The Sunday Mail
Being stupid is worse than being dead.
The Bishop, being the old-timer he is, has been around the block for quite a while and has learnt over the years that things are not often what they seem, or what you might make them out to be.
As I write this, gentle reader, Caracas, Venezuela, is under siege.
The barbarians are well and truly at the gates.
It seems the whole country is now a huge tinderbox.
Well, for a country that is soaking wet in oil riches — whose reserves at 300 billion barrels are recognised as the world’s largest — all it now takes, especially in the combustible political climate it now finds itself in, is simply to throw a lit matchstick and — kaboom — the South American country will blow to smithereens.
But what does that got to do with a teapot-shaped republic ensconced 11 000-kilometres away in Southern Africa, which Bishop Lazi calls home?
Please be patient; I will explain.
You see, the Yankees’ view this world as a big Hollywood movie, and the script is unchangingly the same: there is always a villain who, at the end of the movie, is always accounted for by the “ever-capable” American marines or an invincible and unconquerable American superhero.
If it were a Biblical anecdote, Americans would be Jesus and the villain would be Legion.
And the typecasting is predictably invariable: the villain is often black, Latino, Russian or Asian.
Hollywood producers are sticklers for detail; if the villain has to be black, he should be black, not any other contaminated shade or hue.
They will make sure they will find the blackest person to ever walk the planet, so he will either be charcoal black or black-burnished.
Not unsurprisingly, in the current movie that is playing out in South America, the villain is typically a moustached Latino man called Nicolas Maduro.
Well, Maduro subjected himself to an election on May 20 last year and won 67,8 percent of the vote, but the script says Maduro must not win, so he can’t win, and if he does win, he probably didn’t win; and if he claims to have won, he is illegitimate.
Legitimacy and illegitimacy are words we hear quite a lot in these shores nowadays, and this is not by default.
It is now the name of the game.
They say if you want to kill a dog, give it a bad name and hang it.
But vexingly, how could have an “irregular” and “flawed” electoral system that gave an “illegitimate” Maduro a second six-year term as president produce a “legitimate” opposition-controlled National Assembly in Caracas in 2016?
It is the same National Assembly that has now created the supposedly new American-type action superhero called Juan Guaido, who was elected president of Venezuela’s National Assembly last month.
Predictably, the opposition has since made its play by declaring the presidential election invalid and purportedly installing Guaido as the acting president.
So, by dint of an engineered political crisis, Venezuela currently has two presidents, and there are no prices for guessing who Uncle Sam is supporting.
Tossing away the frog in lipstick
But, dear reader, you really need to focus on Guaido, he is the vector both figuratively and literally.
The Yankees, perhaps having grown weary of their mundane superheroes, seem to be recasting the new species.
Maybe they feel that the use of soft power — which has become the weapon of choice for regime change — has to be accompanied by a soft face.
No longer are they in the business of putting lipstick or mascara on their political frogs to make them readily acceptable by the people they are being foisted onto, just as they did when they invaded Panama in December 1989 and cursed them with the fat and ugly Guillermo Endara.
As Matthew 7:15 cautions: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
Guaido is your typical Telemundo heartthrob: he is young, fresh-faced, energetic and seemingly sophisticated.
At 35-years-old, he is the youngest-ever Venezuelan opposition leader.
You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to surmise that this young chap’s political career can be traced to early student political activism.
Not only is he an engineer, but he was educated at George Washington University in the US.
In a world that is gradually being taken over by millennials, it is obvious that this political wannabe is tailor-made to appeal to this influential social group.
Observably, he is not a self-made man but a made in America product.
Apparently, the young man also has a three-phased plan for Venezuela: end usurpation (which is a euphemism for removing Maduro from power), forming a transitional government and subsequently holding free and fair elections.
Bishop Lazi hopes you are following this script very closely. Is it coming closer to home? I bet.
While you might have probably been taught from an early age that the Devil is a red-horned abominable creature with a spear-pointed tail, this is not the case in the real world.
The Devil wears Gucci or Prada, and he comes as a fresh-faced saviour.
The Americans, who get 41 percent of their oil from Venezuela, have been working to squeeze the South American country’s economy in order to create disaffection with Maduro.
These elaborate efforts culminated in Trump’s 2017 sanctions.
But since last week, Washington has been desperately going for broke.
In an act of diplomatic thuggery, meant to complement the ongoing demonstrations in Caracas, the US on Monday announced measures that effectively take more than $7 billion from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, and its subsidiaries.
In their opinion, the money will be better used by the young Guaido than the moustached “criminal” named Maduro.
Remember, being stupid is worse than being dead.
It is crass naiveté for any Venezuelan to think that the same Trump — who is prepared to shutdown the American government for 35 days (the longest in history) in order to get funds to shut out Latinos through a giant border wall — gives a rat’s ass about the welfare of the same people or for democracy.
The Bishop saw the same trend in March 2011 when Muammar Gaddafi’s oil-rich Libya was under siege.
The Obama administration seized more than $32 billion in assets and funnelled some of the funds to the Libyan “opposition”.
Since then, Libya has not known peace.
As I write this, the Americans, with the willing help of Guaido, are chipping away at the very edifice of Venezuelan sovereignty — the military.
Only time will tell.
Different movie, same script
Characters might change but the script is always the same.
The wise often say if it happens once, its probably an accident; if it happens twice, well, that might be considered a coincidence, but if it happens thrice, it is certainly a pattern.
Here at home, we have our own Guaido, whose fleeting feet know Washington so well.
He is young, energetic, fresh-faced and seemingly sophisticated as he has now amassed a paper-bagful of university degrees — never mind that they are unrelated.
According to the script, this newbie (Nelson Chamisa), who is grounded in student activism, is supposed to be an American-type superhero, who wrests power from “criminals” and saves the day for Zimbabweans to live happily ever after. Kikikiki.
Like the real Guaido, he has a three-phased plan, which became clear after the recent violent demonstrations: he was to remove the incumbent “illegitimate” Government, create a transitional authority and prepare for fresh elections. Coincidence?
The Devil really wears Gucci or Prada.
And the supposed villain, the Zanu-PF Government, necessarily has to be as “corrupt”, evil and egregiously bad as possible.
As you might have seen, the media is at work to carve it as such. Not surprisingly, they are blowing every mole hole into a mountain, and if the mole hole cannot be found, they invent one.
But unlike Venezuela and other oil-rich countries, what is so important in Zimbabwe that a superpower can deploy such an elaborate scheme?
The answer can be found in Tendai Biti’s testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on December 12, 2017.
“The real danger is that they will pursue a Beijing model, in the respect of which there are nominal improvements on the economy while political space is closed and democracy is muzzled.”
Argh! And you think America gives a damn about democracy?
The same country that stole our forefathers and used them as slaves on plantations, including having the temerity to use them to build the White House?
The same country that watched journalist Jamal Khashoggi enter the Bermuda Triangle that has become the Saudi Arabian embassy in Ankara, Turkey, to disappear forever without even raising so much as a whimper?
True, being stupid is worse than being dead.
So, in a typical Hollywood movie, Zimbabwe must not succeed; if it does, it will send a wrong signal to other African countries that the ownership of the primary means of production — land — can be changed in a way that is likely to upend the current skewed world order.
Which brings us to the current targeted scheme unfolding before our eyes to chip away the image of the military and security forces, which are the symbols of the country’s sovereignty.
The Yankees similarly hope that the sanctions will make every effort that is being made by Government to stabilise and grow the economy come to naught.
But they should have budgeted for the sheer determination, tact and capability of the regime in Harare, itself born out of the longest liberation war on the continent, where it had to contend with a well-resourced conventional army.
They can see through the present shenanigans.
After the latest play by our own Guaido to roll-out violent street demonstrations was decisively blunted by our security forces, it is interesting to see how he will move his pieces from hear on out.
But the Bishop has a word of advise for him and his #Godsinit brigade: he must read Job 41: 1-34 to know what kind of creature (Leviathan) he is dealing with.
As I have continued to preach, God is working miracles on Zimbabwe.
As ED always says, leadership is about taking people where they ought to be and not where they want to be.
God has given us his leadership and put us on this path for a good reason.
Luke 11:9-13 is quite instructive, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
All this will come to pass in good time.