. However, the role of Moroccan diplomacy should focus on establishing good relations with Latin American countries. Hitherto, because of our absence from the ground, especially at the level of civil society and parliamentary diplomacy, these countries’ leaders and public were spoon-fed only one side of the coin, namely that of the Polisario.
Therefore, it is high time we started to reach out to Latin American countries in order to educate them effectively about the Moroccan position and open their eyes to the human rights violations committed by the Polsario in the Tindouf camps, and its direct involvement in rendering the region a hot bed for instability and safe haven for terrorists and drug traffickers.
Aljazeera reported that the Polisario served with the militias of the Gaddafi regime to suppress the popular movement that began February 17, 2011 in Libya. After the collapse of the oppressive regime of Gaddafi, Polisario lost a supportive hand and have but to ally with terrorists in the Sahel regions.Tienan Coulibaly, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, confirmed that “fighters from Polisario are integrated within the terrorist groups that caused terror in Mali.”
The Polisario has been losing its allies one by one and the international community is becoming more and more aware that the militia officials of Polisario have nothing to offer the Moroccan Sahrawi but more suffering and delaying development projects, and most significantly maintaining the instability of the region.
In a brief to the UN Security Council on his visit to North Africa from October 25 to November 11, the United Nations Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to the Sahara, Christopher Ross, said “While some believe that the status quo is stable and that is risky to take the chances for peace, I believe that this is a serious miscalculation, particularly now that the region is threatened by extremist, terrorist and criminal elements operating in the Sahel.”
This confirms that the purpose is no longer to defend the project or the “cause” of a people, but to create a terrorist gang aimed at spreading terror and a free zone to exercise more illegal transactions out of the sight of the international community.
That human rights and Sahrawis in Tindouf camps are experiencing a difficult time under a group of missionaries is beyond question to the reasonable observer. Morocco’s offer of autonomy proved to be the most reasonable solution to the conflict. An offer seen by many international observers as “serious” and providing the basis for a long-lasting and mutually acceptable solution.
“We believe that the Moroccan autonomy plan is interesting and it is the only proposal on the table of negotiations. The other parties have presented nothing to settle this dispute,” stated Julio Martinez, a member of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, whose country is a member of the Security Council, during a press conference after a meeting with Moroccan minister delegate for foreign affairs, Youssef Amrani.
The political background that used to be the common link between Polisario and Venezuela is faltering. The involvement of the Polisario in drug trafficking and terrorism signals that this separatist movement no longer adopts socialism as a doctrine that orients its political decisions.
The ball is in the Moroccan diplomacy’s corner and it is incumbent on the latter to exert its utmost efforts in order to tilt the balance of support in Latin America in Morocco’s favor. The support enjoyed so far by the Polisario in this area is certainly not due to the righteousness of the cause it stands for, but rather to our lack of long-term vision and our lack of effective communication with civil society, political and opinion makers in this country.